KOEI’s katana dipped in the firey waters of Epic-gate (Updated: Bonus headline!)

There’s no denying that Silicon Knights’ lawsuit against Epic has made some considerable waves, almost to the point of polarization in the games developer community. Some side with Epic, some with Silicon Knights. There are those who applaud the now-controversial Unreal Engine 3 and those with complaints. I am pleased to announce, however, that the argument can now be brought to a sweet finality, as KOEI (creator of the best videogames in the world) has stepped up to the plate and inadvertantly thrown some coal on the fire. I was leaning more toward Epic’s side of the fence, but what can I do? Koei gives me Dynasty Warriors. This means everything it says is purest gospel.

Jarik R. Sikat, KOEI’s sales and marketing manager, has waded into the cesspool with his own opinion on the matter. “It may be worth pointing out that many other publishers are having problems with the UE3 engine on the PlayStation 3,” Sikat stated when talking about Koei’s experience with the Unreal Engine. 

For a response from Epic’s Mark Rein, as well as my own thoughts on this situation, hit the jump.

[Update: I recently had some private words with KOEI regarding the general perception of what was said, most notably the context in which it was said. As you might be able to tell from the edits, general Internet perception of Sikat’s words are somewhat skewed. For the record, Koei has a partnership with Epic Games, one it doesn’t want to jeapordize by appearing to back Silicon Knights, a company with which it has no relationship at all as of yet. 

Because I in no way, shape or form wish to cause any undue hassle for my favorite company, I have made the necessary clarifications and hope that this clears up the rife online confusion about Jarik’s statement.]  

[Via Deeko. Tip by Joe Burling]

Mark Rein’s response:

“The bottom line is that making great games is hard work. There is no magic cure-all that completely hides the complexity of making world-class high-performance games on complex computing systems. We’re making huge strides toward making the engine fast on next-gen platforms and you can’t expect us to get that done overnight.”

“Our engine is not a launch-title technology. If you want to make launch titles you take your previous-gen engine and upgrade. If you want to make stunning true next-gen games like Gears of War and Unreal Tournament 3 (which people who license our engine generally often aspire to) you have to accept that it takes time to learn the intricacies of the systems.”

So, who exactly is right and who exactly is wrong in this whole muddy batch of shenanigans? It is of course impossible for we outsiders to truly have a firm opinion, but I have to say that not everything’s black-and-white in life. I don’t believe Epic is The Devil, deliberately screwing over its competition and ripping the last shreds of food from the mouths of starving African babies. That said, there have been a few complaints made against Epic’s level of support for its product and I do feel that customer relations might be a problem for the company.

Rein is right to suggest that the Unreal Engine isn’t a magic box of tricks that will make your game, provide a night of lustful congress and cook you breakfast in the morning, but at the same time, his statement almost gives credence to the idea that Epic just dumps the product on your doorstep and says “Here you go, now you figure it out.” 

This is naturally nought but wild conjecture from a man who is not a developer and I wouldn’t present my thoughts on this subject as anything but. One thing I am sure of though, is that Too Human is thoroughly boned now, especially if Silicon Knights is going to spend its time in a courtroom instead of the development grindstone.


Jim Sterling