Court Of Appeals Upholds Decision In Silicon Knights And Epic Games Unreal Engine Lawsuit
In 2012, the courts ruled in favor of Epic Games after Silicon Knights sued the company in 2007 over the licensing of its Unreal Engine for use with the development of Too Human. Silicon Knights claimed that Epic Games gave the studio a faulty version of its engine and used the licensing fees acquired from Silicon Knights to develop Gears of War instead of improving and supporting the engine.
The courts rejected all of Silicon Knights' claims forcing the studio to pay Epic Games $9.2 million in assorted legal fees and damages. Silicon Knights was also ordered to destroy all of its unsold games that took advantage of the engine.
After these decisions were handed out to Silicon Knights, the studio took the case to the United States Court of Appeals in an attempt to reverse the ruling. On January 6, the court upheld all of the original rulings, dismissing all of the arguments that were brought forward.
The fate of developer Silicon Knights still hangs in the air. Most of its employees, including now former Silicon Knights president Denis Dyack left the company or were laid off. Precursor Games was born from the ashes with attempts made to develop a spiritual successor to one of Silicon Knights' most critically applauded games, Eternal Darkness. A failed Kickstarter, other failed attempts to retain funding, as well as continued legal complications surrounding assets that may or may not have been created using Unreal Engine have all prevented Precursor Games from continuing work on the project. The last we heard of Silicon Knights as a formal company was that it was, "mostly working on legal issues."
The lawsuit and complications surrounding the feud between Silicon Knights and Epic Games has been going strong for nearly a decade. At this point, Silicon Knights has clearly lost the battle, but it seems intent on fighting even if its definition as a company has become increasingly questionable. It's unlikely that any court will be involved in this feud's further proceedings, but that doesn't mean it's over. I'm sure this isn't the last we've heard from Silicon Knights.