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Epic Games Wins Lawsuit With Silicon Knights [UPDATED]

Gears of War developer reportedly wins on all counts. Also, lunch costs?!

UPDATE: In addition to simply "winning" the lawsuit, Epic Games has been awarded damages totaling $4.45 million.

One has to wonder where that $4.45 million will actually come from, and if Silicon Knights ever envisioned a scenario where they would suddenly owe money.

"We are delighted with the jury's verdict," said Epic Games general counsel Jay Andrews in a statement.

I'm also able to share some BREAKING NEWS, courtesy of $2.30 that I just spent searching for court documents related to the case. Because the court charges you regardless of whether you find anything interesting, I'm sharing them with you now.

On May 29 and May 30, the court spent $251.24 in lunches for jurors--$99.23 on May 29 and $152.01 on May 30.

Scandalous.

--

Too Human, intended as a trilogy of games, never made it past the first game.

Silicon Knights filed a lawsuit against Epic Games in 2007 over a dispute with Unreal Engine 3 and the development of Too Human, and according to Epic Games CEO Mark Rein, Epic Games won.

"Case over,” said Rein on Twitter. “Jury finds for Epic on all counts.”

The Too Human developer was arguing breach of contract, which reportedly impacted the game’s development and Silicon Knights’ ability to properly deliver the game.

"Rather than provide support to Silicon Knights and Epic’s other many licensees of the Engine,” read the original lawsuit filing, “Epic intentionally and wrongfully has used the fees from those licenses to launch its own game to widespread commercial success while simultaneously sabotaging efforts by Silicon Knights and others to develop their own video games."

In essence, Silicon Knights was upset Epic Games was spending its time perfecting its own games (and thus, its own engine) rather than spending all its time helping out those who licensed its engine.

The problems prompted Silicon Knights to begin developing its own multi-platform engine.

“Epic’s actions and the consequent increasing delay and cost of development of Silicon Knights’ own game," argued the studio, "caused by the unworkable Engine forced Silicon Knights in May of 2006 to embark on the time and resource intensive task of writing its own game engine, the very task it had hoped to avoid be entering the Agreement with Epic."

The latest game released by Silicon Knights was the poorly received X-Men: Destiny.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
174 Comments
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Posted by StriderNo9

Those guys can not get a break. SMH. Oh well, they brought this on themselves.

Posted by Hailinel

@PandaBear said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

@PandaBear said:

People are so quick to take the underdog's side (SK) ... maybe Too Human was always going to be a bad game regardless of it's engine? Their track record is spotty at best over the last decade - Twin Snakes is overrated (worst cutscenes in a MGS game, the game itself is good but it's hardly because they designed it, is it?), X-Men Destiny was a bomb and Too Human had FUNDAMENTAL gameplay flaws and shitty confused art style, regardless of technical issues. The only game people love of there's is Eternal Darkness... that was a decade ago.

Sour grapes from a middle of the road developer. Dyack is silent because an impartial jury said he was wrong. Now make a game worth a damn or give up.

Also the court docs being locked behind a pay wall is pretty standard stuff. Try looking up stuff from the patent office. It's admin costs, nothing too sinister.

Over the last decade, you chose to pick out a game that was given rather favorable scores (85% on Metacritic) and only criticize it on something that it actually had no involvement in, the cutscenes. Yeah, Too Human was flawed, and X-men Destiny was pretty much dead on arrival, but those aren't the sole contributions over the last decade. It did make one of the most memorable games of the Gamecube, Eternal Darkness (another game, by the way, which wide acclaim.) It made the excellent Legacy of Kain series, and contributed to a lot of different projects with other devs, including doing a lot of work on Darksiders. It's a shame that Too Human took up so much time and drained so much money from the company, because they could have probably done a lot more, and a lot better in this gen.

