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Shady government dealings alleged to have led to 38 Studios deal

A new editorial from a local Rhode Island newspaper cites emerging reports that point to a back-room deal, not up-front negotiating, allowing the game dev to move into the state.

A new editorial alleges that the agreement which brought 38 Studios to Rhode Island -- in which the state guaranteed $75 million in loans for the MMO studio -- was cooked up in a back-room deal before it was exposed to any form of scrutiny.

Citing a WPRI TV report, this editorial from local Rhode Island news site Warwick Beacon states that "disgraced former House Speaker Gordon Fox secretly met with Schilling and a 38 Studios board member long before first thought – and without the knowledge of then-Gov. Donald Carcieri. ... [Fox] is also said to have ordered what was then known as the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation to complete the 38 Studios deal, long before related legislation had been approved."

In 2010, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's MMO developer, 38 Studios, announced plans to move to Rhode Island thanks to a massive deal in which the state guaranteed loans for the studio to complete its MMO Copernicus. When a new administration called the deal into question, the studio lost its ability to secure new funding, game development ceased, the studio shut down. Ultimately, taxpayers were left on the hook for millions.

The closure of the studio has resulted in two court settlements with the state so far -- to the tune of $16.9 million dollars, just a fraction of the total sum.

Of course, the allegedly shady business dealings are just one side of the story; in 2012, Gamasutra spoke to a number of 38 Studios developers who were caught out by the collapse of the studio. You can read their personal stories here.

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