Sega turns 60 this year, and the company is celebrating that fact on multiple fronts – one of which is the utterly insane Game Gear Micro.
Another way Sega is marking the occasion is by giving away four games on Steam, one of which is a canned prototype for a Golden Axe sequel which was developed in just two weeks in 2012.
Dubbed “Golden Axed” (see what they did there?), the game will be free to download on October 18th, and is based on the work of Sega’s now-defunct Australian studio. The fact it’s being released at all has come as quite a shock to the original developers, who had no idea Sega was planning to do this.
According to Tim Dawson, the main developer of the prototype, describes it as a “darker, bloodier Golden Axe, with splatter and decapitations and two-button combat” that aimed to remain true to the spirit of the original game but ultimately turned into something of a horror project coded “under crunch conditions.” He says it became his “personal nexus of nightmare hours, inept management, industry realisations and heroics achieved with a small team under unreasonable conditions.”
His Twitter thread on the topic is well worth a read, as he describes his constant battles with management and his disagreements with the lead designer, who apparently wanted a God of War-style game and not an arcade brawler. At one point, the lead even claimed that Golden Axe and Sega stablemate Streets of Rage “were the same game.” Dawson concludes that: “They didn’t want it. They wanted something else entirely.”
Dawson – who would found Witch Beam Games with Mishra and produce Assault Android Cactus – also contests (warning: bad language) Sega’s Steam page listing for the game, which, in all fairness, won’t have been written by the same management who scuppered the project 8 years ago:
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.
This may be something of a dark project for Dawson, but it’s going to be interesting to see what he achieved when the game becomes free to download on the 18th; it will be for one day only, so be sure to pop it in your diary.
The original Golden Axe hit arcades back in the late ’80s and spawned multiple sequels, including two which were exclusive to the Mega Drive. Its arcade follow-up – Revenge of Death Adder – is finally getting an official release this year, while Golden Axe: The Duel and Golden Axe: Beast Rider arguably failed to do the brand justice. Sega also tried to turn the series into an RPG with the likes of Golden Axe Warrior on the Master System and Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe on the Game Gear. As well as the Sega Australia prototype, another potential sequel was canned which would have resembled Vanillaware titles such as Odin Sphere and Muramasa.
Sega is also releasing Endless Zone, Armor of Heroes and Streets of Kamurocho for free, the latter of which fuses the worlds of Yakuza and Streets of Rage.
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 October 15-19.
Endless Zone – Amplitude Studios™ – The Endless universe and Fantasy Zone™ collide in this side-scrolling shoot ’em up. Available from October 16-19.
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 October 17-19.
Golden Axed – SEGA® – A build of a never-before-seen glimpse at a canned project called Golden Axe™: Reborn. Available from October 18-19. So, just one day.
Damien has over a decade of professional writing experience under his belt, as well as a repulsively hairy belly. Rumours that he turned down a role in The Hobbit to work on Nintendo Life are, to the best of our knowledge, completely and utterly unfounded.
@RazumikhinPG I guess for the people who have Nintendo but also have Steam… I’m not one of those people.
@RazumikhinPG Golden Axed was set to release on the Wii U at one point, so that’s what it has to do with them.
How bizarre. All the games look terrible, but I guess I’ll grab them if they’re free.
Genuinely got excited for a moment thinking I could hop onto the eshop and download it. Ah well 😒
I think it’s interesting that they’re posthumously releasing a cancelled prototype, to show what could have been. I feel bad for the devs though. It sounds like it was a true nightmare for the short time it was in production.
@RazumikhinPG You thought the great console wars of 90s ended? Sega making moves Nintendo can only dream of. Sega will rise again I tell ya.
It feels a bit like Sega are actively ridiculing themselves for this 60th anniversary. They have a history of amazing quality games they could be celebrating and instead they are putting out this? Very odd.
@RazumikhinPG With Sega out of the console wars, a lot of older Nintendo fans have developed a special kinship with their erstwhile foes, bonding over the pixels of their shared history in a way the young upstarts at Sony and Microsoft wouldn’t be able to understand.
This Golden Axed is cool, a pity it never became a full game, but I’ll take it.
@RazumikhinPG Sega released games for Nintendo and since this is a Nintendo side… yeah, I don’t get the logic either shrugs
It’s been mentioned on here before, so this is something I’m only inferring.
As Golden Axe is an old game, and a lot/few people on here are into old/retro games irrespective of system, then this would be of interest. I guess a retro tag would be a good thing?
It’s worth reading IronicAccount / Tim Dawson’s Twitter thread on this. Feeling I got from it – working long hours, work canned, then released years later as a mocking joke.
Thanks for misleading your readers by making us think it’s coming out on a Nintendo console (as you don’t usually make news stories about PC only releases since this is a Nintendo site?!) Maybe mention it’s Steam only on the front page?
I loved Golden Axe on my Amiga500, was so much fun with my brothers. I have it on a Raspberry Pi and it brings back so much nostalgia and joy for me. I hooked it up to a projector and had an arcade evening recently- Golden Axe, Simpsons, Willow and Turtles were soooo good.
This however…….the graphic design is awful and a massive turnoff for me, looks hideous. Such a pity but maybe others like that style.
I just found out there was an arcade sequel to the original called revenge of death adder. Apparently to this day it has never been ported to any home systems or rereleased in any way shape or form. It’s supposed to be really good too!
Serious…. Nintendo life….. Think about my heart lol 🤣
When i Read this i whas hyped and whas like ” yessss coming to switch” till i saw the trailer “steam” hahahah man why….
@RazumikhinPG Because it would be very hard to put 20(!) links into an article about a Sony game and search engine robots love them links!
Golden Axe should not be that violent, in my opinion. It’s best with cartoon visuals, not too bloody and a bit of sex appeal with Tyris Flare, but generally should be for the same sort of age range as Streets of Rage.
They are actually giving away 5 games for free… Sonic 2 is free on Steam right now.
“Armor of Heroes – Relic Entertainment™ – A retro-inspired multiplayer tank romp for up to four players in versus combat and couch co-op.”
@RazumikhinPG because this website would be called Segalife if Sega hadn’t dropped out of the console wars. Most of the site contributors never picked up a Nintendo controller until the Dreamcast flamed out.
@RazumikhinPG Who knows? There should be if enough users would like it, and I imagine that they would. Ninty Vs Sega is the historic grudge match (as it were), but it shouldn’t (imho) take precedence over the last 25 years of Sony and MS
@RazumikhinPG I mean you’re more than welcome to just go to reddit if you want content categorized. On Nintendolife’s website Nintendolife can report on any news Nintendolife wants.
So Sega couldn’t give us Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder which is basically a better game and is completed but instead would go out of their way to give us a lame unfinished prototype of a Golden Axe game that nobody wanted? Make sense Sega, makes a lot of sense.
Holy carp! I absolutely love the original Golden Axe, been playing the ever-loving heck out of it on my Genesis Mini. I think this is neat, but why not give us Revenge of Death Adder? I mean, you could only find that in the arcades! Granted, you could emulate it, but it’s not the same.
Sega, Yakuza, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Steam
World news – GB – Sega Surprises Everyone By Releasing A Canned Golden Axe Sequel, Including The Original Devs