You may remember that earlier this Canadian developer Silicon Knights, creators of Too Human, lost a legal battle with Epic Games over the rights to use their Unreal Engine. What you won’t know, however, is that part of the judgment ruling was that the developer destroy all software it built with the Unreal engine, including the code for games such as Too Human and X-Men: Destiny. Ouch.
As if that wasn’t enough, Silicon Knights were ordered to recall all unsold copies of the games and destroy them – all at their own expense. Speculation on the internet is that these games will subsequently gain value; we may see a dusty copy of Too Human 10 years from now on Pawn Stars.
The legal battles started in 2007 when Silicon Knights claimed that Epic was spending money on Gears of War development that it should have been putting into supporting the Unreal Engine. They blamed Epic for their high development costs, saying that issues with the Unreal Engine held up the release of Too Human when they had to ditch the tech at the eleventh hour and produce their own engine.
Epic countersued, and the trial ended with Silicon Knights having to pay Epic $4.45 million in damages. The court ruled that Silicon Knights breached their Unreal Engine license agreement and infringed Epic’s copyrights in the Unreal code.
Things haven’t gotten any better for the struggling developer after the Activision-published X-Men: Destiny was a flop. Recent reports suggest that the team has been cut down to only five staff, and just barely hanging on.
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