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Too Human got a bad rap, sequels still possible says Dyack

Silicon Knights' Denis Dyack expects the truth to come out on May 14 in the trial against Epic Games

Too Human had been planned as an Xbox 360 exclusive trilogy when it launched in August 2008, but the game was panned critically and did not live up to sales expectations, leaving the future of the Silicon Knights franchise in doubt. Silicon Knights boss Denis Dyack, however, believes there is still hope and he told GamesIndustry International that an abundance of details will be revealed on May 14, the date set for his company's trial with Epic Games.

"I think as long as Silicon Knights is still around there is still hope," he told us when asked about continuing the Too Human franchise. "You know, in some ways Too Human got a bad rap, and there are all kinds of details. A lot of what happened with Too Human is going to come out in the court case, which is May 14."

Dyack then proceeded to reveal one detail about the game, which presumably didn't make it into the final product because Silicon Knights had to rewrite an entire game engine following its troubles with Epic's Unreal Engine.

"I think the state of our demise has been greatly exaggerated. Here we are. We're here"

Denis Dyack

"So as an example, this is not known at all - I'll give you something no one's ever heard before - but four-player co-op was done in 2008. Details of that and all that stuff will come out [in the court case]," Dyack said.

For those of you who haven't been following the case, Silicon Knights essentially accused Epic of not providing proper Unreal Engine support during Too Human's development, choosing instead to move company resources towards the development of Gears of War. Dyack's been "patiently waiting for five years" to go to trial and is eager to have "Epic's misconduct finally being aired in the light of day."

Dyack believes the trial will be hugely important to the industry because of how widely adopted Unreal Engine 3 has been. He told us that it's been absolute "hell" for him and his company.

"Bottom-line, and this is pretty public, we went through hell last generation by trying to adopt the Unreal Engine. It hurt us so dramatically that it affected us a lot, all the way through. You know, we're hoping to fix that this gen. We've suffered a lot, that's all I can say," Dyack continued.

Interestingly, he refers to last generation and "this gen" because Silicon Knights has already moved on to new consoles. Dyack's not ready to talk about the next-gen project, but given his comments on Eternal Darkness recently, we have a strong suspicion that Silicon Knights is actually working on the fan favorite.

"We're really excited and we're working on our next generation stuff. We're working on an IP that's our most requested and we're really excited about that."

"We're smaller, obviously," he said referring to layoffs, "and we're going back to our roots. I'm really looking forward to a point in time when we can talk about it, it's just not today. That's the current state of things. I think the state of our demise has been greatly exaggerated. Here we are. We're here."

May is certainly shaping up to be a fun-filled legal month for the games business. One week prior to the Silicon Knights vs. Epic Games trial, former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella will face off against Activision Blizzard in a trial on May 7 - the duo is seeking $125 million of unpaid Modern Warfare royalties as well as an annulment of their contract with Activision.

We'll have much more from our Dyack interview next week. Stay tuned.

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Latest comments (10)

Sam Maxted Journalist / Community / Support 9 years ago
Putting the contents of the lawsuit to one side for the moment, Too Human really wasn't all that good. I can't help but feel that until the higher-ups at Silicon Knights admit and accept this, it'll be hard for the company to move on and the temptation will always be there to create a sequel.

And a sequel to Too Human isn't what the company needs right now.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Maxted on 23rd March 2012 11:24pm

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James Prendergast Process Specialist 9 years ago
I have to say that Too Human wasn't the best game.... However, it wasn't that bad. Though the cut in the story was probably worse than ME3's ending :).

I actually thoroughly enjoyed the game and gameplay so I'd quite like to see a sequel.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 9 years ago
Sam I totally agree. I don't know how Dyack can keep talking like this, it simply seems like he's denying reality. There are some incredibly talented people at that studio but the good and bad need to be excepted to evaluate and make the next product better.
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Show all comments (10)
Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters9 years ago
There were some bizarre design decisions in that game. Like how the only actual disadvantage of dying was the utter frustration of having to sit through the same long unskippable cut scene every time - then you just respawned in exactly the same place you just died with the state of the world exactly how it was left when you died, for you to carry on playing as if nothing had happened. Which seemed to mean the game was balanced in the expectation that you would die a lot, and the only barrier to you finishing the game was if you got sick of seeing that cut scene again and again. I don't really see how the Unreal Engine had anything to do with the fact that the game was just badly designed.
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I think the question remains - can SK produce a next gen blockbuster in light of its current developmental challenges, failing which a few AA lite products could help bring in cash to the coffers
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Matthew Eakins Technical Lead, HB-Studios9 years ago
I just want to offset the negative Nancys and say that I loved Too Human, the combat was really well done. Though I did spend a lot of time in co-op (which in itself is saying something because I hate multiplayer games)
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 9 years ago
Being "negative" about things that are negative is positive in the end.

Being positive about things that are terrible is living in denial - it's ultimately negative.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 28th March 2012 12:22am

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
The idea of Too Human was grand and impressive in spots, but the game could have cooked longer, methinks. I'd not mind seeing the rest of the story for sure. Oh, as to the quality of the game and moving on, anyone remember Advent Rising? That was supposed to be a trilogy as well (with a PSP game added in for good measure), but the first chapter exploded (and nearly sunk Majesco). Guess what happened to the developer? They went on to better things (Shadow Complex, Infinity Blade).

That said, hell, I REALLY want to see the rest of that particular tale. The first game ended on a major cliffhanger that left everyone who played it hanging...
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers9 years ago
I remember getting a chance to play the demo when it came out. Granted, this was only about a half hour of gameplay, but I've rarely felt so disconnected from the action before in a game that wasn't a turn-based RPG. The use of the second analog to target and attack was an interesting one, but I just felt like I was pointing Balder in a direction and he was doing everything else. Maybe it was a spectacular experience during the full game and the co-op fulfilled its manifest destiny but what I saw didn't make me want to play more.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises9 years ago
Epic should just give Silicon Knights their $750,000 back, and get this story behind them. Who cares if Silicon Knights is still using a modified version of the Unreal engine, Too Human had a meta critic rating of 68, it's not like they're going to make a Too Human 2 that's insanely successful and Epic misses out on a billion dollars in royalties and fees.
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