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Silicon Knights ordered to destroy all Unreal code and products

Silicon Knights ordered to destroy all Unreal code and products

Fri 09 Nov 2012 10:13am GMT / 5:13am EST / 2:13am PST
PublishingDevelopment

Injunction names Too Human and X-Men: Destiny among numerous projects

Silicon Knights has until December 10 this year to destroy any software it developed with Epic Games' Unreal Engine.

The ruling was a part of the fallout from the Canadian developers' widely reported court case with Epic Games, which concluded in May this year. Silicon Knights initially sought damages of $58 million on the grounds that Epic had failed to offer appropriate support during the development of Too Human. However, the jury ruled in Epic's favour, and ordered Silicon Knights to pay $4.5 million.

But there was another aspect of the ruling - noticed by NeoGAF forum user Xenon - stipulating that Silicon Knights must “destroy all versions of [Unreal Engine] technology in its possession.” That includes the game code and engine code for Too Human, The Box/Ritualyst, The Sandman, Siren in the Maelstrom and X-Men: Destiny.

The injunction also orders Silicon Knights to cease future production and distribution of the games in question, and recall and destroy all unsold copies at its own expense.

This could prove decisive for the future of Silicon Knights. A recent report on the development of the critical and commercial flop X-Men: Destiny, published by Kotaku, alleged that the company now has fewer than five employees and limited financial resources.

Silicon Knights is due to notify both the court and Epic Games of its compliance no later than December 21 this year, with further contact to be made on February 21 2013.

16 Comments

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,203 816 0.7
They got really screwed. Like super screwed...

Posted:A year ago

#1

Daniel Hughes
Studying PhD Literary Modernism

410 455 1.1
If a book were found to infringe copyrights, would the author be forced to burn every copy of it, and the original manuscripts?

Posted:A year ago

#2

Thomas Dolby
Project Manager / Lead Programmer

319 253 0.8
It's sad to see such a massive waste of time and resources.

Posted:A year ago

#3
rewinding back the clock, maybe this wasnt such a great fight to pick with unreal in the beginning....

Posted:A year ago

#4

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,210 2,049 0.9
Definitely a more harsh ruling than most I've seen regarding similar issues.

This ruling basically puts the company out of business.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Peter Dwyer
Games Designer/Developer

458 254 0.6
Popular Comment
They pretty much screwed themselves here so I'm lacking in any sympathy. Seriously how did they intend to sue Epic for 58 million because they didn't have the in house talent to make a successful game with the engine they bought.

If they had sued for the price of the engine back on the grounds of lack of support I and probably any jury would have said fair do's give them the cash back. but, to claim 58 million from fictional loss of sales, earnings blah blah blah was asking for trouble. Especially as everyone else using the engine was doing just fine. Presumably with the same level of help as Silicon were getting.

The only thing I don't agree with here is Epic asking for this wholesale ban/removal /recall. Epic should have had some compassion for the developers at silicon and simply ask that no future products use the engine in any way. At worse this level of vindictive demands would make me think twice about using unreal for any project.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Dan Howdle
Head of Content

272 761 2.8
In answer to Daniel. Yep, that's exactly the case with publishing. Though, it would be the publisher that had to do it, so I see your point.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Howdle on 9th November 2012 3:54pm

Posted:A year ago

#7
We dont know what went said/unsaid behind doors though. Normally there has to be a crazy amount of ill ilk for such measures to be instate (if reading between the lines) and probably in this case, to the victor the spoils, but it does seem a bit harsh (even though Epic are well within their rights to exercise such a demand)

Posted:A year ago

#8

Steve Nicholls
Programmer

69 31 0.4
Ouch...

Posted:A year ago

#9

Paul Smith
Dev

195 155 0.8
Popular Comment
This is ridiculous, yeah sure too human and x-men weren't great games but to demand that their source code be destroyed is insane, its like burning books.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Smith on 9th November 2012 7:29pm

Posted:A year ago

#10

Georges Paz
Programmer, technical director and CEO

13 1 0.1
Epic can ask you to destroy whatever you have that belongs to them. At any time! In this case, their engine sources. They should probably read the license agreement before messing out with Epic. That's why I'll never license such dirty Engines.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Georges Paz on 9th November 2012 7:46pm

Posted:A year ago

#11

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

768 1,001 1.3
So Silicon Knights will join THQ as another company that doesn't survive this generation.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

1,993 902 0.5
As a closet game historian and someone who believes in preservation, this stinks, period. Sure, Epic CAN order the code destroyed (boom!), but SHOULD they? Does this also mean anyone who owns any of the SK-made UE games should destroy them as well? OK, I know the answer to that stupid question, but let's say they made a digital download release. In that case, could it be ordered that that game be deleted from a user's hard drive via a system update or some other mandatory thing?

That would be worse, but hey, it's something to think about....

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 10th November 2012 7:07am

Posted:A year ago

#13

Varun Tyagi
AI Programmer

7 7 1.0
That is just sad to read. :(

Posted:A year ago

#14

Patrick Williams
Medicine and Research

93 61 0.7
If its true that SK is down to a skeleton crew of less than 10 people, all these fines and these measures are just nails in the coffin. I don't see how SK can possibly survive or how anyone can want to fund them after the post-mortem we read about Destiny.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Ai-Vern Siow
Snr Product Executive

4 0 0.0
Although it doesn't actually say that Epic asked for any of the other penalties, the full ruling came from the judge.

Posted:A year ago

#16

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