Curt Schilling & 38 Studios

I have no real insight into the root causes of the collapse of 38 Studios, the company founded by baseball great Curt Schilling.  I haven’t followed the rise and fall of the company.  I didn’t buy Kingdoms of Amalur.

Clearly, the stories circulating on the web imply that Schilling was a poor businessman, got himself over his head and made a bad deal with Rhode Island.  A lot of voices imply that he brought this on himself.

And yet I am a little sad.

Curt Schilling is a gamer.  He is “one of us” so to speak.  It just happens that, along with his RPG habit, he also developed the ability to throw a baseball at 90+ mph.

Schilling was on the Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox in his career.  Since I am a Yankee fan, this career path would normally qualify as grounds for him to be shot on sight.  And yet I cannot hate him.

He is the crossover between jocks and nerds.  I like to think that he would have been the guy at the athlete’s lunch table in high school who would stop to talk about Magic: the Gathering with the “uncool” gaming crowd.  I imagine him interposing himself between some hulking football player and a freshman carrying Pokemon cards, preventing the inevitable wedgie that was to come.

I can only wonder about the ribbing he took from other ballplayers when he “came out” with his gaming obsession.  Here’s a guy who was earning over ten million dollars a year to play ball.  Many of his peers were using their MLB paychecks to buy houses and cars and boats.  What did Schilling do?  He started a gaming company.  Wouldn’t we all love to do that?

He may have brought this on himself, but I still feel bad.  He’s a guy that has lived out some of our greatest boyhood fantasies – fame, athletic greatness, wealth, and owning a video game company.  It would have been nice to see a happier ending, on behalf of all of us who can’t pitch but wish we could.


6 Responses to “Curt Schilling & 38 Studios”

  1. May 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    The problem with KoA, I think, is that they tried to develop it to be an MMO. When that didn’t pan out, for whatever reason, they changed it to a single-player title. You can see the MMO roadmap laid out all over it. It really does play almost exactly like a single-player WoW, with a much more action-oriented combat system.

    It’s not a bad game. And it’s not unfun. But they pumped way too much (time and) money into it trying to make it a workable MMO. Much more than it would have taken to make it if they had just set out to make a single-player game from the start. Bad business decision? Maybe. Who knows. Maybe just too ambitious.

    I am kinda sad that the studio is closing. KoA isn’t a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve put a solid 80+ hours into it, and I wouldn’t have done that if I wasn’t having fun. It had a lot of potential. And for the first game from a new studio, it’s actually really impressive. I can’t help but feel that if they had the chance to make one more game together, it could be great.

    • May 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      It strikes me as the blockbuster movie that has such a high budget with special effects and star actors that its almost impossible for it to be profitable (see John Carter).

      When 38 Studios first announced KoA it was all… Tood Macfarlane! R. A. Salvatore! Years of backstory and world development! Gasp! Its easy to understand how their vision became too grand. You don’t bring in that kind of star power and not shoot for the moon.

  2. 3 theerivs
    May 30, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Thats probably the coolest prespective of the issue. He was one of us, and it is a shame really. I think it’s like a tale of Icarus, he flew to close to the sun.

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