Judge says Silicon Knights illegally copied Unreal Engine

Earlier this year, a judge ruled that Canadian game developer Silicon Knights must pay Epic Games $4.45 million after losing its long running lawsuit against Epic Games. Now the developer is facing even more problems as a judge has now increased the money that it must pay Epic Games.

Gamasutra reports that, earlier this week, North Carolina District Judge James Dever ruled that Silicon Knights must now pay a total of $9.2 million to Epic in both damages and legal costs. Furthermore, the judge ruled that Silicon Knights actually tried to steal computer code from Epic's Unreal Engine. The code was used by the developer to make its own game engine which it used for two games, Too Human and X-Men Destiny.

The judge added that Epic Games must "independently verify that Silicon Knights's game engine no longer contains any of Epic Games's Licensed Technology." Finally, the court ruled that unsold copies of both Too Human and X-Men Destiny must be recalled from stores and destroyed.

Recent rumors claim that Silicon Knights has just a few game developers currently on staff. The judge's ruling revealed three previously unannounced games that Silicon Knights was working on but development of those games must now also stop as a result of this new court decision.

Source: Gamasutra | Image via Epic Games

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Praetor said,
so this means that those unsold copies are gonna worth more because they are gonna be destroyed?

Maybe, this just means unsold new copies from stores that still carried it will have to be returned. There's a mountain of used one's out there.

Too Human was rated a score of 65 (metacritic)
X-Men Destiny was rated a score 47 (metacritic)

It's really too bad that it has come to this, but everything seems to indicate that Silicon Knights brought it to themselves. They used to make great games (Legacy of Kain, Eternal Darkness, MGS Twin Snakes) but it is obvious to anyone that trying to pin the fault on Epic for all the problems Too Human had was a very misguided move.

Too Human was a game that remained in development hell for about 10 years (it was originally announced as a 4-disc release on the original PlayStation), and there isn't any example of a game being successfully released after going through that (DNF anyone?).

As to the allegations of Epic screwing 3rd parties over with Unreal Engine 3, just have a quick look at a couple of games using that engine and were released BEFORE Too Human was: Rainbow Six Vegas, Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Mass Effect, Lost Odyssey, Turok, Stranglehold, Army of Two, BlackSite Area 51, ... It seems that other third party developers such as Midway, Mistwalker, BioWare, Ubisoft, etc... were perfectly fine using the very same engine. Yep, it's easier to just put the blame on someone else.

That was just stupid on there part they could have licensed the Unreal engine for there game and avoided all of this instead of stealing the code.

bryonhowley said,
That was just stupid on there part they could have licensed the Unreal engine for there game and avoided all of this instead of stealing the code.

Epic even works with devs on the licensing thing and are quite nice about it. I've inquired and they were very helpful. That's all they had to have done.