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Epic Opens Counterclaim Against Silicon Knights 56

Posted by Zonk
from the getting-ugly-over-unreal dept.
You may recall the recent announcement of Silicon Knights' suit against Epic over the Unreal engine. The Escapist reports that Epic is firing back, launching a countersuit against SK and claiming this is all just a ploy to renegotiate their licensing deal. "In its counter-suit, however, Epic says that Silicon Knights was aware that the Unreal Engine 3 was still under development when the licensing deal was signed, and that new features would continue to be added as part of Epic's development of Gears of War. 'SK's lawsuit is a pretense,' [Epic's Mark] Rein said in his statement. 'SK does not have any valid claims against Epic. SK filed suit in a bid to renegotiate the License Agreement, in the hope that Epic will prefer that to the burden of responding to discovery and associated adverse publicity.' Epic is seeking minimum compensatory damages in excess of $650,000, as well as other injunctive relief."
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Epic Opens Counterclaim Against Silicon Knights

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  • Bah! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Miltazar (1100457)
    Both the original story and this story is little on hard facts. Neither the original suit or this counterclaim by Epic has any real facts to clue in to who is right or wrong. Perhaps Epic is right, or maybe Silicon Knights are just incompetent. Personally, despite me not liking any of SK's games, I'll wait for the conclusion to the trial or the settlement to make any decisions who to flame.
    • Re:Bah! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2007 @03:22PM (#20186985)
      Regardless of the usual crappy Slashdot story summaries, SK has laid out a extremely damaging specific facts of promised but unimplemented features, promised but missed by huge margin deadlines, supporting evidence from other developers having the same problems with Epic's engine, even some apparent public statements from Epic where they made it clear that they were putting a priority on their own internal games over devoting time to licensees - in other words getting features and bug fixes ready for their own games for E3 while letting other developers wait until after the show for the fixes and features to propagate.

      If even a tiny amount of what SK claims is true, Epic deserves to get slammed hard in court.

      • If even a tiny amount of what SK claims is true, Epic deserves to get slammed hard in court.

        It depends on the specifics of the contract. I haven't seen it, have you?

        What was promised? What was delivered? I'm not going to take SK's word for it just because they think I should... and neither is a court of law. (I hope... the judicial system is pretty ridiculous these days.)

        On the other hand, Epic's claims are pretty obvious from SK's complaint itself. They've developed a derivative engine. They want the legal rights to use it without Epic's IP hanging over their heads. They want to not ha

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hench3 (946011)
      SK's original lawsuit is actually rather detailed: They lay out the case well and describe specific instances of Epic's breach of their agreement. I recommend actually reading SK's filing; it makes for interesting reading. The /. summaries are lacking in details, yes, but the linked articles/filings do provide a vast amount of detail. Try reading TFA next time.
      • by Miltazar (1100457)
        RTFA? Last I checked this was slashdot. Seriously though I actually DID RTFA. I've read them both. I was referring not to details about the lawsuit but details about what ACTUALLY happened. Until we see/hear hard facts about what Epic did, or what SK didn't do, and not just what they claim happened in a lawsuit/counterclaim I'll reserve my judgement.
    • by morari (1080535)

      despite me not liking any of SK's games
      Whaa?! Someone has obviously never played Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem.
      • by Miltazar (1100457)
        Actually I did, bought it for my girlfriend the day it came out. Its an average game, didn't really bring me into the game and it just didn't interest me. I personally preferred the RE and SH games over Eternal Darkness. In all honesty it bored me to tears, except the occasional "psych out" thing that happened. Thats what I disliked the most. Yes it was original, but it really brought me out of the whole atmosphere of the game. So far, IMHO, they haven't really shown they have the skill to work with U
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2007 @03:16PM (#20186883)
    Every game developer has dreams of licensing their code out to other developers and racking in huge amounts of extra cash. Almost no one does because they know that supporting other developers in disparate projects is an gigantic effort that requires essentially an entire company focused on that effort and not just answering emails and putting out patches when you feel like it.

    Epic was dumb to think they could get away with charging companies huge amounts of money for services they had no facility to support. In essence what Epic did was like someone writing insurance policies and taking fees without the capability of paying claims.

    Unfortunately this lawsuit over the Unreal Engine 3 mess is cloaked in how people feel about the various companies. Unreal Tournament and other Epic games fans of course are trying to portray Silicon Knights as a bunch of screw ups and vice versa.

