US court allows Silicon Knights to sue Epic over claims of incomplete Unreal Engine 3

Thursday, 31 March 2011 14:03 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

The courts have given the go ahead in a suit filed by Silicon Knights against Epic over Unreal Engine 3 licensing. The original complaint, filed back in 2007, claims Epic “defrauded” the firm by claiming the source code for UR3 was more complete than it actually was.

According to the claim filed, Epic “failed to provide a working game engine,” which resulted in Silicon Knights ditching UR3 and using its own game engine for Too Human which the firm claimed resulted in “considerable losses.”

In it’s original court filings, the firm claimed Epic not only defrauded the Too Human developers but “a major portion of this industry,” as well by withholding the complete version of the engine and focusing more on Unreal Tournament and Gears of War development than the engine’s development tools.

Per court documents obtained from Kotaku, most claims filed by Silicon Knights were dismissed by the courts, however it is now free to pursue its claims of “fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unfair competition, breach of contract and breach of warranty,” against Epic.

“Epic had a possible motive to deceive SK into entering into the license agreement in order to fund the development costs of its own games and delay the work of SK and other competing licensees on their video games,” said the court. “There is also Epic’s admission in its counterclaim that it developed the [Unreal Engine 3] in conjunction with the development of its own game as part of its ‘synergistic model’ and not separately as it had led SK to believe.”

Epic has yet to issue a comment on the latest proceedings, but Silicon Knights president Denis Dyack told Kotaku: “When Epic first went public about our case to the press, they said that our claims were without merit. Two separate federal court judges have now disagreed with Epic, and have ruled that the case does have merit.

“Silicon Knights has always wanted to have our focus be on making great games, not litigation. This ruling will allow us to have our day in court, before a jury, and to shine the light publicly on Epic’s conduct. We are very confident the jury will see the truth behind Epic’s actions.”

Too Human was released in 2008, and while reviews for the game were not overly positive, Dyack confirmed to VG247 work on the Too Human trilogy would continue as Too Human was one of the most “innovative games on 360, period.”

More information on Silicon Knight’s claims can be found through the links, as VG247 covered the accusations rather extensively back in 2008.

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