Slick sci-fi beat-‘em-up Aeon Must Die was one of the standouts during yesterday’s State of Play livestream, but the release has been mired in controversy ever since. An enormous catalogue of conversations, emails, and letters have been uploaded to Dropbox, after former employees of developer Limestone Games claim they were severely mistreated.
The accusations are wide-spread and in-depth, with the team citing “unbearable work conditions with endless crunch, harassment, abuse, corruption, and manipulation”. The claims add that the team quit late last month, and that the reveal trailer was stolen. “People who have worked on every shot of this are no longer with the company holding IP rights,” the description of a YouTube video claims. “Some were not even paid for their work. This trailer has a pending conflict of IP. The real IP for the game was stolen from the creators via foul play.”
The aforementioned Dropbox includes a statement from former creative director Aleksei Nehoroshkin, who helped establish the studio in 2016. He alleges that chief executive Yaroslav Lyssenko failed to correctly pay staff and overworked the team. Throughout all this, Nehoroshkin continues that Lyssenko was plotting with another investor to take control of the studio and its intellectual property.
Apparently, all of these issues were relayed to publisher Focus Home Interactive, but these were either ignored or relayed back to Lyssenko himself. The company has since released a statement, stressing that it will carefully investigate the accusations but that “no further comment will be shared until we have a clearer and complete view on this matter”.