#1 Posted by Kraznor (1578 posts) -

I feel like I'm missing something in light of all the negativity stirred up by the Shadow of the Eternals announcement. Where does this reputation of Denis Dyack being crazy come from? I listened to that supposedly infamous 1UP podcast where he ranted and raved about the future of the industry, but that struck me as someone passionate about his job musing about how uncertain the future was. And the whole Epic Games lawsuit didn't really strike me as a completely negative thing, though I suppose it was an audacious move and it clearly didn't pan out for his company.

As for the supposed tyrannical way he manages people, I've only really heard that in reference to X-Men Destiny (largely from this Kotaku article) and that looked to me like something no one wanted to be working on, it was clearly a project they had to take to try to stay afloat after Too Human didn't pan out. Basically, whatever stress Dyack was going through at that point seems justifiable. Now that he is working with a small team that clearly wants to be doing what they are doing, why be so mistrustful about his ability to keep things together?

I'm pretty much just asking, if you find Denis Dyack particularly mistrustful or sinister, WHY do you feel that way? What part of the picture am I missing?

#2 Posted by wemibelec90 (1612 posts) -

From what I remember, most of it comes from around Too Human's release date. In particular, I remember discussion about a particular NeoGAF thread (at least I think so). I personally don't hate him, but I do think the man has a very large amount of hubris.

#3 Edited by Ghostiet (5243 posts) -

It were his comments about the press after Too Human bombed, the allegations made against Epic about the Unreal Engine (it turned out in the end that Silicon Knights used the Unreal Engine without permission and paying royalties and simply disguised the code they stole as "a revamped version" of the engine), the X-Men Destiny article, and that Dyack was practically responsible for Silicon Knights' deterioration and he jumped ship to a new studio after all that Epic stuff hit the fan. There's also the fact that Eternal Darkness, the game on which he tries to ride a new career, was allegedly successful precisely because he had people looking at his hands: Nintendo brought in their own producers.

Also, X-Men Destiny was not a project they took to stay afloat. They took it so they could basically take Activision's money and use the resources solely to develop Eternal Darkness 2, despite the fact that they don't have the rights, they didn't strike a deal with anyone, and over the course of developing they apparently had barely a quarter of a single in-game location. That's not trying to keep the company together, it's trying to play a huge company for a fool and expect to get away with it. It's irresponsible. It's fraud, just like with the Epic law suit.

Everything screams "shady" and "egomaniac" about this guy.

#4 Posted by StarvingGamer (8128 posts) -

@kraznor said:

I listened to that supposedly infamous 1UP podcast where he ranted and raved about the future of the industry, but that struck me as someone passionate about his job musing about how uncertain the future was.

Then you weren't listening closely enough. That man directly contradicted himself so many times over the course of the podcast, I was literally screaming at Mark MacDonald to call him out on his bullshit.

#5 Posted by TobbRobb (4590 posts) -

@kraznor said:

And the whole Epic Games lawsuit didn't really strike me as a completely negative thing, though I suppose it was an audacious move and it clearly didn't pan out for his company.

Dude what? I mean, I could go into why that was a terrible idea by an arrogant fuck on so many levels. But now I'm curious to hear you tell me what ISN'T negative about that entire affair.

Well except that Epic got free money. That was alright in the long run.

#7 Posted by Village_Guy (2543 posts) -

Denis Dyack is... somewhat crazy, let's say. At least that is the impression I have gotten. That and he didn't exactly make a great job with Too Human and the so-called trilogy (that never happened).

#8 Posted by PenguinDust (12484 posts) -

He is a bit of a loon, but I don't get all the hate either. I think a lot of what he says and more importantly, how he says it just rubs people the wrong way. The whole "one console future" debate he had seemed to upset a lot of folks because it meant an end to the familiar. The 1UP Yours interview can be heard in the final review episode of the This Year podcast. I listened to it just a couple of months ago, but I also heard it when it was "live" back then. Dyack makes some bad mistakes, he pokes the bear and gets easily sidetracked into other superfluous topics. I think he's entertaining in small doses. He's no Peter Molyneux, though. Peter is also another loon, but he has a boyish charm that softens much of the crazy that comes out of his mouth. I could listen to Molyneux bullshit me for hours, but Dyack for five or ten minutes at most in a sitting. That's about as long as I can take David Jaffe, too but for other reasons.

