But Precursor Is Still A "Totally New Entity"
Precursor Games, the studio set up by a bunch of ex-Silicon Knights developers, has revealed that it bought assets and equipment from the flaming husk of Silicon Knights to use in its new game: Shadow of the Eternals.
We did purchase some art assets from Silicon Knights,” said Precursor Games CEO Paul Caporicci , chatting to Wired via phone earlier this week, “and we were very happy to be able to put those assets created by the talented past employees to use.”
Apparently, Precursor Games then “assembled and did all the rest of the work in CryEngine 3 — totally new engine," according to Caporicci.
Of course, it's difficult not to be a little wary of all of this. After all, Denis Dyack's Silicon Knights (Dyack is now CCO at Precursor) laid off the vast majority of its staff last year following allegations that the developers were siphoning off resources to pay for an Eternal Darkness 2 pitch demo while they were meant to be focusing on X-Men Destiny. Let's not forget either the millions of dollars Silicon Knights owes Epic after the latter successfully sued them over essentially stealing Unreal Engine 3 code and passing it off as their own.
Caporicci, one of the many who lost their jobs from SK last year, is keen to distance Precursor from the flaming wreck of his former employers, but he understands at least that there is a certain amount of (perfectly justified) scepticism in the air. After all, it looks like Silicon Knights, just rebranded.
"We realize that those negative impressions exist and we're doing our best to show everyone Precursor is a totally new entity," Caporicci told GamesIndustry.
"I understand that skepticism but we just want an opportunity to show people that it's not that. We did work at Silicon Knights but we're trying to do something new and it's different positions and a different structure and it is a wholly different company."
Caporicci's standpoint is that he got fired along with plenty of others, and Precursor came about as a way of turning a crap situation around.
"I can't comment on Silicon Knights. I can only comment on me. I was laid off...I was really disappointed and I just wanted to turn that into a positive, so I reached out to other people to see if they're interested in doing a brand-new company, and it kind of snowballed from there,"
But if Precursor has nothing to do with Silicon Knights, and Silicon Knights doesn't really exist any more because there's just a "skeleton crew" there, where did the money for the assets go?
Caporicci has also addressed "past baggage" on the official site for Shadow of the Eternals, defending Dyack against the criticism that the Silicon Knights founder has been receiving.
"As many people can relate, being laid off is an emotionally distressing experience. When this happened to me, I was determined to turn this toward more positive ends. I began reaching out to others to see if they were interested in starting something brand new, using lessons learned from past experiences. Denis Dyack was my first choice for Creative, as he has a keen understanding on the creative aspects of game development. It saddens me to read that people’s impressions of him are painted by anonymous accounts of other individuals. I’ve known Denis for 10 years now, and from first hand experience I consider him to be one of the most honourable people I know, and undeserving of the amount of negative accusations he receives.
"I knew Shawn Jackson’s attention to detail, enthusiasm and experience would really balance our management team as Chief Operating Officer. The rest of the Precursor team is equally talented, and I’m amazed by the results we’ve achieved with our demo. Precursor Games has been built from the ground up to do something new, and we are excited to show and work with you on our first project — Shadow of the Eternals."
The crowdfunding project has gotten off to a slow start thus far, amassing $131,468 of its $1.5 million goal, with the company unable to use Kickstarter as the Canadian devs do not have a US or UK presence.