Schilling rallies 38's team on Facebook

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Curt Schilling won't talk to reporters about 38 Studios' situation, but he's once again sharing his thoughts on Facebook.

"The 38 team has shown breathtaking resilience through these incredibly challenging times," Schilling wrote in a new post on his Facebook wall just after 3 p.m. Tuesday.

"Helping each other with their daily lives, coming together like only a family would truly do," he continued. "Their efforts to assist each other have been something beyond explanation and defying anything that could be called a 'job.'"

"They are strong and resolute, and determined to stand together as hard and as long as they can," Schilling concluded. "For this I thank them all, I am so proud of this team." At least seven 38 Studios employees clicked "like" on the message by their founder and chairman within 45 minutes.

Nesi's Notes: Full coverage of 38 Studios PDF: EDC fact sheet on 38 Studios Timeline: How the 38 Studios deal unfolded

Schilling's comments come the same afternoon Turbine Inc., a Boston-based game developer, is set to hold a recruitment event in Providence. 38 Studios was unable to pay its employees last week and Governor Chafee said Monday the company has been forced to lay off some workers.

A new Facebook group called "We Support 38 Studios" was created on Sunday, and had 257 "likes" as of Tuesday afternoon. A number of people left messages on the group's page saying they were concerned family members of 38 Studios employees.

Schilling moved 38 Studios to Providence from Massachusetts last year in return for a $75 million taxpayer-guaranteed loan from the R.I. Economic Development Corporation. The company is now fighting to survive after spending its entire $49.8 million share of the loan proceeds, according to state officials.

Schilling briefed members of the EDC board last Wednesday and again on Monday night, but the board took no action and refused to say what assistance the company is seeking. Schilling left without taking questions from reporters on Monday night.

Spokeswomen for Chafee and the EDC both said Tuesday there have been no developments regarding 38 Studios. "Project Copernicus," the game 38 Studios is developing with the taxpayer-guaranteed loan money, is not slated for release until June 2013. The firm is spending more than $4 million a month, Chafee said.

Another game developer, Avalanche Studios of Sweden, said Tuesday it will hold its own recruitment event in Providence later this week at the Westin Hotel. Neither Turbine nor Avalanche mentioned 38 Studios' turmoil directly in their announcements.

38 Studios employed 379 full-time workers as of March 15, with 288 of them in Providence and the rest at its other studio in Maryland, according to a disclosure notice sent to bondholders. The company also reported 34 full-time contractors and eight interns. The company listed 18 job openings on its website as of Tuesday.

Employees outside 38 Studios' headquarters on Empire Street have declined to comment on the events.

Separately, Electronic Arts division BioWare disclosed Tuesday that it is laying off employees at its Austin office who are working on "Star Wars: The Old Republic," which is a massively multiplayer online game like 38 Studios' forthcoming "Copernicus."

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi's Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

Copyright 2014 WPRI 12. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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Gov. Lincoln Chafee, the first independent in his position, has his work cut out for him: fix the state's finances and help 66,000 unemployed Rhode Islanders get back to work.
 
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