Controversial former Silicon Knights chief Denis Dyack has apologised for the poor quality of X-Men: Destiny.
The 5/10 flop came out late 2011 and preceded a round of layoffs at the Canadian developer.
Dyack has since left Silicon Knights to become the chief creative at new studio Precursor Games, which is crowd-funding Shadow of the Eternals, a spiritual successor to Silicon Knights' most-loved game Eternal Darkness. But the effort has stalled amid growing scepticism from Dyack critics who point to a feature by Kotaku, published last year, that painted him in a negative light.
One of the chief allegations made by the piece was that Dyack diverted funds from X-Men: Destiny publisher Activision into other projects to the detriment of the comic-book tie-in. Now, with Precursor Games' Kickstarter floundering, Dyack has made a video responding to the Kotaku article, insisting Silicon Knights put more money into the project than it was paid by publisher Activision.
"Halfway through the project, I sat down with the executives from Activision trying to make the project the best it could be, and we talked about how Silicon Knights had spent $2 million more than what we had been paid, because we realised that after Too Human was one of our worst Metacritic scoring games since our previous games, we wanted our next game to be as good as possible," Dyack said. "So Silicon Knights put its own money in.
"The people at Activision were stunned by this. We went over the figures and numbers and allocations, and then when they realised it was true, what they said to me was, we really appreciate this Denis, but we don't know if that's a good business move.
"We then got together to work out all the issues on the project, both Marvel and Activision, and Silicon Knights, and we did the best we could."
Dyack then apologised for the poor quality of X-Men: Destiny, but declined to offer any explanation for it.
"I will say this: we are really sorry how that game turned out. I would think that there were some mistakes made, but all I can tell you is we did nothing but put our best efforts into this project. Activision, Silicon Knights and Marvel, we all tried to make it work out, but sometimes it just doesn't happen.
"I can only apologise. I've said some things out there that I shouldn't have said in the press about this project and other projects. And I apologise for that. I'm sorry. I've learnt my lesson. I've learnt my lesson so much that at Precursor I am not making business decisions like that, like putting more money into a project than what we're getting paid.
"Shawn [Jackson, COO] and Paul [Caporicci, CEO] are running Precursor. Those mistakes will not happen again. I am focusing on the creative."
We are really sorry how that game turned out. There were some mistakes made, but all I can tell you is we did nothing but put our best efforts into this project.
Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack
Dyack insisted Activision could see where the project was on an hourly basis and, at all times, had the ability to see who was working on what. He also said Silicon Knights complied with a number of audits, which helped the company determine how much money was spent on the troubled project.
"At no time ever did Silicon Knights divert anyone from X-Men: Destiny, or budget allocated, to another project," Dyack said. "In fact, we had more people working on the Activision project than what we were paid for."
Elsewhere, Dyack addressed concern about Silicon Knights' split with Nintendo, which it had enjoyed a close relationship with following the creation of GameCube titles Eternal Darkness and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. According to the Kotaku article, Dyack believed Silicon Knights was "finally out from under the oppressive nature of Nintendo as a publisher" following the split.
"The relationship with Nintendo and me personally is still very good," Dyack responded. "Mr Iwata was the person who recommended Silicon Knights become a second party with Nintendo. He's a great person, and I am privileged to say I worked with him. He's fantastic. The same with Mr Miyamoto. Our relationship at Precursor remains good and strong.
"Silicon Knights and Nintendo went different ways because of the type of games we wanted to make. We talked about that in the press a long time ago and nothing has changed. We have great respect for each other, and we were both disappointed we couldn't go further. But we both agreed that if we wanted to make the type of games we wanted to make, it didn't fit within Nintendo's portfolio. As much as we tried it didn't work out. There's nothing more to it than that.
"Nintendo was not oppressive in any way. They are some of the best people we've ever worked with in the history of the industry. I value the experience with them greatly, and I always will cherish memories of working with Miyamoto-san and Iwata-san. They were not oppressive. They were constructive. They were brave and they allowed us to create games like Eternal Darkness and Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes that rarely are seen today. That allegation could not be further from the truth."
Dyack and Precursor Games will be hoping the video response will help reverse opinion about the Shadow of the Eternals project. At the time of publication $156,775 had been pledged of its $1.35 million goal with 29 days to go.
Dyack concluded: "I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that I've come here today to say I haven't made any mistakes. I've made a lot of mistakes. I've said a lot of things I shouldn't have said. I've done some things I regret. All I can say is I've learned from them, that I have changed the way I think about things, and that I really want to move forward in a positive way and focus on what I do best, which is focusing on creative.
"I am focusing on the future and what great things we're doing at Precursor."