Behind the beautiful anime-inspired visuals and gameplay of Aeon Must Die! lie hidden a reportedly unsettling history of workplace mistreatment.
According to a series of tweets from earlier today, which have also been retweeted by developer Limestone Games, all staffers who worked on Aeon Must Die! have quit in protest. The allegations state that the developers were suffering from a severe crunch culture in addition to a lack of payments. Since the developers of Aeon Must Die! were neither being paid for overtime nor their normal salaries, they were left with no other choice but to quit.
All Aeon Must Die devs quit the studio this week due to crunch and lack of payments, and the trailer was outsourced to artists without contracts. @jasonschreier https://t.co/lmYLy3vRwp pic.twitter.com/ugmKsxhAHb
— doom scroller extraordinaire (@calibrono) August 6, 2020
To make matters even worse, the new trailer that was debuted during the latest State of Play was apparently outsourced by publisher Focus Home Interactive. The mistreated and unpaid developers also approached CEO Yaroslav Lysenko a number of times but to no avail.
The developers have further alleged that Yaroslav was looking to drive off the original staffers by underpaying them and keeping the Aeon Must Die! intellectual property himself. In either case, provided that the claims are true, the “unique” beat ’em up game was developed in a toxic atmosphere.
Aeon Must Die! will officially release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch somewhere in 2021. There are already calls for a complete boycott of the game. Focus Home Interactive has not made any statements as of yet but the way things are unrolling, the publisher needs to straighten out the matter as soon as possible. Aeon Must Die! looks good but as a product of mistreatment, the player-base will likely stand together against not only this game but future games from Focus Home Interactive as well.
Update: Focus Home Interactive has released a statement, promising to start an investigation into the allegations.
Our statement regarding Limestone Games and Aeon Must Die!. pic.twitter.com/75ldhtp27T
— Focus Home Interactive (@FocusHome) August 7, 2020