Back in August, multiple employees from Lab Zero Games – the developer of Skullgirls and Indivisible – resigned from the studio after an internal investigation took place, revealing an alleged pattern of inappropriate behavior from their lead designer Mike Zaimont.
During that time, Zaimont had assumed control of the studio. After that unfortunate event, Zaimont proceeded to lay off everyone else that hadn’t quit yet.
In a good turn of events, though, the former developers from Lab Zero Games announced that they have launched a new “cooperatively structured independent game studio” called Future Club.
In a press release posted to their website today, senior animator Jonathan Kim explains that even though they are highly inspired by classic games of the past, they named the studio “Future Club” because they don’t want to keep looking back – they want to think of the future, too.
Future Club aims to create games that will be “remembered long after their time,” inspiring not only kids but adults as well. Not only that, but the games that the studio has in mind will have beautifully-handcrafted art along with 2D traditional animation.
They want the gameplay to be engaging and responsive, with worlds that players won’t forget.
Future Club also explained the importance of their co-op structure, which is when employees use products in order to benefit the members instead of making earnings for investors.
Designer Earl Gertwagen goes on to say that this kind of structure allows the studio to take advantage of game design’s collaborative nature.
Future Club’s CEO and producer Francesca Esquenazi also agreed with Gertwagen. Not only will the company be able to benefit from having a co-op structure, but Esquenazi also states that this kind of model cements the values of the studio wherein teams are “greater than the sum of its parts.”
Based on the press release, we can definitely see that Future Club is doing their best to avoid the kind of trouble they previously encountered in Lab Zero Games. Aside from the co-op structure, they’ll also be setting up a conflict resolution system.
This will help the employees raise and address any concerns and issues that may come up as they grow as a studio. Also, each and every employee will be heard in Future Club, no matter how important the offending person is to the studio.
As we can see, egalitarianism is a big thing in Future Club, so naturally they were asked if this kind of mindset will also be implemented to monetary compensation. Esquenazi told Kotaku that every employee in Future Club, no matter the position, will equally own the studio.
However, at the moment, they are still trying to work out a payment structure that will not only benefit the studio but the workers as well. There’s still no news yet if they will be following the footsteps of another famous co-op studio, Dead Cells, wherein they pay everyone the same wages, or if they will be doing another similar model.
Future Club hasn’t announced whether or not they’re working on any games right now, but we’re definitely excited to see what they produce in the future.