A Big Huge Games employee, speaking under anonymity with Gamasutra, has said Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee is partly to blame for the demise of 38 Studios and Big Huge Games. The source claims the governor, who was opposed to the deal cut with the firms by former governor Donald Carcieri, leaked incomplete information pertaining to the studios and frightened RI residents when saying they would be on the hook should 38 Studios fail.
According to the source, the $75 million deal cut by former-governor Carcieri using taxpayer-backed bonds was a key point in luring the studios from Massachusetts to Rhode Island. The deal would create jobs, and help boost the state’s economy.
Chafee was opposed to the deal from the start, and used tax payer anxiety in order to fulfill his political agenda, as 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling previously claimed – and former employees of 38 tend to agree with the statement.
“I don’t know how feasible [Copernicus] ever was, but it seemed to have modest expectations it would be able to achieve,” a former Big Huge Games employee told Gamasutra. “Once things went bad, Chafee’s office started leaking any information it could to make 38 Studios look like it had been a bad deal… unfortunately, a lot of these leaks involved partial and complete misinformation.”
One 38 Studios employee backed up the claim, stating that Chafee purposely spouted misinformation by designating the private loan cosigned by the state “taxpayer money” making it seem as though Rhode Island had already paid for the cost “instead of being responsible for it in the event of failure,” states the article.
Furthermore, Chafee claimed the $1.125 million payment, which purportedly bounced the first time around, was a loan payment – but it wasn’t.
“It was actually a weird extra fee to the board he was on, which had nothing to do with payments and interest — [which was] already handled by setting aside a full third of the loan for that purpose,” the 38 source said.
“This made it seem like we had somehow burned through all $75 million, including the money set aside to do this.”
Chafee famously said during a press conference last week that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning had “failed,” and while it didn’t sell enough copies for EA to start paying a cut to the studio, profits from the game were “never part of the budgeting plans for 38,” states Gamasutra.
The additional comments regarding insolvency made by Chafee also scared away potential investors on top of the negative press caused by his comments on the game’s failure.
“As a result of all of the negative publicity and misinformation, the publishers we were talking with ended up distancing themselves from us and letting us collapse,” says a Big Huge Games employee. “In a real way, Chafee’s political maneuvering is responsible for the lost jobs of 107 entirely blameless professionals in Maryland [where Big Huge was based].”
You can read the entire thing through the link, and you should as it provides more perspective from the employees.