A Personal Perspective on the 38 Studios Mess

Senior Contributor
06.14.12 2 Comments

38 Studios, as we’ve mentioned before, is melting down. Right now, the FBI is looking into its finances, Rhode Island is looking to liquidate it, and Curt Schilling is whining about how it’s not far that he’s less incredibly rich and being blamed for all the things that went wrong just because they’re his responsibility.

But amid all this, 400 employees got screwed out of their last paycheck and suddenly fired. Some of them, like Big Huge Games, were immediately rehired, or found jobs through the #38jobs Twitter tag.

Others were not so lucky.

Kotaku published a letter from the spouse of a 38 employee, which is a litany of woe: her husband working a week to try and just get his paycheck, employees being lied to about the continuation of their health insurance, employees getting smacked with massive bills for relocation expenses 38 Studios no longer felt the need to pay, and so on.

We’ve talked about abusive labor practices in the gaming industry in the past, but this is really beyond the pale. The letter ends with this:

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.

For the record, 38 has said it does not have the assets to pay back its unsecured creditors.

Among those unsecured creditors? Its employees.

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