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GN Radio #35

GN podcast #488

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Denis Dyack goes into great deal explaining what happened with Silicon Knights and X-Men Destiny


Why did it take so long to respond to the article?
- Dyack did not think that people would believe it
- He is now coming forward as it's impacting the fundraising campaign

Email from Andrew McMillen
- "There is no hard evidence apart from non-credible anonymous sources"
- Email from Andrew McMillen, which was forwarded to SK.
- Wired did not decide to go ahead with the story
- When McMillen was confronted with only having 8 anonymous sources, he said that it's fair enough
- Dyack: McMillen was aware that it would ruin SK and Dyack's reputation

Funds were diverted from X-Men Destiny to fund ED2 prototype
- SK put more money into X-Men Destiny than they received from Activision as they wanted it to be better than their last game
- Half way through the project, Dyack sat down with Activision executives and talked about how to improve the game after having paid 2 million more than they got paid
- Activision was stunned by this; they appreciated it and even told Dyack it was not a good business move
- Dyack sorry about how the game turned out
- Dyack also sorry about having said certain things in the past, he learnt his lesson and is now not involved in business decisions at Precursor
- Article says that 8 people totalling 45 years of experience were interviewed; Dyack says that people with only 5 years at SK would not know the budget allocation; those people who knew the allocation were not interviewed
- SK had open policy when working with partners; used Perforce and Hansoft; Activision could look at both databases and see which employee worked on what project
- External audits confirmed this

Allegation of why Silicon Knights left Nintendo
- Relationship between Dyack and Nintendo still close
- Iwata recommended that SK would become a second party
- Nintendo and SK went different ways because they wanted to create different types of games
- Nintendo were not oppressive but constructive

Allegation of claims that artists are a "dime a dozen"
- "Nothing could be further from the truth"
- Average salary 25000-30000$ higher than St.Catherines area and comparable to that at large publishers in larger cities
- People like Kevin Gordon would not work with him for over 20 years and many others stayed at SK for 10-15 years

Allegation of Activision demanding to know about staff leaving
- None of that was true, they did not feel out of the loop
- SK went through difficult time with layoffs and departures, but there was no exodus
- Turnover rate was low
- Former SK employees congratulated to Precursor campaign, Dyack does not believe this would have happened if they were treated poorly

Allegation of Activision changing the credits
- Dyack made the final call on credits, not Activision
- Allegation is untrue

Denis Closing Thoughts
- "I made a lot of mistakes"
- "I said a lot of things I should not have said"
- "Learnt my lesson"
- Focusses on creative design now

Check out even more details here

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Discussion Preview
43 total comments (View all)
User avatar
19 May 2013 19:09

Ok guys I suggest you read this and get a bit of a reality check. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=503761
Now this is a LOT of content, but it goes way more in depth than the Kotaku article and sources many other sites and people including NAMED former staff.

This guy barred the use of the word "epic" in the company, STOLE code from an engine and mismanaged MILLIONS of dollars while being an arrogant jerk about it to boot. Now I watched the whole video and while I did appreciate the balls it took to do this and the effort they made, they dodged TONS of questions and responded to anonymous sources with "Well take my word for it that didn't happen" which still provides no FACTS one way or the other.

"Lol Kotaku" isn't the only problem here, they're bad but as you can see the NeoGAF article is much more heavily fact and interview based (although they do reference Kotaku as well in SOME areas) and it basically says the same thing. Now I want this game to come out and I want it to be good but I still dislike Dyack and excuse me if I don't want to throw money at a company that (as Silicon Knights) canceled 15 GAMES and is known for being ripoff artists.
/rant
User avatar
19 May 2013 19:21

You're kinda opening yourself to a whole new can of worms by switching Kotaku out for GAF. That said, the lack of direction Silicon Knights displayed after leaving Nintendo is curious.
No Avatar
19 May 2013 19:33

@Hylianhero777

I read that a while ago. And not to be rude, but you didn't seem to be paying attention to the video.

First off, the biggest deal out of the article link you posted was the whole Too Human thing. That's been done and gone. They suffered the lawsuit, the company dissolved, etc. The world moved on. So there's no need to bring that up. They started again from scratch with Precursor.

Aside from that, they repeated multiple times that Dyack is the Chief Creative Officer... means he doesn't touch any money except the one he gets paid.

Another thing to consider is looking at how far Shadows of the Eternals has come and the effort put into it. Do you think the rest of his coworkers would bother to put so much effort into making it all possible if they know Dyack would somehow cause it all to be thrown away again??

Or do you think he'll somehow manage to snatch all the money they've amassed through Kickstarter and make a run for it? Get real! His name and face are well known and that terrible reputation precedes him. He'd have nowhere to run!

