Former Skullgirls Devs Form New Studio, Future Club

A team of artists, programmers, and designers behind the award-winning games Skullgirls and Indivisible have decided to join forces to form Future Club, a cooperatively structured independent game studio that aims to create games with “handcrafted art and traditional 2D animation, engaging and responsive gameplay, and unique and memorable worlds.”

In August, Lab Zero Games, which oversaw the development of Skullgirls and Indivisible, fired its entire staff after allegations were made that owner Mike Zaimont had engaged in sexual misconduct and created an “unsafe work environment.”

Mariel “Kinuko” Cartwright, a lead animator and art director, stated that Zaimont, who had been “a close friend and coworker for ten years,” was known for making “sexual comments,” “uncomfortable jokes,” and giving “unwanted hugs.” She also added that Zaimont had blamed her for provoking his behavior by the way she dressed.

Zaimont, who has been off social media since June, has yet to address the allegations. In his Twitter bio, he has written, “Others may speak for me elsewhere; here I speak for myself.” He also states he is the Janitor on Indivisible and Skullgirls, supposedly implying that his work on those titles has been undervalued.

The new studio, which is employee-owned, promises to promote diversity and encourage “open, honest communication.” CEO/Producer of Future Club Francesca Esquenazi hopes that the new structure will allow all employees to have a say in the direction of the company.

Earl Gertwagen, a designer, says that the co-op structure is vital for collaborative game design since games require teamwork. “We’re a highly diverse team of 15 developers, including artists, animators, programmers and designers. A co-op structure lets us put that philosophy into reality, and gives us all an equal role in shaping our future as a company alongside the games we make,” she says.

“We’re so grateful to our fans for supporting us over the years. We love making games and want to keep making them with each other. We’re excited to get the chance to develop our own IPs, and we can’t wait to get back to work designing games,” Cartwright adds.

Future Club includes veteran game developers whose previous work includes Indivisible, Skullgirls, League of Legends, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, Sound Shapes, and more. The developers hope to inspire gamers the way their favorite games have inspired them.

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