Lab Zero Games has been removed from indie fighting game Skullgirls as its developer on PC and console versions.
Publisher Autumn Games and mobile developer Hidden Variable say they will continue to work with staff who have been leaving Lab Zero in the wake of controversies surrounding founder Mike Zaimont.
Why has Lab Zero been removed from Skullgirls?
This news comes via a tweet posted on the official Skullgirls Mobile Twitter account. In the tweet, Autumn Games, which owns the Skullgirls IP, and Hidden Variable, the studio responsible for working on the game on mobile devices, set out their reasons for removing Lab Zero Games. The studios point to "actions by Mike Zaimont and a series of reported incidents" that involved the Lab Zero founder over a number of years. Both studios say they "fully support" employees who have chosen to leave Lab Zero as a result of that behavior, and as a result, they will no longer be working with Zaimont or his studio.
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
Zaimont never directly worked at either Autumn Games or Hidden Variable. The former publishes Skullgirls on PC and consoles, while the latter is the game's mobile developer. Despite this, the studios say Zaimont's behavior contravenes their "shared core values of mutual respect, decency, and professionalism". Hidden Variable is also quick to distance itself from Zaimont; the studio says it's "100% independent" and that its only formal relationship is with IP holder Autumn Games.
What will happen to Skullgirls now?
If you're a fan of Skullgirls, don't worry: the show will go on. Hidden Variable and Autumn Games say that the game is "bigger than any individual" and that they're both committed to the ongoing development of Skullgirls without Zaimont or his outfit's involvement. The studios will work with "the many talented individuals who are leaving Lab Zero" to build new Skullgirls content going forward. This will include Skullgirls Mobile's upcoming Annie launch this year, as well as the character's wider launch in Skullgirls 2nd Encore next year.
How do you feel about Lab Zero being removed from Skullgirls? Let us know in the comments below!