Less Than Massive: The Cost of Theft


Silicon Knights is something of a hated company here at MMO Fallout. Those of you who have followed the developer likely know that Silicon Knights licensed the Unreal Engine to develop their games, and back in 2007 launched a lawsuit against Epic alleging that the latter was unable to provide them with a finished development kit in a timely manner, instead choosing to funnel its money into the development of Gears of War and Unreal Tournament. In the lawsuit, Silicon Knights noted that they were forced to develop their own engine to prevent even further delays of Too Human.

Somewhere along the line, it was discovered that Silicon Knights had stolen chunks of the Unreal engine to create their own system, a wholesale copy and paste that even included developer comments and typographical errors present in Unreal. According to one report, 20% of the Unreal Engine was found in the Silicon Knights engine. Epic Games countersued, during which Silicon Knights actively attempted to cover up their actions, and the courts awarded them $9.2 million in damages. Silicon Knights appealed the ruling, however a judge has struck down that appeal. Denis Dyack, former President of Silicon Knights, went on to Precursor Games, the latter of which disbanded last September after a failed Kickstarter campaign for its game Shadow of the Eternals.

On the other hand, if you do have a copy of any of Silicon Knights’ games, hold on to them. Unsold copies of the games that used portions of stolen Unreal code, including Too Human, were destroyed as part of the lawsuit, meaning any remaining copies are sure to be worth something, especially if you find them still wrapped.

(Source: Eurogamer)

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