    Just from the facts we already know and the huge problems and delays other UE3 projects are having Silicon Knights' case is very, very strong. Regardless of what the eventual outcome of the case(s), developers have gotten the message to stay the fuck away from Epic and UE3 if you ever want to ship a game on time and on budget.

    • by Applekid (993327)

      Just from the facts we already know and the huge problems and delays other UE3 projects are having Silicon Knights' case is very, very strong.
      I find Epic filing a counterclaim instead of settling out of court to be telling that the case isn't "very, very" strong.
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unreal_3#Unreal_Engin e_3_2/ [wikipedia.org]

      That's the list of games that are out or in development and are currently using the Unreal 3 engine. Take off anything made by Epic and that's a lot of games. The only ones suing Epic so far are Silicon Knights.

      Now, considering several of the games on that list were very successful and had good releases, what's more likely? That Epic are a bunch of fools with a broken engine that they can't support? Or that SK, a company that's only made half a

      • by GeckoX (259575)
        Er, only a half dozen games isn't exactly a lack of game experience in this industry.

        Who wrote the original Unreal engine? And how many games has that company created?
        (Look it up, it's more fun that way ;)
        (Oh, and note, I mean the developer, not the publisher!)

        Anyways, from what I can see, the problem is that Epic promised SK a bunch of features that SK needed were in the pipeline and would be available to them, which is why SK chose that particular engine. To date, Epic hasn't provided those to SK, while t
        • by Hench3 (946011)
          The SK filing clearly details a timeline they claim was agreed upon for features that Epic consistently missed. It's all SK's actual ruling. TFAs are useless in that regard; you only get the full story from reading the filings.
          • by GeckoX (259575)
            Yep...however just because it's in the filing doesn't prove it either.

            Until someone posts the actual agreement in question, this is all just hearsay and speculation.
        • by edwdig (47888)
          Er, only a half dozen games isn't exactly a lack of game experience in this industry.

          They've been around for 15 years though. They released 4 games from 1992 - 1996, but only two since. Something's wrong with their development process.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by billcopc (196330)
            If by development process you mean "two guys with day jobs", then yes, there's something wrong.

            Everyone was making games in the early 90's, even I managed to churn out some colorful fun thingies back in the day (and made a bit of money selling them too). Unless they're creative geniuses that take 5 years to produce something mind-blowing (not the case), then they're just a handful of guys with delusions of grandeur. Game houses in the 21st century have to keep busy, it's grown far too competitive a market
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by nivina (955352)
        a) that's wikipedia, take it's information with a grain of salt b) rainbow six vegas does NOT use the Unreal 3 engine. The developers have said they used what is referred to as the Unreal 2.5 engine. Which reinforces a. i played rainbow six vegas on pc. it was very apparent that the engine was totally broken. it can't even give reliable pings a few patches later.
      • by sam_paris (919837)
        Hrmm, Silicon Knights aren't some newbie devs making their first big game. They made one of the most critically successul games for Gamecube, and indeed one of my favorite games of all time: Eternal Darkness [gamespot.com] 9.4/10 (gamespot). There may well be other reasons behind this situation but to say its because they aren't experienced devs is very silly and betrays the epic fanboys..
    • by vimh42 (981236)
      You're right about that. Not to say it can't stand on it's own merit, but I'm thinking more developers will be looking towards id and tech5 with all the UE3 engine trouble.
    • So am I the only one (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday August 10, 2007 @09:32PM (#20191445)
      That is a little suspicious that every time an Epic vs SK story comes up, there is some AC that comes along and posts about how "very, very strong" the case is against Epic, without providing actual evidence?

      I am really starting to wonder if perhaps an employee of SK isn't coming here and trying to push their side of the story. I just find it odd that while there are plenty of named posters who question what is happening, and none seem to be sure (since there seem to be next to no facts out there) there's always an AC with a fairly consistent writing style that comes in and says how fucked Epic is and how strong SK's claims are.

