Founded in 1996, Focus Home Interactive is an independent French publisher based near Paris, France. Known for the quality, diversity and originality of its catalogue, Focus has published and distributed original titles that have become benchmark titles worldwide -- such as Blood Bowl, TrackMania, Runaway and sports games like Cycling Manager and Virtual Skipper.
Employee Abuse: The developers of Aeon Must Die! were forced to work long hours without pay for any of the work done while employed by Yaroslav Lyssenko, who later stole their IP and art, causing the entire staff to quit. In 2019, 12 former staff members wrote a confidential letter to Focus Home reporting the abuse and requesting support. Focus Home did not reply, instead handing the letter to Yaroslav which lead to further harassment and abuse of the the former employees. In 2021 Focus Home claimed an IGDA investigation did not uncover any abuse, but the IGDA issued their own reply, stating their investigation was halted and remains inconclusive.
Developer IP Theft: In 2019, Focus Home Interactive delisted Frogwares games from storefronts without approval or transferring IDs (game ownership on stores) because their Distribution Agreement had expired. Frogwares owned the IPs but couldn't stay afloat without sales from their Sherlock series which Focus Home illegally withheld the IDs to. Frogwares had to contacting the console stores directly to try and have the IDs transferred. In 2020 Focus Home Interactive uploaded a trailer for Aeon Must Die! that was made with stolen art and unpaid work. The trailer's creator, Arsen Shakbabyn issued a DMCH takedown of the video but it went back up. He posted a comment about the situation to the video and Focus Home Interactive deleted it within minutes. Aeon Must Die! launched in 2021 with a comment from Focus Home that they own the IP and as a co-owner are not responsible for the stolen work.