Mike “Mike Z” Zaimont, the lead designer and owner of Lab Zero Games, has fired the studio’s remaining staff after many employees recently quit.
Multiple employees at Lab Zero Games left the studio after Mike Zaimont refused to resign from his position following alleged abuse and past inappropriate remarks which were made public.
According to Kotaku, Zaimont was supposed to transition from being the sole owner of the studio to sharing equity with employees. Once the allegations went public however, he was asked to step down by a board consisting of staff, prompting Zaimont to dissolve the board and assume control when a deal couldn’t be reached.
This sparked walkouts of seven employees from the studio. One of these was artist Jonathan “Persona” Kim who, while promoting fellow ex staff member Mariel Cartwright, revealed on Twitter how Zaimont had fired the remaining 11 employees from the studio since.
Skullgirls was supposed to feature at EVO Online this year (Picture: Autumn Games)
Responding to Mariel’s call to raise money for fired developers, Kim wrote: “Mariel has to do this because last week Mike laid off everyone who didn’t quit LZ, but hasn’t agreed to a severance for them yet.”
In an email to Kotaku, Zaimont stated they were “forced into layoffs because we were no longer able to meet our payroll obligations”.
Skullgirls IP owner Autumn Games released a joint statement with Hidden Variable, creators of the mobile version, regarding the game’s future, explaining how they “plan to work with the many talented individuals who are leaving Lab Zero to build new Skullgirls content moving forward”.
An official statement from Hidden Variable and Autumn regarding Lab Zero Games and the future of Skullgirls. pic.twitter.com/4qeoN9fgRj— Skullgirls Mobile (@sgmobile) August 25, 2020
The company also stated they would no longer work with Mike Zaimont or Lab Zero Games.
It’s unclear what this means for the future of Skullgirls, although new content is still scheduled to be released - with new character Annie coming to Skullgirls 2nd Encore in 2021 and Skullgirls mobile later this year.