Skullgirls Team Working to Reduce XBLA Patch Size, Autumn Games Interested in Sequel

By on January 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

XBLAFans recently ran a follow-up article to their piece explaining why the Skullgirls patch on Xbox 360 has been delayed. This time, they sit down with Peter Bartholow, current CEO of Lab Zero Games, to elaborate on their current position. Long story short, it’s a difficult one. Momentum, or perhaps lack thereof due to unfortunate circumstances, has been one of their biggest enemies.

Bartholow gave us a few things to look forward to as well. For example, he revealed that the first DLC character was about a third of the way done before complications befell the team. The team is also working hard to reduce the file size of the XBLA update in an attempt to get the patch out as soon as possible. Finally, it appears as if Autumn Games is actually interested in green-lighting a Skullgirls sequel, provided they can get past their current legal and financial troubles.

You can read an excerpt from the article and interview below, but be sure to check out the piece in its entirety over at XBLAFans.

Rarely does a team collectively lose its job only to end up forming a new studio and immediately pick up work where it left off on the IP owned by the original publisher. It’s so rare, in fact, that Lab Zero CEO Peter Bartholow doesn’t believe it has ever happened before, and XBLAFans is inclined to agree with him that it likely has not. But how did it happen for Bartholow, Zaimont, Ahad and the rest of their team? It’s one of many Skullgirls-related questions I’ve been trying to find an answer for since Lab Zero its introductory announcement in late November. Yesterday, Bartholow was kind enough to fill in some of the blanks.

“Lab Zero just…kind of happened,” he told XBLAFans today via email. “The team was going to lunch one day, and [was] frustrated with the situation, and I just kind of blurted out, ‘What if I made a new studio and we all went there?’ Much to my surprise (and horror), people said, ‘Yes, do that,’ so…I was kind of stuck.”

Bartholow’s big mouth had gotten him stuck with a new studio and the new title of CEO, one that he says “doesn’t feel ‘real’” even now, months later. It was real enough for Autumn, however; the publisher wanted the game’s original creators to be the ones to use one last continue at the game over screen that would have inspired less-dedicated developers to put the controller down and walk away. There was work to be done on a gargantuan patch, and Lab Zero was the only choice for the job.

Source: XBLAfans

Angelo M. D’Argenio A.K.A. MyLifeIsAnRPG got his start in the fighting game community as a young boy playing Street Fighter II in arcades down at the Jersey Shore. As president of Disorganization XIII, he travels the convention circuit presenting a variety of panels from discussions on gamer culture, to stick modding workshops, to fighting game comedy acts. He has a passion for looking at the fighting game community from an academic standpoint and has completed several studies on effective fighting game learning and the impact fighting games have on social circles. A six year veteran of the gaming industry, he also writes for Cheat Code Central and is a lead game designer for Ember Games. On Tuesdays, you can find him getting bodied by Chris G and getting mistaken for Seth Rogen at The Break.
  • Austin Davoren

    Get this patch out before EVO.

    Re-Launch party errday.

    • Alan Forneus

       Or just play it on PS3.

      • Exy

        When it went on sale earlier this year, I borrowed my sister’s boyfriend’s PS3 just to make a PSN account and buy it. I don’t have a PS3 of my own but at least now I have license to a version that matters.

        • Jordan Hoffman

          cool story bro.

      • he revealed that the first DLC character was about a third of the way done before complications befell the team.

      • Glenn Vaughn

        Owning something that’s bad?
        Yeah, no

        • Angry Joshua

          Skullgirls “slightly different edition” is good

          • Johnathon Otero

            he meant PS3.

          • Kaneco

            Well, the PS3 version of Skullgirls was better than the X360 version from day one!….your loss, pal.

  • Opinion (only mine)

    Why not a quick link to the EVO 8th game donation page at the end? 

    something like: “you can donate for put Skullgirls at EVO this year”.

  • NyuBomber

    I’m pulling for them, Skullgirls is wonderful and I’d love for a second swing.

  • Ruben HD Hanssen

    My interest for the PC version is higher than a sequel.

    • Oniros


    • Also wanting a PC version VERY badly. I don’t care how crappy my computer is.

