A few weeks ago, a plethora of accusations were raised against Lab Zero Games owner Mike Zaimont. Lab Zero Games is known for games like Skullgirls and Indivisible. Shortly after this, the company laid everyone off who didn’t quit, except for Zaimont, which then started the question, where do these employees go from here?
Some of these developers have banded together to form an all-new, worker-owned co-op titled Future Club. In a press release from Future Club, the company states:
“Future Club is a highly diverse and employee-owned video game studio formed by a group of veteran game developers to create cool and fun games for the future. The team specializes in handcrafted art and traditional 2D animation, engaging and responsive gameplay, and unique and memorable worlds. They come from a variety of backgrounds in the game industry, with their previous work, including Indivisible, Skullgirls, League of Legends, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, Sound Shapes, and much more! They hope the games they create will inspire people the way their favorite games inspired them.”
For those unfamiliar with what a co-op is, it means that the business is not structured in the same way. While employees may have different titles, no one is technically above anyone else. This structure allows for every voice in the company to be heard and acknowledged on equal footing.
Future Club is still working out exactly how to implement this to best suit its own needs, but it is hard at work at hammering out the details.
The press release also dives deeper into its philosophy regarding choosing a worker-owned co-op over a more traditional corporate structure.
Earl Gertwagen, Designer, explains why the team believes a co-op structure is so important to collaborative game design: “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.”
Worker-owned co-ops could be the wave of the future for game developers. In an increasingly stressful and non-unionized workplace, this could be the answer to provide a viable and profitable workplace for many developers.
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