Too Human Developer Given $4 Million Grant

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Too Human Developer Given $4 Million Grant

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Silicon Knights, Canadian developer of Too Human, was given a $4 million federal grant to help make a AAA game.

While we keep hearing about governments giving tax credits to game development companies, the Canadian government has taken a different tack by offering cash to help create game design jobs and foster a vibrant game community north of the border. Silicon Knights is located in St. Catharine's, Ontario, which is just across the border from Buffalo, NY and Niagara Falls. Silicon Knights released Too Human on the Xbox 360 in 2008, as well as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes for the Nintendo Gamecube. The company currently employs 100 people, but, with this grant, they plan to add over 65 more jobs. Company president Denis Dyack said that he couldn't divulge what game Silicon Knights is currently working on, and that the grant will do much to secure the area as a high-tech hub.

"This is going to benefit Silicon Knights in ways that are profound and long-lasting," Dyack said. "We are blown away and we're happy with the support we're getting. It is something that couldn't have come at a better time." He went on:

"In our industry, you have to be very careful never to announce anything until the right time. We can only say it's a next generation title and a high production value game," Dyack said. "That's all we can say."

The local federal representative for the area, called an MP or Member of Parliament in Canada, Rick Dykstra acknowledged that it might seem strange for taxpayer money to benefit a private company, but that it is legal if there are no competing local companies. Silicon Knights is the only AAA game developer in the region of Niagara, and the entire province of Ontario for that matter.

"Their growth and their success is very important to our community," Dykstra said. "Not only in terms of job creation but also in terms of attracting and retaining the types of highly skilled workers Niagara needs to prosper. This isn't going to have a negative impact on any other companies in Ontario. What it's going to do is build this company up to the point where it's going to create 65 jobs and longer-term jobs down the road."

The grant is part of several federal investments in the high-tech field in the area, with funding going to Brock University and Niagara College as well as a recent $3 million grant to nGen, the Niagara Interactive Media Generator.

As Walter Sendzik from the St. Catharines-Thorold Chamber of Commerce put it, "We are going to be known as the gaming capital of Canada."

Source: Welland Tribune

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There going to need a hell of a lot more then 4 million to make a AAA game if its part 2 of Too human...

where's my facepalm ASCII cause this is nuts

Hmmm seems like a big investment. Hopefully well get a decent game or two out of this.

Huzzah! Eternal Darkness 2!
Confirmed, you heard it here first.

Hopefully an Eternal Darkness remake or sequel? You know, so I can actually play it.

I assume they will be pooling this money into development of a longer, more elaborate death scene.

AngryMongoose:
Huzzah! Eternal Darkness 2!
Confirmed, you heard it here first.

lol, Too Human 2: Still fuxing with ur camera stick.

On the same topic however, I liked MGS: The Twin Snakes, sure it was a remake, but it was one of the better remakes of all time.

I mean, you actually could tell if snake had eyes or not!

I already posted about this in another thread, but I want to get this off my chest here.

Firstly, there are shit loads of game developers in Ontario.

http://mikecorey.gamegoose.ca/canadianProvinceOntarioCompanies.php

Which makes all this...

, but that it is legal if there are no competing local companies. Silicon Knights is the only AAA game developer in the region of Niagara, and the entire province of Ontario for that matter.

"Their growth and their success is very important to our community," Dykstra said. "Not only in terms of job creation but also in terms of attracting and retaining the types of highly skilled workers Niagara needs to prosper. This isn't going to have a negative impact on any other companies in Ontario."

Crap.

Secondly, this is pure bullcrap. They are giving money to a badly managed game company (Too Human, like or not, was a commercial disaster), who have been backed by both Microsoft and Nintendo (and they still are part owned by Nintendo) ostensibly to help them be a success. They have been there already and they blew it. Why will this time be any different? Also, how many of those 65 new jobs are going to be given to the 30 people they fired last year?

Thirdly, Silicon Knights have never been able to develop a game on time and on budget for their entire history. Even their better games over-ran both. It would be in the best interests of gaming to let them go belly-up and the more talented developers move on to other companies.

Fourthly, they are embroiled in a messy legal action with Epic, who are in a much more comfortable position. If the courts find in favour of Epic, are the Canadian Taxpayers going to be bailing out Silicon Knights for infringement of copyright of the Unreal engine?

Too Human 2 could be good. Don't discount it yet...

I mean, Red Steel was shit. Red Steel 2 is...great.

