Publisher Focus Home Interactive has re-released the original trailer for sci-fi brawler Aeon Must Die! and announced the title is due out later this year. The original development team behind the game, formerly of Limestone Games, criticized the publisher’s decision. According to them, the IP remains disputed as it was “covertly taken from the founder,” while the re-release announcement trailer violates the rights of the artists who created it.
Aeon Must Die! developed by Limestone Games was first announced back in August 2020 during the PlayStation State of Play. In the run-up to the event, eight Limestone Games employees, including the studio’s founder and chief creative officer Aleksei Nehoroshkin, resigned, accusing the executive team of creating “unbearable work conditions.” These included constant crunch during the development of Aeon Must Die!, toxic atmosphere, questionable employment practices, failure to provide the licensed software, problems with equipment, inadequate salaries, refusal to compensate for overtime work, delays in salary payments, etc.
The former devs also claimed that the company and the entire IP “were covertly taken from the founder.” As for the announcement trailer, they said it violates the rights of artists who were outsourced without a contract and who were not paid for their work. At the time, Limestone Games denied transgressions alleged by its former employees.
While Focus Home was aware of the situation and even said it was “carefully looking into these allegations”, the publisher proceeded with the announcement last year. Now it seems, the development of Aeon Must Die! has been finished by the remaining and newly hired members of Limestone Games.
The original dev team behind Aeon Must Die!, who launched new studio Mishura Games, have responded to the news with the following the statement:
“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.”
Focus Home and Limestone are yet to comment on this.