    • Stuffinator

      Yes please, I’ve been waiting for this for a while now 🙁

  • Exy

    Lab Zero has all but abandoned the 360. Regardless of what they say, it’s what the fans perceived has happened, and from what I’ve been hearing about the relationship between sub-AAA developers and Xbox Live, I think they were right to. Microsoft’s policies could be seen as pressure for small developers to get it right the first time or else, but some people just don’t have what it takes to do so. Sure it sucks that the 360 players are competitively disadvantaged as a result, but I would rather have an identical experience to the de facto version or nothing at all.

    I would just dump the current 360 version entirely and do 2nd Impact on it. At this point it’s less than a patch and more like a major revision. When I first played the unpatched PSN version, I was floored by how it never seemed to lag. The patch notes speak of two file system optimizations for the 360 version alone, and at different times during development. To me that says that the team don’t have enough experience with the 360. If there was that much room for improvement, there are clearly fundamental issues that they simply didn’t have the resources to avoid, which is why there should be less emphasis on the 360 version, and indeed a 360 version of this hypothetical sequel, until all of their other problems are solved.

    • Samuel Ryder

      Do you even read the articles you comment on? None of what you’ve said is even remotely accurate.

      • Exy

        Something about still working on a patch that has long since missed its release target?

        • And you do realize that it is MICROSOFTs fault… and not Lab Zeroes fault right?  MICROSOFT is the one who said no… Sony gave no shits about file size. 

          They’re working their asses off to get it through microsoft. 

          • Exy

            So I was suggesting that at this point they should cut their losses because to continue to deal with Microsoft’s current policies as they are now will cause more trouble. Or rather, I was under the impression that they already did.

          • Art Salmons

            It’s Microsoft’s fault that Lab Zero are incompetent programmers.

          • sb

            No its Microsofts for making a crappy console it seems the file sizes dont matter when it comes to big titles thats not a problem on PS3

          • windsagio

            how is them making a patch that (per an earlier thread on this) is almost 40x MS’ limit for patches Microsoft’s fault?

            Edit: Lets say my memory is off by a factor of 20, and its only twice the accepted size… how is even that MS fault?

          • Kargion

            The issue lies in MS regulation on file size, in turn makes it MS fault.  They should not limit patch size.  They limit your patch size and charge you for their validation of the patch.  It kills most developers.

          • Cat Astrophy

            In LZ’s defense MS does it so they can force you to patch often (and pay their insane fee to do so) rather than patch in one huge patch to save money.

    • Michael Zaimont

      Us having to wait forever to hear from MS doesn’t mean we abandoned the 360, it means exactly what it says: that we did work, and that it is now out of our hands.  If you want to project your opinion beyond that, feel free, but don’t put words in my mouth (our mouths?  eww.)

      That was a pretty backhanded post, heh.  The fact that there were file system optimizations to be made because of an issue that nobody on our team, at Konami, or at Microsoft’s test center found during development means we don’t know what we’re doing? Maybe it just means that certain 360 configurations don’t handle querying certain files very well, and that not even the console manufacturer knew that.  :^)

      • Exy

        I wasn’t trying to put words in anyone’s mouths, only that the impression has been made that one console has been favored over the other since release. And maybe that Lab Zero’s priorities aren’t in order given this perception. I was suggesting that trying to insist otherwise will only compound whatever problems we don’t even know about.

        Personally I think it’s too soon to start talking about sequels when there’s a lot to be done with the current game. I just can’t help but feel that the developer is spreading themselves too thinly. They’re talking about sequels and characters and other wonderful stuff when they’re too beleaguered to ensure that it’ll be handed out fairly. They say they’ve done everything they could, but a sizable portion of the playerbase is still out hanging to dry. I always say that you can’t always get what you want when it comes to games, so as a 360 owner who tried to keep the salt quota up for the last few months, I’ve come to accept that I’m just not going to have an equal experience despite all the effort to avert that situation and other 360 owners would do well to do the same.

        • meowklaski


        • Michael Zaimont

          (I’m curious, do you not know I’m an SG developer?  :^)

          Anyway, overall Sony’s been a *ton* nicer to us, which leads to the PS3 getting things approved more quickly than 360.  In this case, several months more quickly.  :^S  I’m not “insisting” that we didn’t abandon the 360, I’m _informing_ you that we didn’t since I’m the one who did the work on it.  However, we can’t speed up a giant company any more than you yourself could…so I guess to me it seems odd to blame us for abandoning the 360 when we tell you the truth about what’s going on.

