Epic Wins Advantage in Too Human Lawsuit

Steve Butts

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Epic Wins Advantage in Too Human Lawsuit



Judge grants Epic's motion to exclude reports and testimony by key Silicon Knights expert.

Though the final resolution of the case is still in dispute, a December 22 ruling by Chief District Judge James Dever III reveal Silicon Knights has suffered a major setback in its suit against Epic Games [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/75104-Silicon-Knights-Sues-Epic]. The Escapist has obtained a order by the court granting Epic's motion to exclude the reports and testimony of Terry Lloyd. Lloyd, a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst, was retained by Silicon Knights "to render an opinion regarding Silicon Knights' alleged damages."

The case stems from Silicon Knights' decision in May 2005 to license the Unreal Engine 3 in developing Too Human [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/213-Too-Human] for Microsoft. After a particularly embarrassing E3 demo, Silicon Knights rebuilt Epic's engine, which resulted in a two-year delay for the game. Silicon Knights alleges "during the parties' license-agreement negotiations, Epic made false representations concerning the license agreement and the functionality of UE3." The consequent delay, according to Silicon Knights, "caused decreased sales of Too Human, caused Microsoft to end negotiations to develop two sequels... damaged Silicon Knights reputation, and impaired Silicon Knights' ability to secure future development projects."

According to the court papers, Lloyd identified over $58 million in damages across six key categories:
[ol]1) lost royalties due to decrease sales ($6.2 mil)
2) lost publisher bonus ($750k)
3) lost ancillary royalties ($810k)
4) lost profits from sequels ($16+ mil for Too Human II, $14+ mil for Too Human III) and another Sega title, The Ritualyst ($8+ mil)
5) cost to develop a new engine ($2.3 mil)
6) economic harm to Silicon Knights' reputation ($8.9 mil)[/ol]

The court documents summarize Lloyd's questionable methodology for determining these damages and Epic's arguments that Lloyd's testimony be rejected because he is "not qualified," his methodologies "do not fit the facts of the case," and are "unreliable and speculative." When Silicon Knights countered that Lloyd's methodology was reliable, Epic replied that they seemed to be "uninformed guesses" and, just to make sure no one missed it, "made up."

The judge agreed with Epic that Lloyd's methodology for determining the potential sales of Too Human were based on "his own subjective conclusions about an industry in which he had no prior knowledge or experience." The smoking gun seems to be that Lloyd did not use the same criteria to determine Too Human's potential sales as he did to selecting the titles he used as a yardstick. In plainer terms, Lloyd claimed marketing and genre are key factors in a game's sales, but, when choosing other titles to measure Too Human's potential sales against, did not choose titles that had a similar marketing budget or genre. There are several other mistakes of this sort noted in the documents, including the forced inclusion of blockbusters like Grand Theft Auto IV despite it not meeting any of Lloyd's selection criteria, and the inclusion of Gears of War on the basis of its "large advertising budget" despite Lloyd not knowing exactly what that budget was.

As to the economic harm to Silicon Knights' reputation in the industry, the papers reveal Silicon Knights was in talks with Vivendi, Capcom, THQ and Namco and was negotiating development plans for King's Quest and Sandmim. Lloyd's methodology for determining the potential value of these projects was similarly unconvincing to the court. Lloyd's estimation of the costs of developing a new game engine were deemed irrelevant because Microsoft and Sega reimbursed the developer for all such costs, which gives Silicon Knights no ground to seek damages under North Carolina law.

We're still not quite to the end of this years-long legal battle, but Epic scored a major advantage with this recent ruling. We'll be sure to keep an eye on further details as they come in.


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Kevlar Eater

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What 'damages' could Epic possibly get from Silicon Knights? I mean, the latter is basically running on fumes and a Ramen noodle budget with a skeleton crew at the helm.
 

MortisLegio

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forget the fact it wasn't a good game (ok it's more of an opinion but whatever) it was a two year set back that made the game not sell well
 

MarsProbe

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Kevlar Eater said:
What 'damages' could Epic possibly get from Silicon Knights? I mean, the latter is basically running on fumes and a Ramen noodle budget with a skeleton crew at the helm.
Unless I'm misreading or just missing something in the article, is it not Silicon Knights that is actually seeking damages from Epic, not vice versa?
 

Furioso

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MortisLegio said:
forget the fact it wasn't a good game (ok it's more of an opinion but whatever) it was a two year set back that made the game not sell well
Don't worry, that "opinion" is pretty much universal, and something tells me that that was the key factor in it not selling well, being a terrible game
 

Tsaba

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Oct 6, 2009
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So let me get this straight:
1. It flopped at E3
2. They rebuilt the Unreal Engine 3
3. Which resulted in a delay of the game for 2 years
4. Which "resulted" in poor sales.
and this is why they are suing Epic, because, they as a video game company sucked at life. I'm just making sure I'm getting this right.
 

Invadergray

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The sequel was gonna make 12 million, no no, 14 million! WE LOST 3 BILLION DOLLARS IN REPUTATION MONIES!
 

Something Amyss

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MortisLegio said:
forget the fact it wasn't a good game (ok it's more of an opinion but whatever) it was a two year set back that made the game not sell well
Or you could just call its poor reception and almost universal dislike a fact. Individual opinions may not be facts, but a Gamerankings overall of 68 and a Metacritic of 65 demonstrates some pretty poor reception in an industry where 8 has become the new "average."

Universal poor critical reception is certainly a fact. Even if the definition of a 65 is "mixed or average," few people want a "mixed or average" game.
 

