Last night, Sega celebrated its 60th anniversary with a range of freebies for fans - including a long-lost and unfinished Golden Axe prototype.
Today, Sega has issued a statement on this cancelled prototype, which it jokily renamed Golden Axed, after a heartfelt and widely-shared Twitter thread by Tim Dawson, one of the project's key staff.
Dawson refuted Sega's suggestion the company had reached out to the project's original development team before releasing the prototype, described crunching on the project for 14-hour days, and branded the time period as "a personal nexus of nightmare hours, inept management, industry realisations and heroics achieved with a small team under unreasonable conditions".
"It's an odd feeling to see it surface eight years later without context, credits and with a joke title sequence," Dawson continued.
Last night, Sega described Golden Axed on its Steam page with the warning it "may be janky, may be buggy, may be an artefact of its time".
Quoting this, Dawson replied: "Go fuck yourself, parasites."
"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," a Sega spokesperson told Eurogamer today. "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."