No Federal Charges for 38 Studios

38 Studios may have gone bankrupt and the futures of Kingdom of Amalur and its associated MMO are currently in limbo, but as Huffington Post and the Associated Press reported, at least they have one less thing to worry about now: no federal charges.

38 Studios unveils new website to showcase Amalur

Fans of Amalur and 38 Studios might remember my interview Kingdoms of Amalur's Art Director, Tim Coman, when he remarked that the team had 10,000 years of history to jump around when choosing time periods for their games. Of course, 10,000 years is a little difficult to understand, so 38 Studios has just released a new website to encase their overarching Amalur brand, at

On, players will be able to see some of the various ages and the historical events that inform those ages. Of particular interest is the fact that it seems like they've only revealed 5,000 years of their 10,000 years of preset history. I'm assuming that's what that little padlock under the timeline denotes. Either way, the site provides a fantastic look into the world of Amalur itself and all of the events that helped shape it.

On that note, I wonder if we'll get a sci-fi-ish Amalur at some point on the far end of the timeline. Maybe steampowered guns. Now I need to sit down, that sounds really cool.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Q&A Panel

Curt Schilling, Todd McFarlane, R. A. Salvatore, Ken Rolston

With a dream team consisting of three-time World Series champion Curt Schilling, Spawn creator and artistic visionary Todd McFarlane, best-selling author R. A. Salvatore, and the talented and experienced game designer Ken Rolston, it's hard to imagine a game that wouldn't be epic. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an upcoming single-player action RPG coming from 38 Studios and is the first game set in the Amalur universe. More content will be coming from the new property, including an MMO codenamed Copernicus.

Schilling is a man who is not used to losing. The team is all in to create a setting that will be strong, consistent and fun as hell. Schilling says, "We're going out with a new IP. No one's ever heard of us before, but everyone knows these guys. So we've got a preexisting audience that will check into Reckoning at some point. That's all I can ask. I want you to look at the game. If you don't stick around and play, that's on us. That's a gamble and that's a risk I'm willing to take."

I recently visited Big Huge Games' Maryland studio and attended a panel with this impressive team. Read on to see how Schilling took his idea and reached out to some of the leading visionaries in their fields to bring Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning to life. Also, be sure to check out our first look at the game's demo.

1st Look at the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Demo

Last month, members of the ZAM team were given an opportunity to visit Big Huge Games' Maryland studio to get a first look at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. There are a few reasons why this single-player action RPG is glowing brightly on our radar. First and foremost, it's being made by a dream team: Curt Schilling, a three-time World Series champion and the founder and owner of 38 Studios; Todd McFarlane, a comic book artist who happens to be the creator of Spawn and owner of a successful toy company; R.A. Salvatore, a best-selling author who is best known for his Forgotten Realms novels; and Ken Rolston, a renowned designer who played a big part in The Elder Scrolls series of games.

And if that's not enough reason to keep an eye on the game, it's also our first glimpse into the original fantasy universe that will act as the setting for an upcoming MMO, as well comic books, novels, toys and additional games.

During our time at Big Huge Games, we listened to the team talk about the massive project and toured the studio to get a behind-the-scenes look at the game. We kicked things off by watching a live demo of the RPG, so keep reading after the jump for our first look at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

38 Studios: An Update on Copernicus and Mercury

Just a few days before the Game Developers Conference was set to officially open, 38 Studios shook the industry with the announcement that their MMO wouldn’t be the first product that they’d release that’s based in their original world. Instead, their first in-world title will be a single player RPG from the recently acquired Big Huge Games studio, and we sat down with Curt Schilling, R.A. Salvatore and Steve Danuser to talk about the upcoming game and find out what’s next for their in-development MMO.

While we prefer to put these articles into a more standardized, non-transcribed format, the conversation we had with the three 38 Studios leaders was so dynamic that we opted to leave it in its original format for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

EA Will Publish 38 Studios' "Project Mercury" RPG

This week at the GDC in San Francisco, Electronic Arts announced its partnership deal with 38 Studios to publish "Project Mercury," a single-player RPG. In a press release from EA, the publisher said Project Mercury "marks the first entry into the company's vast universe created by New York Times best-selling fantasy author R. A. Salvatore, with artistic direction by Todd McFarlane, renowned artist and creator of Spawn." The single-player RPG intends to set the stage, helping to introduce players to the world of the "Copernicus" IP (the code name for 38 Studios' upcoming MMO).