I would fund the project, but I'm not so sure I'll be getting the game at all (I never played the original ED so I don't see much sense in getting this one. Maybe one episode...). So when I have spare cash, I'll fund just for support. But I don't really have any reason to believe gamers will get scammed or cheated. They have exposed themselves too much for things to go down that road.
User avatar
19 May 2013 20:09

@Hylianhero777

Ohhhh.... You just got burned :p
No Avatar
Anonymous
19 May 2013 20:21

Usually these ego maniacs are so damn full of themselves that they accept their own lies as fact.
User avatar
19 May 2013 20:22

I don't know where the truth stands. Maybe somewhere in the middle.

However, there is ONE fact that is fully verified: X-Men Destiny is a f*cking mess. They can sugarcoat it all they want, but that makes it a lose-lose situation.

On one hand, if they gave the game their full attention, then they are bad at what they do. They had time to make a decent game.

On the other hand, if they are good at what they do, then they definitely didn't give the game the attention it required.

One way or the other, they messed up.

Now, with players all over the world still waiting for the first breed of big crowd-funded games to be released (like the Double Fine Adventure/Broken Age), I wouldn't bet my money on this particular project.

The project seems too big for their capacity and their creative director's previous game was really bad.

Oh, and there's that Kotaku article, too.
User avatar
19 May 2013 20:25

@ecco6t9

Which kind of lies?

@Endan

Probably shouldn't credit Kotaku in any form.
No Avatar
19 May 2013 21:38

xmen is a mess, but so is the recent aliens. Ok people did not like SK game, sure but it was far more honest than the recent aliens. And the company behind that shameless job, will once again reap massive rewards once their borderlands three are in the store. Why? well because they did it with borderlands 2, a game that came after the apparently horrible (but less than alien) duke nukem forever. Heck aliens sold even more than that.

I'm not saying he's right, not even saying that kickstarter is a smart thing to do since no video game related projects have been released. Ouya was and it's a disaster, and it's the most successful one ever. Still the difference of treatment is just too big.... of course maybe gearbox will suffer also but we'll see about that
User avatar
19 May 2013 22:54

Chosenoneknuckles wrote:*Currently afew minutes into watching at time of commenting*

Kudos to the guy for braving the torrent of venom and doing this.

Yes, he's done shovel stuff in the past, but it seems gamers are adamant that people in said industry cannot change. Their as of yet unfounded venom towards this project might stop a great game, a revival of a cult favourite series, from being made. And that'd quite frankly suck.

It's almost like declaring Nintendo unfit to make any more games because of Wii Music etc. [insert popular hated game here] - a hyperbole statement. All game companies release commercial duds now and again [some more than others], that's business, and life.

Get over it.


Well put. It's no use to get hung up on one person's mistakes Denis made in the past or any other companies mistakes. Mistakes happen; to all of us; and that's a fact. The important thing is to just to have to courage to face them head-on, simply learn from them and move on instead of running away from them like a coward.
No Avatar
19 May 2013 22:56

Hylianhero777 wrote:Ok guys I suggest you read this and get a bit of a reality check. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=503761
Now this is a LOT of content, but it goes way more in depth than the Kotaku article and sources many other sites and people including NAMED former staff.

This guy barred the use of the word "epic" in the company, STOLE code from an engine and mismanaged MILLIONS of dollars while being an arrogant jerk about it to boot. Now I watched the whole video and while I did appreciate the balls it took to do this and the effort they made, they dodged TONS of questions and responded to anonymous sources with "Well take my word for it that didn't happen" which still provides no FACTS one way or the other.

"Lol Kotaku" isn't the only problem here, they're bad but as you can see the NeoGAF article is much more heavily fact and interview based (although they do reference Kotaku as well in SOME areas) and it basically says the same thing. Now I want this game to come out and I want it to be good but I still dislike Dyack and excuse me if I don't want to throw money at a company that (as Silicon Knights) canceled 15 GAMES and is known for being ripoff artists.
/rant

thanks for reposting the neogaf thread i totally forgot about that, I remembered reading it last year and was just AMAZED how detailed it was, I mean seriously it took me about 15 mins to read the entire thing and it was a ten times better than the shoddy journalism of Kotaku.

anyone that hasn't read that neogaf thread in the quote above me needs to read it, it's certainly interesting and VERY in depth
User avatar
19 May 2013 23:25

So, in earlier discussions about this I stated I didn't want to fund the project because I didn't want Denis Dyack to have any of my money (well, before the game was out, he could have sure as crap had my money for an excellent game!) but now after viewing this video I'm way more comfortable about supporting this project.

There's still a few things over all about the project that I'm concerned about, but none of them relate to Dyack himself.

Kudos for him for making this video, and with or without my support, I wish the game the best of luck. No matter how you feel, no one should want this game to fail.
User avatar
20 May 2013 01:39

I will say that SK never should have left Nintendo. I will also say that they never should have wasted their time to fuck around with Too Human, a project that flopped big time.

