38 Studios owed EA $29 million with only 30% royalty cut
38 Studios didn't make a dime off of its first title, Kingdoms of Amalur, according to details revealed in a Rhode Island investigation into the bankrupt developer.
38 Studios was shuttered in May after moving to the state on the promise of a $75 million state guaranteed loan.
The company filed for bankruptcy on June 7th.
Kingdoms of Amalur has sold 1.3 million copies, a figure 38 Studios' COO and president Thomas Wester admitted fell short of his company's expectations, but exceeded a far more conservative estimate provided by EA, who published the game.
WPRI reports it is unlikely the will ever see profit from the game, as it owed EA a $28.7 million dollar advance.
"I don't believe the company would see any more cash" from future sales of "Reckoning," said Wester.
"If it gets up around 2 million, then I think you're at a point where potentially will start to see some cash come in."
The deal with the publisher gave 38 Studios a thirty percent royalty cut, with the remaining seventy percent going to EA.
The game racked up $30 million in development costs.
Wester said it was clear as early as 2010 that the company was going to need between thiry and fifty million dollars in additional funding, but that efforts to secure investors were unsuccessful.
Echoing comments by studio founder and baseball hero Curt Schilling, Wester blamed Governor Lincoln Chafee's negative outlook on the studio's prospects for undermining a deal that could have potentially saved the company.
"The Asian investors and potential strategic partners, when insolvency was even hinted at, became very reluctant to continue discussions," he said.
"That became a serious weight around our neck."
Other prospects included tax credits denied by the state, the refusal of which caused a local investor to pull out of a $15 million dollar deal.
The studio also had a letter of intent in May from FireForgeto get $3.75 million by selling its Helios platform, but was unable to get state approval for the deal.
The reason behind 38 Studios' hemmoraging of assets was its upcoming MMO, "Project Coopernicus", which the Wester said was slated to bring $100 million a year after launch in June of 2013.
"Instead of a positive domino effect we had a negative domino effect, and things just didn't happen," he explained.
"Nothing happened that we had anticipated would happen from a fundraising perspective, which put us in a position of needing to file for bankruptcy."
Wester said that Project Coopernicus was at sixty percent completion when the studio closed in May.
Big Huge games, aquired by 38 Studios and also closed, was almost finished developing a mobile version of its hit RTS Rise of Nations.