The exodus at 38 Studios LLC has begun.
Two senior officials, including its chief executive, appear to have left as the video game company founded by former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling runs low on cash. The chief executive, Jen MacLean, had already been on maternity leave. But she and John Blakely, senior vice president for product development, recently changed their profiles on the business networking site LinkedIn to indicate they no longer work at 38 Studios.
MacLean, a former Comcast executive who joined 38 Studios in 2008, declined to comment. Blakely, who formerly worked for Zynga and Sony, joined 38 Studios earlier this year. He could not be reached. The moves were first reported by WPRI-TV in Providence.
The company has been struggling to pay its bills while developing an elaborate and expensive multiplayer online video game, nicknamed Copernicus. In the past week, it told Rhode Island authorities it did not have enough funds to pay its workers and has started laying off employees. The firm had more than 400 full-time employees and contractors in Rhode Island and Maryland in March, before the layoffs began.
The company, which received a $75 million loan guarantee from Rhode Island in 2010 to move from Maynard to Providence, was also two weeks late on a $1.1 million payment it owed the state this month. It is seeking millions of dollars in tax credits from Rhode Island to help it stay afloat.
Several other technology companies are trying to take advantage of 38 Studios’ woes by recruiting their employees through job fairs being held this week. Needham-based Turbine Inc. hosted one event in downtown Providence Tuesday night that drew about 300 people, including several wearing clothes with 38 Studios’ name or logo. Avalanche Studios, a Swedish gaming company with more than 40 open positions, plans a similar event in Providence on Thursday.
Neither 38 Studios nor its outside public relations firm have responded to requests for comment. Schilling, an avid video game fan who founded the company six years ago, has said little to the news media, but wrote on Facebook Tuesday that workers have “shown breathtaking resilience through these incredibly challenging times.”
Meanwhile, Schilling and other 38 Studios executives have been looking for other funds to keep the company going. The firm applied to Rhode Island for $8.4 million in film tax credits, which it could then sell to other companies. But so far the state has refused to release the money. Governor Lincoln Chafee indicated in a radio interview Tuesday that he first wants assurances that the money will enable the company to survive.
Todd Wallack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @twallack.