Well, that's some sucky news to wake up to. As reported by Gamasutra, 38 Studios has laid off all of its staff, and all of Big Huge Games' team as well.
Amid ongoing financial issues involving state loans and relocations, company owner Curt Schilling sent seems to have pulled the plug. Gamasutra revealed that the following email was sent to all employees overnight.
The Company is experiencing an economic downturn. To avoid further losses and possibility of retrenchment, the Company has decided that a companywide lay off is absolutely necessary.
These layoffs are non-voluntary and non-disciplinary.
This is your official notice of lay off, effective today, Thursday, May 24th, 2012.
The company had only just managed to pay off a $US75 million loan to the state of Rhode Island, but many staff were still going unpaid. In a statement, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee claimed that Kingdoms of Amalur simply 'failed'. He claims that the game needed to sell three million copies to break even; it only sold over a million.
To say this is all bit of a confusing mess is somewhat of an understatement, but there's an excellent FAQ from the US iteration of Kotaku that goes into some depth on the situation. What's really odd is that just a little while ago EA, Amalur's publisher, was talking of strong financial results based in part on "successful launches" of games including Amalur.
And yet, for the developer, the game's not come close to making enough money.
Regardless, there's some hope. Twitter is alive with job offers on the hashtag #38 Jobs, including a big recruitment drive from Turbine, makers of the free to play MMOs Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online.
Here's wishing the 379 affected staff luck.