Silicon Knights-Epic suit going to federal court

Judge rules Too Human developer's case and Gears of War developer's counterclaim have enough merit to go before a jury.

In 2007, one of the most heated legal battles in the game industry was between Too Human developer Silicon Knights and Gears of War creator Epic Games. The battle was initially sparked in July of that year, when Silicon Knights sued Epic over allegedly holding back support of its Unreal Engine 3 to reallocate resources to Gears of War development. Epic quickly countersued, accusing the Canadian developer of trying to steal the Unreal Engine 3 technology for its own engine.

Tit-for-tat legal battles are all Too Human.

Little has been heard about the suit since November 2007, when a judge refused to dismiss the developer's original complaint against the Unreal Engine maker. Recently, though, the suit has resurfaced, according to Gamasutra. On March 24, a judge reportedly ruled that the suit could proceed to federal court, where a jury will decide the merits of Silicon Knights' claim and Epic's counterclaim.

In its latest filing, the court found that "…Epic had a possible motive to deceive SK into entering into the [Unreal Engine] License Agreement in order to fund the development costs of its own games and delay the work of SK and other competing licensees on their video games."

In a statement, Epic downplayed the decision, telling Gamasutra that, "The court entered judgment in favor of Epic on several claims, rejecting Silicon Knights' claims that it could cancel its license agreement, that Epic interfered with its contractual relationships with publishers, and that Epic has acted unjustly under the license." The company went on to say that, "The court did not rule on the merits of Silicon Knights' remaining claims. … Epic remains confident that it will be fully vindicated at trial."

Silicon Knights president Denis Dyack also tried to put a positive spin on the decision, saying, "When Epic first went public about our case to the press, they said that our claims were without merit. Two separate federal court judges have now disagreed with Epic, and have ruled that the case does have merit."

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63 comments
chadmw8
chadmw8

I extremely hate Gears of War, no offense fans.

gbrading
gbrading moderator

Human, all too human, as Nietzsche would say.

maxwell97
maxwell97

@KaizerJinn: Epic does not develop games exclusively for the 360. See the PS3 versions of Bulletstorm and UT3,

leeko_link
leeko_link

Dammit Silicon Knights, just go back to Nintendo and give us Eternal Darkness 2 and forget about that Too Human crap of a game.

fireflywang
fireflywang

wow you mean SK still made enough money from too human to limp around in business? cut you losses people

pszone
pszone

well too human flop bad so they got no brtter esle to do than sueing Epic

digi-demon
digi-demon

Well maybe if SK had a better grasp of the Unreal Tech (ie. more software support fom Epic) then maybe Too Human would have been a better game :roll:

Khatjal
Khatjal

Who cares about Silicon Knights? After the abysmal failure of Too-Human, they shouldn't even be making games anymore.

mightEone
mightEone

Too Human was good but could have been a lot better.

mdboomer
mdboomer

SK needs new management. Denis Dyack boasted on forums that he would step down if Too Human wasn't a huge hit and look what happened. SK needs a new direction and the first stop is a good house cleaning!

bdecot
bdecot

It doesn't surprise me that greedy-ass Epic did what they did... all they care about is themselves and making that dollar. Hopefully they'll lose and lose big, but not for being greedy in that nature, but for being greedy and not releasing any more Gears of War games for the PC!!

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Vazzucious
Vazzucious

Silicon Knights sued Epic over a year before Too Human came out. Around the time of the law suit i remember a lot of devs coming out and confirming these issues. In the end I think SK will win but they wont receive what they are wanting. The biggest hit from this lawsuit to me was the effect it took on SK and TH. I think it created a bad perception of the company and the game, Dyack's actions on forums didnt' help either. TH was a great game, one of my favorites, and I dont think anyone ever gave it a chance.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

Why did they have to go with Unreal 3 engine anyways? there are other engines to choose from like Valve's Source Engine.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Going to be interesting to see how this plays out. And it goes without saying, I hope Silicon Knights is not blaming their crapparific game on Epic. This isn't about blame here, but this is totally Silicon Knights' fault.

Crash_WL
Crash_WL

I just want a Too Human sequel with better design choices... Like, gun combat, excessive loot that is rendered useless since monsters scale together with your character, better animations... Please, make it happen Knights. Stop suing each other and make a game that'll be remarkable.

magicalclick
magicalclick

Regardless the technical issues (which happens only to SK, other devs are all fine, especially Bioware's Mass Effect), the game is still boring. I had more fun with Sudeki on Xbox than Too Human. The only reason Too Human sells more because X360 sells more and SK was a hot dev. But the next time they make a game (which they don't seem to be interested in making games anymore), I would not even track it until review is great.

DCUltrapro
DCUltrapro

goddamn it when I saw that picture of Hiemdahl I thought it was an article to say too human 2 was coming.... I WANT A SEQUEL!!

FLOWZMENTAL
FLOWZMENTAL

@fgjnfgh It's a business when you make a product you sell the acolytes not the original.

FLOWZMENTAL
FLOWZMENTAL

@k2theswiss it was said to clock-in at 6 to 9 mins for the death scene Silicon Knights said it was to mask loading sequences.

FLOWZMENTAL
FLOWZMENTAL

Denis Dyack the Canadian Government just gave you what $12 mill to make Too Human 2 or Too Human Too or will it be Too Human To? (because it going nowhere). Just take your money and I'll be ready for the second one in 10yrs when I'm 43. Also Eternal Darkness 2, kinda ironic for a game stuck in enternal limbo. It's pretty sad for a company that's been out for such a long time be able to count the number or game ips on their "too" hands.

