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Golden Axed: A Prototype with a Dark Past

As part of Sega’s 60th anniversary celebrations, the company has been putting out a number of limited-time-only free minigames on Steam, including a Streets of Rage-inspired brawler based on the Yakuza series, a tank blaster based on Company of Heroes and a Fantasy Zone/Endless crossover.

By far the most controversial of these freebie releases is an unfinished prototype that has become known as Golden Axed. It was originally intended to be part of an ambitious series known as Sega Reborn, which would not only feature reimaginings of Sega classics such as Shinobi, Altered Beast and Streets of Rage, but also tie them all together with some sort of coherent plot and a “hub world” to explore.

The project as a whole never happened, but the team from Sega’s Australian studio behind the pitch did manage to put together a short prototype for the Golden Axe part of the whole package. But there’s an interesting — and somewhat depressing — story behind it that is well worth sharing. So let’s explore further.

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