Last week we wrote about how Team Bondi and L.A. Noire development head Brendan McNamara was called "angry and abusive" by former staffers of the Australian developer. This week sees more claims levied at the development by ex-employees turned whistleblowers.
While there is a wealth of additional claims and internal e-mails to support the original allegations of mismanagement, perpetual crunch time, and resultant employee turnover, it's more interesting to read about the soured relationship between Team Bondi and L.A. Noire publisher Rockstar Games. While Rockstar has had their own issues with working conditions, brought to light during the development of Red Dead Redemption at Rockstar San Diego, they don't seem keen on bringing more of those problems into their fold.
In a story by GamesIndustry.biz, a former Team Bondi employee states:
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.
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 in L.A. 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.
It would make a lot of sense for Rockstar Games to bring Team Bondi into their publishing and developing fold. For them to shy away after being directly involved in L.A. Noire's development, there had to be some pretty strong issues.
I guess if you really want to give the developer behind the game its due, you'll have to look at the long list of artists, programmers, and development staff that didn't stand in front of Gametrailer TV and explain the Motionscan technology. You've got to dig through the list of developers to find the individuals who worked on the massive game and appreciate the conditions they toiled under to bring such a thing to reality.
You probably don't want to go looking for a job at Team Bondi anytime soon either. All this bad press screams "studio closure" to me. With such a wildly successful game under its belt, only comments like these could bring Team Bondi down after the seven-year development period for L.A. Noire failed to do so.