Golden Axed: Prototypes & Parasites (The Jimquisition)

Sega has been enjoying its 60th anniversary, and while it’s had a celebratory weekend of fun content, the occasion is not without controversy.

Specifically, the release of a Golden Axe prototype from the early 2010s has been criticized by former developers. The demo was made with aggressively brutal crunch involved, as well as the kind of poor management we’ve come to expect from such stories.

Sega made this all worse by calling the demo Golden Axed and telling everyone it was janky and messy. Understandably, those who broke themselves on this thing haven’t been thrilled.

So, let’s talk about how publisher feel so entitled to dismissively benefit from the workloads they dump on their staff.


  1. Getting “Golden Axed” sounds like some deranged sexual practice.

  2. Unlike the guy who doesn’t know Jim’s name, who is holding the early 2000’s Duke nukem forever hostage, SEGA released an unfinished game for free.

  3. Phillip Eldridge-Smith

    I fucking loved The Ancestral Trail.

    The first series, not the crappy futuristic second lot.

    Either way, fucking corporate execs, every single time.

    EDIT: sorry, that was too short.

    I haven’t purchased an EA game since 2018 (and that last purchase was getting BF1 with all content via GwG). I will not buy Activision. I am now very apprehensive about a day one CP2077, because I don’t want to encourage the idea that crunch is worthwhile. And you know what? I’ve still got games for the XBox360 that I still never bothered to get around to because video games aren’t life. But if I worked for someone who told me to suddenly pull incredible hours to the detriment of my health and tried to do it by dangling a carrot of some mealy-mouthed extra pay or whatever, I’d want to be in a position to tell them to stick that carrot up their arse. Unfortunately, the games industry seems very adept at making sure that their workforce are unable to do that.

  4. I have made an actually “janky, buggy” game as part of a grad school project. The fact that this team turned out such a solid prototype in a little over 2 weeks is nothing short of a minor miracle.

  5. Cornflakes Humunculus

    As a long time gamer I am very disgusted that our good developers are being crunched on by these corporate twits who are so worried about profit and shareholders. I rather the developers take the time to make the games as I do care so much for their mental health. They’re just as human as we all are and should be treated with respect so to all the good developers thank you for making our great games but don’t go through dangerous crunch periods. It’s not worth risking your health on that.

  6. The story of the execs should really drive home, the bosses need you, you don’t really need them. The demand for what you do will still be there if every executive, billionaire, capitalist, and CEO shriveled up and blew away in the wind. If EA and Activision and Sega and all those did a Konami and decided to focus on selling dildos or chewing gum or whatever, the audience would still be there for videogames, and therefore, an opportunity for someone who wants to make the things.

  7. I just wanted to chime in and say that not every manager in the games industry is bad, I’ve had a good one here or there.

    … It’s too bad that they were usually mistreated by THEIR managers, though.

  8. It was really interesting to hear that designer’s story. Obviously we often hear about ‘crunch’ but it’s often a bit abstract as a concept of general “crunch”, while that was some real, personal experience.

  9. Not to sound like a True Gamer (TM), but when I heard that the “lead designer” was basing his ideas around his playthrough of the _mobile version_ of Golden Axe, I cringed.

  10. It’s kind of funny when major corporations act all victimized to save face, then turn around and do the exact same thing that roused public ire in the first place.
    They aren’t “sorry”, they’re sorry they got caught.

  11. Jim I keep coming back because just like you I know I don’t need games, they’re not worth anything but damn they are fun. If we could make fun things without consuming whole human souls wouldn’t that be grand?

  12. Axel Mauricio Lugo

    For what its worth, I really appreciate Jim taking the time to research and talk with people in the industry. Even if people give him shit, I am grateful for his opinions and keeping us informed of all the crap that happens, it sucks people sometimes dont appreciate his hard work. Love your videos Jim, and I thank God for you every night before going to bed, you make me want to become a great game developer

  13. So the designer was disappointed that a Golden Axe reboot demo made in two weeks wasn’t a God of War-like spectacle? So they shit-canned it. I guess he doesn’t understand that if I wanted to play GoW, I’d just buy that. But if I see Golden Axe, I assume I’d be getting a side-scroller beat-’em-up featuring characters that are “similar to [Conan | Red Sonya | Gimli], but different, for copyright reasons”. I don’t expect chained blades spinning in all directions.

  14. Some of the people (Tim, Sanatana) who worked on this went on to make Assault Android Cactus, and you should definitely definitely buy it. I’m serious. If you think golden axed is good in two weeks under bad management imagine what they can do with actual time and their own direction. Then stop imagining and buy AAC. Think of it as paying them directly for golden axed if you like.

  15. Saddened by how applicable all of this is to the book publishing industry, an industry I work in… And that’s supposedly a much more ‘advanced’ type of industry, but every time I hear about shit like this going on it just brings home for me how crap it is that big companies hold all the power, the people who are actually creating the products remain largely nameless (every game has 1 or 2 people who are known as the ‘creators’ of the game, like an author, the only people who get some credit for it, but even they’ve been constantly fucked over, so they’re not much better off), and how this powerimbalance makes for some really really crappy circumstances to work in in industries that are literally there to provide fun for other people…

  16. This development story sounds like a Dilbert comic.

  17. 10:17 “Cyril Sneer”

    Ah so that’s his name, been wondering about that

  18. Jim, Jason Schreier’s last name is pronounced ‘Shryer.’ It’s a German Ashkenazic name.

  19. People who defend and fanboi for corporations are creepy.

  20. “It wasn’t the God-of-War-like 3D brawler he wanted”.

    Because if there was one genre we needed more of in 2012, it was the “Like God of War, but…” genre. WOW FACTOR INDEED!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *