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It's never fun to have to write about things like this but it needs to be highlighted. Lab Zero Games, developer on titles like Skullgirls and Indivisible seem to be a sinking ship.

A bunch of their developers have now quit together, from what I've seen this appears to be more than half their staff. Why? The theme here appears to be Lab Zero Games owner, Mike Zaimont, who appears to create an unsafe working environment and does not treat staff fairly.

The issue runs deep it appears, as Zaimont was previously accused (Kotaku) of various inappropriate comments, these included gross sexual messages to people and racist jokes (for which he did apologise). This led to an apparent agreement that Zaimont would leave but it appears Zaimont is sticking around and generally making things terrible for staff so it's led to this. Back in July, the official Lab Zero account on Twitter even mentioned they were aware of "allegations" made about Zaimont, with a full statement mentioned to come soon—which didn't happen.

People that have left include Jonathan Kim the now former senior animator, who mentioned the ongoing problems including bullying from Zaimont. Additionally Mariel Kinuko Cartwright, the now former Creative Director on Indivisible and Lead Animator on Skullgirls has also left with a statement to back it up and the list of people continues on and on. More has come out of this, with Brandon Sheffield who was the lead writer on Indivisible for Lab Zero, posting on Twitter that they cut ties with them "almost two months ago" as a result of Zaimont's behaviour.

The Linux and macOS versions of their games may also have issues going forwards now (if any of them are updated again after this, that is), as the volunteer developer responsible for maintaining these versions of Skillgirls and Indivisible, Renaud 'cybik' Lepage has also disengaged from Lab Zero.

On top of that a statement was released from Hidden Variable and Autumn Games, mentioning that they will be cutting ties with Lab Zero Games and Mike Zaimont. Autumn Games are actually the IP holders for Skullgirls, so hopefully a fresh development team can be sorted to continue the PC version. In their statement they did mention they hoped to work with the staff leaving.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Misc | Apps: Skullgirls, Indivisible
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Zlopez 25 Aug, 2020
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Something is probably wrong when almost half of the staff is leaving at once, but seeing other studios releasing statements for cutting ties is just wrong altogether. This looks more like PR (public relations) move from the other studios, which is something that is happening too often in the recent past. Companies taking political stands, where it is not related to their business at all and giving statements when nobody asked for them, just to get some visibility in current events.

I wouldn't be surprised if there will be a call for cancelling the owner for good.
Kiba 25 Aug, 2020
He's an asshole, that's for sure, this is the conversation (not as inappropriate as you would think): https://imgur.com/a/EAHadqu
Cancel culture is just witch-hunting, if you got an asshole coworker you can do something about it, it seems like the typical situation in which a guy is being a dick and nobody does nothing about it so he keeps being a dick and also becomes more and more stupid over the time, because nobody does anything.
I have a coworker that likes to sexually touch the people, the same day he touched me i just said him that the next time I would smash his head against the concrete. He never touched me again.
ElectroDD 25 Aug, 2020
Isn't Kotaku known to be biased about issues like racism and such ?
I'd be cautious to use Kotaku as a source on the subject...
I'd even go as far as disregarding them. Thus making this story like that.

I've read part of the senior animator letter, and that's the typical snowflake fake complain when things don't go their way.
Could be true, could be false, but currently, the trend is false accusation everywhere on those peculiar subjects for revenge.
Samsai 25 Aug, 2020
Even if the individual accusations cannot be fully verified, and they most likely won't be, I think it's quite unlikely for a bunch of people to just stand up and leave for no reason while flinging wild accusations at the door. So even if we treat the accusations as accusations we can lean into Occam's razor and say that managerial fault is more likely than a multi-person conspiracy against Zaimont.
Samsai 25 Aug, 2020
Quoting: Patola
Quoting: SamsaiEven if the individual accusations cannot be fully verified, and they most likely won't be, I think it's quite unlikely for a bunch of people to just stand up and leave for no reason while flinging wild accusations at the door. So even if we treat the accusations as accusations we can lean into Occam's razor and say that managerial fault is more likely than a multi-person conspiracy against Zaimont.
Still doesn't justify lynching the person, even if we assume they are guilty. Again, due legal process.

Also, I strongly disagree from your inference. I have seen multiple cases in my life of a number of people doing a concerted/group attack on someone due to various issues unrelated to the guilt or innocence of that person to the matters they are accused of. I can only think it also happens to the world at large.
I am not justifying any "lynching". If people want Zaimont to be punished they should seek a legal solution. But I also believe that the people who are leaving the company have the right to give an account of why they are leaving and Zaimont can correct the record using legal processes if someone can be deemed to be libelous.

Also, note that my inference only stated that I believed in managerial fault, not that I'm 100% convinced of everything anyone has said about the guy. My assertion is simply that I don't believe without a collapse in management people would be leaving the company. Whether that collapse was fully, partially or not at all due to the accusations made doesn't matter. My only aim was to balance the discourse since some people seem to be leaning towards a hypothesis of a conspiracy and I find that highly unlikely.


Last edited by Samsai on 25 August 2020 at 12:07 pm UTC
ElectroDD 25 Aug, 2020
I'll add to the skepticism bucket this small fact:
There are no legal action against the guy from what we know.

And that's the typical signature of false accusation, even more so in Los Angeles. They have pretty good laws against Harassement. Why aren't there any legal action and only twitter bashing ?
compholio 25 Aug, 2020
Quoting: ElectroDD... Why aren't there any legal action and only twitter bashing ?

Probably because everyone knows that legal battles are long, darwn-out, expensive affairs with a low probability of success. Most people just quit, get a new job, and move on.
Liam Dawe 25 Aug, 2020
Quoting: compholio
Quoting: ElectroDD... Why aren't there any legal action and only twitter bashing ?

Probably because everyone knows that legal battles are long, darwn-out, expensive affairs with a low probability of success. Most people just quit, get a new job, and move on.
Not only that, while you are quite correct, it's not always stuff that's illegal. Being a complete creep and a terrible person is not illegal but not someone you want to work for. This is clear here. It's not CaNcEl CuLtUrE, it's clearly people being left with no choice.
Chuckaluphagus 25 Aug, 2020
Quoting: PatolaStill doesn't justify lynching the person, even if we assume they are guilty. Again, due legal process.
Lynching means something, to call this sort of thing lynching is just gross. This is private individuals using their freedom of speech to call out an employer's behavior and make public statements. There's no legal process involved because this is how speech is supposed to work.

Complaining about "cancel culture" comes across as saying, "Some people should not be subject to repercussions or public criticism for their actions."
F.Ultra 25 Aug, 2020
Quoting: ElectroDDIsn't Kotaku known to be biased about issues like racism and such ?
I'd be cautious to use Kotaku as a source on the subject...
I'd even go as far as disregarding them. Thus making this story like that.

I've read part of the senior animator letter, and that's the typical snowflake fake complain when things don't go their way.
Could be true, could be false, but currently, the trend is false accusation everywhere on those peculiar subjects for revenge.

Biased about racism? You do know that the alternative would be "pro racism" right?!
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