Silicon Knights

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Silicon Knights
Video game developer
Industry Video game industry
Founded 1992
Defunct 2014
Headquarters St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Key people
Denis Dyack
Michael Mays
Products Video games
Number of employees
97 (July 2011)[1]
5 (October 2012)[2][3]

Silicon Knights was a Canadian video game developer. Founded in 1992 by Denis Dyack, the company was headquartered in St. Catharines, Ontario. In 2012, following the loss of a court case against Epic Games, Dyack left Silicon Knights to form a new game studio, Precursor Games.[4] The case then led Silicon Knights to multiple lawsuits and eventually to bankruptcy on May 16, 2014.[5]



Silicon Knights' first games were real-time strategy/action hybrids for the computers. Silicon Knights' last PC game, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain was published in 1996. Since that time, Silicon Knights moved from creating PC games to console titles. In 2000, Silicon Knights was signed by Nintendo to create games exclusively for its consoles, during which time it produced Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. Together with Nintendo, Silicon Knights worked with Konami to create Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. In 2004, the company ended exclusivity with Nintendo. In 2005, it partnered with publisher Microsoft Game Studios for the Too Human trilogy, though Nintendo still owned stock in the company. In 2008, the company released Too Human, which was published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360. The final game developed by the company, X-Men: Destiny, was released on September, 2011 for multiple console platforms.

Year Game Platform(s)
1992 Cyber Empires Amiga, Atari ST, DOS
1993 Fantasy Empires DOS
1994 Dark Legions
1996 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain DOS , PlayStation
2002 Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem GameCube
2004 Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
2008 Too Human Xbox 360
2011 X-Men: Destiny Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii


Canceled games included the original Too Human (an entirely different game that was being developed first for the PlayStation and then for the GameCube), Silent Hill: The Box (later known as just The Box and The Ritualyst), Too Human 2 (Too Human: Rise of the Giants), Too Human 3, Eternal Darkness 2, and the little-known projects Siren in the Maelstrom, The Sandman and King's Quest.[6][7][8]

Founding of Eight[edit]

Silicon Knights was a strong proponent of collaboration with academia and was a key player in the formation of Eight.[9] Eight: The Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media is a collaboration between Silicon Knights, McMaster University, the Art Gallery of Hamilton (AGH) and Mohawk College to create a novel academic and research model around interactive digital media and will help pioneer and shape cutting-edge advances in the interactive entertainment arena.[citation needed]

Silicon Knights vs. Epic Games[edit]

In 2007, Silicon Knights sued Epic Games for failure to "provide a working game engine", causing the Ontario-based game developer to "experience considerable losses." Silicon Knights' suit alleged that Epic was "sabotaging" Unreal Engine 3 licensees. Epic's licensing document stated that a working version of the engine would be available within six months of the Xbox 360 developer kits being released. Silicon Knights claimed that Epic not only missed this deadline, but that when a working version of the engine was eventually released, the documentation was insufficient. They also claimed Epic had withheld vital improvements to the game engine, claiming they were "game specific", while also using licensing fees to fund development of their own titles rather than the engine itself.[10]

On August 9, 2007, Epic Games counter-sued Silicon Knights, claiming that they were using its engine without paying royalties.[11] On May 30, 2012, Epic Games defeated Silicon Knights' lawsuit, and won its counter-suit for $4.45 million on grounds of copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of contract.[12] Consistent with Epic's counterclaims, the presiding judge stated that Silicon Knights had "deliberately and repeatedly copied thousands of lines of Epic Games’ copyrighted code, and then attempted to conceal its wrongdoing by removing Epic Games’ copyright notices and by disguising Epic Games’ copyrighted code as Silicon Knights’ own."[13]

As a result, on November 7, 2012, Silicon Knights was directed by the court to destroy all game code derived from Unreal Engine 3, all information from licensee-restricted areas of Epic's Unreal Engine documentation website, and to permit Epic Games access to the company's servers and other devices to ensure these items have been removed. In addition, they were instructed to recall and destroy all unsold retail copies of games built with Unreal Engine 3 code, including Too Human, X-Men Destiny, The Sandman, The Box/Ritualyst, and Siren in the Maelstrom (the latter three titles were projects never released, or even officially announced).[14]

Government funding[edit]


In February 2008, Silicon Knights was granted $500,000 by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) through its Video Game Prototype Initiative. Using this funding, they were to create a prototype for a "third-person action/psychological thriller".[15]


In April 2010, it was announced that the company would receive nearly $4 million through the Canadian government's Community Adjustment Fund. The purpose of the loan was to allow the hiring of 65 new staff members, who would be working on a new game targeting multiple platforms. The game was estimated to take two to five years to complete.[16]


In July 2011, Silicon Knights was awarded $2.5 million to be distributed over five years in provincial funding to improve its technology, create new products and become a self-publishing company. The investment would supposedly have allowed the company to improve its technology, hire 80 new people while keeping 97 current jobs and allow the company to become "self sustaining." As of November 2011, Silicon Knights never received any of this funding.[1]

Filing for bankruptcy[edit]

On May 16, 2014, following the loss of the court case, Silicon Knights was sued until it filed for bankruptcy and a Certificate of Appointment was issued by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, with Collins Barrow Toronto Limited being appointed as Trustee in Bankruptcy.[17]


  1. ^ a b JEFF BOLICHOWSKI. "No grant cash yet, embattled game designer says". St. Catharines Standard. 
  2. ^ "Silicon Knights staff now fewer than 5 - Report | GamesIndustry International". 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  3. ^ "What Went Wrong With Silicon Knights' X-Men: Destiny?". 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  4. ^ Crecente, Brian (9 May 2013). "Silicon Knights unloads property, closes office, continues battle with Epic Games". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Certificate Of Appoinment - Silicon Knights Inc" (PDF). 
  6. ^ News: Cancelled Silicon Knights games detailed -
  7. ^ Silicon Knights' cancelled games laid bare • News •
  8. ^ "Epic Wins Advantage in Too Human Lawsuit". Escapist Magazine. 2011-12-27. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  9. ^ "Hamilton poised to become leader in interactive digital media". McMaster Daily News. 
  10. ^ "Breaking: Silicon Knights Files Lawsuit Against Epic". 
  11. ^ Andy Chalk. "The Escapist : News : Epic Launches Counterclaim Against Silicon Knights". Retrieved 2012-11-19. 
  12. ^ Stephen Totilo. "Epic Says Epic Has Won Lawsuit Battle With Silicon Knights [UPDATE: Epic Awarded $4.45 Million]". Kotaku. 
  13. ^ "Epic judgment doubled, Silicon Knights ordered to pay over $9 million. Silicon Knights were ordered to pay $4.45 Million in damages to Epic Games.". 
  14. ^ "Silicon Knights, Inc. v. Epic Games, Inc. Filing: 862". 
  15. ^ OMDC News Release
  16. ^ Welland Tribune: Silicon Knights get $4-million boost
  17. ^ Collins Barrow Trustee In Bankruptcy Of Silicon Knights Inc.

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