The ex-developers of Lab Zero Games have started up a new studio called Future Club following the kerfuffle that happened between them and Lab Zero owner Mike Zaimont back in August.
Future Club is “a cooperatively structured independent game studio” meant to be a fresh start for the ex-developers. CEO and producer Francesca Esquenazi said that the company structure is that projects are worker-owned and employees are given a say in the organization’s future. The studio has 15 developers and it is “currently developing new IPs”.
Here is the company’s statement via Esquenazi and senior animator Jonathan Kim:
“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. 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.
We want to make games that inspire kids and adults as much as our old favorites 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.”
So how will this studio avoid the previous problems that led to the downfall of Lab Zero Games? Future Club will implement the co-op structure as stated above, as well as establish conflict resolution systems up front that will enable employees to raise and address issues when they come up.
“There are going to be problems,” said creative director Mariel Kinuko Cartwright (via Kotaku). “You have to know how to deal with it. I’ve learned it’s too late to figure out your conflict-resolution process when there’s already conflict”.
“Figuring it out now while we’re still getting along is really, really important and hopefully we can come up with a plan that can carry us through years of working together”.