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Silicon Knights Reportedly Lays Off Dozens of Employees

Developer has yet to comment on reports the studio has been massively downsized.

Silicon Knights is best known for Eternal Darkness, which played with reality perception.

The last game from Canadian developer Silicon Knights, X-Men Destiny, was not received well at all, and did little to restore a once beloved studio’s image after its last divisive release, Too Human.

1UP reports Silicon Knights has been hit with massive layoffs, citing multiple sources informing them the company has shrunk from 97 to 25 employees. In other words, most of the company is now gone.

So far, the report has not been confirmed or denied by Silicon Knights. I contacted president and founder Denis Dyack directly, but have yet to hear back from the normally outspoken game creator.

Worth noting: the news was filed by Andrew McMillen, the same reporter who broke the story about Team Bondi’s controversial work conditions over the course of making this year’s L.A. Noire. He knows his stuff.

McMillen had apparently been trying to nail down an interview time with Dyack to discuss another topic, based on other reports that names of employees who left Silicon Knights were being axed from the credits section of X-Men Destiny prior to the game’s completion. Those names apparently then appeared in a “special thanks” section.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
Silicon Knights is best known for Eternal Darkness, which played with reality perception.

The last game from Canadian developer Silicon Knights, X-Men Destiny, was not received well at all, and did little to restore a once beloved studio’s image after its last divisive release, Too Human.

1UP reports Silicon Knights has been hit with massive layoffs, citing multiple sources informing them the company has shrunk from 97 to 25 employees. In other words, most of the company is now gone.

So far, the report has not been confirmed or denied by Silicon Knights. I contacted president and founder Denis Dyack directly, but have yet to hear back from the normally outspoken game creator.

Worth noting: the news was filed by Andrew McMillen, the same reporter who broke the story about Team Bondi’s controversial work conditions over the course of making this year’s L.A. Noire. He knows his stuff.

McMillen had apparently been trying to nail down an interview time with Dyack to discuss another topic, based on other reports that names of employees who left Silicon Knights were being axed from the credits section of X-Men Destiny prior to the game’s completion. Those names apparently then appeared in a “special thanks” section.

Staff
Edited by Andyman067

Sucks. I like Eternal Darkness.

I already have this quest.

Posted by Tru3_Blu3

Man, this is so sad. Profit and currency are destroying and regulating human imagination and art.

Posted by BlizzardBuffalo

Eternal Darkness was awesome.... sucks big time if these guys got laid off.

Posted by DonPixel

Well sucks for the employees but they did a couple of Too Bad games

Posted by csl316

Damn.

Posted by ZedsDeadBaby

Industry is incredibly cutthroat. I hope they find new jobs soon.

Posted by familyphotoshoot

@Tru3_Blu3: Don't fucking start with that.

Too Human and X-Men Destiny were not anywhere close to "art".

Posted by SSully

Man that is really sad. But they haven't exactly made many successful games in recent memory, it was only a matter of time.

I hope everyone who lost their jobs lands on their feet and gets a new job shortly.

Posted by jakob187

@patrickklepek: Silicon Knights is BEST KNOWN for Eternal Darkness? I've always assumed they were best known for Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and its ridiculously long load times to get to the pause menu. At least, that's what I knew them from.

Nonetheless, never good to hear that people are losing jobs in this economy. Luckily, EA just opened up a shop down in Austin, so if people were up for relocating, I'm sure that they are looking for some folks.

Posted by MrKlorox

This studio is still open? How is that possible? Many greater studios have fallen already.

Posted by Abendlaender

It's a shame what happened to SK.

Too Human broke them

Posted by Cybexx

That does suck, this generation has not been especially kind to them. I mean 25 employees is enough to get the next project off the ground, get some funding and re-staff up but the ideal situation is to be successful enough to keep most of your staff between projects. If nothing else this supports my theory that game reviews matter for most core games.

Posted by AiurFlux

Great. So they release two shitty games in a row, take Canadian taxpayer money that was in part supposed to be used to employ up to 97 people, and then go on massive layoffs putting people out of work and going back on what they were supposed to do. I feel sorry for the people that lost their jobs but it's hard to feel sorry for Silicon Knights or Dyack.

They better not get another fucking grant.

Posted by tingham

@Tru3_Blu3: Are you really being serious right now?

Posted by CornBREDX

I don't know about beloved, they only made one good game (at least that I have heard of =P )

That still sucks, though. It's horrible when people lose their jobs.

