Epic Wins Advantage in Too Human Lawsuit

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I want to see Too Human finished. It was an interesting take on Norse mythology, and the gameplay wasn't rubbish, just not polished. Learning from the mistakes of the first, I bet that the sequels would have been pretty damn awesome.

I'm not sure how to take the whole thing....

On one hand, they have made previous very good games. Before then had shown they had plenty of potential, skill and creativity.

On the other

I buy too human and It's pritty bad, overall.

The argument is that the engine and all the previous content they worked so hard on needed to be scrapped, a valid argument. But there were some very bad design choices (re-spawn system and targeting anyone?) Can these be blamed on the rush to re-build the product? Maybe, but the world doesn't run on maybes.

It's very, very sad. This though doesn't help there case. I could see those figures, if it were successful, but at best can only be marketing estimations or a blatant cash grab. If this guy was an expert he would have seen this outcome. I agree with the choice, but epic shouldn't so quickly dismiss these numbers when the game took 7+ years of previous work.

ShadowsofHope:
lol, Silicon Knights. 10+ Billion dollars lost for two sequels? The first one, being an utter cock slap in the face towards anything epic about the Norse gods and their mythology, was hardly worth the $60 I spent on it when it first came out. Maybe $15, if I'm being extremely generous..

..That said, I do want a remake of the game. Just, that is, by a far more competent company.

Well that wont happen, they are not going to push out another game, if there going to fold anyways. They will cut there losses and close the company. Pay off what they have and not risk deeper debt.

I never like to see a developer crash and burn, but you live by the sword, you die by the sword.

I hate lawyers.

Does anyone else think SK might as well just say "we suck at making games so give us money!" Makes about as much sense. Idiots, if your game is shit that's no ones fault but your own. Just looking at how many unbelievably high quality titles are made using UE3 (batman, mass effect, bioshock to name a few) and the fact the very reason the engine is used by so many is because of its ease of use disproves any argument they could make claiming it is somehow Epics tech at fault.

The game sucked, although the concept behind it was good.

The thing is, though, there were good games that came out using the Unreal Engine in 2006 (when they were originally supposed to release), so unless they can make some very specific and provable claims about why the UE they were handed in 2006 wasn't sufficient for the task (and not just that, say, they didn't do a very good job as implied by the lackluster reception at E3), they're not likely to win their case.

(Hey, ReCaptcha! I do not have Hebrew characters on my keyboard, okay?!)

wait, so they are sueing for damages of possible profit of sequels they didn't make???
ok so thne i can sue escapist for taking my time and thus i didnt invent cure for cancer and earned a billion? how does that makes any logical sense?

How these guys haven't dissolved yet is a complete mystery to me. They clearly are out of touch with gamers and what they want.

Baresark:
How these guys haven't dissolved yet is a complete mystery to me. They clearly are out of touch with gamers and what they want.

Answer:Government money

Come to Canada, not only will we bail you out despite a steadily declining track record, but we'll pay your "legal" expenses too.

That damaged reputation didn't come from the delay, it came from the fact the game SUCKED.

With a few exceptions, people buy GOOD games and don't buy BAD ones. Valve delays it games into oblivion, and they still sell like mad!

I'm astonished so many uniformed people are taking the time to comment about how they hate the game.

- The point is that Epic harmed SilikonKnight's reputation.

SK was pushed to have an E3 demo, and it looked bad (SK claimed the camera couldn't get in close due to texture quality, and the engine couldn't handle as many enemies on screen as they wanted). Meanwhile GearsOfWar gave a demo at the same E3, and looked incredible.

SK looked at the awesome Gears demo and pointed out a lot of it just wasn't possible with the Unreal Engine tools they'd purchased, and cried fowl. Epic never really denied that they'd used tools that weren't available to SK, they just quibbled over what their licensing agreement really promised.

How do you haters explain this away?

Epic was putting extra sauce into it's own game, and not sharing promptly with those few who licensing (and thus funding development of) the engine. This is the core of the complaint.

- p.s. everyone who blindly comments that SK has no talent, and makes bad games: exemplifies the complaint that Epic has ruined their reputation.

