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Silicon Knights Ordered to Destroy All Unsold Materials Using Unreal Engine 3

All unsold copies of Too Human and X-Men: Destiny to be destroyed, so better get 'em while they're hot! Or, you know...not...

Silicon Knights head Denis Dyack, presumably thinking about his ever-lengthening enemies list.

Silicon Knights has not been having a good run of late. First, there was the unceremonious dumping of X-Men: Destiny at retail by publisher Activision, who it turns out had a number of good reasons to pretend that game never happened. Then the Canadian developer lost its lawsuit against engine-maker Epic Games, which it had sued over supposed breaches of contract in licensing the company's Unreal Engine 3. Not only did they lose that suit, but they also lost the countersuit filed by Epic, which awarded them $4.45 million in damages, as well as Epic's legal costs. Now, if you can believe it, things just got even lousier.

Silicon Knights has been ordered by a North Carolina district judge to destroy all unsold materials featuring any aspect of Unreal Engine 3. This includes unsold copies of both X-Men: Destiny and Too Human, the Xbox 360 RPG that started this lawsuit mess to begin with. This also includes unfinished projects supposedly in development at one time or another at Silicon Knights, which are listed in the order as The Box/Ritualyst (a survival horror game canceled by Sega back in 2008), Siren in the Maelstrom (a game rumored to be in current development at the studio), and The Sandman (unknown as of press time).

This has to be a particularly bitter pill to swallow for company head Denis Dyack, who famously filed the suit due to issues he believed were inherent to the Unreal Engine. Dyack fumed about how the studio had to rework much of the Unreal Engine to make it work for Too Human, essentially building a new engine around various aspects of Unreal 3. Now, because the engine features holdover elements from Unreal 3, he's being ordered to recall unsold products, cancel (or, at least, put on hold) current projects, and pay even more money in legal costs and fines. There is not a Price Is Right losing horn loud enough to handle this situation.

On the plus side, that copy of X-Men: Destiny you regretted buying just became something of a collector's item. Maybe. Okay, probably not. I'm trying to find a silver lining here.

Alex Navarro on Google+
204 Comments
Posted by Alex
Silicon Knights head Denis Dyack, presumably thinking about his ever-lengthening enemies list.

Silicon Knights has not been having a good run of late. First, there was the unceremonious dumping of X-Men: Destiny at retail by publisher Activision, who it turns out had a number of good reasons to pretend that game never happened. Then the Canadian developer lost its lawsuit against engine-maker Epic Games, which it had sued over supposed breaches of contract in licensing the company's Unreal Engine 3. Not only did they lose that suit, but they also lost the countersuit filed by Epic, which awarded them $4.45 million in damages, as well as Epic's legal costs. Now, if you can believe it, things just got even lousier.

Silicon Knights has been ordered by a North Carolina district judge to destroy all unsold materials featuring any aspect of Unreal Engine 3. This includes unsold copies of both X-Men: Destiny and Too Human, the Xbox 360 RPG that started this lawsuit mess to begin with. This also includes unfinished projects supposedly in development at one time or another at Silicon Knights, which are listed in the order as The Box/Ritualyst (a survival horror game canceled by Sega back in 2008), Siren in the Maelstrom (a game rumored to be in current development at the studio), and The Sandman (unknown as of press time).

This has to be a particularly bitter pill to swallow for company head Denis Dyack, who famously filed the suit due to issues he believed were inherent to the Unreal Engine. Dyack fumed about how the studio had to rework much of the Unreal Engine to make it work for Too Human, essentially building a new engine around various aspects of Unreal 3. Now, because the engine features holdover elements from Unreal 3, he's being ordered to recall unsold products, cancel (or, at least, put on hold) current projects, and pay even more money in legal costs and fines. There is not a Price Is Right losing horn loud enough to handle this situation.

On the plus side, that copy of X-Men: Destiny you regretted buying just became something of a collector's item. Maybe. Okay, probably not. I'm trying to find a silver lining here.

Staff
Edited by CaLe

Oh no. It's a bad news.

