Big Huge Games, a studio in Timonium that designed rich, immersive video games, has closed its office and only a skeleton crew of employees remained as its parent company in Rhode Island appears to have gone out of business, according to online reports.
The Timonium office, which is on the fifth floor of an office building on Greenspring Drive, was dark and locked. An employee ferrying boxes on a cart in the lobby of the fifth floor told me I needed to call the Rhode Island office for comment.
"I think you'll have to talk with someone up there for any type of verification," this employee told me, as he escorted me away from the office. (Yeah, he kicked me out without comment.)
A security guard in the building told me that Big Huge Games employees were laid off yesterday and the office was closed, but for a handful of employees. He said he saw employees walking out of the building with boxes.
Big Huge Games was a part of 38 Studios, a Providence, Rhode Island-based company that also shut down yesterday, according to various reports.
The Associated Press in Rhode Island obtained a copy of a letter sent to employees on Thursday that told them the layoffs were "non-voluntary and non-disciplinary."
38 Studios was founded by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, an avid gamer. In 2010, he moved the company from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, which backed a $75 million loan that the company took out.
The AP reported the company was more than two weeks late this month on a $1.1 million payment to the state's Economic Development Corporation. The company couldn't make payroll, the AP wrote. (The Boston Globe has more details.)
WPRI, a TV station in Providence, has a good outline of 38 Studios' money history. This is a big story in Rhode Island -- unfortunately, the folks here at BHG appear to be collateral damage.
It's unclear how many BHG employees were given pink slips in Maryland.
BHG's website lists short biographical information on 107 employees, though it's unclear how many might be contractors or if the site was up-to-date.
BHG's apparent closure is a blow to the Baltimore area's well-known video game industry. The company was one of the anchors in Baltimore County's video game sector, which includes others such as Firaxis, Zynga East and BreakAway.
What will happen to BHG employees? Are these other companies hosting any kind of job fair? Are there enough openings in the local gaming community to employee the people who so quickly so lost their jobs?
If you have anymore insight, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lots of people tweeted about BHG closing yesterday. Lots of support for the employees.