Silicon Knights files lawsuit against Epic Games

Silicon Knights files lawsuit against Epic Games

Epic could find itself in hot water after alleged failed delivery promises on its Unreal Engine 3 development kits.

Mark Rein, Vice President at Epic Games, has revealed that one of its Unreal Engine 3 licensees, Silicon Knights, has filed a lawsuit against the engine's creator.

Rein’s statement didn’t reveal any specifics but he said that “We believe the claims against us are unfounded and without merit and we intend to fully defend against them.” He then later added that “we just wanted to share the news directly before the rumour mill starts churning.”

Gamasutra managed to get hold of the lawsuit, which alleges “rather than provide support to Silicon Knights and Epic’s other many licensees of the Engine, Epic intentionally and wrongfully has used the fees from those licenses to launch its own game to widespread commercial success while simultaneously sabotaging efforts by Silicon Knights and others to develop their own video games.”

The filing later alleges that Epic failed to provide Silicon Knights with a final development kit on time – in fact, Silicon Knights claims that it didn’t receive a functional version of Unreal Engine 3 until November 2006, some eight months later than originally agreed.

Silicon Knights had originally licensed Unreal Engine 3 for use in its upcoming Xbox 360 title, Too Human, but according to the filing Silicon Knights was forced to “embark on the time and resource intensive task of writing its own game engine, the very task it had hoped to avoid by entering into the Agreement with Epic.”

You can read the full rundown of what’s in the legal document here, and drop your thoughts on the matter in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
Flibblebot 20th July 2007, 15:11 Quote
Surely Silicon Knights will have to show that Epic wilfully held back giving them the UE3 code? I'd have thought that would be nigh on impossible to prove.

Maybe it's just bad blood because they know their game is flawed, and they're diverting the flak by blaming someone else first...maybe there is a case to answer...maybe it's just yet another frivolous lawsuit.

I know which one my money is on
fwalm 20th July 2007, 15:13 Quote
well microsoft aint going to let anything happen gears of war or epic since gears is microsofts big drive game till halo so SK will hav to pull something serious out of the bag to get something but i hope they do
Jamie 20th July 2007, 15:24 Quote
I get the impression from the tone of Epic that they had good reason to hold back the engine. However if SK were promised on a particular date and it wasn't met then I'm sure they have some sort of case.
Bungle 20th July 2007, 15:44 Quote
My my, that's some pretty nasty allegations being made there:|. I guess something like this was going to happen sooner or later, with soo much riding on each released game now. Hope these allegations turn out to be false. The implications of this could be very damaging in the long run if proven true. Sounds to me like a witch hunt by SK, in order to deflect focus from their own internal problems. Stay tuned for the truth I guess.
Darkedge 20th July 2007, 17:08 Quote
To be honest I think Epic are in trouble here and this could turn into a class action suit with people like Koei getting in on the act. UE3 promised the earth but in some cases hasn't delivered - for example Bioware found that the lighting in UE3 was a bit rubbish so they wrote their own which Epic has now licensed back off them to put it into UE3. Epic have never been great at the support for their engines either.
DougEdey 20th July 2007, 17:22 Quote
Originally Posted by Jamie
I get the impression from the tone of Epic that they had good reason to hold back the engine. However if SK were promised on a particular date and it wasn't met then I'm sure they have some sort of case.

It's very poor risk management, any Project Manager worth their salt would have some kind of clause in the original agreement saying what would happen if the stuff wasn't delivered on time.

I'm not saying that Epic aren't to blame, but RB6:Vegas is on UT3, that looks absolutely sweet
sandys 20th July 2007, 17:31 Quote
Its doesn't look that sweet, it has low res textures and for all it it graphical gloss (or lack of) performs very average and on the PC requires a lot of grunt for crappy resolutions (1280x960), this is an engine thats supposed to make the transistion between platforms easier for developers and provide optimised end results on each platform, this clearly is not happening.
DougEdey 20th July 2007, 18:12 Quote
I'm talking about Xbox 360 which is what the complaint is filed about
Tim S 20th July 2007, 19:48 Quote
it's about all versions of the engine AFAIK.
DougEdey 20th July 2007, 23:27 Quote
Well, if UBISOFT can make it work, then I'm sure SK can
Sim0n 23rd July 2007, 06:57 Quote
Nice publicity for their upcoming game, regardless of how good it is. Name dropping Epic/Unreal3 that is.

Before reading this, i'd never heard of their game, or the company.
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