Callate:
The thing is, though, there were good games that came out using the Unreal Engine in 2006 (when they were originally supposed to release)

I thought the whole point was that Gears of War was the only good UE game that came out in 2006 - and it was made using tools and tricks that weren't readily available to the engine licensees.

Can you point out other games that used UE that year, and were also good?

edit: ah, i see RoboBlitz and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas were UE3 games that also came out in 2006. ... and they weren't known for being buggy.
(i'm going from this list, sorted by date: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unreal_Engine_games#Unreal_Engine_3 )

... This is pretty damning, no? Would love to hear how these folks didn't have problems with the engine. (tempted to claim they weren't pushing for as many enemies, or as large environments. but, I dunno.)

Would be interesting to read interviews with them about their game development!

admittedly, whenever I hear that SK knights had problems with the engine tools, I always think of BlackSite: Area 51. I remember playing that x360 demo and wondering why they'd release something with so many embarassing bugs. hmm.
(and then the lead developer was fired for publicly admitting the game had bad tech and unrealistic dev schedule: http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2007/11/montreal-2007-h/ )
(OT: I really wanted to be excited about this particular game, because one of my favorite writers, Grant Morrison, had written a script for a hollywood adaptation. One of those curiosities that no one seemed to notice or talk about. :(
http://www.internapse.com/news/2007/06/grant-morrison-talks-gamestofilm/ )

Scrustle:
How the hell do you even begin to estimate how much money you have "lost" from a game that doesn't and never did exist?

Well, Silicon Knights would say: you retain a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst, like Terry Lloyd, to give his expert opinion. This is what analysts are for.

Epic's lawyers, and the judge: would not agree. apparently.

Trishbot:
I still feel bad because Silicon Knights had a pretty good resume right until Too Human. They gave us Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen, Eternal Darkness, and Twin Snakes, and I loved all of those.

You didn't read the complete 'resume' then. There was 3 average strategy games that they made before Blood Omen.

And to be completely honest, as good of a game as Blood Omen is, I'll give credit for the Legacy of Kain to Crystal Dynamics. I mean seriously, they made Legacy of Kain famous, and that was after handing SK a bunch of extra staff to get Blood Omen done in the first place.

warrenEBB:
I'm astonished so many uniformed people are taking the time to comment about how they hate the game.

- The point is that Epic harmed SilikonKnight's reputation.

SK was pushed to have an E3 demo, and it looked bad (SK claimed the camera couldn't get in close due to texture quality, and the engine couldn't handle as many enemies on screen as they wanted). Meanwhile GearsOfWar gave a demo at the same E3, and looked incredible.

SK looked at the awesome Gears demo and pointed out a lot of it just wasn't possible with the Unreal Engine tools they'd purchased, and cried fowl. Epic never really denied that they'd used tools that weren't available to SK, they just quibbled over what their licensing agreement really promised.

How do you haters explain this away?

Epic was putting extra sauce into it's own game, and not sharing promptly with those few who licensing (and thus funding development of) the engine. This is the core of the complaint.

- p.s. everyone who blindly comments that SK has no talent, and makes bad games: exemplifies the complaint that Epic has ruined their reputation.

Oh wow, lemme tackle this one.

But seriously you're calling everyone who criticizes SK an uninformed hater yet these same people have some valid points. That and I`m an informed 'hater' if you will. SK has used a crutch for all of it's critically acclaimed games thus far.

First it was Blood Omen. Crystal gave them extra staff to that SK could finish the damn game after taking 3 years with it.

They started development on Too Human in 1999. They got an exclusive deal development with Nintendo, why they didn't just make Too Human for the Gamecube I don't know. Maybe Nintendo didn't want to fund it, I don't know.

That deal gave SK the funding for MGS:Twin Snakes (a damn good remake) and Eternal Darkness (underrated as hell but I blame Nintendo for not advertising it all).

