Today is a very bad day to be Denis Dyack, founder and president of Silicon Knights. The long and drawn out battle with Epic over claims that the Gears of War developer did not deliver to Silicon Knights an Unreal Engine dev kit in a timely fashion and the withholding of support in favor of investment in its own games is drawing to a close. In May, after five years of legal wrangling, the suit was finally settled with the courts finding for Epic on all counts.
Today, Silicon Knights has been dealt a blow that will likely mean the end of the studio. The court has ordered that all unsold copies of games using the Unreal Engine, including Too Human, X-Men Destiny, The Box/Ritualyst, The Sandman and Siren in the Maelstrom must be recalled and destroyed. If you ever had any interest in playing one of these titles, I recommend getting them now. New copies are going to vanish from retailers, with the remainder likely to be sold at exorbitant prices by scalpers. As is the nature of these things, the quality of the games will be surpassed by their rarity where pricing is concerned.
The annihilation of software comes after Silicon Knights was ordered to pay $4.45 million to Epic to cover breach of licensing agreement ($2.65 million) and copyright infringement ($1.8 million). One year ago, after the poor critical reception received by X-Men Destiny, the studio cut staffing to 25 employees. At this point, any sort of recovery seems unlikely. Those anxiously awaiting the final two parts of the Too Human trilogy (at least those who didn’t give up hope years ago) might consider throwing in the towel.