A post-mortem of Silicon Knights (Mama Robotnik research thread)

#58
I'm only around 25% through this and I can't believe how thoroughly you've pulled this all together. I bet you this is even more comprehensive and all-encompasing than what SK themselves have on their end. Incredible work! This is my bed-time reading tonight :)
 
#61
An incredible read! I read all the way through it and can't help but appreciate all the work that went into it.

As I was going through it though I couldn''t but notice this guy


He seems to be wearing a stylized Chaos Star making me wonder if its a reference to Warhammers Fabius Bile. They would presumably have had the same role of upgrading people.
 

LiquidMetal14

hide your water-based mammals
#62
Done sifting through the Kain saga. Bravo sir, I mean that sincerely. This is better than watching a high action packed movie. Unfortunate that you couldn't get any info from that former dev. Would love to know more about how crappy that ordeal went.

I have to say, Dyack gets shit but this seems to be something in which SK was truly given the shaft on and one could only imagine what the would have done with the IP had they been able to continue what they started.
 
#64
Just finished reading and geezus at the quotes from Dyack. And I thought Peter Molyneux was fool of shit.

Seriously though, kudos to you Mama Robotnik for this insightful read. This is how gaming journalism should be done.
 
#72
I think Too Human would have been a success if petty Dyack would have just stuck with UE3. The final product would have been finished, for starters, and Microsoft would have actually supported it since SK wouldn't have been at war with one of its biggest partners and blown so much of the budget on rebuilding the damned thing from scratch (but not getting rid of all the early code, leading to the company's ruin).
 
#76
I actually really enjoyed Too Human.

Fun combat system, difficult, and had deep RPG mechanics. Reminds me of demon souls in a way with the hub system.
It was actually pretty skill based. Once you got good at dodge into slide into your various other abilities it really opened up.
And the RPG mechanics actually got very deep with the rune system, damage/defense caps, and the rare open socket armors.

It was deeply flawed, but still an enjoyable experience and potentially a very good story to work with as well.

Would have loved to see a sequel. Great write up, an interesting read throughout.
I never beat too human, and the core gameplay wasn't the problem. The biggest problem that game had was that the level design was atrocious. The first world was pretty boring, and the second world was horrible, so horrible that I quit then and there. What I would love to find out is WHY they went from their Deus Ex style cyberpunk future to the whole Norse mythology thing. Restarting cancelled games has got to suck, but I just do not understand why they abandoned years of plotting and design work for future Norse Diablo. Not that I didn't like the concept of the new Too Human, it just seemed like quite a waste of time and effort.

I wonder if the rights to the original concept were left with Nintendo since they funded the GC development.
 

LiquidMetal14

hide your water-based mammals
#77
Annnnnd done.

That was a juicy read. And it ain't even the whole story with many bits shrouded in NDA's among other barriers. I sort of feel some sympathy and resentment towards the way SK went from a near AAA dev to a much lesser developer that owes money. A sad ending.
 
#78
I wasn't on GAF when the whole Too Human thing happened, nor did I play the 360 game, but upon hearing all the stuff about the game's setting and concepts I kind of wish that it would've turned into a better game. It really sounded like it would be something that I could like.
 
#79
Fantastic work as usual, Mama. You definitely need to be archiving your work somewhere online, it's great.

As for SK, it seems pretty obvious Dyack killed the company with his own hands. I love Blood Omen but think everything after that is overrated (ED and Twin Snakes) or objectively awful (Too Human). As noted by another poster in this thread... hubris!
 
#82
I love, love love your threads, Mama Robotnik. Your writing and presentation of the material is always really, really interesting, and beta and development information is something I adore reading about. =D

Slight correction:
Too Human (Nintendo GameCube)

Partner: Nintendo
Status: Cancelled

With the successful releases of Eternal Darkness and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, Nintendo was a proven and popular developer. The Legacy of Kain franchise they had started, was going into its third and fourth sequels under Crystal Dynamics – proof that SK could create original IPs with franchise potential. There were many, many requests for a sequel to Eternal Darkness – but Silicon Knights had other ideas.
I'm assuming Nintendo should be Silicon Knights. =P

I'm still reading the rest of your posts, I'll post if I come across any other typos. =D
 
#83
awesome work Mama!

This is kinda sad in a way, they got pretty high and then fell amazingly far. Hard to believe the entire story in some ways cause it sounds insane that Dyack would basically seem to lose him mind towards the end. shame we'll never get ED 2 now.
 
#84
Awesome read. I've always wanted to pick up Eternal Darkness but with me not being too good at horror anything I haven't done so, yet. Sad about what happened to this company, they could have become amazing had they stuck by Nintendo.
 
#85
I work with a bunch of ex-SKers. While the ED fanboy in me wants to ask about ED2, I think that it'd be kind of rude.

Great work as always, MR! Always a fan every time you dig deep and post your work here.
 

RobotHaus

Unconfirmed Member
#86
I'll have to get around to reading all of it, but what I've read you did some very good research.