After that we get Too Human. You say they were rushed to show a demo:
http://www.psu.com/forums/showthread.php/19659-Too-Human-Silicon-Knights-responds-to-E3-criticisms

In this interview the developers had the game running well in the February. By May the game looked like crap. They say they had to adapt to Epic's technology additions.
Really they bought a license to use an unfinished engine. That's on them.
They're claiming that Epic was trying to sabotage Too Human to make Gears of War look better. If that was the case, don't you think that Microsoft Games Studios (the guys funding this game) would have been involved in this game as well?

I mean they clearly lost money in funding Too Human as well? It's not like SK had to put in their own funds towards making this game either. They`ve been receiving millions of taxpayer dollars from the Provincial and Federal government for years to stay in business.
Hell, they received $500,000 in provincial taxpayer money specifically to finish Too Human.

My point is, maybe SK is no longer as talented as you may think they are. They didn't get "rushed" to do anything, they took 9 years to release a game. They were at 6 years when they bought Epic`s unfinished license.

They've been feeding off of taxpayer money for years, living in Ontario I can say I feel a little pissed off that the government keeps handing out massive amounts of cash to the is company that would fail otherwise.

8 games made in 20 years? Only three of them are any good. Smaller companies have done literally the same amount of work in half the time without being massively subsidized. With better results.

I'm not an uninformed hater. I'm an informed critic, as are a decent of amount of the people who have negative things to say about Too Human.

It's a lot less us being haters and more like you having a bit too much move for a mediocre game studio. One the I live and hour and a half away from.

I mean seriously we got X-Men Destiny this year. Where is the excuse for that?

warrenEBB:

Scrustle:
How the hell do you even begin to estimate how much money you have "lost" from a game that doesn't and never did exist?

Well, Silicon Knights would say: you retain a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst, like Terry Lloyd, to give his expert opinion. This is what analysts are for.

Epic's lawyers, and the judge: would not agree. apparently.

I still think there's way too many unpredictable factors that could happen in the future if they even started making the games. And even if they somehow managed to calculate how much they lost from a Too Human 2, there simply can't be any way how you could predict the loss of Too Human 3.

Also I personally don't trust any of these industry analysts. It seems for every one that says one thing will happen there is another who will predict the opposite.

Steve Butts:
According to the court papers, Lloyd identified over $58 million in damages across six key categories:

    1) lost royalties due to decrease sales ($6.2 mil)
    2) lost publisher bonus ($750k)
    3) lost ancillary royalties ($810k)
    4) lost profits from sequels ($16+ mil for Too Human II, $14+ mil for Too Human III) and another Sega title, The Ritualyst ($8+ mil)
    5) cost to develop a new engine ($2.3 mil)
    6) economic harm to Silicon Knights' reputation ($8.9 mil)

$16 mil and $14 mil? I'm no economist, but those seem like pretty hopeful numbers for a franchise like Too Human, compared to the franchises against it at the time like Halo and CoD.

And can you even put a price on 'economic harm'? I could say that I tripped on a stone and then sue it for about $7 mil because my sprained ankle made it impossible for me to 'supposedly' go on to win a triathalon and become a celebrated athlete, when in reality I, like Silicon Knights, was probably screwed from the very beginning given the cutthroat nature of its competition.

The point of this article is to say "SK, you guys are twits 'cos you got a clueless crook to cook your books?"
Say that 10 times fast.

Let this be a lesson to, well, everybody.
If you get n00bs to argue your case, you end up causing economic harm to your own reputation.
Someone should sue Lloyd for $8.9 mil.

Oh I am ever so pissed.
I am Canadian citizen, and that was probably the most unplayable game I have ever experienced.

So Too Human didn't do well and Silicon Knights, instead of admitting failure, decides to sue Epic blaming their shortcomings on the engine they selected to use for not living up to the glorified expectations...

I see many more court losses in the near future.

AzrealMaximillion:
But seriously you're calling everyone who criticizes SK an uninformed hater yet these same people have some valid points.

Semantics.

I was referring to posts in this forum thread, not everyone who has ever criticised SK.
It's hard to be precise in forum posts, because one has to keep it semi-short (or few will bother to read).

