Mishura Games, which was founded by former Limestone devs, has issued a statement ahead of the Aeon Must Die! release. The studio claims that publisher Focus Entertainment doesn’t have full rights for the IP.
Aeon Must Die!
In case you have missed details of the Aeon Must Die! drama, here is a brief timeline:
- In August 2020, eight employees left Limestone Games, which is the developer behind this game. The devs accused the studio of workplace misconduct, harassment, corruption, and manipulation.
- They founded Mishura Games in September 2020 and got into a public fight with their former employer. Limestone Games, on the other hand, denied all the allegations and promised to turn to the authorities to investigate the case.
- Aeon Must Die! was reannounced by Focus Entertainment (f.k.a Focus Home Interactive). Meanwhile, Mishura Games continued to challenge Limestone’s ownership rights for the IP.
- Last month, Aeon Must Die! former developer managed to block the game’s trailer following a copyright claim.
Despite all the drama, Aeon Must Die! is expected to come out on October 14. Ahead of the launch, Mishura Games stated on its website that Limestone and Focus Entertainment can’t release the game because they don’t have full ownership rights for it.
“Aleksei Nehoroshkin, [the original founder of Limestone who created 70% of all 3D animations in the game,] has never signed any documents where he gives away his full rights to the IP and the chain of IP as this project was designed and written well before Limestone Games was established,” the statement reads.
According to Mishura Games, Limestone refused to pay debts to the former developers, offering smaller sums to silence employees about the situation. If they sign an agreement, they will have to publicly acknowledge that all allegations were not true.
“We consider this ethically and morally impossible, and not just because of personal reasons. It is imperative for the ecosystem of the game industry to move forward from the dark ages it is clearly stuck in,” the studio said.
On top of that, Mishura doubts that Focus Entertainment has conducted independent investigations because the publisher hasn’t released any results of them yet. According to the studio, the IGDA also didn’t conduct an investigation, although it contacted Mishura about it.
Speaking of why they haven’t sued Focus and Limestone, the developers said that they simply have no financial means to legally fight a huge corporation.
The studio also doesn’t know anything about the current state of Aeon Must Die!: “We don’t know how and what was changed, or what was kept. But the original story of the game was not about ‘revenge’ but about keeping your soul intact in the face of overwhelming seduction of power and greed. The revenge was another metaphor for a pointless cycle and the goal would be to overcome that urge.”
Mishura Games is now also working on its new game IMMORTAL: And The Death That Follows, which is expected to come out in 2023 in Early Access, with the full version being released in 2025.