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Skullgirls developer Lab Zero Games lays off entire staff

The studio is essentially no more

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • September 4, 2020 at 8:18 a.m. PDT • Comments: 50

Following months of turmoil in the public spotlight and behind closed doors, it appears as though Lab Zero Games as we once knew it is essentially no more.

Studio lead and owner Mike "Mike Z" Zaimont laid off the entirety of Lab Zero's staff after several senior members quit and the Skullgirls publisher pulled all duties away from the company last week.

Details about the lay offs first appeared online on September 2 when former Lab Zero animator and art director Marial "Kinuko" Cartwright began selling sketchbooks to assist other coworkers who now find themselves without work and a paycheck.

This was corroborated by Skullgirls artist and animator Jonathan "Persona" Kim before finally being confirmed by Zaimont himself.

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"Unfortunately, Lab Zero was forced into layoffs because we were no longer able to meet our payroll obligations," said Zaimont in a statement to Kotaku.

The Lab Zero owner claims his studio has more debt than cash and is attempting to find more funding in hopes to bring the team members back though they've had more than just a rough couple of months this year.

Zaimont caught widespread negative attention in June following an off-color joke made in reference to the death of George Floyd along with other actions towards fans which led to the Skullgirls lead programmer being banned from events.

Former Lab Zero Studio members claim Zaimont had a history of sexual harassment along with other workplace misconduct, and they tried to get him to resign during the Summer.

After negotiations eventually failed on the resignation, Zaimont reportedly dissolved Lab Zero's board and assumed sole ownership over the studio prompting many of the senior developers to quit.

Skullgirls publisher / rights owner Autumn Games and Skullgirls Mobile developer Hidden Variable pulled all development duties from Lab Zero to stand by the former employees.

This will not mark the end of Skullgirls' development, however, as the companies claim they still plan to support the fighting game for years to come with some former Lab Zero members coming back to add more content.

Annie of the Stars was revealed to be coming to both 2nd Encore and the mobile game last month, and both of those additions are still currently on track with a 2021 release window for the almost decade-old title.

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