Look at the 5 people who posted after you.
- Scrustle dismisses the concept of analysts (I don't like them either. But they serve a specific function in court cases about lost profits).
- ThunderCavalier says he's not an economist, then gives his economics opinion. (he questions the whole concept of seeking money in court as questionable, which also seems to miss the point: that we do have a system that lets people seek monetary damages)
- DanceofMasks interprets the article as a sign that SK hired an inexpert crook (apparently Mr. Lloyd's been involved in financial evaluation for 25 years, so I doubt he's completely clueless or criminal - http://www.fsgexperts.com/people/director/terry-lloyd )
- Travis Virgin alludes to your point that SK used canadian tax payer monies - but goes on to make a point that Too human was a bad game. again, missing the point of this article.
- newwiseman does the common thing : of misportraying the point of the court case. He rewrites history a little to fit his opinion that Epic made up all their complaints after their game didn't sell very well.

my goal is not to say I understand every detail of the case. I'm just a 34 year old boring dude who makes small games for education. But I'm posting here to offer an alternate perspective : that maybe the case has merit.

that said, I think your post is awesome, Azreal. and will respond more directly in a moment.

So, I respect your perspective here, Azreal.
Clearly you've followed them closely for years, and make a compelling case for bad management being the problem.

AzrealMaximillion:
You say they were rushed to show a demo:
http://www.psu.com/forums/showthread.php/19659-Too-Human-Silicon-Knights-responds-to-E3-criticisms
... They say they had to adapt to Epic's technology additions.

I don't see a notable difference. They knew their current build had problems, but were rushed/pressured/forced/asked to give a demo at E3 anyway. That blows. Their goal in court is to show that this isn't their fault.
Saying their case is irrelevent, because it's clearly their fault : is baffling? (to me).

You're saying we should be cynical because of their track record (of development problems). but I'm saying we should be optimistic because of their track record (of delivering more than one notably innovative title. a rare feat.).

AzrealMaximillion:
They're claiming that Epic was trying to sabotage Too Human to make Gears of War look better. If that was the case, don't you think that Microsoft Games Studios (the guys funding this game) would have been involved in this game as well?

Not sure I follow (Microsoft WAS involved in Too Human. ... Maybe there was a typo there?)

...but I think it's very possible microsoft saw two of it's partners not getting along: and decided to stick with Epic, while severing all ties with little SK. Epic is far more valuable to Microsoft.
Also, in the article that started this whole forum thread, you can see that Microsoft got to skip a $750K publisher bonus to SK, when SK missed its deadlines. So that may be part of an explanation of why Microsoft wasn't dying to be involved in this squabble.

Hopefull we'll see what SK actually have to show for this "sabotage" point.

AzrealMaximillion:
My point is, maybe SK is no longer as talented as you may think they are.

I hear you. Everyone keeps saying this, and you say it better than most.
My point is, maybe they are still talented but have been royally screwed over. I wish more people would consider this, at least until it all comes out into the open. I hate the cynicism.

AzrealMaximillion:
I mean seriously we got X-Men Destiny this year. Where is the excuse for that?

Well (shrug), the excuse is rumored to be : Activision rushed the game out, to keep the Marvel license. That they didn't care about little ol' SK's reputation. Further, this is rumored to be part of SK's oft-stated interest in self publishing (so they can stop being screwed by publishers).

But yeah, the utter failure of Xmen Destiny is pretty damning evidence that SK has lost all it's talent. I'll give you that. And I am open to giving up on SK. ... But I'm still hoping they'll be vindicated by their trial.

* Part of my optimism comes from having a lot of respect for various very intelligent things Dyak has said over the years. I look up to the guy, so it I take it personally when so many people dismiss him as babbling or incompetent.

It may be of interest to note that he did send out a rebuttle to the news that started this forum thread, but nobody really ran with his side of story:
http://www.industrygamers.com/news/silicon-knights-voluminous-evidence-shows-epics-wrongdoing/

Basically he says Epic filed for 20 things to be dismissed, and only one, Terry Lloyd's testimony, was considered valid by the judge. This reinforces my view that Epic is a goliath (getting a lot of news for their one point of bullying), and SK is actually doing pretty well as little david (getting no news for their 19 points that withstood the pressure).

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