Multiple Developers Leave Lab Zero Games, Studio Behind Indivisible and Skullgirls, Citing Toxic Owner
Lab Zero Games looks to be dissolving in real-time as an exodus of employees has come about in protest of actions by the studio's head.
Working conditions at Lab Zero Games are not positive based on a handful of new accounts from developers who previously worked at the studio.
Over the past day, a number of different employees that worked at the company behind Skullgirls, and more recently, Indivisible, announced that they would be departing from the studio. The moves to leave Lab Zero Games began yesterday when producer Brian Jun shared on Twitter that he was moving on after not being able to “make things work out with Mike Z.”
Mike Zaimont, the person mentioned in Jun’s statement, came under fire earlier this summer after being accused by multiple parties from directing unnecessary sexual comments at them. Since that time, attempts were said to have been made internally to have Zaimont leave the company itself, only for the studio owner (Zaimont himself) to have allegedly made gaudy and “unrealistically high” requests to ensure his separation. When these deals were not able to be met, Zaimont then is said to have “reversed his stance” and decided to remain at Lab Zero.
Skullgirls was the effort of many people, not just Mike. He or Lab Zero does not own the IP; Autumn Games does. The fantastic team at Hidden Variable keeps the constant updates to the mobile version.
Please continue to support Skullgirls and Skullgirls Mobile as you always have.
— EU03 (@ClickAgain) August 23, 2020
In the wake of Jun’s post, multiple other developers have since come forward and have echoed similar things. Longtime animators Johnathan Kim and Mariel Cartwright are some of the more notable employees that announced this afternoon they would be leaving Lab Zero and released statements of their own talking about the matter. Each continued to cite Zaimont as the root of their issues, with the latter saying they had personally been harassed by the studio head.
Hey guys, I’ve resigned from Lab Zero Games. pic.twitter.com/9xlr3X0IHD
— Persona 😎 (@personasama) August 24, 2020
I’ve resigned from Lab Zero Games. pic.twitter.com/I0dazMz4XB
— Kinuko (@kinucakes) August 24, 2020
It remains to be seen what happens to Lab Zero Games itself, but at this current rate, Zaimont might be the only active employee on the team before too long. With a 100% stake in the ownership of Lab Zero, Zaimont can continue to hold onto the company if he so desires. However, if no one is willing to work with him, the studio’s survivability seems grim.