Posted by mr_shoeless

I feel for anyone laid off. I wish only the best of luck to them.

Posted by alexstone108

I've been holding out hope for a next-gen Eternal Darkness sequel for some time. I hope they can pull through this.

Posted by Chibi_Kaji

It's always a shame to hear about people getting laid off.

Even if they are responsible for Too Human...

Posted by Tru3_Blu3

@familyphotoshoot said:

@Tru3_Blu3: Don't fucking start with that.

Too Human and X-Men Destiny were not anywhere close to "art".

Just because they make some bad shit from time to time doesn't mean they should all lose their jobs and their ability to feed themselves and their families. Human flaw is is unavoidable.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

After playing it, I never understood why people liked Eternal Darkness so much. At best, it's a fairly clunky action-adventure with a Lovecraftian bent and a sanity gimmick that becomes pointless once you get the "Restore Sanity" spell. Certainly, it has its fair share of interesting ideas and the execution is competently done, but is that supposed to make it some sort of landmark title?

Posted by DJ_EuroGhost

Guess this is what happens if you spend way too much time making mediocre games that doesn't sell.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

No! Now Two Human will never be made!

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

Maybe you haven't heard back from Dyack because he was fired. Silicon Knights is in such dire straits that they had to fire their president to save some money.

Posted by EchoEcho

Sad news is sad. I'm one of the few who liked Too Human enough to want a (better) sequel, and Eternal Darkness is one of my favorite games of all time. I really hope they pull through this. X-Men Destiny may have been a bland mess, but they still have some good IP that I'd like to see more of.

Posted by Vonocourt

Bummer to hear any kind of mass layoffs. Though I wonder if this means the Canadian game industry is effectively dead now, since Dyack believed it hinged on Silicon Knights success.

Edited by falling_fast

@Vonocourt said:

Bummer to hear any kind of mass layoffs. Though I wonder if this means the Canadian game industry is effectively dead now, since Dyack believed it hinged on Silicon Knights success.

what about ubisoft montreal and bioware? I mean granted neither of those studios are independent, but they still probably employ a fair amount of people.

edit: also I think rockstar and ubisoft have studios in Toronto, but i'm not sure how big they are.

Posted by nickux

It's always sad to hear of people losing their jobs. Strangely, I've always had a fondness for Silicon Knights but I don't really know why. They haven't made many great games lately. In fact, they've made a string of pretty poor ones. So it's not surprising. You have to deliver on your potential. Sure, Eternal Darkness was good and I enjoyed Twin Snakes but they have really dropped the ball this generation.

Posted by billyhoush

That's great! Just what St. Catharines needs....more unemployed people.

Posted by nickux

@ArbitraryWater said:

After playing it, I never understood why people liked Eternal Darkness so much. At best, it's a fairly clunky action-adventure with a Lovecraftian bent and a sanity gimmick that becomes pointless once you get the "Restore Sanity" spell. Certainly, it has its fair share of interesting ideas and the execution is competently done, but is that supposed to make it some sort of landmark title?

At the time it was a very novel experience. It was rare to have a game break the 4th wall so successfully. I think most people remember Silicon Knights fondly because of that game and are willing to overlook the last few years of crap games.

Posted by Arrested_Developer

I'll buy Too Human 2 if they make it.

Posted by benson

@Tru3_Blu3 said:

@familyphotoshoot said:

@Tru3_Blu3: Don't fucking start with that.

Too Human and X-Men Destiny were not anywhere close to "art".

Just because they make some bad shit from time to time doesn't mean they should all lose their jobs and their ability to feed themselves and their families. Human flaw is is unavoidable.

Denis Dyack is a notorious egotistical douchebag. He got banned from the Neogaf forums for christsake, a board known for its leniency towards developers. While I agree it sucks for his employees, it's no surprise that a project spearheaded by him is destined to fail when you account for the fact that he repeateadly antagonized the whole industry and the gaming community.

Posted by Delta_Ass

@Tru3_Blu3 said:

Man, this is so sad. Profit and currency are destroying and regulating human imagination and art.

I'm not sure we need human imagination and art in the form of Too Human and X-Men Destiny.

Edited by Tru3_Blu3

@benson said:

@Tru3_Blu3 said:

@familyphotoshoot said:

@Tru3_Blu3: Don't fucking start with that.

Too Human and X-Men Destiny were not anywhere close to "art".

