Mike Zaimont, the brains behind the 2D fighting franchise Skullgirls, was recently approached by Riot Games, the studio behind League of Legends. The goal was to obviously convince “Mike Z” to jump ship but he decided to respond a bit differently to the poaching attempt.
For those unaware, Riot Games has been working on a fighting game for the past few years. For this purpose, the League of Legends creator acquired Radiant Entertainment back in 2016. At the time, Radiant Entertainment was already in the midst of developing a new free-to-play fighting game called Rising Thunder. However, once the banners were changed, all work on Rising Thunder was ceased and Radiant Entertainment instead started working on a new fighting game for Riot Games which we know nothing about to date.
Being the lead designer and producer for Skullgirls, Mike Zaimont was a natural fit for Riot Games’ new project. He, though, wasn’t interested, for two major reasons. Sharing the received email on Twitter, he pointed out that he would never work in a company known for supporting sexual harassment within its ranks. Secondly, the talent-finding team at Riot Games mistakenly wrote “Skull Girls” instead of Skullgirls, which ticked him off.
“Even if I didn’t love my job at @LabZeroGames, the COO dude who touched people’s balls and farted in their faces at meetings is still employed there,” wrote Zaimont. “No thanks. Plus I judge anyone who writes “Skull Girls”.”
Zaimont called out everyone in the games industry to think twice before accepting a job at Riot Games. “Infinite money isn’t everything,” he concluded.
Riot Games’ public image has taken a dip in the past year for gender-based discrimination, a men-first environment, serious workplace misconduct, sexual harassment, and an overall toxic culture. The studio was even sued by its employees, and several walkouts were staged until Riot Games settled all class-action lawsuits last month.
Scott Gelb, the acting COO at Riot Games, was one of the executives specifically pointed out by employees for office misconduct. He was suspended prior to an investigation, and then put on an unpaid leave for two months. He’s now back and will hopefully know better than to treat women like before. However, him still working in the same company is something you can’t blame Zaimont for calling Riot Games out on.