Aeon Must Die Studio Accused of "Unbearable" Work Conditions and IP Theft

Aeon Must Die Studio Accused of "Unbearable" Work Conditions and IP Theft

The State of Play-featured game has come under fire, and its publisher has already responded.

One of the trailers featured in yesterday's PlayStation State of Play broadcast has come under scrutiny. Developers of the game Aeon Must Die have published a bevy of documents, alleging misconduct and even IP theft on the part of studio Limestone Games.

After the trailer for Aeon Must Die, a stylish brawler developed by Limestone and published by Focus Home Interactive, aired on Sony's stream, another trailer started to circle social media. Titled "Aeon Must Die! (original version) TRUTH IN DESCRIPTION," the YouTube video alleges that the trailer—similar in broad strokes to the one shown during State of Play—was created with "abuse, manipulation, [and] theft."

According to the description and a linked Dropbox folder, several developers of the game were forced to leave Limestone in June alongside the creative director. Through a number of documents inside the Dropbox, including documents, audio recordings, and personal accounts, the developers allege there were "unbearable work conditions with endless crunch, harassment, abuse, corruption, and manipulation."

The statement also says that when an attorney was hired by the team, they found that "the company and the entire IP was covertly taken from the founder." According to the group, yesterday's trailer is "infringing on the IP of people who have worked on scenes from it without contract and were not paid at any point." It's important to note that some of the information in the massive Dropbox dump has been redacted, because it could "further jeopardize the team."

Allegations also extend to Limestone CEO Yaroslav Lyssenko, who the group of developers accused of sending threatening letters and firing employees before an agreed resignation date. USgamer has reached out to Lyssenko for comment.

Also in the Dropbox, the devs claim they had contacted Focus Home with concerns prior to the State of Play broadcast. Publisher Focus Home Interactive released a statement responding to the matter today.

Focus Home's statement on the Dropbox allegations. | Twitter

"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. "These grievances are directed at Limestone, their direct employer.

"As the publisher of this video game, Focus is carefully looking into these allegations and will draw the necessary conclusions if they are proved to be well-founded, and then take all appropriate measures. No further comment will be shared until we have a clearer and complete view on this matter."

Aeon Must Die has a 2021 launch window for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam.

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Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

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