How Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning Nearly Bankrupted An Entire State

Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning
Electronic Arts

When the game was released in 2012, it was not met not with the rapturous praise that it had anticipated but a general vibe of “it’s good, very good even, just not amazing”.

A demo released prior to launch, while cleverly trying promotional item unlocks to Mass Effect 3, gathered a lot of attention - but only for how broken it was. Sponsorship and collaborations with the likes of IceT were yet more wasted investments, and while the game managed to shift over 1.5 million units in 90 days after launch, it was nowhere near the project 3 million it needed just to break even. For any other new IP, those would still have been phenomenal numbers. But Kingdoms of Amalur needed so much more.

Then it came time to pay the piper: after all, that $75 million was a loan, not hand-out. On 1 May 2012, the bill arrived at 38 Studios' door for $1.125 million, the first of many intended repayments. Their response? "Nope."

Panic quickly surged through the Economic Development Board; after all, they wanted to make a video game industry in their state and their first project was bombing hard. It was, as the (surprise) new head of the Rhode Island Board of Economic Development put it, one of the worst investments they had made.

Numerous back and forths occurred between 38 studios and the Rhode Island reps, as cheques were hand delivered only to bounce, payroll for the employees were missed, and all the way throughout the board went on smiling and assuring that things were going well. It was like seeing a couple arguing over who was going to pay the food bill, only to find out the building was on fire. The writing was on the wall, and late in 2012, 38 Studios declared bankruptcy. An email sent out by Schilling informed his employees that they were all terminated and dreams of a sequel went up in smoke.

[CON'T. P4/5]

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Jules Gill hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.