Kenjitsuka

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Almost 60 million bucks, eh?
Well, damage to a brand can be a really massive slap in the face I guess...

But yeah, most of those 'data' do seem to be sucked from that guy's thumb, instead of being -at least somewhat- hard science.
 

Something Amyss

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Invadergray said:
The sequel was gonna make 12 million, no no, 14 million! WE LOST 3 BILLION DOLLARS IN REPUTATION MONIES!
I feel bad for them. They lost sixty-eight quadrillion dollars.
 

TheCodman

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Am I the only one that liked this game? I guess I really wanted to like this game as it was based on Norse mythology. But even though the gameplay was clunky I did think it was a pretty game and the customiztion of character and armor was good as well. I kind of hope they can eventually make a sequel and fix what was wrong with the first game.
 

WanderingFool

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TheCodman said:
Am I the only one that liked this game? I guess I really wanted to like this game as it was based on Norse mythology. But even though the gameplay was clunky I did think it was a pretty game and the customiztion of character and armor was good as well. I kind of hope they can eventually make a sequel and fix what was wrong with the first game.
I played it a while back, and while I thought the norse mythology was nice change, and some of the mechanics were good, the sum of its parts is what really damned it. I think the most damaging thing was the controls, but still, as a whole, Too Human just sucked...
 

OniaPL

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WanderingFool said:
TheCodman said:
Am I the only one that liked this game? I guess I really wanted to like this game as it was based on Norse mythology. But even though the gameplay was clunky I did think it was a pretty game and the customiztion of character and armor was good as well. I kind of hope they can eventually make a sequel and fix what was wrong with the first game.
I played it a while back, and while I thought the norse mythology was nice change, and some of the mechanics were good, the sum of its parts is what really damned it. I think the most damaging thing was the controls, but still, as a whole, Too Human just sucked...
Hey, at least the game won the "Too Human- Award For Inexplicable Excellence- award"! :D

I really want to try this game out though. So many people say that it sucks, but there are some that say that it is a different kind of experience (in a good way).
 

zaphod121

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I feel that having bought Too Human ruined my reputation. They owe me about $.25 to fix that and a million for wasting my time
 

Macgyvercas

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Did they honestly think the sequels would make 30 mil after how shit the first one was?
 

Trishbot

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I still feel bad because Silicon Knights had a pretty good resume right until Too Human. They gave us Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen, Eternal Darkness, and Twin Snakes, and I loved all of those.

So my friends still make fun of me for telling them that Too Human was going to be fantastic... and, well, it SHOULD have been. I really don't know what happened, but that one flop really exploded in their faces.
 

tcurt

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Well, I guess all this really hangs on exactly what Epic promised them that the U3 engine would be able to do that it simply couldn't. Epic really has gone into the engine business these last few years, and I imagine some game designers license it because it's probably the biggest dog in the fight. It would not be the first story I have heard about how choosing U3 wound up being a bigger pain than a game designer thought it would be though.
Shoe-horning their game into the limitations of U3 may have been a bigger project than Silicone Knights were up to. But if they could document that Epic oversold U3's capabilities, they might have a case. My guess is (even if completely true) SK can't produce documentation that proves the case, so now they are going through hoops trying to prove anything.
 

Formica Archonis

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(Listens to the Zero Punctuation review of "Too Human" [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/213-Too-Human].)

... space marine hero #580 billion...

... boring self-righteous robotic twats with all the warmth and emotion of a glass of water...

... this is just all bad all the time...

... more issues than pixels...

... melee combat feels sticky and awkward and flows like a river of bricks...

And on and on. I know Yahtzee's perhaps not the best of people to use, but he is a great source of complaints and I'd say less than a third of his complaints could possibly be considered engine related. I fail to see how things like an unskippable on-death cutscene and filler and what the august Mr. Croshaw calls "the stink of the auteur" could be blamed on the engine.

Gotta say, though, Yahtzee nailed it hard when he said "It proudly announces its intention to be the first part of an epic trilogy which in terms of tempting fate is right up there with a character in a horror movie uttering the words 'everything is going to be all right' and getting their tits out."
 

SwimmingRock

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Trishbot said:
I still feel bad because Silicon Knights had a pretty good resume right until Too Human. They gave us Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen, Eternal Darkness, and Twin Snakes, and I loved all of those.
I'm sorry, but I'm going to be "that guy", because I love the Legacy of Kain series ever so much. The first game was technically "Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain" rather than the other way around. No, I don't expect you to respond to or care about my post, because I am indeed being a pedantic shit, but that's just how I get about some things.

OT: I had no idea this was even a thing. I guess I didn't care enough to remember when the lawsuit was first announced. I was genuinely surprised when the article stated this had been going for years. I guess it's a slow-moving case.
 

Link XL1

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Tsaba said:
So let me get this straight:
1. It flopped at E3
2. They rebuilt the Unreal Engine 3
3. Which resulted in a delay of the game for 2 years
4. Which "resulted" in poor sales.
and this is why they are suing Epic, because, they as a video game company sucked at life. I'm just making sure I'm getting this right.

silicon is saying that Epic is the reason for your first point (it flopped at e3). and because of that 1st point, 2-4 followed. thus Epic is at fault for all 4 points. thats what silicon is saying anyway, and i can kinda see where they're coming from, but they've put too much blame on epic. especially considering all that money they 'lost' is nothing but speculation. for all they know everything could have gone off without a hitch and the game still might have sucked.

oddly enough, i still want to see a sequel for Too Human. i really want to see just HOW MUCH better it'll be over the original