A couple months ago, Big Huge Games was all snug in its grave, just about ready to roll over and go to dead. THQ cut a large portion of the Rise of Nations/Legends developer’s staff, declaring that it had a 50-50 chance of survival. Meanwhile, Big Huge Games reportedly axed its in-development titles, presumably severing the only ties that bound the developer to this world. At the last second, though, baseball star Curt Schilling has leapt in to save the day.
Or at least, his company has, anyway.
38 Studios, named after the incredibly humble Curt Schilling’s jersey number, recently acquired Big Huge Games’ big huge mess of stuff: technology, properties, works-in-progress – everything.
Apparently, Big Huge will be put to work on 38’s “Copernicus” property, a fantasy confab with input from the likes of Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and fantasy author R.A. Salvatore. As such, Copernicus is intended to be a sort of multimedia blitzkrieg, culminating in an Unreal Engine 3-based MMO.
However, Big Huge will serve its new master by developing a Copernicus RPG for current-gen consoles and the PC.
“The acquisition enables us to develop and deliver top-quality games in multiple genres that are based in a shared world, ultimately maximizing the value of our Copernicus MMOG and the intellectual property as a whole,” explained 38 Studios CEO Brett Close.
Now let’s just hope the Copernicus property isn’t retroactively upstaged in the creativity department by Big Huge Games’ own Rise of Legends. After all, the fantasy genre isn’t looking quite as spry as it once did, and Rise of Legends’ steampunk-meets-magic approach actually gave it a nice kick in the pants for once. Forcing those fine folks to work in a generic fantasy setting would be such a waste.
If you thought Empire: Total War and Dawn of War II were forcing the sun to beam a little too brightly over the RTS landscape, here’s some cold reality to yank your bloom setting back down to normal levels. Speaking with Crispy Gamer, THQ VP Julie MacMedan said that, if her beleaguered benefactor can’t offload Rise of Nations/Legends developer Big Huge Games within “the near future,” the studio won’t be giving anyone a rise ever again.
“In addition,” read the statement, “THQ informed the staff at its Big Huge Games studio in Timonium, MD, that it plans to close the studio if a sale is not completed in the near future. These actions were unfortunate but were necessitated by the difficult economic environment.”
THQ recently laid-off 600 employees, and was given a 50-50 chance of survival by Dr. Analyst. Really, it’s every man for himself at this point.