Founder Curt Schilling rates the closure of Kingdoms of Reckoning developer 38 Studios as one of the worst experiences of his life.
“Outside of, like, personal family – losing my dad – it was the most devastating thing I’ve ever gone through,” Schilling said in a feature article by the Boston Globe.
“It’s still something I’m trying to bounce back from. It was so hard, because I had pushed and pushed and pushed. I had 300 families I had to take care of, including my own, and it failed.
“I’ve lost a lot in my life but I’ve never failed at anything. I was going to [win] but I couldn’t get it done.”
Schilling said it’s “tough” to talk about the “still raw” experience, and mourned the potential lost in the company’s bankruptcy.
“Ultimately, it’s on me. I was the guy. At the end of the day, it failed because I failed to raise outside capital,” he said.
Schilling noted that the “last thing a citizen of Rhode Island wants to hear” is a millionaire athlete blaming the state for the company’s closure, but still had some harsh words for Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee did “absolutely nothing” to prevent the closure.
“We had a local investor who was going to pony up the money – he wanted us to do some things – and Chafee just waited us out,” says Schilling.
“Name one thing he actually did. Ask him that.”
It’s not the first time Schilling has attributed some blame to Chafee, who was the second-largest investor in the company. Other 38 Studios staffers have aired similar grievances against the governor.
Chafee’s office refused comment due to pending litigation; the state of Rhode Island has accused the developer of misdemeanour and claims crushing evidence thereof.
Schilling chose to auction off his own collection of memorabilia to pay back various loans, rather than declare bankruptcy and keep his possessions. He even said the stress of 38 Studios’ closing partially contributed to a heart attack.
38 Studios, which also incorporated Big Huge Games, produced just one game before closing – Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. An MMO with the same setting, Project Copernicus, was nearly complete. The game was a commercial success and publishers have shown interest in the intellectual property, which is yet to be auctioned off. Reckoning publisher EA is particularly interested, although possibly only as a partner.