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Arc System Works Suspends Lab Zero Founder MikeZ From Guilty Gear Update

In a statement given to Gamasutra today, Arc System Works has revealed that it will be suspending Lab Zero Founder Mike “MikeZ” Zaimont from further work on the upcoming Guilty Gear GGPO update. For those out of the loop, MikeZ has been embroiled in controversy this year after not only making a really bad faith joke on stream but over allegations of abuse by his former employees.

Arc System Works had contracted MikeZ shortly after he laid off staff from Lab Zero Games, the developer responsible for Skullgirls and Indivisible. A representative for the company, Takeshi Yamanaka, said Zaimont has hired on the assumption that he would “eventually resolve the allegations against him.” With no explanation for why this decision is behind made now, we can only speculate as to what has happened.

According to Yamanaka, MikeZ was working on the Guilty Gear update as recently as October 24, 2020. Either something bad happened in the legal case against Zaimont, or Arc System Works had a change of heart. Of the suspension, Yamanaka stated, “It was decided on the basis of delivering the best service to our users, and putting the users as our utmost priority. 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.”

If you’re wondering why MikeZ was even involved with Guilty Gear in the first place, it’s because he brought the idea of implementing GGPO into the PC port of Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R to Arc System Works. His previous work on Skullgirls is notable for having rather excellent netcode, so it makes sense that he would want to bring that to other fighting games.

Sadly, MikeZ hasn’t been properly dealing with the allegations against him. Whether or not he will is neither here nor there, but Yamanaka feels now is the time for MikeZ to work on it. “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.”

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