This is the second send-off, the second farewell to what developer 38 Studios has left behind. The first one was last week, and emptied Big Huge Games' Maryland studio of computers, furniture, and consoles. The third and final auction means selling off the company's intellectual property, giving this particular set of lots of sad and slightly anxious weight.
These auctions are the final chapter in the saga of 38 Studios, the Rhode Island-based developer headed by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling that collapsed into bankruptcy in June this year. At the time of their closing, they had released Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning and were working on a massively multiplayer online game codenamed Copernicus.
Today's auction was held in the former Rhode Island studio as well as live online at BidSpotter. Potential bidders could sift through photos of thousands of items up for sale, from office equipment to decorative knickknacks, as well as bid through the site.
The bins of pens and staplers are unremarkable. There are numerous tubs crammed with a hodgepodge of office supplies, line-ups of fans and lamps, a parade of normalcy. This was an office, and this was an office where people worked hard.
Refrigerators, microwaves, projectors: typical office fare. But then the action figures crop up. The trade show banners, the framed and signed prints from other developers. Props like metallic helmets and gavel-like hammers become more commonplace than paperclips and wastebaskets.
Like falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, venturing further into the remains of 38 Studios paints a picture of a world very few non-game developers will ever see in person.
Action figures, both related and not to the studios' Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning, are everywhere, from a plastic Buzz Lightyear to World War II figures to tiny models of owner Curt Schilling himself, dressed in his finest from his baseball days.
A sea of audio and video equipment is broken up by the presence of a ping-pong table, Dance Dance Revolution mats, and Rock Band controllers. A massage table over here, a treadmill over there. Weights and plastic mats suggest the company's dedication to healthy and happy employees, offering a rounded set of options for exercise and play in addition to work.
This was a group that played as hard as they worked, filling their office with the toys of their trade. These items hint at awareness of the stress and strain of the industry, acknowledgement of the need to step back and breathe.
You can almost feel the determination resonating from these images, these quirky lots of abandoned items up for sale.
Computers are everywhere, cables and cords floating in tangled pools around them. There are scores of them. On these machines the company made Amalur, and they were making the massively multiplayer online game Copernicus when everything stopped. These are the objects on which people spent their days, their weeks, their waking lives creating games.
All of these things, artwork of grotesque creatures and fantastical figures, were created by someone who was seemingly invested in the goals of 38 Studios. Every Reckoning prop and action figure began with a sketch or a thought.
Among the stacks of trash cans, rows of microwaves and barrels of pens stands an announcement poster for the never-released, computer game Copernicus. It reads: "Can you save the world?"
It sold for $75.