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Curt Schilling acts like we all just forgot about the time he blew $75M in public funds on an MMO that never came out

Curt Schilling
(Image credit: Jennifer Stewart (Getty Images))
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Former 38 Studios chief Curt Schilling, whose studio accepted $75 million in loans from the state of Rhode Island in 2010 and then laid off all its employees and declared bankruptcy two years later, has criticized the US student loan forgiveness (opens in new tab) plan, saying on Twitter that "unaccountable uneducated children [are] being covered by hard working debt paying Americans (opens in new tab)."

Schilling, who earned tens of millions of dollars as a young man thanks to his ability to throw a ball real good, was a fan of MMOs during his MLB playing days (particularly EverQuest—in fact, he reviewed a couple of EverQuest expansions for PC Gamer magazine, way back when).

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He thus decided to try his hand at making videogames when he was finished with baseball, and with virtually limitless fame and fortune at his fingertips, he launched Green Monster Games, later renamed to 38 Studios—the former a reference to the gigantic left field wall at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, and the latter his jersey number.

38 Studios was founded in Massachusetts in 2006, but relocated to Providence, Rhode Island, a few years later, lured by a $75 million loan guarantee offered by the state's Economic Development Corporation. It was a lot of money, but not nearly enough to cover the studio's profligate burn rate. After defaulting on a loan payment and failing to make payroll, the studio declared bankruptcy (opens in new tab) in May 2012 and laid off its entire staff, many of whom had relocated at significant expense to work at the studio, with a mass email. 

Litigation quickly followed: Rhode Island sued pretty much all involved and was eventually able to recover $61 million (opens in new tab), although legal fees ate up $11 million of that; Rhode Island taxpayers were left to chew on a $39 million bill, plus another $12.5 million to cover the final 38 Studios bond payment.

Rhode Island's EDC also faced trouble as a result of the collapse. It was charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (opens in new tab) with defrauding investors through the bond offering, because it failed to tell them that the amount being loaned to the studio would not be enough to actually complete the game project. Only $50 million of the $75 million bond would go to the studio, while the rest was kept to cover various related expenses. The state eventually agreed to pay $50,000 to settle the suit. It really was a wall-to-wall shit show.

I don't think the SEC charge makes Schilling look any better, but it's his go-to response to accusations of hypocrisy.

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The collapse of Schilling's 38 Studios not only left the state of Rhode Island stuck with a multi-million-dollar bill, it also threw the company's staff into chaos. Some who took advantage of the 38 Studios relocation program discovered that the company had not sold their old homes as expected, and that they were now on the hook for a second mortgage (opens in new tab). Schilling himself claimed that he was "tapped out (opens in new tab)" financially after investing $50 million of his own money into the studio, although he eventually agreed to pay back $2.5 million to settle his part of the Rhode Island lawsuit.

38 Studios sent out final paychecks to its employees in 2021, just shy of a decade after the studio went under, but the checks covered only a small percentage of what the employees were actually owed.

The 38 Studios debacle isn't Schilling's only failed post-MLB venture. In 2016, he was fired as an analyst on ESPN (opens in new tab) for transphobic comments he posted on Facebook, which followed a suspension (opens in new tab) for sharing a meme that compared Muslims to Nazis.

Anyway, Curt Schilling thinks that people who don't pay off their loans are lazy freeloaders. 

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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.