38 Studios founder and chairman Curt Schilling is a former Major League Baseball player, avid WoW fan and frequent guest host on the WoW podcast The Instance. "From day one, 38 Studios has been focused on creating the next generation of entertainment experiences that embrace all mediums, including film, television, comics, novels, toys and, of course, games," Schilling said in the press release. "We are creating an enormous world, with heroes and villains and a rich back story from the brilliant minds of R. A., Todd and Ken at its heart, and I can think of no finer partner than the global powerhouse that is EA Partners. Being able to leverage the expertise of EA's publishing organization to bring our first product to market is a dream come true for 38 Studios."

According to the press release, Project Mercury will be released for the PlayStation3, Xbox 360 and PC platforms. For more news and information about 38 Studios' upcoming MMO, visit our Copernicus portal site.


Jennifer MacLean Steps Up As New 38 Studios CEO

In a press release issued earlier today, 38 Studios announced the departure of Brett Close as president and CEO. Former senior vice president of business development Jennifer MacLean has stepped up to the plate, taking Close's position as new president and CEO of the company. The press release states that she "has more than fifteen years of experience in online content and interactive entertainment at companies such as Comcast, AOL, and MicroProse."

38 Studios is the brainchild of former MLB player Curt Schilling, an avid MMO and WoW fan and regular guest host on The Instance, a WoW podcast. The company has been quietly developing its own MMO (code-named "Copernicus") throughout the past few years, based on a new and original IP. "Curt Schilling, founder and chairman of 38 Studios, has noted that Close’s leadership prepared the company for its next phase of development, which MacLean will now drive forward," the official release adds.

After the story broke, 38 Studios spokesperson Andrea Schneider sent out an updated statement, clarifying the circumstances of Close's departure. "I just wanted to clarify that Brett Close resigned from 38 Studios to pursue other opportunities outside the company," she wrote. "38 Studios wished Brett the very best in his future endeavors."

Schilling Still Needs Investors to Back 38 Studios

UPDATE: We have received a response from 38 Studios clarifying that the fourth quarter of 2010 has never been an official release date for Copernicus. In fact, 2010 is the year in which fans will begin to hear details about the intellectual property. You can read 38 Studios' full response after the jump.

According to a recent Boston Globe article, retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is still looking for investors to back 38 Studios and its upcoming MMO, which is code-named Copernicus. Even though a tentative December 2010 release date has been targeted, the company estimates that $50 million to more than $100 million must be raised to complete the game.

No investors have joined with 38 Studios yet, and the company's funding is supplied mainly from Schilling himself. He told the Globe he has invested "far north" of $5 million with some help from video game entrepreneur Doug Macrae, who started General Computer in 1981.

Despite the lack of backers, 38 Studios acquired Big Huge Games in May, doubling its number of employees to 140. According to the Globe article, "game industry executives who have run similar size companies estimate 38 Studios' annual operating expenses at $15 million to $20 million."

Close Gives Details on Big Huge Games Acquisition

Gamasutra has spoken with 38 Studios president Brett Close following the company's acquisition of Big Huge Games, and he provided them with more details regarding the move. According to close, BHG "will continue on development of some of their other products," but the "core focus" of 38 Studios remains its in-development Copernicus IP.

Close also had this to say about Copernicus: ""But part of our product vision and our business vision... was extending that across a variety of products and a variety of touchpoints that customers can access the world through."

38 Studios has acquired BHG's Mercury Engine, a console engine and toolset that will be used to "support the world of Copernicus." Also, Close confirmed that that staff of BHG has been retained and there will be no additional layoffs.

38 Studios Acquires Big Huge Games

38 Studios announced today it has acquired Big Huge Games from publisher THQ Inc. According to a press release, "The acquisition is a critical step in 38 Studios’ strategy to deliver a broad range of entertainment products centered on its original fantasy IP, codenamed Copernicus."

We spoke with Brett Close, the president and CEO of 38 Studios, at CES 2009 in January to discuss Copernicus, which has names such as Curt Schilling, Todd McFarlane and R.A. Salvatore tied to the project. At the time, Close said, "There's not much to say for '09; we just want to continue making the solid process that we're making."

Here's what Close had to say in the press release regarding the acquisition of Big Huge Games: "BHG’s cross-platform RTS/RPG engine will accelerate the realization of our Online Entertainment Experience for the Copernicus IP. The acquisition enables us to develop and deliver top-quality games in multiple genres that are based in a shared world, ultimately maximizing the value of our Copernicus MMOG and the intellectual property as a whole."

You can find the full announcement after the jump.