UPDATED: Silicon Knights' Legal Claims Against Epic Worth $1.00 Each

UPDATED: Silicon Knights' Legal Claims Against Epic Worth $1.00 Each

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Too Human developer Silicon Knights hasn't lost, but winning is suddenly much less appealing.

About five years ago, Silicon Knights, developers of then-in-production Too Human, decided to take Epic Games to court. Epic, it claimed, cost the company an estimated $58 million dollars in damages due to problems with the Unreal Engine 3, which Silicon Knights had recently licensed. The engine was allegedly absent of certain promised features and support, leaving Silicon Knights anxious to make back the money it claims to have lost from developing on, what it considers, something other than what was promised. Recent public records reveal that, now, a new ruling in the law suit states that even if Silicon Knights eventually proves its case, Epic is off the hook from paying more than a few dollars in recompense.

By last December, Silicon Knights had already suffered a major setback when Chief District Judge James Dever III granted Epic's motion to exclude the testimony of its key expert, Terry Lloyd. Lloyd's analysis was to be the foundation for the proposed $58 million figure, breaking that mammoth number down into six distinct categories: decreased sales, a lost publisher bonus, lost potential royalties, lost profits from hypothetical sequels, the cost of developing a new engine, and the harm to Silicon Knights' reputation. With Lloyd's testimony legally invalidated, Epic's legal team was able to push further, filing a motion that would prevent Silicon Knights from offering any further evidence or arguments regarding its specific losses in the future.

The court approved of the motion, in part, thereby crippling Silicon Knights' ability to monetize its claims with the specificity required to be awarded full damages. So, while the developer hasn't yet lost the case entirely, the court has preemptively quashed any award beyond what the judge deems as "nominal damages (i.e. $1.00)" per claim.

Now that the proceeds from a potential victory wouldn't be able to cover so much as the cost of a potential victory party, it's probably safe to say that this case is finally reaching its end.

UPDATE: A source close to the case has told us that the courts have passed a new ruling in the ongoing legal dispute between Silcon Knights and Epic Games, officially dismissing all of Silicon Knights' claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unfair competition, and unfair and deceptive trade practices. Now, only disputes regarding breach of contract remain, which must be handled separately from the primary proceedings, and settled by jury. Epic Games' counter claims against Silicon Knights, however, continue to stand.

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"If I had a dollar... shit"

lol, I hope they win now just so they get their Happy Meal.

lol, wow, they got burned bad XD

Silicon Knights....why...why did you have to fall so hard, I wanted a Eternal Darkness sequal, but you went a head and made games like Too Human and X-Men: Destiny... you are tearing me apart! ;_;

OT: That is a sick burn indeed, at least if they "win" something they can buy cheeseburgers at McDonalds. :p

Mike Kayatta:
Lloyd's analysis was to be the foundation for the proposed $58 million figure, breaking that mammoth number down into six distinct categories: decreased sales, a lost publisher bonus, lost potential royalties, lost profits from hypothetical sequels, the cost of developing a new engine, and the harm to Silicon Knights' reputation.

Read as: We knew we were going to be releasing a shit game so we're trying desperately to cover our asses.

Damn. That's just... brutal. I don't even have words for how brutal that is. Kinda seems odd how slanted in Epic's favor this all rolled out, but I guess behind the scenes there must have been a lot against whatever tactics SK were attempting to be nailed this hard. Or maybe the judge just -really- hated Too Human.

Silicon's case was dumb to begin with.
They BOUGHT the engine, so.... yeah, inspect BEFORE you buy?

That game was in development for ages.
Should've made a sequel to a certain best selling game instead, eh?

therandombear:
Silicon Knights....why...why did you have to fall so hard, I wanted a Eternal Darkness sequal, but you went a head and made games like Too Human and X-Men: Destiny... you are tearing me apart! ;_;

OT: Reading here shines a light on this particular gem:

The amount the judge settled on was $1, according to court documents.

While the nominal payout makes it seem like continuing the trial would be a futile proposition , if Silicon Knights wins the case they would always have the chance to appeal the issue of how damages was determined, or perhaps seek other recourse.

So it's still possible for them to make more money, on appeal.

Well I'm for one glad that they'll be earning 3 mill from this case if they won!

Its more than they probably ever made from selling the game!