#9 Posted by I_smell (3925 posts) -

You can't ask "Why all the hate" and then outline 3 reasons why, saying "I could see why that would look bad."

That's what being delusional is!

#10 Posted by Winternet (8012 posts) -

I think Denis Dyack is great. This industry needs more crazy and weird and out-there characters.

#11 Edited by TruthTellah (8725 posts) -

Denis Dyack assaulted my wife, ran over my dog, and got my kids hooked on drugs.

#12 Posted by johncallahan (555 posts) -

I've heard about this 1UP podcast, which episode is it? Would love to give it a listen.

#13 Edited by berniesbc (43 posts) -
#14 Posted by eskimo (475 posts) -

You've got a bullet list of dumb shit he has done, and you're asking US why people hate him?

#15 Posted by Kidavenger (3528 posts) -
Online
#16 Posted by xyzygy (9939 posts) -

Just because he has made some extremely questionable decisions does not mean he is artistically inept. I still think he has a lot of potential to make great games.

#17 Edited by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

Its well deserve, don't worry.

I don't understand this personality cult syndrome, just because a guy did a good game like a decade ago.. doesn't mean he is going to deliver again, he has more flops and questionable practices under his belt than good games.

Perhaps we would have better newer talent flourishing if media weren't so focus with old fart scammers like Mollyneux and Dyack.

#18 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Denis Dyack assaulted my wife, ran over my dog, and got my kids hooked on drugs.

I've got bad news for you. You married your dog, and your dog is Denis Dyack! Which means your kids are your dogs! Who are Denis Dyack!

And that sick tale, is why he is hated.

#19 Posted by triple07 (1196 posts) -

For me I don't feel he is sinister or anything but given his past few games I'm not sure he knows how to make good games anymore if he ever did. I mean look at the games he has credits on, sure I like Gex but I played that as a kid and thought it was alright which probably means it was super shitty in reality. Sure people love Eternal Darkness but who knows how much that had to do with him and given his recent games X-Men and Too Human I have to think maybe it was not really his input that made Eternal Darkness what it is.

So I couldn't tell you why people hate him, but you would have to explain to me why people should be anything but skeptical of him.

#20 Posted by Animasta (14667 posts) -

I think Denis Dyack is great. This industry needs more crazy and weird and out-there characters.

there's a way of being crazy and weird and out-there without being an asshole.

See: Suda

#21 Posted by Milkman (16619 posts) -

I don't hate Denis Dyack. I just don't get why anyone would trust him with your money.

#22 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11594 posts) -

You state all of the reasons why in your initial post and then try to excuse them. Every time he's come into the public eye he's come off as a crazy person with all of the NeoGAF and 1UP stuff, and the X-Men Destiny article does a good job of explaining that he's also bad at making games.

#23 Posted by ajamafalous (11944 posts) -

There's also the whole "insulting people on forums who didn't like Too Human" thing.

#24 Posted by cmblasko (1179 posts) -

@xyzygy said:

Just because he has made some extremely questionable decisions does not mean he is artistically inept. I still think he has a lot of potential to make great games.

I think everything that's happened between Eternal Darkness and now has proven Dyack a one-hit-wonder.

#25 Edited by Winternet (8012 posts) -

@animasta said:

@winternet said:

I think Denis Dyack is great. This industry needs more crazy and weird and out-there characters.

there's a way of being crazy and weird and out-there without being an asshole.

See: Suda

Oh, for sure. But, there aren't enough in the industry so having Denis Dyack is better than not having Denis Dyack.

#26 Edited by Commisar123 (1790 posts) -

I think "hate" is the wrong word. I think distrusting is a better one. As for why, a lot of people feel burned by the products he has shipped over the past few years. Also, there are serious, and substantiated, allegations against him as a CEO. I think if you read that Kotaku article it's pretty clear why, and I think you are missing the part where it seems like he mislead his publisher as to what he was spending his time on. Actually it seems like you're missing a lot of the details despite looking at a bunch of solid sources. I would encourage you to read them again and I think with a close read you'll see why he has earned his reputation.

