Sega Angers Golden Axe: Reborn Dev Team by Calling Canceled Game “Janky” and Releasing a Level for Free

Image: Sega

As part of its 60th Anniversary Celebration, Sega is releasing four retro-inspired games for free: Armor of Heroes, Endless Zone, Streets of Kamurocho, and Golden Axed. The last one is particularly interesting, in that it’s a canceled prototype (note the clever name) of a Golden Axe reboot called Golden Axe: Reborn, which was never meant to see the light of day.

While this announcement has been well received by Sega fans, some folks aren’t too amused by the pending release of Golden Axed on October 18. Those include original dev team members Tim Dawson and Sanatana Mishra, who helped program and design the troubled game, respectively. According to Kotaku’s coverage, they were never contacted by Sega. There are also allegations that there was “crunch” (overtime) during its development.

Dawson seems particularly upset because Sega dissed the game by calling it “janky” and “buggy” on Golden Axed’s official Steam page. Those descriptors have since been removed.

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, and a rare peek behind the curtain at the sometimes tumultuous world of video game development,” the sentence read.

In a statement sent to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Sega Europe apologized for the “painful memories” and confirmed that it had updated the Steam description.

“Sega Europe reached out to former members of the Golden Axe: Reborn dev team to produce this prototype of the game for Steam as part of our 60th Anniversary celebrations. We wanted to bring the work of the developers at the time to light and celebrate it as a part of our history. Something we didn’t get the chance to do first time around. We certainly didn’t mean to dredge up painful memories for Mr. Dawson and his former colleagues or appear disrespectful. We’ve removed the line from the Steam copy that could have been taken as a slur on the development and would like to reassure everyone that it was intended as a comment on the build we had ported to PC, not the quality of the original work. We’re hoping lots of fans play the prototype and can appreciate the work he and his colleagues put into this developing this prototype.”

If you’re planning on firing up Golden Axed this Sunday, feel free to let us know how “janky” and “buggy” it is. We’ll also point out that another little-known Sega title called NiGHTS Into Dreams is available for free as part of the Japanese game maker’s 60th Anniversary Celebration. You can grab that by venturing to and signing up for a newsletter.

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