It looks like more bad news for Dennis Dyack’s Silicon Knights, the once great game studio most recently responsible for the roundly panned X-Men: Destiny (read our review). Late last month, Silicon Knights lost its protracted court battle with Epic Games, and now rumors are spreading that the developer’s current project — Eternal Darkness 2 for the Wii U — has been cancelled by Nintendo.
Ten years ago, Silicon Knights delivered Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem for the Nintendo GameCube, a seminal psychological-horror title on which much of the developer’s legacy rests. Fans have long hoped that Silicon Knights would one day have the opportunity to craft a sequel to the game, and earlier this year, comments from Dyack appeared to suggest that just such an opportunity had arisen.
Last March, Dyack claimed that his studio had begun work on a next generation installment of its “most requested” intellectual property, and while Silicon Knights’ original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain for PSone has to be considered a contender, Dyack’s statement that a new Eternal Darkness was not “too much to ask” marked Sanity’s Requiem as the most likely candidate — though Eternal Darkness 2 was never officially announced.
In the wake of Epic’s victory in the Unreal Engine suit brought by Silicon Knights — which Dyack has pledged to appeal — Nintendo has apparently opted to halt development of Eternal Darkness 2. NeoGAF user Shiggy offers a summary of the situation, excerpts of which appear below.
“Last year, Silicon Knights and Nintendo started to work together once again on a new title. Based on the fact that they already had Wii U dev kits and also based on Dyack’s comments, it was Eternal Darkness 2.”
“So as already mentioned, the studio was solely dependent on Nintendo’s goodwill since late November 2011. But then the trial against Epic took place last week, and SK lost it. SK was ordered to pay 4.5 mio USD to Epic, and additionally they may need to pay for Epic’s legal fees. The company’s debt rose to a new level.”
“When Nintendo saw that they would need to pay an additional 10 million USD to have the company survive that develops the game, they didn’t seem to like it, especially as they wouldn’t get anything in return.”
“NCL reviewed its decision and it appears as if Eternal Darkness 2 is cancelled for now. Hence, many of the 40-man team were laid off, leaving the studio in limbo now.”
Needless to say, neither Nintendo nor Silicon Knights have commented on this issue one way or the other, and it is a distinct possibility that Shiggy’s appraisal is a hoax rather than a rumor. That said, and despite the absence of any corroborating evidence whatsoever, Shiggy’s description is eminently believable, and may prove to be entirely factual.
If it is true that Eternal Darkness 2 was, however briefly, in development but has now been cancelled, that is a genuine shame. There is a lot of support on NeoGAF for the idea of handing the IP to Retro Studios (who may already be busy with the rumored Metroid / Star Fox crossover), and while I can’t deny that such a move could result a tremendous game, it just wouldn’t be the same. Part of the allure of Silicon Knights returning to Eternal Darkness is the potential for the developer to regain its former — and, at one time, justly deserved –reputation for excellence. Instead, it now appears that ED2’s cancellation is yet another in a long string of disappointments for both the studio and its fans.
Ranters, how many of you played Eternal Darkness on the GameCube? Would you welcome a sequel on Wii U? If the cancellation rumor is true, could this be the end of Silicon Knights? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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