Employers blame Skullgirls Developer over Studio Head’s behavior

Illustration for article entitled Workers Leave iSkullgirls / i Developer About Studio Head Behavior

Image: Lab Zero Games

Back in June, two people came forward share their experiences with Mike “Mike Z” Zaimont, longtime fighter and lead developer behind indie darling Skullgirls, saying he had made unfavorable sexual remarks to her on several occasions. Lab Zero Games, the studio after Skullgirls, has not yet addressed the allegations, asked employees to take matters into their own hands.

“After weeks of trying to do things with Mike Z, I decided to quit my job at Lab Zero Games,” art producer Brian “EU03” Jun wrote on Twitter last night. ‘I was shocked to read Mike Z’s corporate interview records of others who put others in extremely awkward situations, as well as to exercise his position of power to demean and control employees. This was a clear pattern of systemic abuse and lack of empathy, while he himself refused to accept feedback and showed no willingness to change. “

The statement continues with an account of how the dynamics of Lab Zero Games played out behind the scenes recent accusations against Zaimont. According to Jun, the board of Lab Zero collaborated with the rest of the staff in asking Zaimont to step down from his position as sole owner of the studio. Zaimont entered into negotiations with the company, but after rejecting his ‘unrealistically high and potentially illegal’ demands, the board disbanded and took full control of Lab Zero.

“While Mike Z thinks he can trade what’s best for the company, he’s clearly in direct opposition to employee health,” Jun continued. ‘He clearly no longer wants to negotiate with sensitivity. To do what’s best for my friends and colleagues, I’m getting rid of Lab Zero Games. ”

Necrosoft Games Director Brandon Sheffield, who wrote about the recent release of Lab Zero Games Divisible, came after shortly jun share his own experiences working with Zaimont, who portrays the developer as a wildly troublesome boss. Zaimont, Sheffield explained, was someone who “had to tiptoe” because of his bad attitude. Functions were “held hostage,” depending on whether Zaimont felt compelled to work on them.

“It would only be done if you persuaded, argued or begged him for enough days in the drive to do him insanely, sadly, the job while you complained in your DMs,” Sheffield added. Eventually, he left the company around the same time as the previous allegations began to become public.

Since these people moved forward, several Lab Zero employees have apparently left the company. Senior artist Jessica Allen announced her own dismissal in response to Jun’s statement without directly appointing Zaimont, and creative director Mariel Cartwright removed her affiliation with Lab Zero from has Twitter bio.

Update (08/24/20, 4:19 pm ET): Cartwright and fellow veteran artist Jonathan Kim have confirmed their departure from Lab Zero Games with divorced statements.

‘I tolerate yearss of sexual remarks about my body and clothes, awkward jokes, unwanted hugs, ”Cartwright wrote. ‘He once suggested I masturbate when I told him I could not sleep, and on another occasion I suggested’ helping ‘him with his insufficient sexual needs. I tried to talk to him about how I was uncomfortable in 2017, and in return he called me a hypocrite and blamed me for how I dressed. He said he did not want training for sexual harassment. When I wanted to keep my job, I felt like I just had to. ”

Lab Zero Games was once a promotional studio filled with incredible artists and designers. While Zaimont may have been the audience, driving force is behind it Skullgirls en Divisible, even he can not build games on himself. The future of the studio and its games is currently in the air –Skullgirls had to long awaited character next year for this last round of controversy – but what follows will be without the assistance of workers who can no longer deal with one shudder.

Zaimont did not respond Kotakuhis request for comment.