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The publisher of beat ’em up Aeon Must Die has stated it found no evidence of wrongdoing during the game’s development, despite a group of former developers repeating the allegations.
Last year, eight members of the game’s development team quit, citing harassment, abuse and “endless crunch” at the hands of developer Limestone Games.
The controversy caused publisher Focus Home Interactive to release a statement saying it was looking into the allegations, but for the past year nothing had been said about the game.
Yesterday, however, the game’s reveal trailer from last year was posted again on Focus Home Interactive’s YouTube channel, raising questions over the return of a game that was seemingly in limbo due to studio turmoil.
“We the former developers of Aeon Must Die! are confused and baffled by the announcement of Aeon Must Die!,” the statement reads. “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. We are open to comment in DM to trusted media outlets.”
Despite this statement, Focus Home Interactive claims it did investigate the situation and no evidence of wrongdoing was found.
A Focus Home Interactive statement given to VGC reads as follows:
“Focus implemented the social audit clause of the Limestone contract upon receipt of the employees’ resignation letter on June 22, 2020. Focus carried out with the assistance of two law firms, one international and one Estonian (both independent), a social and legal audit which did not confirm any of the accusations levelled against the management of Limestone.
“In addition, the Estonian branch of the International Association of Video Game Developers (IGDA) conducted an independent investigation on the basis of all available information, which also did not confirm the charges against management of Limestone, and calls into question their basis.
“Limestone and Focus indeed decided to extend development time to give teams the time and means to release a quality game in good conditions for the employees. The release date is now scheduled for 2021. In addition, Focus has granted an additional budget to ensure the proper development of the project.
“While our teams have more than 20 years of experience in production follow-up, we at Focus, do not replace the creative teams. We have an advisory and support role and share our knowledge to put creatives and developers in the best conditions to provide the most qualitative experience for players.”
The re-upload of the trailer yesterday, a year after the original controversy, suggests that Focus Home Interactive feels there are no further issues surrounding Aeon Must Die’s development and is now happy to release the game, with the trailer’s description stating that “Aeon Must Die!, the stylish beat ‘em-up is launching on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC in 2021″.