Silicon Knights Reportedly Lays Off Dozens of Employees

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Avatar image for patrickklepek
Posted by patrickklepek (6436 posts) -
Silicon Knights is best known for Eternal Darkness, which played with reality perception.
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.

Avatar image for patrickklepek
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (6436 posts) -
Silicon Knights is best known for Eternal Darkness, which played with reality perception.
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.

Avatar image for andyman067
#2 Edited by Andyman067 (28 posts) -

Sucks. I like Eternal Darkness.

I already have this quest.

Avatar image for tru3_blu3
#3 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3545 posts) -

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

Avatar image for blizzardbuffalo
#4 Posted by BlizzardBuffalo (21 posts) -

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

Avatar image for donpixel
#5 Posted by DonPixel (2802 posts) -

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

Avatar image for csl316
#6 Posted by csl316 (13225 posts) -

Damn.

Online
Avatar image for scaryshark
#7 Posted by ScaryShark (224 posts) -

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

Avatar image for familyphotoshoot
#8 Posted by familyphotoshoot (704 posts) -

@Tru3_Blu3: Don't fucking start with that.

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

Avatar image for ssully
#9 Posted by SSully (5112 posts) -

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.

Avatar image for jakob187
#10 Posted by jakob187 (22802 posts) -

@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.

Avatar image for mrklorox
#11 Posted by MrKlorox (11142 posts) -

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

Avatar image for abendlaender
#12 Posted by Abendlaender (3051 posts) -

It's a shame what happened to SK.

Too Human broke them

Avatar image for cybexx
#13 Posted by Cybexx (1552 posts) -

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.

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#14 Posted by AiurFlux (949 posts) -

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.

Avatar image for tingham
#15 Posted by tingham (26 posts) -

@Tru3_Blu3: Are you really being serious right now?

Avatar image for cornbredx
#16 Posted by CornBREDX (7134 posts) -

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.

Avatar image for wintermute
#17 Posted by wintermute (428 posts) -

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

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#18 Posted by alexstone108 (14 posts) -

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

Avatar image for chibi_kaji
#19 Posted by Chibi_Kaji (178 posts) -

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

Even if they are responsible for Too Human...

Avatar image for tru3_blu3
#20 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3545 posts) -

@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.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
#21 Posted by ArbitraryWater (14302 posts) -

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?

Avatar image for dj_euroghost
#22 Posted by DJ_EuroGhost (138 posts) -

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

Avatar image for mooseymcman
#23 Posted by MooseyMcMan (12412 posts) -

No! Now Two Human will never be made!

Avatar image for video_game_king
#24 Posted by Video_Game_King (36565 posts) -

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.

Avatar image for echoecho
#25 Posted by EchoEcho (854 posts) -

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.

Avatar image for vonocourt
#26 Posted by Vonocourt (2188 posts) -

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.

Avatar image for falling_fast
#27 Edited by falling_fast (2905 posts) -

@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.

Avatar image for nickux
#28 Posted by nickux (1520 posts) -

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.

Avatar image for billyhoush
#29 Posted by billyhoush (1257 posts) -

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

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#30 Posted by nickux (1520 posts) -

@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.

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#31 Posted by Arrested_Developer (780 posts) -

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

Avatar image for benson
#32 Posted by benson (316 posts) -

@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.

Avatar image for delta_ass
#33 Posted by Delta_Ass (3807 posts) -

@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.

Avatar image for tru3_blu3
#34 Edited by Tru3_Blu3 (3545 posts) -

@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.

Avatar image for vonocourt
#35 Edited by Vonocourt (2188 posts) -

@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?!

Avatar image for chrismafuchris
#36 Posted by chrismafuchris (1154 posts) -

Silicon Knights still exists?

Avatar image for slaker117
#37 Posted by Slaker117 (4872 posts) -

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

Avatar image for tadthuggish
#38 Posted by TadThuggish (989 posts) -

So, NeoGAF won?

Avatar image for rabbykayn
#39 Posted by Rabbykayn (252 posts) -

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

Avatar image for tru3_blu3
#40 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3545 posts) -

@Rabbykayn said:

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

Fuck business.

Avatar image for starfurydysan
#41 Posted by starfurydysan (65 posts) -

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

Avatar image for tourgen
#42 Posted by tourgen (4568 posts) -

@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.

Avatar image for re_player1
#43 Edited by RE_Player1 (8002 posts) -

@starfurydysan said:

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

Denis Dyack bought a boat.

Avatar image for napalm
#44 Posted by Napalm (9230 posts) -

@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.

Avatar image for dj_euroghost
#45 Edited by DJ_EuroGhost (138 posts) -

@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

Avatar image for nightriff
#46 Posted by Nightriff (6991 posts) -
Avatar image for prymet1me
#47 Posted by Prymet1me (105 posts) -

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I NEED TOO HUMAN 2!!!

Avatar image for dvorak
#48 Posted by dvorak (1512 posts) -

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.

Avatar image for mmmslash
#49 Posted by Mmmslash (2208 posts) -

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%.

Avatar image for binbay55
#50 Posted by Binbay55 (153 posts) -

@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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