Silicon Knights Sues Epic Games

Dacalo

Diamond Member
Mar 31, 2000
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I wonder what prompted this lawsuit? Usually developers wouldn't go this far, but something really serious must have happened. It's too bad considering these guys are top of their games.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
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This must have really infuriated them if it is true. Pay $500K? for a license and then feel like the company abandoned you to finish up their own game:

GamaSutra

"E3 2006 Issues Documented

A key point of contention is the E3 demo of Too Human, which was not well received - the suit alleges: "The final development kit for the Xbox 360 was released by Microsoft in early September, 2005, meaning that Epic was obligated to deliver a fully operable version of the Engine to Silicon Knights by no later than March, 2006."

"That delivery date is significant, since compliance by Epic would have given Silicon Knights time to prepare an appropriate demonstration version of its Microsoft Xbox 360 game, Too Human, for the very important industry trade show, E3, two months later in May, 2006."

It continues: "Epic apparently was able to achieve a very useable version of the Engine for the Xbox 360 ? the version that it kept to itself, for use only on its Gears of War game (as discussed below), to the detriment of Silicon Knights and Epic?s other licensees, as set forth in more detail below. Epic?s plan to avoid its obligations and hoard all of the necessary functionalities not only harmed Silicon Knights and all of Epic?s other licensees in the industry, but also gave Epic a clearly unfair advantage in the industry."

How so? "That advantage was nowhere more evident than at E3 2006, where Gears of War was awarded ?Best Game in Show? and garnered nothing but laudatory press. By contrast, Silicon Knights ? one of the only other [Unreal Engine 3] developers to publicly display a playable demonstration of its game ? saw Too Human roundly criticized in the videogame press for its technical problems and generally unpolished appearance. The damage to Silicon Knights caused by Epic?s misconduct was manifest, because E3 attendees were able to compare Too Human with another game running ostensibly the same game engine, Gears of War, with vastly superior results."
 

Queasy

Moderator<br>Console Gaming
Aug 24, 2001
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I wonder if any other devs will step up and confirm what Silicon Knights is alleging.
 

Queasy

Moderator<br>Console Gaming
Aug 24, 2001
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Originally posted by: BlameCanada
I've heard nothing but praise over the Unreal 3 Engine.

Methinks the problem lies with Silicon Knights.

Well, whether they are sucky devs or fantastic devs is immaterial to the allegations that Epic failed to meet its end of the bargain in delivering functional code for SK and other dev houses to use. That's why I'm interested if there will be any others that step up and confirm what SK is alleging.
 

ObscureCaucasian

Diamond Member
Jul 23, 2006
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Did anyone else catch that tidbit that SK is now making their own engine? I can see Too Human becoming the next Duke Nukem Forever or Starcraft Ghost.
 

Queasy

Moderator<br>Console Gaming
Aug 24, 2001
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Well, SK is saying early 2008 for Too Human now.

Production of Starcraft Ghost was killed a couple of years ago.
 

ObscureCaucasian

Diamond Member
Jul 23, 2006
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Perhaps they have been working on their engine for awhile now then. I'm downloading a trailer now to see if I care if it ever comes out.
 

ObscureCaucasian

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Jul 23, 2006
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What I'm seeing so far is looking good. It's only cinematic, but appears to be rendered in-engine.

There really aren't many details on this game right now, but is it an RPG? It kinda reminds me of Mass Effect to a certain extent.
 
Oct 19, 2000
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Too Human has been in development/planning stages for quite a number of years now. Wasn't it originally planned to be a psOne title or something? Hell, it's even been a year or two since I read that.
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator CPU Forum Mod and Elite Member
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Aug 22, 2001
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After playing the Hour of Victory demo, and reading this FS review I'm wondering if Midway is in the same boat as SK, or if they can take full credit for that steaming pile :p
 

ObscureCaucasian

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Jul 23, 2006
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Originally posted by: blurredvision
Too Human has been in development/planning stages for quite a number of years now. Wasn't it originally planned to be a psOne title or something? Hell, it's even been a year or two since I read that.

They said they've wanted to do the title for a long time, and it was originally attempted on the PSone, and the the Gamecube, and finally the Xbox 360.
 

KlokWyze

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Sep 7, 2006
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www.dogsonacid.com
Originally posted by: blurredvision
Too Human has been in development/planning stages for quite a number of years now. Wasn't it originally planned to be a psOne title or something? Hell, it's even been a year or two since I read that.

In a sense yeah. Over 10 years ago they were going to make a game with a lot of similarities, but you were supposed to be like a detective in 2050 investigating genetic bio-mods type shit.

Too Human, now is a 3rd person action/beat-em up with heavy RPG elements & epic/Norse-mythology story line. The graphical style looked amazing to me... Hands-down though, the fighting engine MUST rock in order for this too be successful. Must be of Ninja-Gaiden or higher qaulity. ;)
 

hooflung

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Dec 31, 2004
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I read the ENTIRE law suite complaint papers.

It has a LOT of insight you really shouldn't comment to this thread without reading this.

It looks like Epic is about to loose a massive trial by jury. Read it in its entirety and it looks as if Epic, by just the dates, is in violation of many breaches of the contract.