      One would wonder why they would be unwilling to put some kind of identification to claims like that.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        well, it's a small industry, after all. you sign an NDA as an epic licensee that includes that you do not badmouth their product. and you sure as hell don't want to publicly show how your company has difficulties internally.
        i suppose the reason for SK to come forward with this is to survive an inevitable legal battle with epic because they chose to develop their own product, inspired by or derived from their evaluation of epic's technology.

        for me, it has been a few years since working with UE2 (on the art-
      • by LKM (227954)
        Maybe you're right. Another reason for posting anonymously when heaping on the Unreal Engine might be that those people who work for companies that are having development issues with the Engine don't want to identify themselves for obvious reasons.
    • You're right, they shouldn't license an engine that's still in development if you don't want to find any bugs. They new it was in development when they paid for the license. It would be like me complaining to Linus because I decided to use last nights snapshot of the kernel build and found bugs. It's not finished yet.

      And considering the number of projects on this engine, [epicgames.com] to only have one complaint seems like SK is jumping the gun.

  • I have some friends that work for a company that are working on a game with the unreal 3 engine. All I have heard is how horrible the support is. Also when they need to do something that the engine doesnt support, they end up writing this hack code to get it to work. Then when they get an update (since the engine is still in development), it will break what they made and they have to go back in there and rewrite it. It just sounds like a massive cluster fuck.
    • All game engines suck. I've worked with UE3 for a few months and it's much better than any other game engine I've touched, though sure you have to hack in a few things--better than needing to hack in everything. The support was enough for us to get a few prototype levels up and running in...I believe less than a month; again much faster than the ramp-up on any other engine I've worked with.

      If you expect dramatically better, then either you don't have any real experience in game development, or else I w
  • This is why you don't use unproven technology. You get shafted. And this isn't the first time such an incident has been out in the public eye either. Now if only Troika would have known that before getting fucked around by Valve, having to rush Bloodlines and ultimately being dissolved because of its failure.
  • Where are the other that are having such problems with the UnReal 3 engine? I know LOTS of other companies are using it, so how many are having such difficulties? Is this a case of one company, Silicon Knights, messing up big time and wanting their money back for their fuck up? Or is this a case of them being the only company to go public about how much UnReal 3 sucks donkey turds? I guess the courts will figure it out, but it just seems strange to me that Silicon Knights are the only ones bitching abou
    • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@kc . r r . c om> on Friday August 10, 2007 @04:51PM (#20188421) Homepage
      I dunno but I have a hard time beliveing its just coincidence that every single game using the ue3 engine due to be released this year has hit at least one delay.

      Aliens -- (2009) Gearbox Software
      America's Army 3.0 -- (2008) US Army
      APB -- (2008) Webzen
      Black Powder Red Earth - (2007) Echelon Studios
      Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway -- (2007) Gearbox Software
      BioShock - (2007) Irrational Games
      BlackSite: Area 51 -- (2007) Midway Austin
      DC Comics MMO -- (TBA) Sony Online Entertainment
      Earth No More -- (2009) Recoil Games / 3D Realms
      Elveon -- (2007) 10tacle Studios[35]
      Fatal Inertia -- (2007) Koei[36]
      Frontlines: Fuel of War -- (2008) Kaos Studios
      Fury -- (2007) Auran
      Gears of War -- (2006) Epic Games
      Global Agenda -- (TBA) Hi-Rez Studios
      Hour of Victory -- (2007) Midway Games
      Huxley -- (2007) Webzen Games
      The Last Remnant -- (2008) Square Enix
      Lineage III -- (TBA) NCsoft
      Lost Odyssey -- (2007) Mistwalker
      Mass Effect -- (2007) BioWare
      Medal of Honor: Airborne -- (2007) Electronic Arts
      Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia -- (2007) Artificial Studios
      RoboBlitz -- (2006) Naked Sky Entertainment
      Rogue Warrior: Black Razor - (2007) Bethesda Softworks
      Stargate Worlds -- (2007) Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment
      Stranglehold -- (2007) Midway Chicago
      The Scourge Project -- (N/A) Tragnarion Studios
      To End All Wars -- (2008) Kuju Entertainment
      Tom Clancy's EndWar -- (2008) Ubisoft
      Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas -- (2006) Ubisoft
      Too Human -- (2009) Silicon Knights
      Turning Point: Fall of Liberty -- (2007) Spark Unlimited
      Turok -- (2008) Propaganda Games
      Undertow -- (2007) Chair Entertainment
      Unreal Tournament 3 -- (2007) Epic Games
      Upcoming Mortal Kombat 8 Game -- (Unknown) Midway Games
      The Wheelman -- (2007) Midway Games
      HEI$T -- (2007) InXile Entertainment
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        There was also that Namco GTA-alike that got canceled. Coincidentally, it was also one of the first to announce they were using UE3.

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