Smedley points the finger of blame surrounding 38 Studios' collapse towards "that idiot Governor Chafee" of Rhode Island, and even remarks the loan should never of happened.
The writing was all over the wall that this project was risky as no venture capitalist had backed it despite Curt Shilling looking for funds. An online game is especially hit or miss.
"I had the good fortune of seeing the game. It looked great. If that idiot Governor Chafee hadn’t trash talked right at the time Curt was trying to get funding you would be playing the game now,” said SOE boss John Smedley.
“Curt is an honest guy with good intentions. Although public money should never have guaranteed a winner or loser. Curt’s only crime was believing in his own ability to will things to be better. He busted ass trying to get funding."
“Funny thing is even though he came to us many times for money and we didn’t do a deal, I really wanted to play that game."
“Dear people of Rhode Island. Look to your elected government for failing to protect you. That 38 studios deal just never should have been. Public funds shouldn’t be backing risky things like online games. If the fact that no other VCs were investing wasn’t enough of a clue then you damn well shouldn’t be surprised by failure," he added.
The Rhode Island governor publicly trashed 38 Studios which likely kept investors away, ultimately costing the state as the project would never be finished and given a chance to succeed, and so no funds paid back. "The idea of suing someone when Chaffe’s own comments were what poisoned the well at the end is beyond the pale,” continued Smedley.
“All he had to do was give Curt another week and we wouldn’t be here today.” Sony didn't snap up the Copernicus project and finish it themselves because, as Smedley says, with 38 Studios' talent there's no point.
“At various times we looked at it. Always impressed. But the economics were too tough to make work for us. This is a business where risks are large. We had enough balls in the air. More risk was too much for us," he explained.
“I also felt that too much was spent, but the quality was undeniable. It was gorgeous. It had smart people working on it. It was just too expensive is all.”
Rhode Island signed a $75 million loan to 38 Studios to bring them to the state, and while Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning sold well, it wasn't enough. In May of 2012, the studio financially collapsed taking Big Huge Games with it.