THQ Nordic, the Austria-based publisher involved with popular titles such as the Darksiders III and the upcoming Shenmue III, recently announced that it has revived the forgotten assets of 38 Studios by acquiring rights for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning as well as some others. There is no other information regarding what the company plans to do with the IP beyond the initial announcement.
— THQNordic (@THQNordic) September 6, 2018
The story of 38 Studios is a tragic one involving federal investigations, fraud accusations, and bankruptcy. Formerly known as Green Monster Games, 38 Studios initially enjoyed moderate success when it released its first and only title, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. The action RPG title went on to garner generally positive reviews with its customizable classes, diverse regions and environments, and deep lore. It wasn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it was a solid effort and enjoyed a level of popularity that was impressive for a studio’s first title. Amazingly, the game sold over 1.5 million copies in a mere 90 days, proving a hit with the fans.
Unfortunately, that was as far as 38 Studios got. Plans for an MMORPG tentatively titled Project Copernicus was scrapped when the company became embroiled in a controversy involving a failed loan by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, and a subsequent investigation by both the FBI and the SEC. The studio consequently filed for bankruptcy and shut its doors, leaving behind a pre-developed sequel to Kingdoms as well as an unfinished MMO.
Rescuing these dead assets from a nonexistent company proved to be a popular move with gamers. Despite the failures of its parent company, Kingdoms deserved a better send-off, as there exists still a fanbase that holds fond memories of the project. In an era where huge publishers are vying for multi-million dollar assets, cashing in on the nostalgic factor that appeals to the current generation of gamers, and absorbing popular developer studios, perhaps it is a worthwhile endeavor to take notice of dormant franchises.
Whether this acquisition will result in a reboot or sequel to Kingdoms of Amalur remains to be seen. Also, with a little bit of luck, the corpse of Project Copernicus just might finally see the light of release as well.