The Supreme Court of Rhode Island in the United States has upheld a ruling by region's Superior Court to keep documents from a Grand Jury investigation into 38 Studios' bankruptcy sealed.
In a verdict on the court's website, associate justice Francis Flaherty wrote that it was going to keep these documents under seal after governor Gina Raimondo made a bit to have them released. The studio was established in 2006 by former Boston Red Sox baseball player Curt Schilling. Initially, the outfit was set up in Maynard, Massachusetts, but moved to Rhode Island in 2010 after securing a $75m bond guarantee loan from the state's Economic Development Corporation.
Due to poor sales of its only title – Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (pictured) – the studio ended up going bankrupt in 2012 and couldn't repay its bond resulting in the state footing an $88m bill.
A state grand jury investigation into the company's financial failure took place looking into "the possibility of potential criminality" with the deal in 2012, concluding in 2015 that this was not the case. The state recovered $61m from the remains of 38 Studios.
Governor Raimondo argued that the details of the grand jury investigation – usually held under seal – could be released under "exceptional circumstances" in February 2017, but this was denied by the Superior Court of Rhode Island.
"For many people in this state, particularly those who are currently holding public office, the 38 Studios situation and the company’s bankruptcy, occurring as it did just as the entire country was clawing its way out of the Great Recession, still stings," the court report's conclusion read.
"We certainly understand those feelings. However, after careful consideration of the issues ably briefed and argued by the parties, the judgment of the Superior Court is affirmed. The papers, in this case, shall be returned to the Superior Court."
European publishing giant THQ Nordic bought the Kingdoms of Amalur IP from 38 Studios in September 2018 for an undisclosed sum, as well as the rights to the unfinished MMO Project Copernicus. Electronic Arts still has the publishing rights to Kingdoms of Amalur, so THQ Nordic will need to get permission from EA – or buy the rights – in order to actually do anything with it.