Sega's Golden Axe reboot prototype cuts deep for staff made to crank it out

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Sooo - it says it is free on Steam for one day only?

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This project was my personal nexus of nightmare hours, inept management, industry realisations and heroics achieved with a small team under unreasonable conditions

And eight years later, nothing much has changed in the video game development industry.


came for an heartfelt story about development crisis, lessons learned, etc.

it exists because a producer we trusted asked us if we could make a ‘polished gameplay prototype’ for an internal Golden Axe pitch in about two weeks… we agreed because we were assured management wanted us to develop it ‘our way’

you can’t be serious?

that’s like developing a hobby project, or a game jam.

yeah, sega should have told them they were publishing their demo. but this ( two weeks! ) isn’t a fully designed and developed game either. you made a one off, and they published it.

The lead designer once again complained it wasn’t a God of War-like 3D brawler like he wanted… Someone said maybe it’d have been better to have made a prerendered video where the barbarian fought a monster

a better use of those two weeks would’ve been: a) determining the desires of management b) yes(!) creating a video, and c) sleeping like a normal person.

they wanted to be “heroes” and it didn’t work out like they planned. in this particular case, i have little sympathy.


But that wouldn’t have been

They did what was asked of them. Maybe they could have said no, but I don’t know if that would have had long term consequences for their job (but knowing capitalism, it would have been bad)

There needs to be better worker’s rights and protections to counteract crunch and toxic bro culture.


inarguably true. and part of that culture is often to prove how cool you are. ^h^h i mean 31337, sorry. and that’s how this comes off to me.

the biggest fail by far is the producer who wants a product pitch in two weeks without any solid product concept, and no idea of the actual work involved. and they didn’t even call that out.

instead, the author seems upset that nobody understood the greatness of their own vision and effort. ( even going so far as to publicly disrespect the designer who was also only trying to their job in the same ridiculous timeframe! )

they don’t even really seem to care about the crunch - which at only two weeks is nothing like the crunch that plagues the industry. just the fact the project was shelved.

i guess to me it seems their story speaks about how developers are often still fully bought into their own eliteness. something that contributes to the problem not something that helps solve it.

( tangentially related: id love to read/watch arstechnica’s “war stories” about game development, but that name they gave their series is exactly the kind of toxic culture that i can’t stand. a conceptualization of struggle and heroism that further feeds the exploitation of developers. )


One of the things I’ve noted in life is that there are three kinds of people. Those who when given a task do their best to complete it as instructed. Those who ignore the instructions and do what they want instead and get stomped for it. And those who ignore the instructions and get massive praise and acclaim for it.

I’m not sure what determines whether someone falls into group 2 or group 3 but I have my suspicions that massive amounts of class privilege come into it.


The whole story is a bit confusing…

The steam page says:

We reached out to some of the original development team to bring this dusty gem to light, and they are proud that this project could be revived in some form to be shared with you, the fans.

I mean, sure, this could easily be an empty claim.

But, certainly, the steam page does not claim this is a “joke product” except for the added “d” in the title, which is obviously a joke (but not a joke about the quality of the game!). It says it’s “a special treat to say “Thank You!” to our fans”, which sounds very much like praise.

I also very much doubt that the people that put the prototype on steam are the same people that made the devs crunch 15 years ago.

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Follow up:

If you want to play it, you need to add it to your Steam library today before it’s gone forever.


Honestly, I wish identity politics would stop going on about “bro culture” and start going on about class conflict, but whatever floats your boat. As far as I can tell, non “bros” are perfectly capable of and perfectly willing to suck up and perform at being “toxic” in the pleb on pleb mandates of competitive capitalism.

What else would you expect from an industry run by man children? Not fussball tables for one!

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I too wish that people would focus on problems that deflect onto other people’s than myself. And highlight the only important issues - those that effect me.


Brogrammer culture, like the crappy Protestant Work Ethic that it’s a fork of, is infused with sexism and other assorted bigotries the privilege certain people above others as “natural” hard workers and elites. Get rid of that and maybe workers in the industry will start seeing they’re being robbed of money, time, and/or well-being by their employers.

This sort of thing is tough to uproot, though – see physician training, for example. In one form or another, it’s been around in tech for at least a generation in the industry, as abused workers become abusive bosses and the cycle continues. Regulation of those workplaces to counteract the culture would go a long way not only for bettering their own rights as workers but would also make for a more diverse and creatively rich industry.


Some people just can’t see past their own noses…


is the phrase “toxic masculinity” OK, or is that one canceled too


We might hurt a man’s feelings, so canceled… /s


Surely you mean “Brotestant Work Ethic”.


@smulder I would never try to get a person fired for saying the term “bro culture” or “toxic masculinity.” But, nice try.

@KathyPartdeux as far as I can tell, class conflict is one of the primary avenues for systemic racism and sexism to rear its ugly head, the problem with the way the news media presents things is they place the onus on individuals to fix society, but do very little to confront many of the underlying problems, many of which are orchestrated and exacerbated by capitalists pitting their workers against each other in a “friendly competition” where the loser might become homeless or even ejected from the country they are employed in.

If someone says “‘bro culture’ is about competition instead of collaboration” then I would agree with them that this is a problem. Peers in an organization or industry should be working together to boost each other up. This is the right way to live and work: to support each other. But I have seen some very bad descriptions or “takes” of what “bro culture” supposedly is and it ends up in a place where I feel it becomes very open ended and lacks direction and in some cases is abused by a media that desires to fragment the workforce into warring identity-based factions.

can one really fix this problem by aligning oneself into a warring faction that is against “identity politics”

or is that the exact kind of fragmentation which is not helpful


That is not my position, so I don’t need to defend it