One of the more popular topics doing the rounds these days in the games industry is that of the ensuing Epic Games – Silicon Knights legal war. To summarize, Silicon Knights claims that Epic gave them a faulty engine, while they used a better (but same version) of the engine to make their shiny Gears of War. Epic has declared war and claims that Silicon Knights is just bitching and that they haven’t even paid Epic. You can find the complete details here, in the Stuffwelike Archives.
Epic’s lawyers have thrown a counter-motion against Silicon Knights, which reads:
Silicon Knights wants to take Epic’s Licensed Technology, pay nothing for it, and use it any way it pleases. Having exploited Epic’s intellectual property to its advantage, Silicon Knights now seeks to renege on its payment obligations under the License Agreement. It is Silicon Knights, not Epic, that has engaged in deceit, infringement of Epic’s intellectual property rights, breach of contract, and unfair business practices.
But what is most interesting is the way Epic slaps SK in the face by claiming that when the Unreal 3 engine was licensed, Epic gave no warranty. Silicon Knights demanded one, and didn’t get it. They (Denis Dyack, head of SK, to be specific) signed the License Agreement anyways (he must have skipped it, like the rest of us). The agreement reportedly reads:
[Epic does] not include any warranty that (i) the functions performed by the Unreal Engine… will meet [Silicon Knights’] requirements, nor (ii) that the operations of the Unreal Engine… will be bug free or error free in all circumstances, nor (iii) that any defects in the Unreal Engine… can or will be corrected.
If that is for real, Silicon Knights may have very well stepped on a minefield by shooting a lawsuit. If Epic wins, Silicon Knights will be forced to produce lots of money. We wonder where the Gears of War will turn now in this truly Epic conflict that is simply Too Human to be Unreal and Silicon…
I’d better leave now.