Recently, news broke of Rick & Morty co-creator Justin Roiland’s arrest in 2020 and coming April 2023 trial for alleged domestic battery and false imprisonment in California. Millions of grown men cried out in agony and moved to defend their hero in cringe-worthy ways and Roiland has recently been fired from his show and has also resigned from his Squanch Games studio which recently produced High on Life for consoles and Windows. While Rick & Morty has an ordered episode count it needs to fulfill for their regular fans, some wonder if Squanch Games will make it and we have analysis here.
To begin with, it is obviously uncertain at this time. The company did quietly settle a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2019 so, in the wake of recent events, it is possible more claims could crop up. Also, though Roiland is no longer there, removing someone who has caused controversy or criticism is no guarantee of a better reputation. The Weinstein Company turfed former co-founder Harvey Weinstein when the stories which led to his later prison sentence first came out, but this did not help their reputation and the company ultimately declared bankruptcy and was rendered completely defunct in the movie industry in June 2018.
What could complicate this is existing deals and whether the gaming industry (which has not had as much of a #MeToo reckoning as film and television) is willing to look past troubled artists in favor of art worked on by other people. Deals for content like High on Life on Game Pass for example can result in the full cost of a game being paid before even one line of code is written and Microsoft is still trying to purchase Activision-Blizzard despite well … everything which has made the news in recent years.
So, with what we know and what we don’t, the odds are the company could fold, but, given this is a different industry, things also have some chance of continuing on as they have, albeit with different leadership. Those curious will have to just wait and see. For now, High on Life remains available and Rick & Morty is now in the hands of co-creator Dan Harmon. Several are not happy with him being kept around either given his history and the show’s titular characters will be re-cast with two new voice actors soon.