In about a month and a half, Silicon Knights will finally face Epic Games in court over allegations that Epic offered no support for their Unreal Engine, forcing Silicon Knights to start from scratch with a new engine for the Xbox 360 flop Too Human. Denis Dyack, Silicon Knights’ president and founder, is looking forward to when the two companies will meet in front of a judge on May 14, since he believes that he’ll finally lay bare all of the problems his company experienced in trying to work with Epic.
“Bottom-line, and this is pretty public, we went through hell last generation [Xbox 360 and PS3] by trying to adopt the Unreal Engine. It hurt us so dramatically that it affected us a lot, all the way through. You know, we’re hoping to fix that this gen. We’ve suffered a lot, that’s all I can say,” he told GamesIndustry.
As to whether or not Too Human’s bad reputation is deserved, Dyack pins the blame solely on Epic’s lack of support, explaining that having to rewrite the game’s engine is the reason for the game’s poor reception and sales:
“You know, in some ways Too Human got a bad rap, and there are all kinds of details. A lot of what happened with Too Human is going to come out in the court case […]So as an example, this is not known at all—I’ll give you something no one’s ever heard before—but four-player co-op was done in 2008. Details of that and all that stuff will come out [in the court case].”
According to the post, Dyack alleges that Epic was focusing their attention and resources on making developing the Gears of War franchise, leaving Silicon Knights out in the cold when they sought support for their efforts to use the Unreal Engine for Too Human.
Personally, I’m willing to believe that Epic may indeed have dropped the ball in terms of supporting the engine—but at the same time, to blame lack of support as the reason for a game not selling…well, that may be something of a stretch. I don’t know—I never got the chance to play Too Human. I did play X-Men: Destiny, which was developed by Silicon Knights. And that was pretty much hot garbage. I haven’t heard them finding excuses for why that game turned out so bad…but hey, maybe we’ll find out that one’s somehow Epic’s fault too!
All kidding aside, I’m eager to see what kinds of arguments they’ve got. Check back in May for more details from the court case as they begin to come out.