In the wake of yesterday’s appearance during PlayStation’s recent State of Play broadcast — and subsequent descent into major controversy shortly thereafter — publisher Focus Home Interactive have today issued a statement regarding the long and well-detailed list of allegations made by former staff of developer Limestone Games. The Estonian-based studio — whose upcoming, side-scrolling beat-em-up Aeon Must Die, was slated to release sometime next year across PS4, Xbox One, PC & Switch — quickly came under heavy scrutiny following the re-reveal of the studio’s upcoming title.
“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!..” the statement reads. “As the publisher of this video game, Focus is clearly looking into these allegations and will draw the necessary conclusions if they are proved to be well founded.” For those unfamiliar with what has occurred over the past 24 hours, following Aeon Must Die’s presence during yesterday’s State of Play, the game’s trailer was re-uploaded with links to a public Dropbox folder. “People who have worked on every shot of this are no longer with the company holding IP rights.” The video’s descriptor reads. “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.”
Inside this folder contained extensive and well-detailed allegations of crunch, poor work conditions, harassment, abuse, corruption and even psychological/emotional manipulation of Limestone’s former development team. The folder opens with an introductory letter stating that as of June 22 this year, eight members of the team have resigned from their positions and that it was around this time that the game’s publisher (assumed to be Focus Home Interactive) was made aware of the conditions surrounding Limestone Games, though it’s claimed no action was taken. Instead, it is alleged that the publisher simply told the team to “cooperate fully and think about the future of the project”.
It should be noted, however, that this letter does not name Focus Home Interactive specifically, instead simply referring to “the publisher” in this context. As well as this letter, the aforementioned publicly-made folder also contains what appear to be desktop screenshots of a list of illegally-downloaded programs and software used by the developer. At the time of writing this article, the publisher’s promotion of the game remains active both on their official website as well as all other relevant social media and video channels.