But while Dyack has a rep as a control freak, whatever, I don't think he deserves all the sh*t people give him.

Kind of the same way people are giving sh*t to Warren Spector. He doesn't deserve any of it.
User avatar
20 May 2013 03:16

Kokatu is not worth 30 minutes of explaining.

Anyway saying that this shouldn't happen because of Too Human and X-Men Destiny is like saying Sonic Team should stop making Lost World because of Sonic 06.
User avatar
20 May 2013 03:54

You know, if there were no second chances, I'm pretty sure people would stop going back to BioWare and Rare (they both still suck though).
User avatar
20 May 2013 06:57

Magolor wrote:Kokatu is not worth 30 minutes of explaining.

Anyway saying that this shouldn't happen because of Too Human and X-Men Destiny is like saying Sonic Team should stop making Lost World because of Sonic 06.



And Sonic Unleashed. And Sonic and the Black Knight. And Shadow the Hedgehog................ :lol:
User avatar
20 May 2013 09:01

All 3 guys are either really good at poker or they are telling the truth.

Best thing they could do was to hit it head on and now move on.

Ironically, I think Too Human would have been better received in the Nintendo community than how it was eaten up and spit out in the PS3/360's.

I kinda wish Nintendo would play it much like Disney has with movies; have your cute family friendly face, but also set up a secondary publisher for darker more adult action type movies. I think it's Paramount...or whatever, but Nintendo should have done this back in the GameCube days. There is room for ED and other such games as Nintendo staples!
No Avatar
20 May 2013 11:51

bearded OTP wrote:
I kinda wish Nintendo would play it much like Disney has with movies; have your cute family friendly face, but also set up a secondary publisher for darker more adult action type movies. I think it's Paramount...or whatever, but Nintendo should have done this back in the GameCube days. There is room for ED and other such games as Nintendo staples!


I agree 100%. Nintendo needs those more mature games to gain the attention of Western third-party developers and gamers. And Disney's "adult" production company is called Touchstone Pictures.
User avatar
20 May 2013 12:33

I actually enjoyed Too Human. So did a few of my friends at art school.

I don't know what all happened in this guys past and in all honesty, I don't care. I just want to see the game make its way out.
User avatar
20 May 2013 15:31

@metalpants Not to be rude, but I watched the video in full and I find it hard to believe. So since Dyack says "take my word for it that didn't happen" I'm just supposed to accept that? He was the one yelling at Kotaku for not having any facts to back anything up.

About Too Human, there is absolutely a need to bring that up because it was made by the same people and absolutely SUCKED while proving that Silicon Knights was bad at managing money. They STOLE Epics code and tried to pass it off as their own and now I'm supposed to throw money at them?

Also, yes I do believe that the guys at precursor would put so much effort into it (which we don't know if they have as most of that footage could have been from the demo they were working on before SK went under AND the demo shows no combat) because they need to get out of the money pit they dug for themselves after they ran from SK when they couldn't pay debts there.

On top of all of this, SK hasn't made a single good game since their time at Nintendo and even if they don't "run away with the kickstarter money" I'm still not remotely confident the money won't get mismanaged on a shovel game regardless of whether or not Dyack is in charge.

To blindly donate to this and not care about the past will lead to mistakes in the future. I'm glad they put out this video because at least they are somewhat trying to address the concerns with the project, but I'm still skeptical of whether this will be good, and I think any sane person should be. until they give an ACTUAL apology for the things Dyack has gone on the record saying (not just on the kotaku article but in interviews and on GAF) I won't donate. Even if they do, I'll donate not because I'm expecting them to produce a quality game but out of a faint hope they haven't forgotten what they've learned at Nintendo and might churn out something that captures a fraction of what ED was.
No Avatar
20 May 2013 16:11

Are you telling me that Kotaku made something to burn down the image os someone or some company? AHAHAHAHA... that is all they do ^~
User avatar
20 May 2013 17:41

Hylianhero777 wrote:@metalpants Not to be rude, but I watched the video in full and I find it hard to believe. So since Dyack says "take my word for it that didn't happen" I'm just supposed to accept that? He was the one yelling at Kotaku for not having any facts to back anything up.

About Too Human, there is absolutely a need to bring that up because it was made by the same people and absolutely SUCKED while proving that Silicon Knights was bad at managing money. They STOLE Epics code and tried to pass it off as their own and now I'm supposed to throw money at them?

Also, yes I do believe that the guys at precursor would put so much effort into it (which we don't know if they have as most of that footage could have been from the demo they were working on before SK went under AND the demo shows no combat) because they need to get out of the money pit they dug for themselves after they ran from SK when they couldn't pay debts there.

