Silicon Knights Keeps Up the Fight Against Epic

Silicon Knights Keeps Up the Fight Against Epic

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The long-standing legal feud between Epic Games and Silicon Knights may finally be headed for a courtroom following a ruling that the case has sufficient merit to be taken before a jury.

Way, way back in July of 2007, Too Human developer Silicon Knights filed a lawsuit against Unreal Engine maker Epic Games. The suit alleged that Epic misrepresented the capabilities of the engine, failed to properly support it and effectively sabotaged Silicon Knights and other studios by sticking them with dated versions of the Unreal Engine 3 while holding back the latest and greatest technology for Gears of War. Because of that, Silicon Knights now wants a slice of the Gears pie, which is to say profits, as compensation.

We're still a long way from that point but a court has found some merit in Silicon Knight's claims. According to legal documents obtained by Kotaku, the court found "evidence regarding the basic nature of the parties' businesses and the relationship between them establishes that Epic had a possible motive to deceive SK into entering into the License Agreement in order to fund the development costs of its own games and delay the work of SK and other competing licensees on their video games. There is also Epic's admission in its counterclaim that it developed the [Unreal Engine 3] in conjunction with the development of its own game as part of its 'synergistic model' and not separately as it had led SK to believe."

The court also found that despite "alleged representations by Epic," it never had any employees dedicated to supporting Unreal Engine 3 licensees and instead split its programmers' duties between engine support and working on Gears of War. But internal Epic emails instructed employees that "Gears comes first" and that anything not focused on that game was of secondary importance.

Silicon Knights' case is bolstered somewhat by similar complaints from other companies. Shortly after the lawsuit was originally filed, Microsoft made similar claims that the development of Lost Odyssey was plagued by "poor support and communication issues," and the court also took note of a 2006 letter from Disney-owned Buena Vista Games, saying it "demonstrated that other [Unreal Engine] licensees expressed many of the very same frustrations that [Silicon Knights] did about representations made by Epic that were unfulfilled and perceived to be misleading."

The court dismissed some of Silicon Knights' claims but the studio nonetheless called the ruling a victory. "When Epic first went public about our case to the press, they said that our claims were without merit. Two separate federal court judges have now disagreed with Epic, and have ruled that the case does have merit," Silicon Knights President Denis Dyack said in a statement. "Silicon Knights has always wanted to have our focus be on making great games, not litigation. This ruling will allow us to have our day in court, before a jury, and to shine the light publicly on Epic's conduct. We are very confident the jury will see the truth behind Epic's actions."

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It does seem alot like Silicon Knights are just resorting to lawsuits to make up the losses of that horrible... thing we call Too Human.

I still think whoever let that death animation through the concept stage deserves hyperdeath.

Look Silicon Knights, just because you made a worthless-piece-of-shit-of-a-game doesn't mean you can sue the makers of your tools for your fuck up

By the internal emails, it would seem Epic was right. They focus on Gears of War, and putting everything else on hold.

Silicon Knights, dont blame the tools for the users failure.

Even if it was a crappy game, if Epic decided to not put ANYONE on dedicated SDK support, then they should have to face the music for that stupid decision.

Galaxy613:
Even if it was a crappy game, if Epic decided to not put ANYONE on dedicated SDK support, then they should have to face the music for that stupid decision.

Agreed. If Epic said their was a dedicated support stuff and they didn't have one I think SK is right to sue them for compensation. I'm not sure if they can reasonably expect more than the cost of licensing the engine however.

If they win, this money better go towards the development of Eternal Darkness 2 or I never want to see Silicon Knights' name in the headlines ever again.

Galaxy613:
Even if it was a crappy game, if Epic decided to not put ANYONE on dedicated SDK support, then they should have to face the music for that stupid decision.

I agree with this.

From what it looks like Epic is in the wrong. Now if you'll excuse me I'm gonna take a shower; agreeing SK is leaving me with a violated feeling.

I'm actually on Silicon Knights side.
If Epic did in fact promise the things that the court didn't throw out (the things mentioned in the article) and didn't deliver it really would have harmed the Too Human development a lot. That's not to say the game would have been amazing with the support promised, just that Epic should have been forthright with the fact that they were focused more on Gears than Unreal and not being forthright took time and money out of Too Human's development.

The point is not that their game was bad (although the fact that it didn't sell is probably what pushed them into lawsuit), just that Epic misrepresented Unreal, which isn't just a hiccup in development when the entire product is virtually the engine (with art assets and whatnot thrown into the mix).

