Ex-Staffers Allege Dodgy Developmental Skullduggery
Silicon Knights, the developer behind Eternal Darkness and more recently Too Human and X-Men Destiny, now lies in ruins. The studio now only consists of a skeleton crew of five staffers, including CEO Dennis Dyack. More damningly, however, a report from newly redundant personnel alleges that Silicon Knights secretly siphoned resources away from Activision-backed X-Men Destiny to work on an Eternal Darkness 2 prototype, and never 'took it seriously.'
Eight ex-developers spilled the beans to Kotaku, alleging that Dyack and Silicon Knights used X-Men Legends as a front to allow them to secretly create an Eternal Darkness 2 demo to pitch to publishers. By the looks of things, Activision had no idea that this was going on despite up to 40% of the developers being quietly diverted from X-Men Destiny.
"Silicon Knights didn't take the development of XMD seriously the entire time I was there," said one of the ex-employees. "While I was there, they were even siphoning off staff from my [X-Men] team to work on it. I was always complaining to the producers about this, as the numbers never worked out. Denis [Dyack] is not an X-Men fan either, so he didn't care much for the license. To him, it seemed more like a job to get us by, until ED2 could be developed and sold to a publisher, which never happened."
"Some of the individuals on the [Eternal Darkness 2] project were major contributors," confirmed another source. "At the time, they suggested the developers should be brought onto X-Men Destiny to shore up the team and help them get back on track."
However, this underhand business practice apparently only led to an incredibly primitive demo, not to mention a mediocre finished product in X-Men Destiny.
"The farthest they got with it when I left SK was, literally, one two-level church interior," chimed in yet another Silicon Knights ex-staffer. "It was really bad, as I recall. It took the side team a long time to even get that far. Bad tech, combined with a team composed of people who had not shipped a title since Metal Gear Twin Snakes, really hurt that demo."
"Other than that, I can't explain why things went so poorly for them, a lot of key people responsible for the original Eternal Darkness are long gone."
After continually being fobbed off, Activision eventually had to force Silicon Knights' hand by releasing a trailer with a launch date, thus tying them into finishing off X-Men Destiny. Considering Silicon Knight's gutted state and potential IP issues with Nintendo, it's increasingly unlikely that Eternal Darkness 2 will see the light of day.
Naturally, it's important to note that this is a report from anonymous and potentially disgruntled ex-employees, so it should be taken with a slight pinch of salt. However, it would certainly explain the quality of X-Men Legends, not to mention its laborious development cycle. What do you make of all this?