Sega Releases Golden Axe Prototype That Was Created Under "Crunch Conditions" In 2012

Sega recently launched a Golden Axe game on Steam that was reportedly developed way back in 2012. According to one developer who worked on the game, it was produced under intense “crunch conditions” and none of the original team were made aware of its recent release — eight years after they stopped working on it.

Indie developer Tim Dawson took to Twitter in order to explain the story behind Golden Axe. You can check out Dawson’s tweet below.

As you can see from the tweet, Dawson notes that none of the original team members were made aware of any launch plans for Golden Axe. It’s also clear from the Steam embed that the game’s name was changed to “Golden Axed: A Cancelled Prototype,” distastefully acknowledging the project’s cancellation back in 2012.

Dawson went on to note that this project was his “personal nexus of nightmare hours,” citing inept management and unreasonable working conditions as clear factors in inciting crunch in the team. The newly released game doesn’t feature any context of its own development, nor does it include credits. Dawson also specifically points to the joke title sequence, which comes as a particularly souring gut punch.

The prototype came into being after Dawson and a colleague successfully shipped Castle of Illusion. Their offer for a second project at Sega relied on their capacity to produce a “polished gameplay prototype” for an internal Golden Axe pitch in two weeks. They were told they could do it “their way,” and built a darker Golden Axe with splatter, decapitations, and two button combat without compromising on the spirit of the original game.

After getting it to a playable, working state, Dawson and the team showed the game to management. They were asked “where is the wow factor?”, nonchalantly ignoring the 14-hour days that had gone into production over the last week and a half.

Dawson cites the Steam page description, which reads, “Golden Axed may be janky, may be buggy, may be an artifact of its time, but it offers a unique glimpse into the prospect of a project that could have been.”

“Go fuck yourself, parasites,” he writes.

We have reached out to the developers for comment.

Read next: Focus Home Interactive Addresses Concerns Of Crunch And Infringement Over Aeon Must Die

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Cian Maher is an Associate Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. His favourite game of all time is and always will be The Witcher 3, but he also loves The Last Guardian, NieR: Automata, Dishonored, and pretty much every Pokemon game ever released. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.

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