#27 Posted by Kidavenger (3528 posts) -

I just finished listening to this week's bombcast and I just wanted to make it known that Kickstarter allows international projects to seek funding through it's service, so they really are trying to circumvent Kickstarter's controls/standards as low as they are.

http://www.kickstarter.com/discover/places/toronto-on-ca

Online
#28 Posted by CornBREDX (5051 posts) -

He stole funds from one project to invest in another (all-be-it from Activision but it's still wrong even so)

He stole money from the Canadian tax payer (I'm not Canadian, but thats gross)

He is silently closing one company and making another pretending they are unrelated entities (whether thats legal or not, it's being done in a really shady way)

He sued Epic for "sabotaging" developer projects (which I don't feel he really proved, nor did the law) and also stole parts of Epics engine to make his own

He did no justice to the XMen franchise (already went over this, but what came of that game was just not acceptable- xmen can be a great IP to work with but that game was just grossly mismanaged- seemingly intentionally)

I don't care if he's crazy, or arrogant, or a dick. I have no problem with that. I'm just not cool with the shady practices we know about.

And if none of those things are true, he needs to explain them in a way that is true. Pretending they didnt happen, or ignoring their existence doesnt make it go away. These are pretty outrageously bad things to do, not just a mistake or "whoops, my bad you guys" type situations.

I'm sure there's more too (I didn't touch on how bad it is reported he treats employees).

#29 Posted by Kraznor (1578 posts) -

@tobbrobb: On some level I see it as a "David vs Goliath" thing. No one ever speaks ill of Epic so that one company was bold (or "crazy", I guess, but that's relative and I guess I just have a different view of it) to do it is weirdly amicable to me. I don't know the ins and outs of the case, but the attempt at calling out a big company on not being helpful, despite them licensing Unreal, seemed rational to me.

And before anyone calls me out on saying they stole Unreal or parts of its code, yeah, but they were pretty forthcoming about that fact. The way Giant Bomb reported it on the podcast several years ago made it sound like they were working with Unreal 3, found it frustrating, then modified the code to suit their ends and basically considered it different enough at the end of it to keep using it. That's for Too Human anyway, if they then used their modified Unreal to make X-Men Destiny...yeah, you aren't supposed to do that.

#30 Edited by august (3833 posts) -

@kraznor said:

@tobbrobb: On some level I see it as a "David vs Goliath" thing. No one ever speaks ill of Epic so that one company was bold (or "crazy", I guess, but that's relative and I guess I just have a different view of it) to do it is weirdly amicable to me. I don't know the ins and outs of the case, but the attempt at calling out a big company on not being helpful, despite them licensing Unreal, seemed rational to me..

You seem to be using some sort of obscure definition of the word "rational."

#31 Posted by Kraznor (1578 posts) -

I guess blanket response to some of the feedback, my frame of reference for this is honestly the very different ways this story is being handled compared to Curt Schilling and 38 Studios last year. Both seem to involve mismanaged companies with people with large egos running the show, yet in one case it is a tragic situation where one man's ambitious dream to make an epic fantasy MMO (despite that clearly looking like a misguided goal to me) was shut down by "The Man", whereas Denis Dyack's tale is dismissed as the pathetic ramblings of a crazy person who was involved in some shady dealings. Not sure I'd go so far as to say its hypocritical, but its amusing to me that slight variations in the story can completely alter someone's emotional response to it.

I think the most salient response I've gotten is the assertion Dyack simply isn't a very good designer. That may well be the case. Nintendo's producers may well have been the secret ingredient in Eternal Darkness, and MGS: Twin Snakes was a remake so they had a solid foundation to work from. What I played of Too Human was indeed severely lacking and everything I've heard about X-Men Destiny suggests it was a flat, uninteresting game at the very least. So those are fine reasons for not wanting to give Dyack your support for this campaign (incidentally, I have yet to pledge anything either, but I've been looking into SOTE with some interest as I DID enjoy that original game).

Sorry if I was overly dismissive of some of Dyack's conduct, I just wanted to summarize the parts of the story I was aware of and assert that I wasn't that shocked by any one part of the story.

#32 Posted by Veektarius (4750 posts) -

@kraznor: This isn't some case of he-said she-said. The court found in Epic's favor. Never mind that attempting to sue epic seemed like a profligate waste that served only Dyack's ego and sense of entitlement/outrage.

