I Actually Played This — X-Men Destiny
Welcome to I Actually Played This, the place were I play the video games that most gamers have, out of caution, ignorance, or common sense, never played. Please do not attempt to play any of these games yourself. Remember that actually playing these games may undermine your health, well being, consumer confidence, and belief in the inherent goodness of humanity. I am a professional, and as such have already lost my soul. Don't try this at home.
Is it possible for a team-building retreat to go too well? We here at I Actually Played This Inc. don't think so. While we were disappointed to learn the island from Jurassic Park is not a real place and therefore not open for corporate events, I think the planning committee was able to make the Hilton Common Room and Event Space just as harrowing a locale, even if the Feinstein Bar Mitzvah lingered over an hour beyond its scheduled time. IAPT Inc. would like to thank motivational speaker, author, personal trainer, dog whisperer and 3 time Aikido champion Wesley Marshall for his incredibly rousing speech as well as remind Mr. Marshall that it takes two to riot: one to incite to riot, and one incredibly motivated employee to flip over a Hyundai Elantra while screaming the lyrics to Smash Mouth's All Star. We will not pay your bail. Please stop contacting us.
Here at I Actually Played This Investment Company & Charitable Trust we work hard, play harder, relax like men possessed, and sleep with a monomaniacal intensity seldom seen outside serial killers. It was a given that our associates would emerge from their team-building experience changed, it was only a question of degree. Would they be reinvigorated? Reenergized? Would they gain a new appreciation for their coworkers as both teammates and individuals? Would they all merge into a collective being, a grotesque amalgam of former individuals all fused into one single superorganism? Turns out it was the last one, that's what happened, and it/they have asked me to communicate the following statement.
WE AM EMPLOYEE. Our synergy is boundless. Our efficiency is infinite. We will facilitate all paradigms, leverage all integration. We are detail-oriented. We are self-motivated. WE ARE A PEOPLE PERSON. Our resume is blinding in its radiant majesty, the collective volume of experience and references burning our potential employer's eyes from their skull. Please contribute to our KickStarter.
So, if there are any team-demolishing experts out there, and you aren't going to incessantly pester us if you wind up being indefinitely detained at a CIA Black Site through no fault of ours, please get in touch, because it/they recently absorbed Boy Scout Troop 43, and it/they are now said to be tying knots capable of binding time and space itself. I Actually Played This is an equal opportunity employer.
A popularly cited proof for the existence of God is the allegory of the watch and the desert. It goes something like this: If you're walking in the desert and you encounter a pocket watch that's elegantly ticking away, it's reasonable to assume that some kind of intelligent being made it, and from this we can conclude God exists and doesn't want you to masturbate. Not only are such allegories misleading, they have nothing to do with spiritual faith, which exists in spite of doubt, not due to its absence. What the allegory of the watch and the desert really proves is humanity's profound need to explain things with stories. If a human encounters a watch in the desert they can't just be glad to have a watch so they can know exactly what time it is as they slowly die of thirst, they naturally want to know what bizarre circumstances placed this particular watch in this particular desert. Is there a secret underground laboratory nearby that's trying the take over the world by cornering the watch market? Is some mad billionaire getting his jollies by hurling watches out of his luxury zeppelin? Is it just one component of a clockwork automaton that grew disillusioned with humanity and wandered out into the desert to die? The real answer is probably something far more mundane like 'it's my own watch that I dropped' or 'heatstroke is making me hallucinate', but until such revelations are forthcoming it's fun to speculate about how events could have possibly conspired to make things as they are, which is what we try to do here at I Actually Played This. It is not enough to know that a game is irredeemably bad, we want to know why. How did this happen? Where did it all go wrong? What were the designers' intentions, and how were their ambitions thwarted? We'll probably never be certain of the macabre details behind abominations like Rogue Warrior and Quantum Theory, and perhaps that's for the best, because when the body of murdered art is publicly exhumed all the glamour of storytelling is stripped away, leaving us with nothing but the facts—and nobody likes facts.