It seemed like SK was one of those companies that just couldn't get up to speed with this gen. And even then still, it seems like a lot of their issues were with management. It's a shame because I really did enjoy Eternal Darkness. Too Human on the other hand? Bleh.
 

ezekial45

I have assigned to you one day for each year its punishment will last.
#87
I work with a bunch of ex-SKers. While the ED fanboy in me wants to ask about ED2, I think that it'd be kind of rude.

Great work as always, MR! Always a fan every time you dig deep and post your work here.
Oh wow, that's quite a cloud they've got over them. I'm sure you're not alone in wondering what happened with it.
 
#90
A bit too much of a love-note, Dyack essentially dug the hole SK wound up in, overly grandiose promises of games his studio can never deliver kept fans strung along for years and years, I was surprised they lasted this long. The epic lawsuit was simply a stupid, stupid move.
 
#91
I actually really enjoyed Too Human.

Fun combat system, difficult, and had deep RPG mechanics. Reminds me of demon souls in a way with the hub system.
It was actually pretty skill based. Once you got good at dodge into slide into your various other abilities it really opened up.
And the RPG mechanics actually got very deep with the rune system, damage/defense caps, and the rare open socket armors.

It was deeply flawed, but still an enjoyable experience and potentially a very good story to work with as well.

Would have loved to see a sequel. Great write up, an interesting read throughout.
I also really enjoyed this game. I loved the sliding combat, it made every encounter feel so intense and fast. I really didn't think the game was deeply flawed...it seems we as gamers, or people, need to throw a shit caveat at anything we enjoy. You'll see a lot of "I thought Skyrim was incredible, but the story, voice acting, save system, etc. was the worst thing I have ever seen." type of posts. Can't we just like stuff without HAVING to find faults with it? Generally speaking.
 
#93
I wonder if Dyack is reading this....
I just hoped Dyack learned something from all of this. But given his reported personality both through word of mouth, his... infamous Too Human incident on GAF, and other stuff here, probably not.

Actually, has anyone spoke to Dyack or interviewed him post Epic-suit?
 
#94
I just hoped Dyack learned something from all of this. But given his reported personality both through word of mouth, his... infamous Too Human incident on GAF, and other stuff here, probably not.

Actually, has anyone spoke to Dyack or interviewed him post Epic-suit?
I think the closest that we're going to get for a while was the ED2 teasing he was doing before declaring that it totally wasn't that game he was teasing. I'm sure he's going to stay quiet on everything for a long time.
 
#96
I work with a bunch of ex-SKers. While the ED fanboy in me wants to ask about ED2, I think that it'd be kind of rude.

Great work as always, MR! Always a fan every time you dig deep and post your work here.
LOL. Southern Ontario studios seems to be always home to at least one or two ex-SKers, and I'm sure everyone's got a fun story to tell if they want to.
 
#97
For all the hate publishers get can you imagine what EA/Activision/Microsoft/etc went through after being conned by a bad developer like Silicon Knights? This is something all you kickstarter fans should keep in mind of, it's not that publishers don't deserve the hate they receive but the whole idea that developers are angels who can do no wrong is nothing short of laughable. I bet that some of the highly anticipated kickstarter games are already being worked on by the next Silicon Knights.
 
#98
A very incredible thread! It's a shame that Silicon Knights somehow kept digging themselves into trouble throughout their existence. Constantly restarting their projects probably didn't help either so realistically they had very little work under their name for the time spent. They should have just pushed some of these titles out if they were so close to completion, it's really puzzling.

The original concept for Too Human sounded really interesting but I'm not entirely sure about the execution of that short gameplay clip in comparison with other games in that era. Too bad they ended up trashing it.
 
#99
I just hoped Dyack learned something from all of this. But given his reported personality both through word of mouth, his... infamous Too Human incident on GAF, and other stuff here, probably not.

Actually, has anyone spoke to Dyack or interviewed him post Epic-suit?
It's not like he can do anything other than close shop at this point, does he even have any game codes left? Maybe the Ontario government will waste millions of tax dollars to bail him out, and he can somehow sucker another publisher into a deal.
 
Just a few notes:
- The game you show as "The Crucible" is not The Crucible: Evil Within, which was a temporary title of The Box/The Ritualist. The game you are showing is Big Huge Games' Ascendant that was developed for THQ.
- You may want to include some information on SK's contract work in its early days, such as Tork.
- The Too Human scenes you found on Albert Alejandro's portfolio are based on PS2-generation hardware (How do I know? That was mentioned on his old portfolio)
- The GIA artworks for Too Human are from the PSX days
- The concept room by Raffaele Ienco does not really look like something that was possible on GCN hardware, I believe it's for current generation hardware. After all, Too Human was not really in active development for GCN as the team was busy with ED and MGS.
- The Box started out as an Unreal Engine title, that's why it's in the file name.
- King's Quest was done for Vivendi, so it must have been before the Activision-Vivendi merger.

Please also watch your PM folder.