In last week’s Sony State of Play, Aeon Must Die had a crazy strong showing. Even then, people are not talking about Limestone Games’ offering, but the drama around it. Former developers, among them the founder, accuse bosses of abuse and harassment.
A few moments after the Sony debut, a separate trailer came out on YouTube. The footage notes about the “truth” around the game. Controversy about the game says it is “created with abuse, manipulation, theft.”
According to a slew of documents, the alternate trailer details a deceitful takeover. Allegations center around CEO Yaroslav Lyssenko, which the devs accuse of threats. Devs claim he sent threatening emails and employee terminations before they can resign.
Details across interviews also note how Lyssenko came into power. Limestone Creative Director Aleksei Nehoroshkin put him into position. Nehoroshkin was not only the CCO but also the company’s founder.
Like any CEO, Lyssenko came to manage the team and its finances. Even then, Lyssenko himself allegedly signed off on the game, selling off rights to the IP. He also allegedly undercut the founder, leaving him in massive debt and overworked.
Lyssenko allegedly left all the recruitment to Nehoroshkin while taking more loans. The CEO supposedly buried the studio in debt.
The founder, Nehoroshkin, got stuck with thousands of euros in loans. It doesn’t help that the founder used his apartment as collateral for initial funding.
In the same interview, CCO Nehoroshkin detailed the entire endeavor. He notes that he left the company 45 days before the new trailer even showed up. The devs left before him, with much of the footage allegedly outsourced.
“We’re completely our own thing, and there’s these f*****g tentacles of Limestone Games still all around us,” said Nehoroshkin in the interview. “If there was some legal question I’d just come to him. It’s gullible, but I knew him as a kid. As kids we were LARPing together and shit. I have pictures of that. It’s so sad looking at them now.”
Nehoroshkin discovered issues with contracts, consistent crunch, and burnout. He tried to convince their investor to replace the CEO but to no avail. The publisher, Focus Home Interactive, became their ultimate solution.
“It was one year of psycho terror,” Nehoroshkin added. “I was so done. Everyone was so done. It was out of control. I almost killed myself—not literally, but just, complete burnout.”
The saga for the entire game got longer from here on out. The founder and its devs got a copy of the CEO’s contract with Focus. They are now fighting for a breach of contract with the abusive workplace and internal corruption.
The resigned dev team wishes for Focus to take the game off Limestone’s hands. They’re even willing to finish 100% of the game for the publisher and call it quits.
Focus Home Interactive released a statement about Aeon Must Die. In it, they note that they are investigating the matter. They “will draw the necessary conclusions if they are proved to be well-founded, and then take all appropriate measures.”
Images courtesy of Playstation/Youtube Screenshot
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