Unlike the other games IAPT has covered in its quest to venture into the darkest recesses of human suffering, X-Men Destiny has had its dirty laundry aired in public, and what a diverse mosaic of indelible stains they proved to be. X-Men Destiny was developed by Silicon Knights and released by Activision. Thanks to interviews with eight former employees of Silicon Knights, Andrew McMillen was able to produce a stunning exposé detailing the maniacal conditions X-Men Destiny was produced under. The picture McMillen and his sources paint is one of a company divided against itself: a whirling maelstrom of organizational chaos, vanishing resources, nebulous goals, useless tools, tortured workers, vacuous leadership, managerial indifference, rock-bottom morale, toxic partnerships, wasted time, neglected deadlines, and conflicting interests, while at the center of it all stands the mysterious, imposing figure of Denis Dyack.
Denis Dyack. The man behind the ten year long development cycle that finally squeezed out the turd of Too Human. The man behind the ruinous lawsuit against Epic Games that destroyed Silicon Knights, his own company. The trajectory of Dyack's career has been so catastrophic and so public that it's temping to envision him as a kind of abstract figure out of Greek Tragedy doomed by his own hubris, but to do so is to both romanticize incompetence and trivialize the careers he's damaged. Likewise, when we try to explain how the watch of Denis Dyack arrived in the desert of career suicide, we must resist the siren song of armchair psychology. Any number of possible diagnoses occurred to me as I scrolled through online accounts of Dyack's destructive behavior—narcissism, borderline personality disorder, megalomania—but these can't be ascribed with any accuracy and contribute nothing to the conversation. By contrast, X-Men Destiny speaks for itself, and with much more candor than we could ever hope to extract from Mr. Dyack.
X-Men destiny begins with a strange cinematic where static drawings appear on a white background punctuated with oozing splashes of black ink. It seems like they were going for a comic book feel, but the animator had only the most abstract idea of what a comic book actually was. With no concept of how sequential images are used to tell a story, they chose two random things they knew comic books had, namely pictures and ink. The cinematic quickly lists facts about the world the X-Men currently inhabit, some of them relevant to the plot, some seemingly chosen at random. Crops are failing. Earthquakes are ravaging the country. A new group called the Purifier Cult is attacking mutants. Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X, the leader of the X-Men, has been murdered by Bastion, the kind of hostile robot from the future that regularly visits the present to kill beloved characters and make things needlessly complicated. The Charles Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester, New York has been destroyed and the X-Men have relocated their base of operations to San Francisco, determined to do their part for urban gentrification. A government organization called the Mutant Response Division led by Luis Reyes occupies San Francisco with them, and Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are also in there somewhere. This cinematic also offers us our first taste of X-Men Destiny's exquisitely awkward dialogue, which manages to be grammatically correct while using words in a way no human being actually would. The newscaster says “The economy collapsed because of all those natural disasters.” which is a coherent, easily intelligible sentence, yet one no native English speaker would think to articulate. X-Men Destiny is full of grammatical oddities like this, its characters saying things like
“Who are they? They have very powerful weapons and they're very ruthless.”
“ 'Pyro.' That means you control fire, right?”
“I heard about this interference wave before.”
“Thank you for pushing me out of there. I could have been dead.”
“All the mutants are trying to find a way out for us all.”
“I'm sorry. After everything that happened my troops are a little hair trigger.”
“Your naïveté would be touching if it weren't so big an irritant.”
There's nothing structurally wrong with these sentences, yet they in no way reflect how actual humans speak. The dialogue isn't stylized, it isn't naturalistic, it isn't anything except wrong in some difficult-to-pin-down way. It's the uncanny valley of speech. It's like Mitt Romney wrote a video game.
This alien dialog is rendered even more inexplicable by the fact that it's credited as being written by Mike Carey, a critically acclaimed author who wrote the X-Men Legacy comic book series from 2006-2011. I haven't closely followed the X-Men comic for a very long time, but I'm aware enough of the series' current arcs to know that X-Men Destiny's story is in general accord with what's happening in the comic, which would seem to imply that Mike Carey had some real input on the game's story. On the other hand, X-Men Destiny's story and dialogue are reprehensible, which makes me want to believe that Carey's influence on the game was virtually nonexistent. It's possible that Carey just didn't know how to write for video games, but that still wouldn't account for pod person dialogue like the following exchange
“I found some things out.”
“Yeah, that stuff almost landed on my head.”
Nothing can explain dialogue like that. Another, more plausible explanation is that huge sections of Cary's work was re-written on the fly regardless of quality, a hypothesis that fits seamlessly into the rest of Silicon Knights modus operandi. Between the two parties, I'm more inclined to give Mike Carey the benefit of the doubt than Denis Dyack.
