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Former Skullgirls developers launch new game studio called Future Club

Former developers from Lab Zero — the team behind fighting game Skullgirls — have created a new studio called Future Club weeks after Lab Zero employees were all fired amid a harassment scandal at the studio.

“We want to make games that inspire our players the way our favorite games inspired us,” the new studio said on its website.

The team is comprised of 15 founding members, including former Skullgirls designer Earl Gertwagen.

Mariel Cartwright and Jonathan Kim have also joined the team. They provided artwork for the Shantae series of games, as well as Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game.

The developer is a cooperative, meaning every member of the team has an equal share in the company, and there will reportedly be a strong conflict-resolution structure in place to help with decision-making.

While all members of the team will receive an equal share of the company, the payment structure for the new studio is currently being negotiated.

Lab Zero had mass layoffs at the beginning of September following harassment accusations against its interim CEO Mike Zaimont, leaving him as the sole employee at the company.

Zaimont was lead animator on Skullgirls, and was given temporary control of the company as it transitioned into being employee-owned, much like Future Club is now. It was during this transition that allegations of harassment were raised by employees at Lab Zero, as well as prominent members of the fighting community.

In a statement from Skullgirls IP owner Autumn Games, the publisher said the future of Skullgirls would reside with the disenfranchised employees rather than with Lab Zero.

As Future Club is focusing on 2D animated games, it’s safe to assume that development on Skullgirls will transition to the new studio, although the team has stated that they are ready with pitches for new IP.

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Tom Caswell
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