Epic Strikes Back Against Silicon Knights (Updated)

By Carlos Bergfeld and Nick Breckon, Aug 09, 2007 3:06pm PDT Update: Legal documents issued by Epic's attorneys at the firm of Hunton & Williams amount to a bristling rebuttal of Silicon Knights' original motion.

"Silicon Knights wants to take Epic's Licensed Technology, pay nothing for it, and use it any way it pleases," the counter-motion reads. "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."

Responding directly to the point that Epic had neglected its licensees in favor of working on its own Unreal Engine 3-powered title Gears of War (PC, X360), the document reads, "By employing its synergistic model [of development], as it has always done, Epic ensures that its engines are enhanced by the application of knowledge gleaned from its actual game development."

The document also asserts that Silicon Knights knew and agreed to the idea that the Unreal Engine 3 was a work-in-progress, and that it "may not meet its requirements and may not be modified [by Epic] to meet them." Epic mentions that Silicon Knights actually asked for a warranty of its use of the engine, but that Epic rejected its proposal, after which Silicon accepted its rejection and signed anyway.

Some statements clarify specific points of the original motion, such as Silicon's claim that Epic's Tim Sweeney assured SK that the Unreal Engine 3 would run at 30 frames per second with more than 30 characters on screen. Epic now says the e-mail in question only gave Epic's "target" for the hardware, and that Silicon Knights was cognizant of the difference at the time.

To wit, every count of Silicon Knights' motion was refuted by Epic, the major point being that Silicon Knights head Denis Dyack knowingly signed the Unreal Engine 3 License Agreement, which states that 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."

Original story: Unreal Engine 3 licenser Epic has filed a motion to dismiss the case brought on by licensee and Too-Human developer Silicon Knights regarding the "extensive problems" with Epic's engine, according to reports. Epic has also taken a step further and filed a counterclaim against Silicon Knights.

Shacknews spoke with other developers following Silicon Knights' complaint and found that the company was not alone in having issues with the Unreal Engine 3. Expect more on this story as it develops.

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