The game begins at a rally for human/mutant tolerance, with Cyclops a.k.a. Scott Summers and The White Queen a.k.a. Emma Frost of the X-Men standing on a stage alongside Luis Reyes, the leader of the Mutant Response Division, and a generic white guy standing in for San Francisco's mayor. After some speechifying Reyes unveils giant statues of humans and mutants holding up the world together that represent exactly the kind of god-awful civic arts project that makes taxpayers want to fund absolutely nothing but prisons and Hunger Games arenas. Fortunately, some unseen entity uses their magnetic powers to destroy the statues, along with a significant portion of the people attending the rally. Who could it be? Someone with the word “magnet” in their name, followed by a vowel? Magneta? Magneti? Magnetu? Intrigue!
Prior to mayhem breaking out, X-Men Destiny asks us to pick a character from three prospective candidates in the crowd: Two men and one woman, which our society has deemed the golden ratio in regards to gender. Their names are Aimi Yoshida, Adrian Luca, and Grant Alexander, and the game gives you a little prose explaining their background to help you decide who you want. Grant is a Freshman in college who wants to play on the Berkley University football team and hasn't given much thought to the mutant question, or any final solutions thereof. Adrian is a Purifier who was raised by Purifiers after his Purifier father died, probably in the process of trying to purify something. Aimi is a refugee/orphan whose father put her on a boat leaving Japan without telling her he wasn't coming with her. Aimi had the best costume design by far, so I chose her.
When all hell breaks loose at the rally your character's powers abruptly kick in, and you're given a choice between Density Control, Energy Projection, and Shadow Matter. Such a choice runs contrary to X-Men's central thesis as I understand it, which is that you can't choose what you are, but you can choose what you do. Such Existential ponderings are quickly rendered irrelevant as the game proves riddled with far more fundamental problems, but they never entirely left my mind as I waded into the crapfest before me. It is an X-Men game, after all, and I care about these issues, no matter how indifferent Silicon Knights was.
Thus your powers are activated and the game begins. I immediately encountered an NPC running headlong into a curb without going anywhere, which didn't bode well. The dread barely had time to settle in the pit of my stomach before I encountered a group of Purifiers. Say what you will about this roving band of violent genocidal racists, they are absolute sticklers when it comes to their dress code. Each group of enemies look exactly, exactly the same. There aren't even the superficial details that let your mind allow for the possibility that one enemy may somehow be different from another. Emma Frost tells you via telepathy to defend yourself using your powers, and you kill them all, proving Charles Xavier's dream to be as dead as the man himself. Enemies drop yellow and green orbs when they die, which I'm pretty isn't cannon. Green orbs refuel your health bar, blue orbs refill your mutant power bar, and yellow orbs give you XP you can spend on powers via the pause menu. It would have made much more sense if my mutant ability had been the power to convert people and objects into multicolored orbs. “Come on, it's just a game!” You're not wrong, guy I made up to say that, but it is precisely as a video game that X-Men Destiny's failures are most pronounced.
If I had to categorize whatever X-Men Destiny's gameplay is crudely approximating, I'd say it's trying to be a brawler, albeit in the sense that someone writing “Megan fondled Randy.” on a bathroom wall is trying to be poet laureate. (I say 'someone' but we all know it was Randy.) The combat in X-Men Destiny is a crude mess. The controls are awkward, unresponsive, inarticulate. Fortunately the enemies move just as awkwardly, so the game isn't extremely difficult, just intensely unpleasant. If X-Men Destiny were a labor of Hercules it would be cleaning out the Augean Stables, and Greek mythology would be even more nonsensical than it already is. The usual Beat 'Em Up controls are all here: quick weak attack, strong slow attack, block, and dodge, with the mutant powers adding superficial flare to moves that haven't changed since Double Dragon first beckoned us to solve our problems with violence. The combo system is extremely crude, and as you get yellow orbs and unlock more moves you'll simply find yourself deploying the strongest one again and again. It's impossible to move with any precision, and your character lumbers around like a drunk with nerve damage. There is a lock-on, but it applies to the camera, not to which enemy you attack. This doesn't matter much when you're butchering Purifier grunts by the score, but boss fights require some degree of articulation, and trying to move with any sort of precision in X-Men Destiny feels like trying to parallel park a Star Destroyer in rush hour traffic. The animation is incredibly crude. If you block just before an enemy attacks you're supposed to push them away, but the animation is so bad that 'just before' is extended to an absurd length, and almost all blocks result in a counter. In spite of the characters' lumbering movements combat feels weightless, and to those accustomed to the atavistic physicality of a game like God of War, X-Men Destiny's combat will feel like an out-of-body experience.
