The development team behind the recently announced Aeon Must Die! has left Estonian game studio Limestone Games. They claimed their team was subjected to “unbearable work conditions.”
Aeon Must Die! first debuted in an exciting and stylish trailer on August 6th, during Sony’s Playstation State of Play live stream.
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However, following the trailer’s State of Play premiere, another version of the trailer was uploaded to YouTube. This trailer beared the title “Aeon Must Die! (original version) TRUTH IN DESCRIPTION.”
The video’s description claimed that, “this trailer was created with abuse, manipulation, theft” and that “the real IP for the game was stolen from the creators via foul play.”
Featured in the video’s description was also a link to an extensive DropBox folder. The folder contained a multitude of documents related to the studio. This included numerous employee testimonials regarding the studio’s abusive work environment and intra-studio communications.
The publicly presented documents are identical to ones initially shared directly to the game’s publisher in an attempt to voice their concerns, though some information has been withheld for legal reasons.
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According to a document labeled “intro”. It detailed how Aeon Must Die! was “created by people who in June of 2020 were forced to leave their former studio Limestone Games. Along with its founder/creative director” they cited, “unbearable work conditions with endless crunch, harassment, abuse, corruption, and manipulation.”
The former employees also accused current CEO Yaroslav Lyssenko of having “sent threat letters, legal accusations, unlawfully fired everyone before the agreed-upon resignation date, put a black mark on everyone’s government work record.”
Following the release of these documents, Aeon Must Die! publisher Focus Home Interactive addressed the controversy in a statement published on their official Twitter account.
The statement begins, “Focus Home Interactive has always praised and supported all our partner studios and the developers who compose the creative teams. We pride ourselves on treating our own employees and third party developers fairly and respectfully and this will not change.”
“Focus Home Interactive was informed of serious allegations raised by some of the developers at Limestone who have worked on the creation of the video game Aeon Must Die! These grievances are directed at Limestone, their direct employer,” the statement continued.
Focus Home Interactive then wrote, “As the publisher of this video game, Focus is carefully looking into these allegations and will draw the necessary conclusion if they are proved to be well founded, and then take all appropriate measures.”
Finally they concluded, “No further comment will be shared until we have a clearer and complete view on this matter.”
Aeon Must Die! is currently slated for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC platforms next year.