38 Studios auction postponed on ‘strong response’ from bidders
AN AUCTION OF 38 Studios intellectual property rights originally scheduled for this week has been postponed until Dec. 11, due to "strong response" for potential bidders and the recent discovery of additional 38 Studios assets. Above, a screenshot from "Rise of Nations," a real-time strategy game developed by 38 Studios affiliate Big Huge Games and among the assets heading to the auction block.
PROVIDENCE – Citing “strong response from worldwide gaming developers and investors,” Heritage Global Partners announced Wednesday that the auction of 38 Studios’ intellectual property assets originally scheduled for Nov. 13-14 has been postponed until Dec. 11.
Nick Jimenez, executive vice president of Heritage Global Partners asset-advisory and auction service, told Providence Business News roughly two dozen bidders have expressed serious interest in the assets, and the delay will give Heritage Global Partners time to answer each company’s specific questions about the assets and maximize the potential return to 38 Studios’ creditors.
The state of Rhode Island, the largest 38 Studios creditor, still holds an estimated liability of $89 million following the company’s bankruptcy.
“A good majority are legitimate companies, not just people window shopping,” said Jimenez. “Because these games and this opportunity have been on the shelf for over a year since the bankruptcy, we didn’t know what response we’d get, but interest has been pretty steady and constant, and we have a number of parties here in North America as well as overseas that have expressed interest.”
Heritage Global Partners, which is handling the auction on behalf of 38 Studios receiver Richard J. Land, has set the deadline for submitting initial bids at 5 p.m. on Dec. 4.
The 38 Studios assets going up for auction in December include intellectual property rights to the “Kingdoms of Amalur” fantasy universe, the game (codenamed “Project Copernicus”) under development when the company declared bankruptcy, and sequel rights to “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,” the sole 38 Studios game brought to market before the company failed in June 2012.
Also slated for auction will be technology developed in-house by 38 Studios and its affiliate Big Huge Games, including the “Big Huge Games Engine” and a social media and game-development platform codenamed “Helios.”
Nick Jimenez, executive vice president of Heritage Global Partners, said in a news release that the company had discovered information within the last week about a completed but unreleased game called “Rise of Nations: Tactics,” a new title in the popular “Rise of Nations” series of real-time strategy games developed by Big Huge Games in the mid-2000s.
Jimenez said Heritage Global Partners “only became aware of this game this past week through our own due-diligence efforts” and uncovered the information “through the examination of the data contained on the 38 Studios servers.”
“Pretty much [38 Studios] closed the doors and it was just left,” said Jimenez in a phone interview, explaining how the game had gone unnoticed in 38 Studio’s records until now. “The IT and related games have been maintained, but nobody has spent time doing anything other than keeping things maintained.”