The best you could say about Twin Snakes is they remade a classic game. I mean it's not meant to be a dis, but it's not like they can take much credit for putting MGS2 controls in a better version of an already great game. Eternal Darkness is a GameCube launch title, it's well loved, but it's old now... people can't keep going back to that one game. Besides it had both Miyamoto and Iwata involved in it's creation. Legacy of Kain is awesome, it's also old and they made one game in the series. Crystal Dynamics did more for those games than Silicon Knights did. Once again that sounds harsh but if you look at the 2000s they have had one well recieved remake that many fans (that I know of) think is worse than the original (Twin Snakes), one modern classic (Eternal Darkness) and two duds (Too Human and X-Men Destiny). One good game, one great, two duds in 12ish years... Dyack gets a lot of press for being loud but SK doesn't get much for actually making good games.

As for their Darksiders work, who knows what they did? Game isn't theres and for all we know they did technical stuff... I'd wager the overall design of the game had little to do with them and they were more like a contractor. I just think it sucks he gets so much press for being middle of the road... After this set back it could be the end of them.

A lot of fans, myself included, think the cutscenes were just way out of place. Metal Gear is always bizarre, but those cutscenes made everyone look like they were in a kung fu movie from the 70s ... it was so disconnected from the game and the world around it. MGS cutscenes have their problems, but that game made it an absolute farce... that and the fact that MGS2 controls in that game made it a piece of piss.

As someone that played Twin Snakes before the original version, I don't see how the original is better.

Posted by fustacluck

@fox01313 said:

@fustacluck: Need more coffee, somehow got the games done by Silicon Knights mixed with Crystal Dynamics. Agreed with you on Crystal Dynamics getting a good team together for today's games though wondering about how well the new Tomb Raider game will go once it's out.

Thought Crystal Dynamics published it and therefore had the rights. If not, my bad.

Posted by MindChamber

@shodan2020: cheap fucks!

Posted by bornagain888

Patrick Klepek, that lunch ticket proves you leave no stone un-turned as a Joumalist, our Country needed you during Iran-Contra! { only you were like ten years old}.

Posted by ArcLyte

man those guys at SK can't catch a break.

Posted by YummyTreeSap

@Hailinel said:

As someone that played Twin Snakes before the original version, I don't see how the original is better.

The aforementioned silly, out of place cutscenes surely didn't help, and while they weren't bad, I couldn't help but dislike the new voice actors to some degree. The latter was likely more a nostalgia thing though. But far worse than that was that first-person shooting in a game not designed with it in mind ruined the game. From what I recall of the Vulcan Raven fight, you could just go outside his cone of vision, jump into first-person mode, and pop shots into his head from afar. This isn't how the fight was designed to be fought and this kind of thing, I thought, made Twin Snakes awfully broken.

Posted by the_r0n1n_named_47

@YummyTreeSap said:

@Hailinel said:

As someone that played Twin Snakes before the original version, I don't see how the original is better.

The aforementioned silly, out of place cutscenes surely didn't help, and while they weren't bad, I couldn't help but dislike the new voice actors to some degree. The latter was likely more a nostalgia thing though. But far worse than that was that first-person shooting in a game not designed with it in mind ruined the game. From what I recall of the Vulcan Raven fight, you could just go outside his cone of vision, jump into first-person mode, and pop shots into his head from afar. This isn't how the fight was designed to be fought and this kind of thing, I thought, made Twin Snakes awfully broken.

i agree even though i love twin snakes. it felt so .....easy (?) even on the hardest setting

Posted by pakattak

@YummyTreeSap: Yep. The layout of the maps and the boss fights were never designed with the MGS2 mechanics in mind, and it was horribly easy as a result.

Also, there were very few new voice actors in Twin Snakes. Everyone for the most part reprised their roles besides the actors who voiced multiple characters (for instance, the DARPA Chief and Grey Fox) in which case they only voiced one of their characters and another actor was brought in for the other. What probably confused you were Jennifer Hale and Kim Mai Guest losing their accents, which, at least for Mei Ling, made sense. (Mei Ling says she was born in the States, yet had a Chinese accent. Whut?)

Posted by MeatSim

What I want to know is what kind of food was the Jury getting for lunches.

Online
Edited by warrenEBB

@PandaBear: TooHuman was NOT a bad game. I fundamentally enjoyed Too Human. Soo. I really don't know what you're saying about FUNDAMENTAL gameplay flaws. you seem to be saying parts of the gameplay were so bad (unfinished? ill advised? i'm not sure what you mean by flawed). If you were to say Tetris had fundamental gameplay flaws, i'd have to reply "what? i love that game."

