Find out how to kick start your games industry career

Get Your Free Ticket Today

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.

Find out how to kick start your games industry career

Get Your Free Ticket Today

More stories

38 Studios staff receiving final paycheck nine years after closure

But Kingdoms of Amalur team will only be paid a fraction of what they are owed

By James Batchelor

Ex-38 Studios execs to settle suit for $2.5 million

Curt Schilling, three others admit no wrongdoing in proposed end to Rhode Island lawsuit; money would come from insurance

By Brendan Sinclair

Latest comments (4)

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany9 years ago
Was going to get Kingdoms of Amalur next month, makes no difference to say this but I no longuer can play it withotu feeling unconfortable, not after reading this.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D9 years ago
My wife's old place, admittedly kids' tv rather than games, was a similar story - one of our friends there asked the company if his job was definitely safe as he was about to buy a house. Sure, they said, everything's fine. So he went ahead and bought.

The following week, the company issued cheques to employees, which bounced two days later, followed by the company going into administration the following week.

Bad management at best, corrupt and incompetent at worst.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 9 years ago
I'm sorry to hear that Fran, I hope your friend is ok. It's absolutely terrible that management can lie through their teeth like that and keep a straight face. I don't know how these people can live with themselves.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (4)
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 9 years ago
and that letter is in a nutshell why countries with a higher level of social security will attract more highly skilled people in the long run.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.