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'38 Studios spouse' says company knew about cancelled insurance

The human side of 38 Studios' story


Wife of former 38 Studios employee says the company knew insurance was running out.

38 Studios did not pay health insurance for several months and was aware of its cancellation without informing employees, an unnamed wife of a former company employee wrote in a letter published on Gamasutra today.

The 38 Studios employee learned of insurance termination on May 22, when the pregnant wife of another employee was informed by her doctor that it would run out at midnight on May 24. "When confronted, 38 Studios admitted they had been aware since the 21st of May that due to lack of payment for several months," writes the "38 Studios spouse." "Again, they knew the problem existed and chose to not tell us or give us any notice."

The anonymous spouse also says that employee contracts included a statement that if the studio failed to pay relocation costs, responsibility would fall on the employee. Her family was stuck with the bill for a cross-country move that was presented to them on June 1, 10 days before the payment was due.

"We were told by [the moving company] representative that they had a special working relationship with Curt Schilling, therefore they were trying to work with him," she writes, insinuating financial trouble as far as six months back when her husband began his employment at the studio. "Must be nice to have at least 30 days, let alone six months to pay for this bill."

A starkly different look at the company was published last night on the personal blog of former Creative Director Steve Danuser, who called the environment at 38 Studios supportive. "I’ve forged some very deep, personal bonds with the people I’ve worked with," Danuser says. "I've seen my child come into this world. I nearly lost her and my wife in a fatal car crash. I've held my mother in my arms as she lay dying. And through all those things, I've been helped and comforted by Curt Schilling and my teammates at 38."

What Danuser saw as supportive, the spouse who wrote to Gamasutra called a disharmonious work environment. Her husband "was concerned about the different teams and their ability to work together," and states that the company was "not ready for him to do the job he was hired to do, therefore he was placed on other projects to wait it out."

This story offers very real, very heartbreaking human faces to the collapse of 38 Studios. Some employees have found a happy ending under the wings of "Epic Baltimore", where the former leadership of Big Huge Games has settled into creating a new Epic IP.

We have contacted sources close to 38 Studios for comment. Polygon's complete coverage of 38 Studios can be found here.

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