Bobmarley00
Bobmarley00

Too Human had a lot of potential to be a great game. Instead it was a gigantic bust.

Bobmarley00
Bobmarley00

Why don't they collaborate and improve rather than complain and sue.

Un4givingAsault
Un4givingAsault

I just want another too human but more polish. that is all

KaizerJinn
KaizerJinn

....this is so funny to see 360 already limited exclusive game developers fighting among themselves....smh. :|

jamesh-42
jamesh-42

So basically all the judge is saying is that SK's remaining claims have enough merit to go to trial rather than being dismissed outright. It is a long way from saying that they are true.

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

Too Human was poorly designed, and boring. Maybe they should have made teh gameplay more fun and then i would really even care in the slightest about this article.

MechaNapoleon
MechaNapoleon

Too Human, still the best game of this console generation IMO. Love all the hate it got, yet sold the prerequisite 1mil units and could technically be rereleased as a "platinum hit". In the meantime, I eagerly await X-men Destiny...

TheArcade
TheArcade

Two Xbox 360 game developers going head-to-head?

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Its sad because SK used to have such prestige within the gaming industry, now they are mediocre at best. I had high hopes for Too Human, but while I could get passed the unfinished textures, I couldn't stand the control scheme.Who really knows who is at fault in this one? I guess we'll wait for the final verdict. Oh well, I can always go back and play Eternal Darkness, the last great game from SK.

archlvt
archlvt

SK is a ragtag group of nobodies that scrape the bottom of the barrel for its employees. I know, because they're based out of my city and 2 of my friends from school worked there, and I see frequent job postings with little or no requirements. Frankly, I'm surprised they had success with any of their games. The idea that they can even stand on the same ground as epic games just kinda boggles my mind. It's like a low-budget ma&pa shoe store trying to stand on even ground with NIke. Still, Too Human was a long time ago, and if they're STILL fighting this battle, it just proves how unmotivated they are and how little they have to offer.

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

It is also strange this has not been settled out of court. In my pure unprofessional opinion from what information has been released, I believe that Epic is in the right here. If you read the articles circling the net about this lawsuit (like the ones hyperlinked above), SK's arguments about motive, the timeline of Too Human's production and failure at E3 and the serving of the lawsuit, and their debt mixed with what they were asking for in damages all raise some serious red flags. To me it sounds like they screwed up, went deep into debt, and then they decided to sue Epic to bail themselves out.

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

Not to outright bash our legal system, but I wonder if the Judges in this case really understand what is being argued here. What I mean is that gaming industry works differently than any other media industry. The biggest difference is the tech and how it is shared and being used. I'm not saying the Judges are stupid but it seems strange this case has moved forward.

namdar
namdar

Too human has been years in the making, including several engine change overs, when it flopped SK felt betrayed by the very makers of the engine they acquired to finally finish the game. The game was lackluster and looked almost unfinished and rushed... I think they just want to blame EPIC for their failure. But I could be wrong if the Judge has merits. I think it's 50/50 right now either they win or they don't. if they don't win, that could crush SK.

rasterror
rasterror

Am I the only person that liked Too Human and hope for a sequel? By the comments I guess so.

k2theswiss
k2theswiss

I wanted to play too human but once i heard in a review were every time you die you had to watch the SAME lengthy cut scene every time you die

k2theswiss
k2theswiss

"Epic quickly countersued, accusing the Canadian developer of trying to steal the Unreal Engine 3 technology for its own engine. " Very serious act in the video game industry...

oneligas
oneligas

all that is missing is Epic signing on with Activision and then the axis of evil will be complete

PlaystFreak
PlaystFreak

@Stiler I assume you are familiar with Silicon Knights, you do have a Raziel icon after all. As long as one Legacy Of Kain fan stands, we are legion.

Stiler
Stiler

[QUOTE]Hunterjuggz Posted Mar 31, 2011 3:24 pm PT Silicon Knights hit a home run with Too human, but where did they go? Have they really been putting that much time and effort into this legal battle? Hasn't stopped Epic one iota, producing some of the best software ever. Get over it SK, and make us some Too human 2.[/QUOTE] Too human was a bust, doubt they'd consider making a second one.

shakensparco
shakensparco

Whoa, thought this got resolved years ago. This case should be nicknamed Duke Nukem.

Hunterjuggz
Hunterjuggz

Silicon Knights hit a home run with Too human, but where did they go? Have they really been putting that much time and effort into this legal battle? Hasn't stopped Epic one iota, producing some of the best software ever. Get over it SK, and make us some Too human 2. ;)

Kcube
Kcube

SK has only made one good game..Eternal darkness. I can't believe this garbage is going to jury..It isnt Epics fault to human sucked.

dkdk999
dkdk999

btw does anyone else remember the absolutely MASSIVE arguments about too human a few days before it was released ? The forums were going crazy with lovers and haters of too human. I to this day still say it was a great game.

Vividnightmare
Vividnightmare

Very Interesting, I had forgotten all about this. I can't say much other than I hope whoever truly is in the wrong gets punished and not the other way around. I'd like to see a Too Human 2 but the first one didn't do great, so I never expected a 2nd one.

nilemonitor
nilemonitor

Ubisoft has numerous games that use the same U3 game engine. Why aren't they complaining??? Perhaps because they actually make good games.

Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

Totally forgot about this, I'd care more if Too Human's developer didn't make the absolute biggest disappointment of 2008.

mdboomer
mdboomer

Lets see now....Epic makes money and actually puts out games every few years. What has SK done?