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38 Studios employee's wife pens personal account of studio problems

The "38 Studios Spouse" details a hurried move, missed paychecks, stacking bills, and no communication from studio management.

In a letter sent to Gamasutra, the wife of a former 38 Studios employee details how the company's collapse has threatened the livelihood of her family. Her letter covers the family's move to Rhode Island in December of 2011, living out of a hotel and registering her three children in new schools. It paints a picture of a studio that didn't have everything together, with her husband being moved to a different position upon hiring.

"The first week he worked at 38 Studios he was concerned about the different teams and their ability to work together. He went to more than one executive during the weeks that followed encouraging them to make changes or deal with the release date issue. The company was not ready for him to do the job he was hired to do, therefore he was placed on other projects to wait it out," the letter reads.

She explains how she and her husband found out that he wasn't being paid on the 15th of May. She writes about a span of time between the 15th and the 24th, where her husband was working increasing hours at 38 Studios, desperate to find out if he was going to paid.

"On the May 16th-21st, my husband returned day after day, told to drive in to work and promised pay, but every day came home empty handed after late meetings and more promises. The longest day was 12 hours and each day we were spending more money on gas and more hope going out the window. During this time, we were also trying to keep our children from worrying while they spent each day hoping to catch a glimpse of their dad before they went to sleep," she explained.

She talks about the loss of her medical insurance and receiving a bill from Atlas Van Lines for her family's move in December. She calls out 38 Studios for knowing that medical coverage was going to lapse due to lack of payment.

"Six months has gone by since our move. There was no notice at any point that this had not been paid and now we get a bill with 10 days to pay," she wrote. "Why now? Haven't they had 6 months to collect this? Didn't the company say we would be let out of our contract since they folded? Couldn't they have given us a heads up at any point before we were broke and our savings gone to feed our children? After all, a heads up on this might have alerted us to a problem with 38 Studios before we got to this point. Well on one page in a series, of approximately 45, we signed a document stating in tiny print that we would be responsible if the company does not pay."

"When confronted, 38 Studios admitted they had been aware since the 21st of May that due to lack of payment for several months, insurance was going to be canceled on May 24th."

"So, there goes our credit rating no matter how hard we are trying to still pay for all bills with no income. We have no income, no time to prepare, and I will not let my children starve to pay for a move that did not exactly work out. Why hadn't Atlas collected from 38 Studios? We were told by an Atlas representative that they had a special working relationship with Curt Schilling, therefore they were trying to work with him. Must be nice to have at least 30 days, let alone six months to pay for this bill."

She writes of her anger and her inability to direct that anger at anyone. Of her family's future and the future of her husband's colleagues at 38 Studios, she thanks the industry for reaching out to provide jobs for the studio's employees. Finally, she blames 38 Studios for its mismanagement and lack of communication.

"I blame a company named 38 Studios and all of their executives for moving so many families while knowing they weren't paying bills, weren't going to hit their dates, and were running out of money. Learn this lesson from our struggles so you never have to experience it first hand. Protect yourself and family any way you can, read the small print, and realize no matter how big the company is if they run out of money there is very little you can do to get what is owed to you," she closed.

It's a gut-wrenching letter to read, and the entire thing is posted over at Gamasutra.

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Mike Williams avatar

Mike Williams

Reviews Editor, USgamer

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.