Former Lab Zero developers have banded together to form a new studio known as Future Club.
The new team have a wealth of experience, having worked on games such as Indivisible and Skullgirls. The new independent studio is an employee-owned venture and will specialise in 2D animation, with responsive gameplay.
"We wanted to start fresh with a company structure that was worker-owned and gave everyone a say in the future of our organisation," said Future Club producer and CEO Francesca Esquenazi.
"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. We value open, honest communication with peers, partners and players, and take pride in our strength as a team. I'm very excited to continue leading and working with such an incredibly talented and passionate team of game developers."
To the future
"We love classic games and are mega influenced by them, but we picked the name Future Club because we want to think of the future too," said senior animator Jonathan Kim.
"We want to make games that inspire kids and adults as much as our old favourites 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. 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."
Designer Earl Gertwagen added: "Games aren't the sole effort of a single developer. We're a highly diverse team of 15 developers, including artists, animators, programmers and designers, and we shipped our past games as a group effort of teamwork and communication. A co-op structure lets us put that philosophy into reality, and gives us all an equal role in shaping our future as a company alongside the games we make."
The fact that Future Club is employee-owned is crucial, given it is one of the key reasons that the studio's founders left Lab Zero Games, as Mike Zaimont – head of Lab Zero – maintained 100 per cent of the company.
However, that was not the only reason for the mass walkout. Zaimont is said to have used inappropriate behaviour which was deemed unacceptable by the development team. Moreover, due to losing so many important members of the studio, Zaimont was unable to keep the studio going. Thus he laid off the remaining Lab Zero employees.