#33 Edited by Hailinel (24289 posts) -

@kraznor said:

I guess blanket response to some of the feedback, my frame of reference for this is honestly the very different ways this story is being handled compared to Curt Schilling and 38 Studios last year. Both seem to involve mismanaged companies with people with large egos running the show, yet in one case it is a tragic situation where one man's ambitious dream to make an epic fantasy MMO (despite that clearly looking like a misguided goal to me) was shut down by "The Man", whereas Denis Dyack's tale is dismissed as the pathetic ramblings of a crazy person who was involved in some shady dealings. Not sure I'd go so far as to say its hypocritical, but its amusing to me that slight variations in the story can completely alter someone's emotional response to it.

I think the most salient response I've gotten is the assertion Dyack simply isn't a very good designer. That may well be the case. Nintendo's producers may well have been the secret ingredient in Eternal Darkness, and MGS: Twin Snakes was a remake so they had a solid foundation to work from. What I played of Too Human was indeed severely lacking and everything I've heard about X-Men Destiny suggests it was a flat, uninteresting game at the very least. So those are fine reasons for not wanting to give Dyack your support for this campaign (incidentally, I have yet to pledge anything either, but I've been looking into SOTE with some interest as I DID enjoy that original game).

Sorry if I was overly dismissive of some of Dyack's conduct, I just wanted to summarize the parts of the story I was aware of and assert that I wasn't that shocked by any one part of the story.

No problem, but I'd also clarify that 38 Studios wasn't shut down by the Man; it was shut down by poor financial decisions made by Schilling and the state of Rhode Island. 38 Studios became saddled with a loan that they simply could not pay back, and their financial needs were predicated on Kingdoms of Amalur being a massive hit because their Copernicus MMO was still too far from release. It was basic financial incompetence, and it ruined Schilling financially by destroying the personal fortune he had invested in the company in addition to the loan owed to Rhode Island.

Financial deals are only part of Dyack's story. The major issues are his apparent incompetence and egocentric focus as a manager and designer, his cheating former Silicon Knights employees out of credit for their work, suing Epic in one of the most mind-bogglingly idiotic lawsuits of the financial scale involved, and cheating Activision by using resources dedicated for one purpose for something else entirely.

Schilling is a fool that got in over his head by not understanding the financial nature of the video game industry when he invested so much into 38 Studios. Dyack just sounds like a generally unpleasant person.

#34 Posted by CornBREDX (5051 posts) -

@kraznor: It really comes down to ethics for me. The things he is reported to have done (some proven, some just hear say, granted) are morally averse. I personally cannot fathom giving anything he's involved with money, but I can understand really wanting a game to get made so wanting to look past it.

With anyone looking into investing any amount of money in things hes involved in, I am personally advising caution even if you don't think anything he's done was wrong.

I feel also your example with 38 Studios is a bit opposite of this. Schilling was naive, and maybe had a similar ego (I personally feel he earned his ego though) but he didn't set out to hurt anyone. He legitimately wanted to make a great MMO. He just misunderstood the nature of Video Game business and failed catastrophically. Dyack is hurting people, whether he set out to or not, and shows nothing towards it. He consistently sweeps his failures under the rug and blames other people or things. Even with this current project their company is just saying everybody is a liar and drumming up drama for the sake of it. I find that hard to believe.

But anyway, just be cautious, whether you agree or not. I have backed several projects myself (some of which have similar shady dealings- intentional and unintentional) so it is sometimes on you to cast judgement. The thing with this recent game is they aren't even using a legitimate crowd sourcing site, and that holds up a big flag for me as well (there are several site you can use and be successful on, Kickstarter isn't the only one, and being in Canada is not a legitimate reason to not use one).

#35 Edited by probablytuna (3604 posts) -
#36 Posted by TobbRobb (4590 posts) -

@kraznor: You compare it to David and Goliath, I compare it to a 5 year old hitting massive wasp nests with sticks. They were never going to win that fight, and had absolutely no reasonable ground to stand on. It was a childish idea that completely FUCKED the entire company. Wether Epic had done something wrong or not is irreIevant, you shouldn't pick fights without at least a slight chance of coming out ahead. I really do feel bad for the guys at Silicion Knights though, having leadership like that isn't fair to the people who work there.