Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Rockstar not going to work with Team Bondi again

Earlier today, Gameindustry.biz revealed a series of internal emails from Team Bondi, developers of L.A. Noire. In these emails, it was revealed that, not only were working conditions ridiculously hard on people, but the the relationship between Team Bondi and Rockstar was pretty awful too.

Their source said: "It's pretty well reported now that the working conditions were bad. What hasn't been discussed yet (from what I've seen) is the relationship between Team Bondi and Rockstar. I've heard a lot about Rockstar's disdain for Team Bondi, and it has been made quite clear that they will not publish Team Bondi's next game. Team Bondi are trying to find another publisher for their next title, but the relationship with Rockstar has been badly damaged - Brendan treats L.A. Noire like a success due to his vision but I think Rockstar are the ones who saved the project. They continued to sink money into LA Noire, and their marketing was fantastic. Without their continued support, Team Bondi would have gone under several years ago."

"Rockstar also made a huge contribution to the development; their producers were increasingly influential over the last two years of the game's development, and overruled many of the insane decisions made by Team Bondi management. At a lower level, Rockstar also pitched in with programmers, animators, artists, QA, etc. Part of the conflict between Team Bondi and Rockstar was due to Rockstar's frustration with Team Bondi's direction, and eventually Team Bondi's management in turn resented Rockstar for taking lots of creative control. It's also worth pointing out that Rockstar used to be very keen on making Team Bondi something like 'Rockstar Sydney' - the more they worked with Team Bondi management, the more they came to understand that this was a terrible idea. "

So it seems that not only was Team Bondi management so awful that Rockstar had to come in and help out on the project, but they were so bad that Rockstar won't be working with them again.

It seems to me that Team Bondi's leader Brendan McNamara felt himself as some sort of visionary that wanted to make the greatest game in the entire world and didn't care how that happened. While I thought L.A. Noire was a fantastic game, I also think that such a fantastic game can be achieved through much better means. There are many huge developers that have a far more relaxed approach like Valve, Insomniac or Naughty Dog to name a few. You really don't have to be a massive arse and work your team to unreasonable levels to achieve a great game like Portal or Left 4 dead.

I think with these recent leaks of working conditions, Team Bondi is going to have a very hard time with their next project. Unless they do something to fix their conditions, they'll have a hard time getting good staff as well as a publisher has confidence in them after Rockstar did a lot of work too. We may never see an L.A. Noire 2 or even another Team Bondi project.

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