Online
Edited by AndrewB

Yeah, and I really wanted a copy of Too Human not too long ago. Now I go to make a quick run on it since it will no longer exist, and it's already gone most places. It's on Games on Demand, but $30... also would be nice to own a physical copy just to be able to say I do years from now.

Posted by MrMazz
Posted by Maitimo

I imagine Dyack is going to love the unflattering comparisons of Too Human to ET that this invites.

Posted by ThunderSlash

But what about that trilogy they promised us?!

Posted by Pixeldemon

I don't understand how this could go so bad for them... honestly seems like a prejudiced judge.

Posted by simkas

@Pixeldemon said:

I don't understand how this could go so bad for them... honestly seems like a prejudiced judge.

They did take UE3, modify it and went off to call it their own engine, so they had to have seen it coming to them

Posted by Brian333

Does this mean that they will be taking Too Human off of Games on Demand soon? I have been waiting to get it when it dropped below the ridiculous price it's sitting at now. I know people hate it but I am interested in playing the game that sunk Silicon Knights. You should put in a request for clarification with Silicon Knights or Microsoft Alex.

Posted by zombie2011

Too Human should get a sequel! That game had a ton of little design flaws that could easily be fixed in a second game.

Posted by Cold_Wolven

Man nothing has gone right for this once talented studio this current gen of consoles. There's only 5 of them at Silicon Knights now including Dennis Dyack and now this happens above everything else it's just a shame. Also apart from all those ET copies that got buried out in the desert I haven't seen a case where the developer has to actually destroy their game copies.

Posted by Foggen

This is the only thing that could make me feel like I'm missing out by not owning Too Human.

Posted by iAmJohn

Time to buy all the unsold copies of X-Men Destiny and make my millions!

Posted by Pixeldemon

@simkas said:

@Pixeldemon said:

I don't understand how this could go so bad for them... honestly seems like a prejudiced judge.

They did take UE3, modify it and went off to call it their own engine, so they had to have seen it coming to them

Oh, so they stole the Unreal engine? LOL, didn't realize that. I thought they just believed that Epic didn't live up to their end of the bargain for supporting the engine.

Posted by WilliamHenry

@zombie2011 said:

Too Human should get a sequel! That game had a ton of little design flaws that could easily be fixed in a second game.

Who is going to fund that? Why would they fund that?

Posted by believer258

To buy or not to buy Too Human?

...nah.

Posted by cmblasko

After reading that Kotaku story on Silicon Knights, I can't feel much remorse for Dyack. I do feel for Dyack's subordinates at SK, however; it seems they are mostly hard-working people trying to do the best with what little direction and resources they are given.

Posted by Kerned

@Brian333: It most certainly means that. It's the software that is the matter of contention, not whether it's on a disc or not. If you want a copy, I would act now.

Posted by fargofallout

I saw this story elsewhere this morning, and the first thing I did was go to Amazon to see if the prices had changed yet. They hadn't, and you can still get a used copy for dirt cheap (Amazon) , so maybe, just so I can say I have one? Even though I'll never play it. This is sort of an amusing ruling. Issuing a court order to destroy something that already exists elsewhere seems pointless. Wouldn't it be better to make Silicon give all of the money made off of copies of the games directly to Epic? (Assuming they make anything off of those games anymore, which seems unlikely)

Edited by ProfessorEss

I want to feel worse about this but the combination of Silicon Knights never making anything that I would consider above mediocre combined with a lawsuit that sounded to me like panic induced blame-gaming just leaves me feeling m'eh about the whole thing.

@Foggen said:

This is the only thing that could make me feel like I'm missing out by not owning Too Human.

You're still not :)

Posted by Ghostiet

Everyone who worked under Dyack should sue that fucker. Or at least break his kneecaps.

Posted by RecSpec
@zombie2011 said:

Too Human should get a sequel! That game had a ton of little design flaws that could easily be fixed in a second game.

