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Silicon Knights and Epic Headed to Court over Too Human Development Woes

Back in 2007, Silicon Knights filed a suit against Epic Games for their Unreal Engine. At the time, SK claimed that the tools weren't as functional as they'd allegedly agreed upon. This setback supposedly forced SK to halt development of Too Human on Unreal and essentially remake the game on a new, in-house engine. Epic then launched a countersuit, claiming that Silicon Knights "breached its license agreement, stole Epic’s technology and infringed Epic’s copyrights."

Since that drama occurred, Too Human came and went, generally regarded as a mediocre game (though I have a soft spot for it, I admit). It seemed the two parties would simply settle out of court and move on. However, it's been reported that the case is in fact going to trial.

Both parties are standing their ground. Silicon Knights President Denis Dyack said, "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." Meanwhile, Epic released a statement expressing their innocence in the matter: "Epic remains confident that it will be fully vindicated at trial."

At the time, it did seem that several developers struggled with the Unreal Engine, though Silicon Knights was the only studio to take action. Now the engine is used more than ever and works better than ever, and most games running on it look pretty great. What has Silicon Knights done in that time? Well, they are developing X-Men: Destiny, though little has been revealed about that game.

I have my doubts about the strength of the case, considering Silicon Knights was the only developer to speak out against Epic. At the same time, no matter what the outcome, the time they're wasting in court could be better spent on making games. If we had a lawsuit every time a studio missed a deadline or put out an unfinished product, Silicon Knights themselves would be a repeat offender.

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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