On top of all of this, SK hasn't made a single good game since their time at Nintendo and even if they don't "run away with the kickstarter money" I'm still not remotely confident the money won't get mismanaged on a shovel game regardless of whether or not Dyack is in charge.

To blindly donate to this and not care about the past will lead to mistakes in the future. I'm glad they put out this video because at least they are somewhat trying to address the concerns with the project, but I'm still skeptical of whether this will be good, and I think any sane person should be. until they give an ACTUAL apology for the things Dyack has gone on the record saying (not just on the kotaku article but in interviews and on GAF) I won't donate. Even if they do, I'll donate not because I'm expecting them to produce a quality game but out of a faint hope they haven't forgotten what they've learned at Nintendo and might churn out something that captures a fraction of what ED was.


... So, what did you want from Denis, blood?

You say you wanted an apology whilst also earlier stating that you don't trust any word Denis says, nor feel that the other Precursor team are any different to him in terms of mismanagement etc.

I don't get what you were expecting here with such held convictions... Sounds like you're complaining for complaining's sake to me.
User avatar
20 May 2013 18:03

@Chosenoneknuckles I don't trust what he says because I can see that this wasn't genuine. When your company gets sued for millions and has to destroy games clearly something went wrong and this video was basically "nope we actually invested more money and everything was fine" BS.

If they DID invest more money in XMD than clearly they aren't competent developers if they went over time and over budget but still didn't manage a good game. Now I know every game can't be great but SK went through a slew of unfinished projects and of those that were released they were of poor quality. So when the most Dyack admits to is vaguely saying ""I made some mistakes" that's not genuine and that's not a reflection on what actually happened. It CAN'T be with what we know for a fact did happen at SK with Epic and with Dyack's numerous jerkish statements in interviews and on NeoGAF.

Now if none of the things addressed in this video did happen than ok, but something did happen and I would like to know what it was and why it won't happen again before I pledge my support. I would trust Dyack if he talked about what DID happen instead of what didn't or at least brought out some facts to show that what "didn't happen" REALLY didn't happen.

This didn't come off as an apology because even though he says "I learned my lesson" he never says for what. He dismisses every claim the article makes without saying what DID happen or what actual lessons he has learned from the train wreck that was TH and XMD.
User avatar
20 May 2013 21:14

Sorry. Dyack is no saint. But taking the "word" of annoymous sources on a site like Kotaku, over people (not just Dyack) who were actually there, is just sad.
No Avatar
21 May 2013 01:17

Hylianhero777 wrote:@Chosenoneknuckles I don't trust what he says because I can see that this wasn't genuine. When your company gets sued for millions and has to destroy games clearly something went wrong and this video was basically "nope we actually invested more money and everything was fine" BS.

If they DID invest more money in XMD than clearly they aren't competent developers if they went over time and over budget but still didn't manage a good game. Now I know every game can't be great but SK went through a slew of unfinished projects and of those that were released they were of poor quality. So when the most Dyack admits to is vaguely saying ""I made some mistakes" that's not genuine and that's not a reflection on what actually happened. It CAN'T be with what we know for a fact did happen at SK with Epic and with Dyack's numerous jerkish statements in interviews and on NeoGAF.

Now if none of the things addressed in this video did happen than ok, but something did happen and I would like to know what it was and why it won't happen again before I pledge my support. I would trust Dyack if he talked about what DID happen instead of what didn't or at least brought out some facts to show that what "didn't happen" REALLY didn't happen.

This didn't come off as an apology because even though he says "I learned my lesson" he never says for what. He dismisses every claim the article makes without saying what DID happen or what actual lessons he has learned from the train wreck that was TH and XMD.


Well, cause those mistakes go without saying, lol. We already know what he's sorry for. But sure, I guess in your defense, it will definitely appease some people if we hear it straight from the horse's mouth; no details withheld. I do admit though that I agree with you that I would like to see more game footage. Heck, my initial idea was to wait for reviews before paying a cent... but paying a cent is required if I ever want to see a single review... d'oh! So in light of that, I was thinking of just donating like 5 or 10 bucks. I can spare that in the very least. So you know, I wouldn't go around crying or ranting if he stole 5 or 10 bucks. But I go back to my point that it doesn't matter whether he dupes gamers or not cause at this point he'll have nowhere to run. I'm pretty sure their goal is not to become fugitives running from lawsuits and illegal accusations from an angry mob of gamers...

So basically, I don't see a problem in making a small contribution is all. No major loss.
User avatar
21 May 2013 07:44

He speaks out because it's affecting the kickstarter campaing, lol.

How about because they are asking for $1.5 million and there aren't that many people out there who want a sequel to Eternal Darkness. Some games need no sequel because it's simply rehasing the first game. Really feel that is what would happen with this game.

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