Guilty Gear developer Arc System Works has confirmed that Lab Zero Games founder Mike Zaimont, who was working with community developer Team French CaliBurst on a GGPO rollback netcode patch for Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R, has been suspended from the project.
"Arc System Works has now agreed with Team French CaliBurst to suspend MikeZ's participation in development until he has addressed the outstanding matters," Takeshi Yamanaka of Arc System Works told Gamasutra (opens in new tab).
Those "outstanding matters" are the multiple allegations (opens in new tab) of inappropriate and abusive behavior, including "frequently mentioning his genitals, forcing unwanted physical contact, making sexual comments about himself or about employee's bodies, insulting coworkers privately or openly in front of other coworkers, or using very personal details to threaten or demean coworkers," made against Zaimont by former employees of Lab Zero. Multiple employees resigned from the studio in August after an internal investigation into Zaimont's behavior; in early September, Zaimont laid off the remaining employees (opens in new tab).
Arc System Works and Team French CaliBurst were seemingly aware of these allegations, as Yamanaka said Zaimont was contracted to work on the patch shortly after he effectively shuttered Lab Zero, on the assumption that he would "eventually resolve the allegations against him."
"Arc System Works has a strong policy to not condone any unlawful acts, harassment, acts of violence, or discrimination in all manners and forms," Yamanaka said, although he acknowledged that the policy didn't hold up too well against the desire to get the GGPO update done.
🌃 We felt like this couldn't wait... GUILTY GEAR XX ACCENT CORE PLUS R for Steam will be receiving it's much awaited GGPO update soon!We will be conducting public testing from October 29th. More details will be announced at a later date!#GGXXACPR pic.twitter.com/gR8D5EbsWXOctober 16, 2020
"[Zaimont's contract] 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," he said. "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."
GGPO (opens in new tab) is middleware that's intended to eliminate lag in fighting games through rollback netcode: It predicts a remote player's input instead of waiting for it to happen and then, if the prediction turns out to be incorrect, rolls back the game state and continues with the corrected update. The idea is that if the predictions are correct most of the time, the overall gameplay will be smooth and relatively lag-free.
A Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R GGPO open beta test (opens in new tab) is live now and runs until November 2.