The latest news emerging from the drama surrounding Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developers Studio 38 and Curt Schilling unfolds, and it appears to be nearing its end.
The video game industry has no shortage of dramatic and messy lawsuits. In a business that sees EA make $1.3 billion yearly on extra content alone, there’s a lot of money to be made when a new IP succeeds, but a lot of cash to fight over should a large dispute cause the collapse of a studio or a working relationship. While some recent lawsuits, like the recently dismissed dispute between Lindsay Lohan and Rockstar Studios, are often more about the publicity than the actual legal arguments involved, there is one case that has been plodding along without much fanfare that might finally be coming to a close.
The story behind Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer 38 Studios and company founder Curt Schilling is a long and complicated one that has seen many twists and turns over the better part of four years. Essentially, Schilling’s poor leadership played a major role in 38 Studios declaring bankruptcy not long after it released the critically acclaimed Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning game, and Schilling has since been involved in legal disputes with the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. over the controversial $75 million loan that Schilling received to move 38 Studios to Rhode Island in 2010.
Now, however, that case might finally be over. The Associated Press reported earlier that Curt Schilling and a group of others has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle the case surrounding his failed video game studio. The company, the failure of which directly resulted in the loss of Curt Schilling’s personal fortune, might finally be allowed to rest in peace while the total amount of settlement payments in the 38 Studios case would now stand at $45 million of the initial $75 million loan guarantee.
Schilling reportedly invested $50 million of his own money in founding the studio before securing the loan, which was criticized highly when it was announced, well before the unraveling of 38 Studios actually began in earnest. The studio, which was also involved in the development of the Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends properties, has since seen its subsidiary studio Big Huge Games re-opened, but there is little chance 38 Studios itself will ever return to the industry.
It has been an incredibly long four years for everyone involved, but it looks like Rhode Island, 38 Studios, and Curt Schilling are going to finally be able to move on from their disastrous relationship. Even once it is out of the news, however, 38 Studios will still serve as a cautionary tale for those who have too much money and the belief that starting a video game studio will be a flighty, fun affair.