Lab Zero Games developer Mike Zaimont has been suspended from work on an official Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R netcode patch, Gamasutra reports. The fact that the former Skullgirls designer was working on this patch as recently as October 24 is surprising, given recent accusations by both fans and fellow employees of sexual harassment. Zaimont was apparently contracted by Arc System Works sometime after these allegations came to light.
Arc System Works rep Takeshi Yamanaka told Gamasutra that they knew of the situation with Zaimont and that he was hired with the understanding that those allegations would be resolved in some form. That understanding has since changed.
“Arc System Works has now agreed […] to suspend MikeZ’s participation in development until he has addressed the outstanding matters,” Yamanaka said.
The netcode patch, developed in part by a community group known as Team French CaliBurst, was first brought to Arc System Works’ attention by Zaimont earlier this year. After Arc System Works decided to collaborate with Team French CaliBurst, the group requested that Zaimont be contracted to work on the Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R update, to which Arc System Works agreed.
“We have the expectation for [Zaimont] to resolve the allegations against him in good faith,” Yamanaka told Gamasutra. “Now that the development has came to a milestone, and with your [outreach], we thought it to be a good time for [Zaimont] to start working towards a resolution.”
Shortly after initial allegations against Zaimont were made public in June, the Skullgirls community largely distanced themselves from him, and he was banned from major fighting game events like Combo Breaker. Lab Zero Games then saw a mass exodus of high-profile developers and artists, each of whom cited Zaimont’s behaviour both inside and outside the studio as their main impetus for leaving. Zaimont eventually laid off the rest of the Lab Zero staff due to not being able to meet payroll obligations.