A fortune in gold bullion wasn't enough to save Curt Schilling's struggling company, but that's just the first level in an epic labyrinth of failure for the New England video game maker and its all-star founder.
The Boston Globe reports that in February, the former Major League Baseball pitcher, who was as famous for his conflicts with the media and other players as he was for his prowess on the mound, posted 3,200 gold coins -- worth $5 million -- as collateral for a loan from Bank Rhode Island to save his struggling video game company.
According to the Providence Journal, Schilling sunk $50 million of his personal fortune into the company, which was named 38 Studios after his jersey number. Those funds compliment a generous $75 million in taxpayer-backed bonds promised to the company by Rhode Island's former governor, Republican Donald Carcieri, in 2011.
"If 38 Studios fails, Rhode Island taxpayers will be liable to repay more than $100 million," the Providence Journal reported. It appears that residents might soon bear that burden.
On May 24, 38 Studios laid off all of its 400 employees and cancelled their health insurance, according to CNN Money. The Boston Globe reports that the employees have filed a complaint with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, seeking remuneration for unpaid wages. Workers told the Globe that 38 Studios stopped issuing paychecks after April 30.
38 Studios, originally launched as Green Monster Games, released its first title, an action-roleplaying game called "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning" in February. Despite receiving generally positive reviews, including a perfect 5 out of 5 stars from Joystiq, the game's sales of 330,000 physical copies in the U.S. was not enough to float the company.
In March, CNN Money reported that Rhode Island's unemployment rate of 11 percent was among the worst in the nation, with only Nevada posting worse numbers. That rate is particularly troubling in a state with an estimated population of just slightly more than 1 million.
In an interview with the Providence Journal, Schilling leveled criticism at the state of Rhode Island and its governor, Lincoln Chafee, for "breaking promises to help the company remain viable." Schilling said that he would be "financially devastated" if the company fails.
Chafee, an independent, has been critical of the bond deal since his candidacy to replace Carcieri, according to the Boston Globe.