Not sure if you mean the much hated Valkyrie death scene animation (which has been explained. an experiment in costing you time instead of making you replay the level). this ill advised gameplay choice is not a problem once you learn how to play (and thus: stop dying all the time).

or maybe you meant the auto camera was flawed. but. I only remember one camera fuck up which interferred with my gameplay. so that's hardly a FUNDAMENTAL flaw. eh.

maybe you mean it was too hard. or didn't explain itself well enough to be easy (same thing?). but. This doesn't ruin the game.

I had more problems with glitches within Eternal Darkness. beasts stuck behind invisible walls, so i couldn't kill them, so I couldn't leave room. confused level design that left me running around corridors repeatedly. but these flaws don't matter, because the rest of the game was so good. TooHuman was almost exactly the same package.

Edited by warrenEBB

OT:

@PandaBear said:

Also the court docs being locked behind a pay wall is pretty standard stuff. Try looking up stuff from the patent office. It's admin costs, nothing too sinister.

Uh, when I look up patents, i go to www.google.com/patents . (which offers free access to 7 million patents : free). Is this not as good as going through the patent office, somehow? (or is this a sign that google was willing to pay access fees for every patent?)

... Well, my point is more that it's a shame Dyack said we'd all be amazed at what comes out during the court case. but nobody seems to have bothered to report on whatever came out during the trial. Patrick seemed to be trying to do exactly that. but gave up?

the most detail I've read about the case was back in 2007, via gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=14759 . HRUMF.

Posted by Roger778

I didn't know Too Human was going to be the first part of a trilogy. I understand it's an old game, but I love buying old games. Now, I know I can't play it because the next two won't come out.

Also, it seems weird that this company was suing Epic games just because of the Unreal 3 technology. I hope I understood that correctly.

Posted by cheywoodward2

Really, a $10 tip for a $142 meal? The jury clerk for this case seems like kind of a giant asshole.

Posted by Jimbo

The court dude should just be able to flash a badge and demand that lunch be freely provided. Court business, MFer.

Posted by plato84

Shame, I was hoping for Too Human 2.

Posted by Still_I_Cry

I would be pissed if I was the clerk.

Posted by Sdoots

So SK is probably going to go way of 38 Studios, huh?

Posted by Grixxel
@PandaBear: You do know that those cut-scenes you're bitching about so much were approved by Kojima, right? Nice going.
Posted by KirkDouglas

I'm pretty sure I drive past Silicon Knights' office every day on the way to work still. I can also tell you that it is also frequented at that time by a bevy of crackheads.

Here's the street view of the building: http://goo.gl/maps/nxaS

Posted by YukoAsho

WTF did they feed them on the 29th? $99 seems kinda cheap for 12 people.... Seriously, y'all gotta give people better than McDonald's....

Posted by PandaBear

@Grixxel said:

@PandaBear: You do know that those cut-scenes you're bitching about so much were approved by Kojima, right? Nice going.

Oh no, were they?! ... Um so? George Lucas created one of the best movies of all time and managed to fuck it up sometime later. Hate to break it to you, Kojima isn't god and he can make mistakes.

Original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R9vTeYeytI

vs

Twin Snakes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL3Ge4MOIUM

Nintendo ensured all the big nasty words like HELL were cut out. It's stupid watching Snake do a flip off a missile when he can't do it when you're in control. It's a huge leap of logic. And the way Snake talks to Liquid and says to him "See you in hell", he's saying it as if he knows what he is. Snake is self-aware through out the series and taking out small lines like this and adding in "radical kung-fun moves" makes the character less believable.

...but you're right, and I sure hope I haven't offended Kojima!!! /sarcasm

Posted by Cubical
Posted by Klei

I wonder how Silicon Knights will recover from this. To think they're the one who invented my beloved Legacy of Kain : Blood Omen. When your studio gets cuts in half and that you can't afford any more current gent games, could you remake Legacy of Kain please? For XBLA and PSN?