Mike Kayatta:
Lloyd's analysis was to be the foundation for the proposed $58 million figure, breaking that mammoth number down into six distinct categories: decreased sales, a lost publisher bonus, lost potential royalties, lost profits from hypothetical sequels, the cost of developing a new engine, and the harm to Silicon Knights' reputation.

So of those breakdowns of costs, the only one I can potentially see as valid would be the cost of developing a new engine (if they weren't just lyin to cover their asses). The rest of that stuff is just pure conjecture that wouldn't have been able to be proved one way or another. Lost profits from hypothetical sequels? Why would they think that would remotely fly in a court of law?

So, why would the judge invalidate the testimony and then prevent SK from submitting further evidence? I know Too Human would have failed all over itself even if UE3 was everything they wanted it to be, but the Judges actions, without any context, make it seem like SK is just being shat on here.

cursedseishi:
Well I'm for one glad that they'll be earning 3 mill from this case if they won!

Its more than they probably ever made from selling the game!

They have 3 millions claims?

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Dirty Hipsters:

cursedseishi:
Well I'm for one glad that they'll be earning 3 mill from this case if they won!

Its more than they probably ever made from selling the game!

They have 3 millions claims?

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Well, I thought I saw something in there that said they'd still be getting at least a few million even after all this if they won... I did see a few dollars, I just ended up thinking "a few million?"!

God was I being generous...!

Kenjitsuka, Eternal Darkness was NOT a best seller. I loved ED but its story was so self contained, that I would probably rent a sequel before buying.

McMullen:
So, why would the judge invalidate the testimony and then prevent SK from submitting further evidence? I know Too Human would have failed all over itself even if UE3 was everything they wanted it to be, but the Judges actions, without any context, make it seem like SK is just being shat on here.

Read the other article linked to in this one. The judge threw it out on the basis that the testimony was from an untrained source who derived his figures from misrepresentations and sometimes complete lack of knowledge of the figures he derived from.

I don't understand the Judge's decision. is he saying "if you can prove the industry leading game engine developer misled you, and actively worked to hurt you, which lead to a 2 year delay for your highly anticipated game, and forced you to make your own competing/shitty game engine from scratch, then I think you lost out on: $1."
?
it kind of reads like that.

but I'm guessing what he's really saying is "fuck you for wasting my time with this. you screwed up your case, so fuck you."

(....although I'm also nervous this is somehow a nod to Epic. A sign he thinks their stance has any sort of merit. ... I don't see that, but. curious. Maybe it just shows Epic's high paid lawyers out maneuvered little SK, and the case was gutted when they had SK's analyst thrown out)

will be very curious to read what legal experienced people interpret this.

I'm hoping SK goes ahead, despite getting fucked on their recompense. just to prove a point and stick to their guns.
Is this the Judge's way of saying "we can move forward, but only if you're doing this for the principle, not for any cash reward." ??? is that a thing judges would ever do in this day and age? Have I been watching too many movies?

wait....

If they can make a claim that the engine they bought was broken incomplete, we can make claims about games that are broken and incomplete!

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I kinda think that Silicon Knights messed up here, but honestly if Epic promised UE3 to be capable of something and didn't deliver on it, then SK should get something (costs associated with buying rights to use the engine, and lost dev time perhaps?)

Asking for money lost in a sequel? No, SK should be sticking that one up their asses. Can't blame Epic for your game being not good enough to get a sequel.

'All I need is a dollar, dollar...'

Sorry, that's all I've got that hasn't been said.

Im going to go out of my way to piss people opf by saying i liked Too Human it definately had it flaws but then again some of the things that gamers love the most do too. (Heres looking at you Final Fantasy XIII)

putowtin:
wait....

If they can make a claim that the engine they bought was broken incomplete, we can make claims about games that are broken and incomplete!

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only if they are using the Unreal 3 Engine, you had liscensed the engine, and are actually making/made a game.

No, you can not sue a developer that used Unreal 3 whom's game sucked.

If we were able to do that, then I would of been a multi-trillionaire for suing for every Halo and CoD game, won a small island for Masters of Orion 3, got a unicorn in a pink or light red color for Empire Earth 3, and possibly the country of Romania for Duke Nukem Forever.

Yet, here I am, sitting in front of my computer instead of investing in a time machine to bring back velociraptors and train them so that I can ride them to the store.

.... what, isn't that what all rich people do?