I really hope it's the promised sequel to Too Human - that game got a lot of undeserved hate. The story was poor and not very well explained - but the combat was fast, exciting and addictive - add in a competent loot system with large amounts of custermization and co-op play and you have a game with a lot of replayability. The graphics weren't the best, but the large, epic environments and terrific soundtrack made up for that - the fact the art design was excellent doesn't hurt either.

Hype really hurt this game, but I have to wonder how many of those haters have actually given the game a fair chance...

Well that's alot of cash. Let's hope there own Capital will be Enoch to make that title.

They have the potntial, I'll give them that, but I'd they can actually pull it off...something else

Better not be 2 Human or the tax payer is seriously getting scamed.

Greg Tito:
Too Human Developer Given $4 Million Grant

As Walter Sendzik from the St. Catharines-Thorold Chamber of Commerce put it, "We are going to be known as the gaming capital of Canada."

Source: Welland Tribune

Permalink

The gaming capital of Canada? As someone living in the province of Quebec, with Ubisoft Montreal, namely (Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell) I have to say:
Oh, Really?

Brad Shepard:
There going to need a hell of a lot more then 4 million to make a AAA game if its part 2 of Too human...

Given that the average AAA game costs more than twelve or fifteen times that much, yeah, I'd certainly say so.

Why didn't they give it to Bioware or something?

AngryMongoose:
Huzzah! Eternal Darkness 2!
Confirmed, you heard it here first.

This. If they want money, freaking make Eternal Darkness 2. And make it a 360/PS3 game. Simple as that.

Hah! Proof subsidies doesn't work. The next time a politician talks about how you need to "invest in America/Canada/Europe" or "support our companies" or shit like that, remember this incident. And keep in mind that politicians are no better at picking the bests car/bank/manufacturing-company than they are at picking the best gaming company.

/politics

Greg Tito:
Too Human Developer Given $4 Million Grant

Bad headline. Yes, Too Human was awful, but this is also the same developer that brought us Eternal Darkness and the original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. Silicon Knights has the writing staff to deliver an incredible narrative, so hopefully those extra 65 jobs will be in the game mechanic design department. I applaud this and hope that something wonderful can come from it.

Just to add some context, the federal government providing arts funding to canadian companies and artists is pretty common. The Government has a mandate to support the creation of artistic and cultural works produced by canadians - our media and culture is so innundated by art and media from the states that this sort of thing is essentially neccessary to keep our own cultural works from drowning under all the american media being imported. It's very hard to make a go of things as a canadian artist, because it's virtually impossible to export to the states, and you're competing against everything that's being imported.

So insofar as the government provinding a sizable grant to a game development studio is concerned, I see little issue (in fact, I'd go so far as to call it progressive, considering that an arts grant signifies recognintion of games as an artistic medium.)

whether or not I think Sk was really the company to give it to though is another question entirely, but arts grant allocation is rarely handled by the government in a partcularly well considered fashion. They frequently provide grants to already self-sustaining artists, rather than to emerging artists to give them a leg up.

As far as C_T's question about bailing them out - no, they're a private company, it's their responsibility to keep themselves afloat and deal with legal issues. The money given is strictly to support the creation of work, and the size and scope of such grants is typically pretty limited.

-m

At first I thought it was ridiculous, but after reading it it makes a little more sense... the government probably don't care if the game is good or not, its just an insentive to develop the industry within the area :P

SavingPrincess:

Greg Tito:
Too Human Developer Given $4 Million Grant

Bad headline. Yes, Too Human was awful, but this is also the same developer that brought us Eternal Darkness and the original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. Silicon Knights has the writing staff to deliver an incredible narrative, so hopefully those extra 65 jobs will be in the game mechanic design department. I applaud this and hope that something wonderful can come from it.

Seconded,

I'd just like to take the time to throw Vancouver out there as the gaming capital of Canada as well. Relic rules and Hothead Games is out there too. Canada actually has a huge Gaming Industry and if you don't believe me, check out the Canada-centric issue of the Escapist (I can't remember the issue #, does anyone know which one it was? Just a little over a year ago?) (EDIT - It's Issue #208, read it now!)

I'm actually hoping it's a Too Human sequel... because I actually enjoyed the original the more I played through it

cuddly_tomato:

Secondly, this is pure bullcrap. They are giving money to a badly managed game company (Too Human, like or not, was a commercial disaster), who have been backed by both Microsoft and Nintendo (and they still are part owned by Nintendo) ostensibly to help them be a success. They have been there already and they blew it. Why will this time be any different? Also, how many of those 65 new jobs are going to be given to the 30 people they fired last year?

