Silicon Knights’ (apparently frivilous) lawsuit against Epic continues to backfire on them, as the US court presiding over the case has ruled that Silicon Knights has to destroy all remaining unsold copies of Unreal engine powered games like Too Human and X-Men Legends.
The court ruled that Silicon Knights used copyrighted material from Epic’s Unreal engine in their own games, and as such, all remaining stock of Too Human and X-Men Destinyhas been ordered to be destroyed. Silicon Knights must also remove all traces of the offending code from their unreleased projects. The court battle between Silicon Knights and Epic originally began when SK sued Epic, as SK somehow blamed Epic for the poor critical and sales reception that Too Human got. Unsurprisingly, the judge (and most of the games industry,) sided with Epic, and Silicon Knights lost the lawsuit. Epic then counter-sued for damages and legal fees, which they won.
The cost of destroying the remaining copies of Too Human and X-Men Destiny is expected to double the cost of the court case to Silicon Knights; the company was originally ordered to pay Epic back 4.45 million dollars earlier this year, and the expected cost of this new ruling is expected to add an additional 4.7 million dollars to that amount. Silicon Knights is apparently in dire straights as a result: rumors persist that the company has fired all of their employees except for a select few skeleton staff (rumors say there’s as little as five people working at the company now,) and all of Silicon Knight’s games this generation have failed to sell to expectations.
It’s sad to hear that the company that developed survival horror classic Eternal Darkness is probably on its death bed, but in this case, they brought it on themselves: they never should have sued Epic over how Too Human turned out. The Unreal engine is simply a tool set designed to aide developers — it’s not Epic’s responsibility to make your game for you.
Regardless, game collectors out there might want to pick up a copy of Too Human or X-Men Destiny soon, as they might be worth something someday.