As much as Epic have annoyed me in recent years, SK's claim were always bullshit dubious.
SK's claim always seemed like a way to try and get some money after releasing a terrible product which did appropriately poorly. It's main faults having nothing to do with the engine, but rather with it's design.

poiuppx:
Damn. That's just... brutal. I don't even have words for how brutal that is. Kinda seems odd how slanted in Epic's favor this all rolled out, but I guess behind the scenes there must have been a lot against whatever tactics SK were attempting to be nailed this hard. Or maybe the judge just -really- hated Too Human.

Gotta agree, I'm not one for conspiracy theories but reading that article (and nothing else, mind) it seems like something very shady is going on with that lawsuit for Epic to be getting so many breaks on the case.

That, or as you said the Judge really didn't like Too Human.

playing through X-Men Destiny atm

it's...okay. not that good but nothing wrong with it besides being mediocre. it's definitely playable though

Too Human on the other hand...

Meh, SK hasn't made a good game in over a decade. With how they are now, having made critical and commercial bombs like Too Human and X-Men: Destiny I very much doubt there's any talent left in the company and I do NOT anticipate any potential titles they could make.

Hmmm, well I'd be interested in knowing why Silicon Knight's expert was dismissed from the case, given that he was largely just making a case for assigning value.

From where I'm sitting, with just the information I have, it actually seems like Silicon Knights is in the right, but wound up losing this one due to some kind of legal horseplay. Epic playing the rules, rather than actually fighting the case, which is sadly one of the problems with our legal system, especially civilly.

I pretty much thing Silicon Knights wouldn't have based n entire case around one expert's testimony if it was that inherantly dubious, especially given the nature of the testimony. That makes me think some paperwork got misfiled or something, or some error happened within the ritual aspects of presenting a case (going out of order, not putting the guy up for the right kind of testimony, etc...) which at times makes sense, but in other cases is just plain stupid.

The basic case does make more sense than some people are giving it credit for. The basic allegation is that SK bought Unreal 3 as the toolbox to develop their game, with the understanding that it would be able to do specific things that it was not able to do. I'm guessing the needed functionality being missing was something that wouldn't actually be seen until you got so far in a design process, and by that time SK was committed. Epic may or may not have promised to correct this or provide the functionality and then not delivered.

If that is true, then Epic DOES share responsibility for the failure of "Too Human" given their misrepresentation, and lying about what Unreal 3 could do. Of course the burden here is on SK to prove that Epic made those claims before they paid for the product.

It seems Epic is dodging even having to answer these accusations, by having gotten the expert that can prove the damages booted, and making whetyher they are right or wrong irrelevent. I mean at this point that technicality makes it so that even if Epic lied through their teeth and it could be proven to a certainy it wouldn't matter.

From where I'm sitting maybe 58 million was excessive, but games are expensive, and the damage does have a substantial value. Denying that is just stupid, no matter how it's done. I won't say that Epic was wrong, because I don't KNOW that, but I do think they should have to answer for this, and that yes, have to cover damages to the tune of millions IF the case was proven.

Of course what I think is irrelevent, the legal system has largely become a game more than about seeing the right thing done, especially civilly.

Ickorus:

poiuppx:
Damn. That's just... brutal. I don't even have words for how brutal that is. Kinda seems odd how slanted in Epic's favor this all rolled out, but I guess behind the scenes there must have been a lot against whatever tactics SK were attempting to be nailed this hard. Or maybe the judge just -really- hated Too Human.

Gotta agree, I'm not one for conspiracy theories but reading that article (and nothing else, mind) it seems like something very shady is going on with that lawsuit for Epic to be getting so many breaks on the case.

That, or as you said the Judge really didn't like Too Human.

That's generally what happens when you make up bullshit claims in court and try to back those claims up with a "expert" who doesn't know shit about what he's talkin about.

Kinda shitty for silicon knights. I *raises flame shield* actually really wanted a sequel to too human. It wasn't the greatest but I thought it was a pretty damn fun game, especially coop. Better than a lot of games I've gotten recently

putowtin:
wait....

If they can make a claim that the engine they bought was broken incomplete, we can make claims about games that are broken and incomplete!

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While maybe true. It should be reminded that Silicon Knights claims are dead in the water, and so the same tactic used by Epic/the judge, I assume, could be used in any similar case.

I'm no lawyer, but that's what I gathered from the article.

I think it might be time for Silicon Knights to finally close it's doors, or take more money from the Canadian government.

 

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