The Story Behind Silicon Knights and X-Men Destiny

The end is nigh. Not for the world, though – you don’t honestly believe all that Mayan 2012 stuff, do you? No – Canadian developer Silicon Knights may be in the death throes of its final days. Reports have surfaced claiming that the famed Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain developer is down to a modest group of five employees. The news comes alongside the rumors about just what really went down behind the scenes during the development of the studio’s critically panned X-Men: Destiny.

According to an inside source who spoke to Kotaku, the company was preparing a demo for the greatly anticipated sequel to their horror classic Eternal Darkness. The problem was that much of the staff on Destiny were taken off the project to help prepare that demo, putting the development process of the X-Men game in jeopardy. The source, who claims to be a former Silicon Knights employee during the situation, said, “SK didn’t take the development of XMD seriously the entire time I was there.” He goes on to cite company president Denis Dyack as a primary instigator, who appeared more concerned with developing the demo than fulfilling the request to make Destiny for Activision.

“At SK, publishers are viewed with an extremely adversarial perception,” claimed another source. “Instead of a symbiotic relationship, it was essentially parasitic. The less Activision knew about the goings-on at SK, the easier it was for Denis to spin his web of warped reality with them. He runs his company like a high school gym class or football team. He sets examples of those who offend him. He is incapable of celebrating others’ successes. He is irrationally competitive to a fault; for example, he has to sue Epic Games and gloat about it online . You’re either for him, or against him.”

It’s no secret there has been much hesitation when it comes to Silicon Knights for years now. Too Human lacked the kind of polish and attention they showed with their earlier games, and ever since the company split from Nintendo, much of the original staff has moved on. It’s a shame how karma works its way around to a studio that once showed tremendous promise.

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