The sad thing is that Too Human was supposed to be a trilogy. I remember Dyack saying something about saving the best stuff for the second one or something ridiculously similar.
Posted by Counterclockwork87

It's sad to see a company go down, but I think Dyack is getting what he always deserved. He's tried to bully everyone in the video games industry and this might just be karma rearing its head. He's full of himself and antagonistic, and I can't say I feel bad for him in this situation.

Posted by CornBREDX

What a weird thing this has all become.  
I read an article on Kotaku about the development of XMD. Really crazy stuff. 
Such a weird turn of events for the developer of a beloved classic.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Well, this is probably the only reason I would ever want to own a copy of Too Human. Better check those Ebay prices...

Posted by boylie

@Ghostiet said:

Everyone who worked under Dyack should sue that fucker. Or at least break his kneecaps.

I've talked to 2 former SK employees this morning about this news, and they're both MORE than happy to point and laugh at this turn of events. I feel like that's probably good enough for them

Posted by MAJID

Surely this is just the precursor to him getting on GAF again and spouting ALL of his remaining crazy. Oh, Denis.

Posted by Skytylz

I ordered a copy off amazon this morning when I heard about this... Pretty effective marketing.

Posted by august
Posted by Rirse

Here hoping Nintendo can snag the Eternal Darkness licensee when they dissolve, if they don't already have it.

Posted by MarkWahlberg

Video games!

Posted by laserbolts

I have a copy of too human still in the wrapping. Should I start planning a Tokyo raid?

Posted by Sweetz

Holy hell, Epic must employ some especially vicious lawyers.

Posted by ProfessorEss

@laserbolts said:

I have a copy of too human still in the wrapping. Should I start planning a Tokyo raid?

lol, my copy of Too Human that I got out of a bin for 10 bucks spent the better half of two years in it's wrapper too.

...and to date the disk has only spent about 30 minutes out of it's package :P

Posted by MooseyMcMan

Man, Two Human is never going to be made. Sigh. I guess I should have realized that years ago, but I just keep fooling myself...

Not really sure why. I liked Too Human, but not that much.

Posted by Cleric22

In the interest of community:

http://www.gamestop.com/browse?nav=16k-Too+Human

http://www.gamestop.com/browse?nav=16k-X+Men+Destiny

Price as of 11/9/2012 was 2.99 U.S. for Too Human and 19.99 U.S. for X-men (Both Pre-Owned)

Not interested in either but someone may want to get them now...

Posted by dropabombonit

The last games they put kind of deserve to be destroyed

Posted by Alphazero

Tried to look at the original judgement, but the texture is still popping in.

Posted by VikG

Such an unnecessary mess, without all the info (of course) it looks like Dyack has pretty much destroyed his own company :-/ , what the hell led him to start this in the first place still alludes me, but his legal advice must have been utter shit during this whole fiasco.

Posted by Ravenlight

Too Human? Too bad.

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

If I happen to see a copy of Too Human around maybe i'll buy it.

Posted by Phished0ne

Just find the landfill where all the E.T carts are and toss 'em in there.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

@Alphazero said:

Tried to look at the original judgement, but the texture is still popping in.

Zing!

Moderator Online
Posted by Winternet

This story makes me happy inside.

Posted by Autechresaint

@zombie2011: Read the Kotaku article..yes yes kotaku, but it's actually pretty informative about why no publisher in their right mind should ever want to work with SK again. They did it to themselves.

Posted by Rabid619

Damn, dude, that is HARSH. Silicon Knights is really falling into pit after pit, unfortunate. They're personally the close dev studio to me, so I kinda feel for them, even though I've really come to dislike them over the years.

Posted by Sveppi

Yes. I just ordered a copy of Too Human of off Amazon because of this.

Posted by Phatmac

WOW.

Posted by GaspoweR

Man, i can just remember that one time Dyack came on the 1up Yours Podcast and starting A BUNCH OF CRAZY ASS SHIT I was kinda worried about his mental health there.

Posted by HoboZero

@GaspoweR: Do you happen to remember which episode, or roughly when it was? My Google-fu is letting me down and I'd love to hear that.