38 Studios founder Curt Schilling has come out and publicly criticized Rhode Island Governor Chafee for contributing to the state of the beleaguered developer. Schilling claims that state economic-development officials backed off on a deal to approve film tax credits that he says 38 Studios was legally entitled, and to allow the company to defer a $1.12-million payment due on May 1 so that 38 Studios could meet its May 15 payroll.
Schilling also called Chafee's remarks that the state was trying to keep 38 Studios solvent was "devastating". He cited an example where an unnamed video-game publisher pulled out of a $35-million deal to finance a sequel to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning after the comments by the Governor.
38 Studios moved to Rhode Island when the State offered a $75 million to move there from Massachusetts, something Chafee opposed when he was running for Governor of the state. Rhode Island taxpayers will be be on the hook for more than $100 million if 38 Studios fails and Schilling says he could be out $50 million that he earned as a professional baseball player and committed to the company.
For his part, Governor Chafee has denied that his comments hurt the company and disputes that the state reneged on a deal for tax credits.
Last week 38 Studios was forced to lay off its 291 workers in downtown Providence that were focused on the MMO Project Copernicus and 100 more in the Maryland subsidiary Big Huge Games who were mainly responsible for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Many of the employees are seeking jobs and had their old mortgages foisted upon them.