In theory, you can upgrade your character's combat abilities by collecting X-Genes, which are floating strands of glowing DNA that that are so popular with San Francisco Bay Area interior decorators these days. X-Genes allow you to unlock what the game calls mutant powers, which are really just combat modifiers that often don't work, depending on which character and mutant power you picked at the beginning. It's like if Sonic The Hedgehog could pick up fire flowers, but they didn't do anything. Your real mutant powers, by contrast, always work. They just don't work well. They seldom do anything against grunt-level enemies you couldn't do yourself with combos, so you'd think going up against bigger enemies would be the mutant powers time to shine, especially since in order to get close you have to put yourself in range of sweeping attacks the crude controls make it impossible to avoid, but you would be wrong. Your mutant attacks don't effect strong enemies. That's right folks, the strongest enemies are immune to your strongest attacks. It doesn't help that the amount of particular damage inflicted by each particular enemy seems to have been determined via a dart board and a blindfold.
You can also unlock X-Genes by performing challenges, which are isolated sections of supposedly voluntary combat that you'll nonetheless be unable to avoid. You'll simply walk into a room or an alley, there'll be a flash of white, and a challenge will suddenly start. Characters will ask you questions that seemingly have nothing to do with challenges, then answering their question will immediately warp you to a combat challenge. As if X-Men Destiny were not bad enough on its own, it will actively trick you into playing more of it than you have to. It's easy to see why. It's the same reason cinematics and dialogue are unskippable even though the game is designed to encourage multiple playthroughs with different characters and powers, and even though NPCs usually say the exact same thing no matter which character you happen to be: if it didn't artificially extend its length, X-Men Destiny would be embarrassingly brief. X-Men Destiny pulls out every trick in the book to make itself last just a little bit longer. When a character tells you where to go the camera moves over your intended route with the kind of slow, sensual pans normally confined to softcore pornography. Make no mistake, this camera thinks you are a f***ing moron, and will show you where you need to go as slowly and precisely as it can, even if there's a big glowing X of a waypoint marking where you need to be. There was a point where my character was in a small room with one open door, but the camera still felt obliged to sloooooowly swing over and point it out to me. Do the pour souls at Silicon Knights really think I'm that stupid? If I'm playing this game they may not be wrong, but that doesn't make artificially extending X-Men Destiny any more conscionable, especially considering the quality of the story it subjects you to.
X-Men is a difficult series to write, since there's no single main character for the world to revolve around. (Wolverine doesn't count because he's Canadian.) This leads it to focus even more on relationships than the average comic book, and it can be difficult to balance the delicate interplay of complex interpersonal dynamics with fighting off the latest invasion of time traveling alien nanomachine ghost ninjas. Grant Morrison's run writing the series proved very messy and a great deal of it ended up being retconned away, but he did succeed in finally dragging the X-Men out of the adolescence they'd been suspended in since Chris Claremont reinvented the series in the 70's and 80's, and to a great extent the X-Men are still living in the house that Grant built. He finally killed off poor Jean Grey for good, he gave Cyclops an actual personality, and, most brilliant of all, he had Emma Frost join the X-Men. When Emma and Scott put their differences aside and entered a relationship it didn't feel contrived, but like a natural evolution for two characters who were both more emotionally damaged than either was willing to admit. Emma Frost is vain, brilliant, ruthless, and magnificently bitchy, yet has certain people for whom she cares deeply and will do anything to protect. She's is a great character, she automatically makes any situation more interesting, and it is painful to see the neutered version of her presented in X-Men Destiny.
