A $60,000,000 Disaster – The Controversial Tragedy of Too Human

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Tumultuous development cycles have long plagued video games from conception to release. In some cases, the turmoil stems from poor management. Funding-related issues stifle progress on several occasions, as well. And projects that hop from one studio to another in a precarious game of hot potato rarely arrive at the finish line in a respectable state. But what of the titles whose protracted development rested on the back of one vision, fueled by previously well-managed teams with funding from publishers boasting an excess of wealth? The critically panned Too Human from Legacy of Kain and Eternal Darkness creator Silicon Knights fit perfectly into this strange stew of circumstance.

What began in the 1990s as an ambitious, five-disc adventure for the original PlayStation morphed into a GameCube exclusive after the turn of the century. Leading production on two Nintendo exclusives kept Silicon Knights away from what co-founder and President Denis Dyack described as the studio’s dream project, which resurfaced in 2005 as an Xbox 360 game. Too Human’s creation, thus, spanned three different platforms across three console generations. Unsurprisingly, the Norse mythology-inspired product that Microsoft published in 2008 bore little in common with the Blade Runner-esque build that ran on PS1 during E3 1999.

The specifics about what went wrong remain shrouded in mystery. But reports concerning Silicon Knights’ management style post-Nintendo paint a pretty clear picture of the rocky road that may have paved the way for Too Human’s disastrous last stand.

This is the tragedy of Too Human.

Intro 0:00
Sponsorship 2:00
The Tragedy of Too Human 3:10

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