          I do agree we’re pretty beleaguered and shouldn’t be talking about sequels, but I didn’t do that.  So I dunno what to say there.  >.<

          • Exy

            Oh! Mike Z! I get it now!


          • meowklaski

             I tried to let you know what’s up


          • Jeff

             Couple of questions

            1) Could Autumn even pay for a sequel- it sounds like they’re in serious trouble with the Def Jam suit.

            2) Would you consider a new IP?

            3) You talked to the pony devs about getting the SG engine for that- would you consider licensing out your engine- you’ve made the best raw engine for 2d fighters in years.

          • Jeff

             Couple of questions

            1) Could Autumn even pay for a sequel- it sounds like they’re in serious trouble with the Def Jam suit.

            2) Would you consider a new IP?

            3) You talked to the pony devs about getting the SG engine for that- would you consider licensing out your engine- you’ve made the best raw engine for 2d fighters in years.

      • windsagio

        I must admit, it’s hard to believe that nobody knew, *I* knew never having seen the code or the product.

  • Mash Harder

    If they release a new version, hopefully they re-work the hit sounds. 
    I find many of them grating, tinny, too loud etc. (Ms fortune’s drill super when her head is off for example).

  • James Reilly

    Yeah hopefully in a sequel they release more characters in launch in future looking foreword

  • Gailim

    by sequel do they mean a fighting game sequel like Super was to SF4 or is it a whole new game?

    • Disco-lemonade

       Skullgirls RPG please.

      • It should have been a RPG to begin with. The character designs in Skullgirls are fucking atrocious. They aren’t suited for a fighting game.

        • James Reilly

          Yes because the vast majority of characters from other fighting games dress business casual right? Please aesthetics don’t mean shit when we see “fighters” wearing Sailor Outfits to 90% Skin shown

        • sb


      • sb

        HELL NO

  • Henry Zurawski

    I’ll guess we’ll get a good roster boost, some more online options (lobbies and what have you) and a canon story mode for the sequel.

  • Bryan Rosas

    Lab Zero, I wish you the best of luck. Skullgirls is seriously one of my favorite FG and its such a shame to see this happen to a great game.

  • Hazerdous

    wait, so they’re making a skullgirls sequel with all of those boxes empty in the character select screen? Who knows how long that’ll take! I’m surprised they green lighted it.

  • MasterChibi

    I love how Mike shows up to the front page, it makes my heart all a flutter~

    • Jet_Set_Dizzy

       I know right? Set em straight Mike.

  • Microsoft should step their game up and stop being retarded about this. 

  • Kitsuziza

    We all the to offer Skullgirls our full support I for one am proud of the fact that we now have two very fun Fighting games made in america. Now I love Japanese fighters but some people insist that the Japanese are the only one’s that know how to make a decent fighting game and regardless about how you feel about mortal Kombat I think skullgirls puts that statement to shame. 

    Skullgirls combines the character originality of aksys fighters with the fighting depth of MVC2. From play style to design every character is fresh and you can tell that the game was made with lots of love. I’ve been following the news on Skullgirls since the very beginning and I pray that Mike and the guys and girls at Lab Zero games get to take Skullgirls as far as they want to go. Lets show Japanese game developers that we can make fighting games as good as they can.

    Support Skullgirls Support AMERICA!  

    • Gailim

       patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel

      I’ll support SG based whether or not i’ts good. not where it’s from.

      whenever I see a product advertising itself only as “american made” I immediately ask whats wrong with it. Because if it were good it wouldn’t need to trade on nationalism to sell

      • worldjem

        He’s a fan promoting a game. He’s not Lab Zero Games. Don’t blame one person for something someone else did.

        • Gailim

           yeah… I was Mr. grumpypants this morning. that probably WAS a bit harsh

  • Cat Astrophy

    Ew they made Def Jam Rapstar? That game was horrible. I’d sue just for soiling the trademark.

  • Skullshits 2: Revenge of the shit, meh…

  • I’ll take anything I just want my playable Marie, and Squiggly!!!!
    Other than that I don’t really care about characters like Umbrella she is just meh to me, but if they make a sequel I will be happy if they have the extra characters.

    Thanks for all your hard work Mike Z I hope it works out! I really enjoy Skullgirls!