It was just last week that Big Huge Games, the developers for Kingdoms of Almalur: Reckoning, were shut down along with their parent company 38 Studios. However, today Joystiq is reporting that Kingdoms of Almalur: Reckoning 2 was in ”pre-production” before both companies laid off all their employees. Big Huge Games was apparently in talks with the publisher very recently about Kingdoms of Almalur: Reckoning 2, but now the rights of the franchise revert back to 38 Studios.
In the end though the state of Rhode Island will eventually own the rights to the game and any other IP that 38 Studios owns if the company defaults on its’ loan. All this means that if the members of Big Huge Games were to band together and form another company like studios sometimes do, they would be unable to work on Kingdoms of Almalur: Reckoning 2. Making matters worse, according to Joystiq the state of Rhode Island is asking way to much for the intellectual properties.
Here is what the source had to say about Kingdoms of Almalur: Reckoning 2:
“We had a good base to work from, and it was going to be all about improving everything, We listened carefully to fans and critics and were going to implement everything we possibly could.”
Some of the former Big Huge Games staff also talked about the situation:
“Reckoning was developed with EA publishing money, NOT Rhode Island tax dollars, It had nothing to do with the $50 million dollars from RI. That money went directly to the MMO project.”
What all this news amounts to is the sobering fact that a very good game had a potential sequel on the way; and that sequel may never see the light of day because the franchise could be tied up legally for years. The only way a sequel is made, is if some major publisher swoops in and pays top dollar for the franchise. But even then, most likely you wouldn’t have the original team working on the game so there is very little chance that game would have the same feel or be of the same quality.
There is some slightly good news in all this, apparently the closing of 38 Studio and Big Huge Games has revitalized sales of Kingdoms of Almalur: Reckoning; the franchise has re-entered the UK top 40, moving all the way up to number 26.