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Silicon Knights Sues Epic Games

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The gears of war are turning indeed. GameDaily BIZ has just been notified by Epic Games' Vice President Mark Rein, that independent developer Silicon Knights is suing the company over unspecified allegations.


"This morning we were served with a lawsuit by Silicon Knights. We believe the claims against us are unfounded and without merit and we intend to fully defend against them," said Rein.


He continued, "We'd love to tell you more about it but unfortunately our lawyers want us to save our comments for the courthouse so we're going to do our best to comply with their wishes. In that vein we'd appreciate if our friends in the industry and media would refrain from asking us about the suit because we're only going to say 'no comment.' We just wanted to share the news directly before the rumor mill starts churning."


So with that in mind, we've refrained, but we did put in an inquiry with Silicon Knights to see what this is all about. Silicon Knights has licensed Unreal Engine for its upcoming Xbox 360 exclusive Too Human.


We'll bring you more information when it becomes available.


Now this is a realtivly large artical, so check out Gamedaily for the whole thing.



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Here is the short version:


Silicon Knights, makers of the long delayed Too Human (it was originally a PS1 game), licensed the Unreal Engine 3 from Epic Games, makers of Gears of War and Unreal Tournament 3. They claim that Epic did not honor the agreement of the engine license by not providing it in the time frame as the contract stated, did not provide adequate support expected from in the contract, and also did not have some of the features that were advertised to prospective licensees.


The main charge seems to be about the lateness of the engine and lack of features causing Too Human's E3 2006 showing to be received quite poorly thus giving the game pretty bad publicity.


If any of you have follow engine licensing news, then you've seen that the Unreal Engine 3 has been licensed by a whole bunch of companies (I think almost every major publisher). I think one of the charges is that Epic used the licensing fees to fund Gears of War and work on the engine for that game while leaving many licenses in the cold with old, outdated, and broken builds.


I don't know any of the facts so I can't say anything about who is right or wrong, though.


I guess that's not as short as I was hoping. ;)

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Well, i'll just rip off what someone said on s-c.com

Originally Posted by Sanji Himura

Actually, SK has a case. Their contract with Epic over the Unreal Engine stated that they should have recieved the engine six months after the 360 dev. kits became availible.


According to court documents, the final dev. kit became availible in November 2005, and thus Epic was obligated to turn over the engine in March 2006. It did not do so until November 2006, crippling SK's E3 showing that year, and in the process, allowing 'Gears of War' to recieve commercial success, and forcing SK to develop their own engine.


Whether the game that SK made sucks or not is not revelant. Epic breaching their contract with SK IS!


I should also note that not only did Epic breach their contract with SK concerning the Unreal Engine's use on the 360, they did it again with the PS3, and recieved no engine from Epic on the system.


Some light bedside reading.

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One thing I've been reading is that Ubisoft, one of the original licenses for UE3, decided to stop using the engine after Rainbow Six: Vegas because of all the problems they had with it. Perhaps that ties into SK's claims.

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