Remembering 2008: The Biggest Games That Turn 10 This Year
Created by GameSpot Staff on
Too Human (August 19, 2008)
Too Human isn't necessarily something worth going back to, and it also wasn't exactly praised as a worthwhile game when it released in 2008. It turned out to be a fairly middling third-person action RPG, and in the words of GameSpot reviewer Kevin VanOrd, "It will lift you up only to continually let you down." Too Human tells the story of Norse mythology in a dystopian sci-fi setting, but its threads are wholly incomplete. Regardless, the systems made for fun combat scenarios, and co-op highlighted those moments. So, why is Too Human worth mentioning? Developer Silicon Knights and Epic Games (makers of Unreal Engine) went into one of the more wild legal disputes in modern gaming history.
Silicon Knights first sued Epic for "failure to provide a working game engine" in July 2007. However, Epic struck back with a counter-suit a month later claiming that both parties were fully aware that features of the engine were still in development and that Silicon Knights violated the license agreement by modifying the engine and sharing technology with Sega. It wouldn't be until five years after Too Human's release that the case would be resolved; In 2012, Epic won the suit on grounds that Silicon Knights committed "copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of contract." As a result, Silicon Knights was ordered to destroy all its tech and code that was derived from Unreal Engine 3 and give Epic access to company devices to make sure this happened. This meant that any unsold copies of Too Human (and other titles using UE3 tech) had to be destroyed as well.
The studio went defunct after filing bankruptcy two years later. Luckily, if you really wanted to play this lacking action RPG, used copies are out there for cheap despite the obliteration of copies and its code. It may have been more or less erased from the games market, but the circumstances in which Too Human existed is a story that left a more lasting impression than the game itself. -- Michael Higham