Just because they make some bad shit from time to time doesn't mean they should all lose their jobs and their ability to feed themselves and their families. Human flaw is is unavoidable.

Denis Dyack is a notorious egotistical douchebag. He got banned from the Neogaf forums for christsake, a board known for its leniency towards developers. While I agree it sucks for his employees, it's no surprise that a project spearheaded by him is destined to fail when you account for the fact that he repeateadly antagonized the whole industry and the gaming community.

I-I guess you're right, friend. I guess Dyack was cocksure about actually making a good game and it ate his soul entire.

Edited by Vonocourt

@damnable_fiend said:

@Vonocourt said:

Bummer to hear any kind of mass layoffs. Though I wonder if this means the Canadian game industry is effectively dead now, since Dyack believed it hinged on Silicon Knights success.

what about ubisoft montreal and bioware? I mean granted neither of those studios are independent, but they still probably employ a fair amount of people.

edit: also I think rockstar and ubisoft have studios in Toronto, but i'm not sure how big they are.

Eh, I knew misremembering stories from three years ago would bite me on the ass one day.

So Ontario is fucked...maybe?!

Posted by chrismafuchris

Silicon Knights still exists?

Posted by Slaker117

I'm kind of surprised they've made it this long, to be honest.

Posted by TadThuggish

So, NeoGAF won?

Posted by Rabbykayn

@Tru3_Blu3: Come on now.. you can't run a business if it's losing money.

Posted by Tru3_Blu3

@Rabbykayn said:

@Tru3_Blu3: Come on now.. you can't run a business if it's losing money.

Fuck business.

Posted by starfurydysan

As a Canadian taxpayer from Ontario, I want to know what happened to all the grant money.

Posted by tourgen

@Tru3_Blu3 said:

@familyphotoshoot said:

@Tru3_Blu3: Don't fucking start with that.

Too Human and X-Men Destiny were not anywhere close to "art".

Just because they make some bad shit from time to time doesn't mean they should all lose their jobs and their ability to feed themselves and their families. Human flaw is is unavoidable.

no actually that's pretty much how capitalism is designed to work. the idea being that there is unemployment insurance and savings to see you through the rough times as you find different work or a new career.

Edited by RE_Player1

@starfurydysan said:

As a Canadian taxpayer from Ontario, I want to know what happened to all the grant money.

Denis Dyack bought a boat.

Posted by Napalm

@Tru3_Blu3 said:

Man, this is so sad. Profit and currency are destroying and regulating human imagination and art.

I am on the ground, rolling and laughing.

Edited by DJ_EuroGhost

@Tru3_Blu3 said:

Man, this is so sad. Profit and currency are destroying and regulating human imagination and art.

The sad thing here is that Silicon Knights received several multi-million dollar grants from the Canadian government to develop and self publish their games, destroying potential jobs in the process.

Being funded by money pillaged from tax livestock at gunpoint is a great way to increase creativity and more efficient use of resources, right?

As opposed to actually having to make something good before you run out of your own money?

And as much as I hate fiat currency, trading bits of copper and nickel and pieces of paper for goods and services beats the shit out of bartering (which is more or less what you would have to do with no form of currency), I mean, if you were a potato farmer, would you want to lug around a big-ass cart full of potatoes when you want trade for something other than than potatoes?

I dunno, your statement just confuses me I guess, unless you meant to say that regulation and state interference is destroying human creativity and art, 'cause if that's the case, I totally agree with you :D

Posted by Nightriff
Posted by Prymet1me

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I NEED TOO HUMAN 2!!!

Posted by dvorak

I would just like to remind everyone that Ice-T played Too Human for approximately 20 minutes before saying "fuck this game".

That is all.

Posted by Mmmslash

Oh boy, just in time for Halloween, I get news that the developers of one of my favorite Horror titles has been cut by 75%.

Posted by Binbay55

@Vonocourt said:

@damnable_fiend said:

@Vonocourt said:

Bummer to hear any kind of mass layoffs. Though I wonder if this means the Canadian game industry is effectively dead now, since Dyack believed it hinged on Silicon Knights success.

what about ubisoft montreal and bioware? I mean granted neither of those studios are independent, but they still probably employ a fair amount of people.

edit: also I think rockstar and ubisoft have studios in Toronto, but i'm not sure how big they are.

Eh, I knew misremembering stories from three years ago would bite me on the ass one day.

So Ontario is fucked...maybe?!

Don't forget Relic!

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