One of the weirdest developments to come out of the State Of Play livestream yesterday was the fallout from the trailer for Aeon Must Die. Estonia-based studio Limestone Games revealed the trailer for their game during the stream, and at the time it all looked pretty cool as publisher Focus Home Entertainment proudly showed off the game. But shortly after the stream took place, several former staffers loaded up a version of the trailer themselves with the introduction "This trailer was created with abuse, manipulation, theft. Find out the truth about the development of this game here." With the link going to a Dropbox account, showing off all of the work that went into the game complete with notes and references from eight different employees who accused Limestone of overworking in poor working conditions and having to deal with, if these are to be true, a nightmare boss in the form of the company's chief executive.
This morning, Focus Home Interactive released a statement via Twitter saying that would be looking into the matter closer.
Focus Home Interactive has always praised and supported all of 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. As the publisher of this video game, Focus is carefully looking into these allegations and will draw the necessary conclusions if they are prived to be well-founded, and then take all the appropriate measures. No further comment will be shared until we have a clearer and complete view of this matter.
We'll wait and see how all of this pans out, but if it is indeed true, it would be one of the most egregious examples of workplace abuse in the gaming industry to be made public. We'll see what comes of Focus Home's investigation.