I'm sure a lot of the canadian gaming companies recieve government tax credits for setting up in Canada. The fact that this place made the news is the only remarkable thing about it.

I didn't think in terms of videogames there could be a crime against humanity. Good job proving me wrong.

May I ask why?
Surely there are much more commercially successful companies that release games on time, on budget and games are much more successful?

Whoever invested in this company, lets get this clear. The two biggest markets are China or America, games usually have to appeal to one or the other and none of the games from Silicon Knights were commercially successful to either of the main markets.
Maybe their games are successful to a smaller market but that is not what you should be aiming for, you should either be aiming for a mass market or a niche and selling at a higher price. However the video game industry does not work like that, all games have to compete against each other and stick at a similar price

So this means that Silicon Knights are not a commercially successful company and along with this, they are still in a legal battle with Epic and if they lose, all the investment will be worthless.

I think the people investing are making a stupid, insane investment and I don't think they know what sort of market they are getting themselves into

However this is just my own thinking as a business student who has worked in video game retail for 2 years

Proof that politicians don't play videogames. Ubisoft Montreal should have gotten that money. And yeah I did give Too Human a decent chance. Even tried another character, just to make sure I didn't pick the one who specialized in shitty little guns and being a rocket magnet. And I was kinda feeling the neo-Norse pantheon. But the cutscenes were embarrassing, I muted it whenever someone else was in earshot. And the combat was really only fun in a button-mashy way, there was no strategy that would work consistently.

To be honest I'm less than enthusiastic about this news on a lot of levels. I'm all for more game developers, both in and outside of the US, however I do not like the idea of a goverment, ANY goverment, directly bankrolling "private" game development because what this does is opens the door for goverments to have a direct say in how games are made and what content is within them. While a godsend to "small" developers I suppose, I'd rather have no developers at all than one with this kind of direct funding. While nothing bad has happened yet, I do see potential for this to go very, very wrong down the road. I also think that as things are now games are too political, and this is just going to make it worse.

To put things into perspective, this does add some weight to the whole "games as art" thing (which I have mixed opinions of) as many goverments support artists through grants and the like as well, BUT I've increasingly had mixed opinions about such sponsorship in the US, never mind in other countries with less freedoms and safeguards (despite what they might think). Basically you either open the door for some guy to squander millions in goverment money, living large, while they eventually drop a cruicifix into a bucket of urine and call it "performance art", or the goverment has to enforce standards as to what is "art" and "Acceptable art" (which is very common outside of the US) which means that they have their fingers directly in what is created and effectively get to guide what messages people see.

Basically, I'd like to see goverments (any goverments) stay as far outside the game industry as possible.

I'm all for Canadian game development, but I think it should be done by private Canadian companies when they are eventually able (if they are) rather than ones funded by goverment grants. While many Canadians might disagree (though I personally think they shouldn't) I think it's better to have no notable Canadian game industry, than one with goverment sponsorship. I really don't like politicians being the ones able to decide what is going to be developed, and what isn't, and being able to play kingmaker so to speak... while it's not really there yet, I think this is the first step of seeing that happen.

I want Canada to have a game industry (despite being in the US), but a healthy one, born of freedom with independantly financed products.

Just my opinion.

Therumancer:

I want Canada to have a game industry (despite being in the US), but a healthy one, born of freedom with independantly financed products.

They already do, which is why this is a bullshit porkbarrel maneuver.

And in answer to the chamber of commerce member's statement, No, you are most certainly not. Try actually playing the games you're subsidizing to see why. Although if they only have 90's era hardware and can only play Legacy of Kain, maybe that's why they're subsidizing them.

It had better fucking be Eternal Darkness 2.

Soon in the mail I'm going to get Too Human and I'm going to see how well the game is?

if the game is good I think it should a sequel same goes for Eternal darkness as well.

Hopefully they won't spend 10 years and $8 trillion on this game.

Xzi:

AngryMongoose:
Huzzah! Eternal Darkness 2!
Confirmed, you heard it here first.

This. If they want money, freaking make Eternal Darkness 2. And make it a 360/PS3 game. Simple as that.

The sanity system is copyrighted by nintendo.

FUUUUUUUUUU---

*shakes his head* I liked Legacy of Kain too Canada, but you have to move on!

So wait... $4,000,000 65 jobs, so that's about $61,000 per job. And add to that the fact that Silicon Knights can't make a good game, and you have a big bucket of fail.

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