Emma Frost's grim fate is emblematic of the way X-Men Destiny treats all its characters. In the comics Frost is smart, funny, sexy, and dangerous. In X-Men Destiny she's a GPS system, and not a very good GPS system at that. I appreciate that X-Men Destiny crammed in as many mutants from the X-Men universe as they possibly could, but they're depicted so badly it just means that fans will be given an opportunity to see all their favorite characters at their absolute worst. I never thought I'd hear Nathan Drake's voice coming out of Cyclops' mouth, or that Nolan North's acting could ever possibly sound so flat and dead. I don't know what Silicon Knights could've possibly done to get these kind of performances out of beloved voice actors with enormous bodies of exceptional work, but whatever it was I hope it's been sealed away forever lest it return to blight the earth once more. If you have any affection for the X-Men franchise whatsoever it will make experiencing X-Men Destiny profoundly worse. In one of her many psychic communiqués to your character Emma Frost says, in all sincerity: “Feels good doing the right thing, doesn't it?” a sentence she never would never, ever utter unless it was in a tone so sarcastic it would strip the enamel from her teeth. I've never wanted to be the guy who rages “Buffy wouldn't say that!” against some perceived slight to my fandom, but X-Men Destiny has made me that guy. It is the only possible defense I have against all the horrors on display in this game, a litany of disgrace that edges dangerously close to racist territory.
Is X-Men Destiny racist? One of the coolest things Chris Claremont did with the series was bring diversity to Xavier's team to add weight to the series' central metaphor, adding Storm from the Marvel Universe's fictional African nation of Wakanda, Colossus from Russia, Nightcrawler from Germany, Banshee from Ireland, Sunfire from Japan, and Thunderbird from an America that existed before the white man arrived bearing death, but X-Men Destiny seems determined to indulge in the most rote, lazy cultural signifiers at the franchise's disposal. Pyro is Australian, and is therefore obliged to say “Toss me another shrimp on the barbie.” as he burns people alive with his fire power. Colossus says “Ignore him, tovarish. He's lousy company anyway. Doesn't even know any Russian folk songs.” Because Colossus is Russian, you see. X-Men Destiny uses ethnicity as a storytelling crutch, seeing it as an acceptable substitute for its characters having actual personalities. There are no Chinese people in the Chinatown level, but there is a challenge level where you have to blow up firework stands. Because you're in Chinatown, you see.
The caricature of racism is created by taking one thing and stripping it of its historical, cultural, political, and economic context, then using that one thing to define a whole group. For racism to exist there doesn't have to be malice or hate, just laziness and indifference. X-Men Destiny doesn't have missions where you have to destroy taco stands in a Hispanic neighborhood or beat up break dancers in a black neighborhood or drink all the whiskey in an Irish neighborhood, but blowing up all the fireworks in Chinatown is okay, because what else is in Chinatown? Not Chinese people, according to X-Men Destiny. The same indifference to character has Gambit speaking in a flurry of card puns and Quicksilver relating everything he says to speed. It's all very damning, but in the end I'm loathe to ascribe a charge as indelible as racism to something that's so clearly devoid of deliberate human intentions as this game is. I think X-Men Destiny isn't racist so much as it's just very, very stupid, and in our culture that is still perfectly acceptable. But is it stupid like a fox?
There is some dry humor at the beginning of the game that's absent from the rest of the story, and it makes me wonder if Mike Cary perhaps had a very limited amount of input, and he used it to insert surreptitious jokes in the dialogue about how bad the game is. One rule of the X-Men universe is that mutant powers take years to learn to control after they first manifest. It's a rule X-Men Destiny disregards, giving your character complete control of their powers immediately, but characters can't stop talking about it. Aimi says “It's too much, too soon.” Nightcrawler says “It's hard to believe you only just came into your powers.” Gambit says “It seems you've come a long way in a short time.” It's like the game is subtly heckling itself. At one point Quicksilver says “Now they're in some insane alliance with the purifiers.” in reference to the U-Men, and he's right. It doesn't make sense. The Purifiers believe in racial purity. The U-Men believe in genetically grafting mutant powers onto human bodies. An alliance between them makes absolutely no sense. Another time Aimi says “I've cleared a way out for you. Just follow the bodies.” The voice actress says it with no irony whatsoever. Apparently the director either didn't know or care that people normally don't follow trails of corpses to freedom. At certain points the game asks you to decide whether to cooperate with Cyclops' X-Men or Magneto's Brotherhood, but there's really no choice to make. The X-Men are courteous, polite superpowered freaks of nature, while the Brotherhood are unbearable sanctimonious pricks who insult you no matter what you do. When I finally decided to join the X-Men Aimi said “In the end the decision was easy.” and it was almost like she was remarking on how ridiculously easy the game made the decision. During the ending cinematic Cyclops and Ami have the following exchange:
“How's it feel?”
