So the fallout from the collapse of Lab Zero Games is finally here. For some background, here’s how this went down. The head of Lab Zero Games was accused of a mountain of different forms of sexual misconduct and abuse at the studio. This left a bunch of employees, designers, artists, and programmers all in a very precarious position. The result of this mess was pretty clear to see. The entire staff of the studio was laid off, leaving the smash-hit games Skullgirls and Indivisible in an uncertain future.
The talented folks at these companies deserve better. And they’re taking their future into their own hands as best they can. The staff departing Lab Zero have founded their own studio, and will use a more involved and personal structure. There’s a lot less chance for abuse to happen, and more focus on good and engaging games.
Future Club is an independent studio with a focus on 2D games built around unique settings to create memorable IPs.
”We want to make games that inspire kids and adults as much as our old favorites inspired us. 2D hand drawn animation has a long future ahead of it, and we want to see how far we can push the medium,” says Jonathan Kim, the new senior animator at Future Club. ”Like the games that influenced us, our goal is to create games that are compelling and beautiful enough to be remembered long after their time.”
From The Ashes
The studio is also hyper-aware of the downfall of Lab Zero, and really doesn’t want to have to deal with that again. The studio will be a cooperative and worker-owned endeavor where diversity and collaboration will help prevent abuse in the future. This gives everyone involved a say in how the company works, as well as dealing with any future problems more effectively.
”Future Club is an employee-owned cooperative game development studio, established with the belief that strong teams are greater than the sum of their parts,” says Francesca Esquenazi, CEO and Producer. ”We value open, honest communication with peers, partners and players, and take pride in our strength as a team.”
Earl Gertwagen, a Designer at Future Club, has said that the initial team will include 15 developers. This includes artists, animators, programmers, and designers from the previous studio as well as new hires. In short, they’re ready to move on from the debacle that has defined their lives from the last few months. They just want to make good games and enjoy doing it.