Lab Zero Games, the developer of beautiful 2D titles Skullgirls and Indivisible, is losing staff as a result of frustration with company owner Mike Zaimont, better known as “Mike Z.,” who is also design director. Mariel Kinuko Cartwright, Jonathan Kim, and Brian Jun have announced their resignations on Twitter with long letters specifically citing Mike Z.’s conduct as the reason.
Mike Z. recently obtained full ownership of the company as a simple matter of “legal safety” according to Jun, with the ultimate goal being to share equity of the company among all employees. However, amid this process, the staff of Lab Zero Games came to the gradual realization that they all have grievances with how Mike Z. conducts himself. There are claims that he chastises those who are not willing to work all hours, that he makes recurring inappropriate comments involving his genitalia, and that he sexually harasses employees, among other issues.
Deeming this a pattern of behavior that would not change, Lab Zero Games staff asked Mike Z. to step down. However, negotiations to get him to exit quickly went south, and now he plans to stay. Kim stated that Mike Z. gave all employees until Aug. 31 to “to leave if they’re unsatisfied” — thus the resignations.
However, as Jun notes, Lab Zero Games does not own Skullgirls and that title was the labor of many people, so don’t make any hasty decisions to boycott. In any case, this is an unfortunate situation.
Hey guys, I've resigned from Lab Zero Games. pic.twitter.com/9xlr3X0IHD
— Persona ? (@personasama) August 24, 2020
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