Denis Dyack is fighting back.
The controversial developer and former head of Silicon Knights has launched a counter-attack against the allegations made against it in the press.
It all stems back to an article printed on Kotaku in October of last year. In it both Silicon knights and Dyack himself are attacked for the development of X-Men: Destiny and some apparently very shady business practices.
So why respond to the article seven months after the event? Because Dyack is back on the scene and trying to crowdfund a successor to Silicon Knight’s Eternal Darkness. And he’s having some trouble.
“For the first time we are combining a crowd funding effort on Kickstarter with community driven content where gamers can actually add content to the game driven all through an episodic model. We think the potential for this is fantastic,” Dyack said in the lengthy video.
Much of the video is spent attacking the credibility of both the Kotaku article and its author Andrew McMillen.
“We thought it would not be taken seriously due to lack of sources,” Dyack said of the piece, admitting that he should have come out and responded sooner. “Old newspapers would actually do some further research to check whether the research in that article is credited. Now people will just link and link and link and every time it’s linked it gets some incremental shred of credibility.
“I’ve gotta do something as it’s now affecting me and my colleagues at Precursor. I was always aware the allegations were not true. The extent to which people thought it was real did not become apparent until we started to try and do fundraising. It became overwhelmingly obvious to everyone at Precursor and all our fans that we continue to run into this wall.
“What’s really disappointing to me is that such serious allegations are being made credible and has been given a life on its own and there isn’t any hard evidence of its own from credible sources that this ever occurred.
“We realised that if I came on the record and said something [McMillen] would have his first credible source, so I decided not to go on the record and comment as the allegations were all untrue.”
Dyack then stated that he has obtained emails that were exchanged between McMillen and Wired magazine, which apparently turned down the chance to publish the article due to the fact that it contained “no real facts or documentation” and that it could potentially ruin the reputation of both Silicon Knights and Dyack himself.
Not only does he refute the claims that Silicon Knights siphoned money paid towards the development of X-Men: Destiny – he actually claimed that the studio invested more in its development than it was paid.
“We realised that after Too Human which was one of our worst Metacritic scoring games since our previous games we wanted X-men to be as good as possible,” Dyack insisted. “The people at Activision were stunned by this. They said they really appreciated it but didn’t know if it was a good business move.
“We are really sorry how that game turned out. We did nothing but put our best efforts into this project. We all tried to make it work out but sometimes it doesn’t happen.”
Throughout the video, however, Dyack goes to great lengths to apologise for what he admits were his failures throughout his time at Silicon Knights, although he’s not always too specific about exactly what he is apologising for.
“I’ve said some things out there in the press about this project and some other projects and I apologise for that,” he said. “I’ve learnt my lesson. I’ve learnt my lesson so much that at Precursor I’m not making business decisions like that. Shaun and Paul are running precursor. I’m in charge of the creative.”
After questioning the insight of the anonymous sources in Kotaku’s article, praising Nintendo and insisting that he does value the importance of development staff, Dyack went on to apologise some more.
“I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I’ve come here today to say I haven’t made any mistakes. I’ve made a lot of mistakes,” he added. “I have said a lot of things that I shouldn’t have said. I’ve done some things that I regret and all I can say is that I have learned from them. I’ve changed the way that I think about things and I really want to move forward in a positive way and focus on what I do best. I’m lucky enough to have people here at precursor who will let me do that while they run the company.”
The video ends with additional comments from Precursor Games CEO Paul Caporicci and COO Shawn Jackson.
“I think Denis is one of the most creative persons I’ve ever met in the industry,” Caporicci argues. “Denis had reservations about doing this video but I felt that it was essential that we hit these issues head on.”
Jackson added: “Back in the studio environment there were a select few people who made it their mission to paint him in a certain light and it concerned me a lot. So I made it my mission to address those concerns and actually bring them to Denis.”
He then goes on to twice describe Dyack as “very generous and caring”.
You can see it in full below: