It's been a very long day for anybody tied to the Skullgirls brand. Lab Zero Games had gradually gotten more and more mired in controversy, mainly due to studio head Mike Zaimont. However, it all looks to have come to a head throughout Monday, August 24, culminating with Skullgirls IP owner Autumn Games cutting ties with Zaimont and Lab Zero.
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 following statement was issued jointly by Autumn Games and Skullgirls Mobile developer Hidden Variable Studios:
For context, Zaimont initially drew negative attention following a tasteless joke referencing Eric Garner and George Floyd's last words on a livestream. From there, Twitch streamer Bunny began sharing disturbing DMs from Zaimont. Allegations snowballed from there with more cosplayers coming forward about Zaimont's behavior, which ultimately led to Monday, where multiple Lab Zero employees began announcing their departure from the studio en masse. First there was Mariel Cartwright, followed by Jonathan Kim, and then Brian Jun. All three testified that Zaimont was sole owner of Lab Zero and refused to step down in the wake of his behavior. Dominique 'SonicFox' MacLean, who started their illustrious esports career as a Skullgirls champion and has been one of the game's biggest ambassadors, also gave their support to the departed Lab Zero employees while also issuing strong words directed at Zaimont.
Until this statement from Autumn Games and Hidden Variable, there had been questions on how the studio would handle this situation, especially given that Autumn Games held the IP rights to Skullgirls. Those questions have been answered and it looks like not only will Zaimont not be a part of the equation any longer, but Autumn and Hidden Variable are formally expressing intent to continue supporting the long-running fighting game in the years ahead.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Skullgirls IP holder cuts ties with Lab Zero Games
Had no idea this was going on, but suddenly all of those resignations the other day make a hell of a lot more sense
wow, major props. 2020 is the year we expose all the weirdos that think they're safe from being called out on their shitty behavior.
Damn, what a shame.
One of my favorite GDC talks was the animation lead of the Skull Girls team going over animation principles as it pertains to a fighting game and it was really informative.