Though once a rising star in game development with coveted connections to publishers like Nintendo, Konami and Microsoft, Denis Dyack’s studio Silicon Knights entered a downward spiral after releasing 2008’s heavily hyped Too Human to disappointing sales and reviews. Save for 2011’s near-insufferable X:Men Destiny, the Ontario-based studio has been eerily dormant over the last several years, only cropping up in the headlines when a court defeat nixed its rights to Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 this May, and when a report surfaced in October claiming that it had shriveled to an employee size of less than five.
Many would call those last legs. And while Silicon struggles to stay standing, one member of the NeoGAF community, Mama Robotnik, has posted a massive complication — it might be the largest posting we’ve ever seen on the site — of publicly available images and news items documenting its rise and demise.
Fully digesting Mama Robtnik’s piece is literally a day project, but perhaps most noticeably she unearthed screens and concept designs for Silicon Knights games that never made it out of production. Among them: Too Human: Rise of the Giants (aka Too Human 2), Too Human 3, Eternal Darkness 2, a survival horror project for Sega entitled The Box (which became The Ritualyst after Silicon changed partners to THQ), and a 1996 project with Crystal Dynamics named Shifter.
Too Human 2 (Rise of the Giants) & Too Human 3
Eternal Darkness 2
The Box (later known as The Ritualyst)
Each of the cancelled games — and there are more: Legacy of Kain (Saturn), Kain 2, The Pillars of Nosgarth, Too Human (PSX), Too Human (Saturn) Eternal Darkness (N64), Too Human (Gamecube), King’s Quest, The Crucible, The Sandman, Siren in the Maelstrom — serves as a sad memento to what Silicon Knights could have been: a developing powerhouse with prosperous ties to some of today’s biggest studios and publishers. Now, though — despite Dyack vowing to finish the Too Human trilogy back in 2011 — we may never see the outfit produce another title. Their staff is diminished, their agenda blank, their only industry ties the millions in debt they owe to companies like Epic Games.
And it’s too bad for Too Human. The game possessed an alluring Norse-mythology, action-RPG concept but buried itself in broken and repetitive gameplay. According to the details Mama Robotnik posted Rise of the Giants was, in its preliminary design stage, a revenge tale, and we were hoping the series would earn another shot at redemption.
Ranters, Silicon Knights’s downfall appears a fait accompli, but which of their now-canned games would you have wanted to see come to light?
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.