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38 Studios previews Copernicus

BLOOMBERG FILE PHOTO/TONY AVELAR
38 STUDIOS LLC, the cash-strapped video game design firm founded by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, has released a video trailer for its new game, code-named “Project Copernicus.”
Posted 5/21/12

PROVIDENCE – Still unable to pay its workers, 38 Studios LLC, the cash-strapped video game design firm founded by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, has released a video trailer for its new game, code-named “Project Copernicus.”

The gaming company, which was lured to Providence with a state $75 million loan guarantee, released the preview just a day after it managed to make an overdue $1.125 million payment to the state on Friday.

Executives from 38 Studios attempted to pay the state on Thursday, but, after finding out the check would bounce, the R.I. Economic Development Corporation refused payment.

The company managed a wire payment for $1,025,000 and a separate check for $100,000 on Friday, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee announced.

The $1.125 million guarantee fee, which is 1.5 percent of the outstanding loan amount, was due May 1.

Global sales of 38 Studios’ first game - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - have reached 1.15 million at $60 each since its release in February, according to market research company VGChartz.

The $75 million in funds from the state did not go toward the development of Amalur, but toward the larger MMO – massively multiplayer online game – Copernicus, which is slated to be released in June 2013.

Chafee vowed to prevent the company from receiving any additional state assistance and said he would do anything under the law to make sure 38 Studios does not get the up to $14.1 million in film tax credits it has applied for over the last two years.

38 Studios applied for state film tax credits in 2011 and 2012. The 2011 request, which would be worth $2.1 million, is still being reviewed by the state film office, which has not identified any eligibility problems, state officials said.

The 2012 application – for $12 million – was pushed to the back of the line due to the fee-payment default.

Chafee said 38 Studios has been trying to sell proceeds of the film tax credit to investors in anticipation of receiving it.

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