A now-defunct Video Game studio that based in St. Catharines, Ontario, founded by Denis Dyack in 1992. While the company started out working on strategy games for home computers, they later moved on to creating games for consoles after 1996. Over their two decades of existence, Silicon Knights is best remembered for three things: being the original creators of the Legacy of Kain series, their brief partnership with Nintendo that resulted in Eternal Darkness and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, and the disastrous late 2000s lawsuit against Epic Games that led to them declaring bankruptcy in 2014.
In 2007, Silicon Knights sued Epic Games for selling them an unfinished and inferior version of the Unreal Engine 3, arguing that they were sabotaging competitors to prop up their own titles like Gears of War, and that Epic should relinquish all profits from the game as recompense. Epic Games sued them back, countering that a good chunk of the supposed proprietary engine Silicon Knights had created after ditching Unreal Engine 3 actually consisted of UE3 code, and that Silicon was trying to claim the resulting mish-mash as their own work without crediting Epic or paying them royalties. In 2012, Epic won, and the judge ordered Silicon Knights to recall and destroy all unsold copies of Too Human and X-Men: Destiny at their own expense, delete the source code for both games plus three more games that were in development, and allow Epic Games access to the SK servers to ensure that all the offending code had been deleted. Add to that the $9 million they owe in damages and legal fees plus the $4 million they already owed to the Canadian government, and the studio was pretty much dead.
Games by Silicon Knights:
- Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996, PS/Windows)
- Cyber Empires (1992, Amiga/Atari ST/DOS)
- Dark Legions (1994, DOS)
- Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (2002, GCN)
- Fantasy Empires (1993, DOS)
- The Horde (1996, Saturn)
- Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (2004, GCN)
- Steel Empire (1992, Atari ST)
- Too Human (2008, Xbox 360)
- X-Men: Destiny (2011, PS3/Xbox 360/Wii)
Silicon Knights has the following Trivia.
- Creator Killer: If Too Human and X-Men: Destiny's poor performance didn't kill them off, the spectacular backfire of their lawsuit against Epic Games certainly did.
- Magnum Opus Dissonance: Too Human was Denis Dyack's baby, but hardly any gamers shed a tear when the game got Screwed by the Lawyers. On the other hand, much was lamented over the loss of most chances of getting a sequel to Eternal Darkness.
- Protection from Editors: Silicon Knights, while being published by Nintendo and Konami, was under strong editorial control because those companies had quality brand names to protect. The success of Eternal Darkness and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes earned SK a lot of clout to shrug off the editorial control. Unfortunately for them, that editorial control prevented Dyack from running things into the ground, and what followed were two major flops.
- Stillborn Franchise:
- Too Human was supposed to be a trilogy, but the poor sales of the first game combined with the company's implosion has made further installments highly unlikely.
- Eternal Darkness also had many fans clamoring for a sequel, which Silicon Knights was interested in providing, but they didn't get around to it in time. Two separate attempts were launched by SK to crowd source a Spiritual Successor to the game but both fell far short of their funding goals.
- UnPerson: Almost. When people started leaving the development team of X-Men Destiny due to being laid off, their names were taken out of the credits due to a policy previously created by Denis Dyack. The names were put back in, but under the "Special Thanks" section.
- What Could Have Been: After Epic won the lawsuit, Silicon Knights had to cancel several games that were in development. One of which was based on Neil Gaiman's The Sandman.