Of course, the real question is how much they'd want to sue for. If it's 3 trillion-billion dollars or some other nonsensical number, than they're either taking advantage of the situation (a fair lawsuit) or they're just being whiny about a bad selling, badly reviewed game. xD

I have to agree with SK, If a product was misrepresented then they are due just compensation. However I do not believe they have the right to demand part of the profits from Gears of War. They have no right to that profit. Just because they were developing the game while they should have been supporting you doesn't mean they owe you part of the pie from that game.

Cause SK lets face it. Even if you did get the support you needed, You would still have put in that crappy combat control scheme and that was a designer mistake. Too Human would have never come close to making as much as Gears did.

IANAL, but my guess is that the theory behind asking for Gears of War profits would be that SK paid Epic for development & support of the Unreal engine, but then Epic instead used that money to fund development of features that they withheld from SK and used in Gears of War.

Oh no, we have slightly outdated tools! Thats why it was shit!

Ok, so maybe you have some genuine qualms with how Epic dealt with you, but many other developers have made vastly superior games out of much less than what Epic provided you with.

I think its only fair for Sk since they were given a dated engine whereas Epic gets to hide the more powerfull engine for their own use, that and i've always hated Gears since day 1.

Everyone saying "your game sucked anyway", well let's consider that they ditched Unreal about halfway through (this iteration's) development and rebuilt it in a rushed engine of their own. Of course there are going to be problems.

I actually enjoyed Too Human, but considering I actually keep an open mind and don't play the same games over and over I was able to adapt to a new system and find the potential in it. The way I see it, Too Human was no more or less flawed than, say, Assassin's Creed. The only difference is Assassin's Creed had a shit ton of positive hype, whereas Too Human had journalists bashing it from day one. Know all those improvements made to AC2? Imagine if they could have been made to a second Too Human.

Ah well. I don't think Denis Dyack is going to make any friends, and I guarantee you if they ever do make an Eternal Darkness 2, everyone's going to bitch that it "doesn't measure up". Because, y'know, the great thing about the first one being no one knew what to expect. Let's capture that lightning in a bottle a second time! Yeah!

LOL at all of the people whining at SK for doing this.

Do you have any idea what it's like to license an engine and then not get support from the company who created it for, oh I don't know, SHOW-STOPPING BUGS!?

Happened to me with my team when we licensed the Torque engine (which is now dead). We paid for the license and found bug after bug after bug and the Torque team did jack-fucking-shit to correct them.

Seriously, try licensing an engine for yourself before you spew bullshit like this. If Eternal Darkness is any indication, Too Human would've been a massively better game had Epic not fucked them over.

AncientYoungSon:
LOL at all of the people whining at SK for doing this.

Do you have any idea what it's like to license an engine and then not get support from the company who created it for, oh I don't know, SHOW-STOPPING BUGS!?

Happened to me with my team when we licensed the Torque engine (which is now dead). We paid for the license and found bug after bug after bug and the Torque team did jack-fucking-shit to correct them.

Seriously, try licensing an engine for yourself before you spew bullshit like this. If Eternal Darkness is any indication, Too Human would've been a massively better game had Epic not fucked them over.

Let's also not forget that a Unreal 3 license in 2006 cost $750,000 USD. One would expect at least rudimentary support, or atleast it to have all the features it advertised.

Considering SK aren't the only ones to make statements against Epic, I'm 100% on their side.

I may not know the whole story, but Silicon Knights lost my support three years ago. I'll give you three chances to guess why.

ChromeAlchemist:
If they win, this money better go towards the development of Eternal Darkness 2 or I never want to see Silicon Knights' name in the headlines ever again.

But if they get a good engine then surely they can make a good Too Hum-- Pfft. Who am I kidding. Bring on Eternal Darkness 2!

I loved Too Human, with its flaws.

I honestly hope SK wins this one. I quite enjoyed Too Human and sunk over 120 hours into it with the different classes and gearing them up. Aside from the fact that the game had some technologically apparent short comings, its easy to envision how great it could have been if they hadn't had any issues as they claim to have.

Plus with multiple studios claiming foul against Epic there has to be some merit to it. I might also be biased against Epic though, while they make good games, their AA hating UE3 has been cancerous to PC gaming for years now...

Regardless, go go SK. Please make Too Human 2!

WorldCritic:
I may not know the whole story, but Silicon Knights lost my support three years ago. I'll give you three chances to guess why.

My advice would be to play Eternal Darkness and MGS: Twin Snakes before you truly pass judgment. All you need is a Wii, a GC controller and probably $10 total for both games, sadly.

SK's game might have been crappy, but it looks as though they were cheaped here. They have every right to sue.

 

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