An email popped into my inbox last night, proclaiming some 60th-anniversary celebrations for the iconic gaming brand SEGA. It all seemed like fairly standard, birthday bonanza, heart-warming stuff. But there is something of a dark underbelly if you dig a bit deeper/lurk around on Twitter a bit.
"Starting 14 October 2020," the email explains, "celebrations begin! Free games to download and keep forever, new and never seen before content, exclusive interviews and 60th Anniversary website launched!" So far, so normal... right?
You can keep reading to learn what SEGA has up its sleeve here, and why there's already some noise on Twitter about one somewhat controversial inclusion in the party...
SEGA's 60th anniversary plans revealed
As the press release joyfully proclaims, "SEGA West is delighted to announce its plans to celebrate this amazing milestone in its history with its millions of fans around the world."
The "week-long 60th anniversary celebrations" began yesterday on Steam, with gamers being "treated to awesome discounts on SEGA’s diverse portfolio of products (check the Steam promotion page here for more details)."
SEGA will also be "hosting let’s plays, regular competitions, interviewing SEGA stalwarts from all corners of the business and treating you to video and editorial content covering different parts of SEGA’s rich history" at Sega60th.com.
But it's in this next part of the announcement where things start to get a bit unusual: "There are also some brand new, free-to-own retro-inspired mini games, which have been created by SEGA studios specifically for this 60th anniversary."
These minigames, which you will be able to find on Steam for a limited time, are described by like so...
- Armor of Heroes – Relic Entertainment™ – A retro-inspired multiplayer tank romp for up to four players in versus combat and couch co-op. Available from 15-19 October.
- Endless Zone – Amplitude Studios™ – The Endless universe and Fantasy Zone™ collide in this side-scrolling shoot ‘em up. Available from 16-19 October.
- Streets of Kamurocho – SEGA® – Kiryu and Majima from SEGA’s critically acclaimed Yakuza™ series are raging on the Streets of Kamurocho in a new, but familiar challenge. Available from 17-19 October.
- Golden Axed – SEGA® – A build of a never-before-seen glimpse at a canned project called Golden Axe™: Reborn. Available from 18-19 October. So, just one day.
And if you're wondering what the deal is with that cancelled Golden Axe game, and why people are kicking off about it, keep reading to find out...
Golden Axe coder steps forward on Twitter
The cancelled game that was previously developed under the name Golden Axe: Reborn, which is now being released by SEGA as free mini-game under the name Golden Axed, has struck a nerve on Twitter.
A developer named Tim Dawson was heavily involved in the project back in 2012, and he has stepped forward on the social media platform to share the details of his experience in an eye-opening thread of Tweets.
You can click here to read the full thread. And we'd recommend that you do, especially if you're considering trying out the game.
It would seem that, without telling the original developers, SEGA has given Dawson and co's prototype a jokey title sequence (and quite an unkind product description) and thrown it into the world as part of the 60th-anniversary event.
At the very least, you could say this is quite odd. This revelation has certainly put a strange spin on SEGA's anniversary event, which is surely the exact opposite of the company's goals here.
It must sting quite a bit, for everyone that was involved originally, because Dawson's thread claims that he had quite a negative time working on the game - again, you can click here to read the full thing, which is probably better than me rehashing it for you.