In fact, Gears of War uses a highly modified UE3 engine because they tried to use their own engine and it wouldn't work. They used middle ware they refused their liscensees, which were contractually obligated to have.

Not only did Epic not make their source available on time, but it was incomplete. And after Gears of War was released functions were 'not supported' to licensees even though they did basic things such as PASS MICROSOFTS QUALITY CONTROL.

Gears of War was also being touted as using the UE3 engine at E3 but it wasn't. It was using a 'work in progress' engine that never made it to the licensees until november 2006. Epic even asked developers to 'fix' the engine and submit code back to them. Epic were contractually obligated to provide support for the engine to liscensees.

While other games have gone on to be released... the XBOX 360 engine and PS3 engine are really the only ones in question in this lawsuit. Sony has even stated publically that they are now helping Epic increase performance on the PS3 with their engine. Something which in itself violates the license SK and Epic had... since they were supposed to recieve a working engine in Feb 2007. And according to the court papers many developers share the same story and SK is going full force against them. I am sure they will call other developers to the stand at the trial to testify on their behalf.

Honestly, it does seem like Epic has had stuffed their coffers and released GoW to a very receptive audience while shunning its licensees.
 

ObscureCaucasian

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Jul 23, 2006
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Originally posted by: hooflung
I read the ENTIRE law suite complaint papers.

It has a LOT of insight you really shouldn't comment to this thread without reading this.

You read all 54 pages? I better start reading now.
 

Modelworks

Lifer
Feb 22, 2007
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They will not win the lawsuit.
I have looked at the licensing for many many game engines.
Almost all have provisions that let the engine creator off the hook for any "unforseen problems"

Contract support is simply "to the best of our ability"
It does not mean they have to satisfy you.


As for sk making there own engine.
Guess the shipping of there product wasn't as important as they claimed.
By the time they implement physics (recommend havok), animation, texturing, compression, and on and on, it will be 2009.
 

Finnkc

Senior member
Jul 9, 2003
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I think SK is just pissed off and are looking to blame anything and anyone for the below par eye candy and delayed release. So instead of blaming their Tech Artists, Designers, and Programmers they blame Epic.
 

hooflung

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Dec 31, 2004
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Originally posted by: BlameCanada
Originally posted by: hooflung
I read the ENTIRE law suite complaint papers.

It has a LOT of insight you really shouldn't comment to this thread without reading this.

You read all 54 pages? I better start reading now.

Yes I did and yes you should.

 

hooflung

Golden Member
Dec 31, 2004
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What I find funny here is that there are many fanboi's across the net saying exactly the same things you are.

In fact this is pretty clear cut. Epic are in violation of atleast 2 breaches of contract. Not delivering the Xbox 360 UE3 engine on time or the PS3 UE3 engine on time.

Saying that SK are pissed is somewhat ignorant of who they actually are and what praises even Epic gave them when they 'convinced' SK to use the engine on the platforms in question. But, you guys would know this if you read the pre-trial documents right?

Right...

All that matters is if they are in violation or not. They are presumably, as referenced in the pre-trial complaints to the North Carolina courts, not the only ones in this boat. Infact, you don't reference others in a document like that as if you are posting on a website. There is almost always a witness or testimony to back up your claims or your case will not stand.

And all they have to do is PROVE THEIR CASE. You can claim envy but SK are saying the engine that they were sold is NOT the engine that they or anyone else got and that improvements to the basic features THEY DID GET were not improved before Gears of War came out and that many of the improvements are in not supported IN THE SOURCE THEY LISCENSED.

The legaleese in that document is pretty mild. Read it. Get of the fanboi cushions. I love UT and Epic as much as anyone and bought all the games on they've put out. But this is pretty disturbing.
 

ObscureCaucasian

Diamond Member
Jul 23, 2006
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I don't think there are any Epic "Fanbois" here. Most people are just calling it as it would appear to 90% of the population. Saying that everyone should have to read a 54 page document before contributing to discussion is unrealistic.

Just like many lawsuits, if SK can prove what they are accusing Epic of, then they have a shot. But they're going to have to find other developers to support what they're saying. With Mass Effect coming out shortly, it's hard to believe that the engine is as in as poor shape as SK makes it out to be.
 

BladeVenom

Lifer
Jun 2, 2005
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Only a fanboy reads a 54 page complaint. The two most important things would be the contract and the evidence. Have you seen either of those, hooflung?
 

Stiganator

Platinum Member
Oct 14, 2001
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Would definitely need to see evidence. I would lean towards SK sucking more than EPIC sucking. Obviously a lot a change is game specific. Not to mention that SK tries to spin EPIC releasing GoW source to everyone as damage control as opposed to the goodwill gesture that is probably was. I see it as EPIC writing an engine that may not have been as user friendly as the previous version since this version is made for much more complex platforms. SK saying, "I don't get it, this isn't easy like the last one we bought....Lets sue them!" just my take on it though.
 

Queasy

Moderator<br>Console Gaming
Aug 24, 2001
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ShackNews interviews some other devs.

Common thread seems to be that Epic did deliver stuff late but it wasn't out of malicious intent like SK makes it sound. Epic was just stretched thin in trying to get UE3 to work while working on GoW and UT3. I think the fact that Sony had send in a team of 'SWAT programmers' to Epic to help them get the UE3 working on the PS3 supports that.