Silicon Knights’ bitter and protracted legal fight against Epic Games was given a stark setback this month, as a North Carolina judge ordered that the studio will only be granted a single dollar in damages for each claim if victorious.
The Canada studio has spent a significant amount in legal fees during its lawsuit against Epic Games, which opened five years ago in July 2007.
Silicon Knights, if successful, can appeal for damages greater than $1, according to games site Polygon.
Amid a huge cache of legal papers, which a court clerk told Develop now stacks more than six feet high, a document shows that Silicon Knights’ was denied a previous motion to be paid court fees if victorious.
It means that, as things stand, Silicon Knights stands to make a significant net loss whether it wins or not. Epic Games has complicated the matter by countersuing, meaning that money could be due in the other direction.
In a range of accusations, increasingly amended over the past five years, Silicon Knights is accusing Epic Games responsible for what it deems as a disappointing critical and commercial response to its 2007 game Too Human.
Epic, in turn, claims Silicon Knights has stolen ‘trade secrets’ with regards to Unreal Engine 3 when building the Silicon Knights Engine.
The case cites numerous parties, from Microsoft to Sega, Midway and EA.
Epic Games’ bigger fear could be the sensitive company information that has been exposed through the dispositions of studio executives. Illuminating testimonies from the likes of Mark Rein and Tim Sweeney are buried, yet available, in the huge stack of papers.
The current financial condition of Silicon Knights is a matter for debate. The studio has laid off a significant number of staff in recent months.
The case continues.