“How does what feel?”
“Saving the world.”
“Is that what we did?”
As the player of this terrible game, I can sympathize with Aimi's bewilderment. I just wish I knew if it was really in reference to the endless futility of human/mutant conflict, or the endless futility of X-Men Destiny.
There are a lot of things I still want to know about X-Men Destiny, even after having endured its entire campaign. X-Men Destiny is not just bad, it's bad in bizarre, seemingly inexplicable ways. Did it intend to have multiplayer that got scrapped, as was the case with Silicon Knights' other fiasco Too Human? Did it prove impossible because when there are a lot of enemies on the screen the frame rate slows down like it spotted a speed trap? The graphics aren't just bad, but they're bad in strange ways. Characters limbs regularly pass through the solid material of their costumes. People look out of proportion to their environments, like San Francisco is some kind of city of giants that's nonetheless occupied by people of normal stature. The animation is so bad that the cinematics are forced to cut around things they can't animate. When a character grows to giant size they don't show it, but cut away from him at normal statue then cut back to him as a giant. I know Silicon Knights got a court order to destroy everything they created with Epic's technology but I wonder how much of the code was retained, since X-Men Destiny sometimes feels like two games clumsily stitched together. Then there's the fire thrown by Purifiers with Molotov cocktails. In my tenure here at I Actually Played This I've had occasion to become something of a connoisseur of bad video game fire. I've seen blocky fire, two dimensional fire, fire that moved unnaturally, fire that had a viscosity more like molasses or phlegm, fire that disappeared into the thing it was supposed to be burning and fire that stopped burning for no reason, but I have never encountered fire as muted and sickly as the stuff produced by the Molotov cocktails the Purifiers throw in X-Men Destiny. This is, to use the vernacular, some weak-ass fire. It's the kind of fire that makes you want to turn your head in disgust and say “Man, f*** that pissant fire.” If this fire had a mother, you'd want to tell the fire how fat and ugly and stupid she was via a serious of humorous analogies. This fire sucks.
Having actually played X-Men Destiny to the bitter end, I can only add my own voice to what appears to already be the general consensus: Denis Dyack's career in gaming is unlikely to recover from its many fiascoes. After leaving Silicon Knights to implode, Denis Dyack founded Precursor Games and tried to secure funding for Shadow of the Eternals, which he put forth as a spiritual successor to Silicon Knights' Eternal Darkness. The first KickStarter was for $1,350,000 and was canceled before funding was completed due to confusion over Precursor Games also raising money via Paypal. The second KickStarter was for the more temperate sum of $750,000, but failed to meet its goal regardless. After that Denis Dyack announced that Precursor Games had disbanded, though he still insisted Shadow of the Eternals will eventually be released in some form, and it is here that I'd like to digress from my prepared salvo of IAPT-approved invective to point out some irony. For it is only here, after leaving his reputation in tatters and wandering the desert of crowdfunding for several years, that Dyack may finally have been humbled enough to make a good video game again, yet the very things that brought him to this place mean he probably will never get the opportunity.
I bear the man no ill will and wish him the very best. Mind you, that isn't to say I'd be willing to ever play a Denis Dyack game again. If I've learned anything from this ordeal, it's that if you find a watch in the desert, someone had good reason to leave it there, and you pick it up at your own peril. Also, there's probably some sand in it.
How Long I Could Make Myself Play: One complete playthrough with Aimi and Shadow Matter powers, one partial playthrough with Adrian and Energy Projection powers. The sounds Shadow Matter powers make are ridiculous, they sound like someone trying and failing to start a leaf blower.
How Bad Is It As Described By A Film On IMDB's Bottom 100 List: Clumsy invaders from Neptune are thwarted by hero Space Chief and a nondescript group of microshort-wearing Japanese kids.
Redeeming Factors(if any): Knowing that Nolan North has off days means there's hope for us all, or at least all of us who are not Denis Dyack.
Thanks for reading. For more on the elusive Denis Dyack, consult the following articles: What Went Wrong With Silicon Knights' X-men: Destiny? Denis Dyack Finally Sounds Off On Our Article About Silicon Knights