BY KATE BRAMSON
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An auction to sell off the video-game and intellectual property rights from the now-defunct 38 Studios and its former Maryland subsidiary Big Huge Games has been moved to Dec. 11 from its original Nov. 13-14 sale dates.
Heritage Global Partners, the auction firm hired to sell off the company’s holdings, has announced the delay is due to “a very strong response from interested potential buyers – including leading domestic and international game development interests.”
The auction includes intellectual property rights to the “Amalur” fantasy universe that former Red Sox star Curt Schilling’s company created and the never completed massively multiplayer online role-playing game, codenamed “Project Copernicus.” 38 Studios had been working to develop that online game with the $75-million loan guarantee the company received from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. However, work on that project ended when 38 Studios filed for bankruptcy in June 2012, a move that put Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook to repay as much as $102 million for bonds that were issued by the EDC to raise cash for 38 Studios.
Other assets to be sold in this auction include the sequel rights to “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,” the video game that 38 Studios released just months before the company collapsed; merchandising rights associated with that game; intellectual property rights to games created by Big Huge Games, including “Rise of Nations” and “Rise of Legends”; and in-house video-game technology created by both 38 Studios and its subsidiary.
The deadline for submitting initial bids under court-approved bid procedures is 5 p.m. on Dec. 4. Potential bidders must deliver fully completed and signed copies of the “participation requirements” to Richard J. Land, the lawyer appointed last year by a Rhode Island Superior Court judge to sell off the company’s holdings, email@example.com and to Nick Jimenez, of Heritage Global Partners, firstname.lastname@example.org.
While Land manages the property sales, a separate legal case the EDC brought against Schilling, other former executives of 38 Studios and some of the EDC’s own officials continues. In that case, the EDC alleges fraud, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things, and claims the 14 defendants hid the fact that Schilling’s company would run out of money before it could pay back approximately $50 million given to it as part of the $75-million EDC bond sale. Depositions have begun in that case.