Arc System Works has stated that Mike Zaimont (“Mike Z”) has been suspended from an update to bring rollback netcode to Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R.
As previously reported, four employees publicly stated they had left the company due to the alleged behavior of Zaimont, then a lead design director. This included allegations of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior.
The board and employees of Lab Zero Games allegedly asked Zaimont to leave the company. As he was the sole owner, this would not be a simple matter.
While Zaimont allegedly entered negotiations to leave the company and was put on administrative leave, he allegedly made unrealistic and “potentially illegal” terms. When the majority of the terms were rejected, Zaimont stated he would not leave. He then allegedly removed all members of the board, and assumed full control over Lab Zero Games.
In late August, several employees announced they left the company, and alluded to the claims. These included art producer Brian Jun, lead animator Mariel Cartwright, Senior Animator Jonathan Kim, and UI designer Brady Hartel. It should bear mentioning that some employees may have quit without discussing it publicly.
In early September, Kim claimed that Zaimont had “laid off everyone who didn’t quit LZ, but hasn’t agreed to a severance for them yet.” Former Lab Zero staff later formed the employee-owned Future Club. 505 Games would later announce no more production on Indivisible; including Indiegogo backer and guest characters.
Now, Gamasutra reports Zaimont had been suspended by Arc System Works from work on an update to Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R. Arc System Works representative Takeshi Tamanaka told Gamasutra that the update patch was aiming to implement GGPO rollback netcode into the game, headed by (in Gamasutra’s words) “a group of community developers.”
This group was called Team French CaliBurst. Zaimont had previously brought the project to Arc System Work’s attention, and helped establish business relations between them and community developers. Lab Zero was acting as an intermediary between them.
Team French CaliBurst had contracted Zaimont to work with them, though this occurred shortly before he had laid off the remaining Lab Zero Games developers, on the basis that he would “eventually resolve the allegations against him.” This also means Tamanaka has confirmed Kim’s claim of the lay offs.
“Arc System Works has now agreed with Team French CaliBurst to suspend MikeZ’s participation in development until he has addressed the outstanding matters,” Tamanaka stated to Gamasutra. “Arc System Works has a strong policy to not condone any unlawful acts, harassment, acts of violence, or discrimination in all manners and forms.”
Zaimont had been working on the update until October 24th. Gamasutra further inquired (in their words) “why Zaimont was allowed to participate in the project if his prior alleged behavior would become cause for suspension.”
“It was decided on the basis of delivering the best service to our users, and putting the users as our utmost priority,” Tamanaka explained. “In the ultimate interest of our fans waiting for the GGPO update, we express our utmost regret that we chose to overlook certain aspects of our harassment policy.”
“We have the expectation for MikeZ to resolve the allegations against him in good faith. Now that the development has came to a milestone, and with your [outreach], we thought it to be a good time for MikeZ to start working towards a resolution.” It is worth noting that to our knowledge, no legal action or lawsuits have been made against Zaimont at this time of writing.