‘Stolen’ Game Aeon Must Die Returns, Despite Unresolved Allegations Of Abuse And Corruption

‘Stolen’ Game Aeon Must Die Returns, Despite Unresolved Allegations Of Abuse And Corruption
Image: Aeon Must Die

Last year the game Aeon Must Die, highlighted during a PlayStation showcase, disappeared after a group of former developers accused Estonian studio Limestone Games of “unbearable work conditions with endless crunch, harassment, abuse, corruption, and manipulation.”

The former developers, who had quit just weeks before the trailer was shown off, said “This trailer was created with abuse, manipulation, [and] theft. People who have worked on every shot of this are no longer with the company holding IP rights. Some were not even paid for their work. The real IP for the game was stolen from the creators via foul play.”

In response publishers Focus Home said they’d be “looking into these allegations”, and that’s the last we heard of the game. Until today, when (as spotted by VGC) the game’s trailer magically reappeared on Focus’ YouTube page, as though none of this had ever happened.

In response, those former developers — now working on fighting game Immortal — have issued a statement, saying:

We the former developers of Aeon Must Die! are confused and baffled by the announcement of Aeon Must Die! No legal matters pertaining to the situation were solved and even more arose in the aftermath.

The IP issues are not solved. The trademark for the product does not exist. No publisher investigation was conducted. Work for the trailer remains unpaid. Most of the animations in the game remain unpaid.

Multiple legal attempts at REAL compromise have yielded nothing for the last year.

At time of posting, the trailer’s description says “Aeon Must Die!, the stylish beat ‘em-up is launching on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC in 2021″, and that “Stay tuned for more Aeon Must Die! updates as we approach the game’s release later this year, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC”, suggesting that Focus plans on simply pushing on with this game and releasing it regardless of the allegations.

We’ve contacted Focus for further information on the status of the release, and will update if we hear back.

Comments

  • Oh nooooooo. Focus noooo. Don’t be That Guy. I buy so much of their stuff and hold them high as the champions of AA, don’t make me regret everything. 🙁

    • Well. I regret everything. I went for a bit of a look and it turns out about a year or so ago they started some of those corrupt-as-fuck unsconscionable contracts that force developers to stay with the publisher for their entire career because if they leave and get something published by someone else, they forfeit all their IP rights to anything ever published by Focus. Plus other contract fuckery similar to what was detailed by the dev’s twitter thread from this article: https://www.kotaku.com.au/2021/08/dev-reveals-exploitative-nature-of-most-game-contracts/

      Just… appalling behaviour. So yeah. Focus are fucking assholes. Great.

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