Fresh revelations about L.A. Noire's development and Team Bondi's 'appalling' working conditions
Articles on GamesIndustry.biz
allege Rockstar won't publish another Team Bondi game following L.A. Noire development debacle, while leaked emails shed further light on 'unnacceptable' studio practices. It makes for quite shocking reading.
A few weeks ago Australian games journalist Andrew McMillan published an article "Why did L.A. Noire take seven years to make?"
on IGN's Australian site. In part the article featured anonymous testimonies from 11 former employees of Sydney-based Team Bondi, developer's of L.A. Noire. The employees took aim at the senior management for its business and working practices and largely centred around the crippling working hours that were enforced for no remittance and the behaviour of the studio head, Brendan McNamara, who was also interviewed by McMillan for the article and rebuffed many of the claims.
McMillan follows up the article today with this astonishing piece on gamesindustry.biz
, which was written on the back of responses he's had to the original article by other former employess of Team Bondi. The article is, largely, a series of internal emails that were sent by or on behalf of senior management to everyone at the company and are accompanied by contextual quotes from McMillan's sources.
Much of the content from the 'whistleblowers' counters what McNamara said in the original IGN article, in some places calling the former Team Soho man a liar.
GI's Matt Martin has run a separate story this morning which suggests that, having initially seen Team Bondi as becoming Rockstar Sydney, Rockstar will not publish another Team Bondi-developed title
, so bad was the breakdown of their relationship over the L.A. Noire development period. However, it's debatable whether given the revelations about the studio, they will even be in a position to develop another game.
The outspoken McNamara is likely to respond to the fresh claims. We await to see what he has to say.
This isn't the first time the spotlight has shone on game developers/publishers and the conditions their employees have to work under. Famously, 'EA Spouse'
lifted the lid on her husband's employment while working on a Lord Of The Rings title. The reaction to her blog and subsequent lawsuits filed by other employees claiming for overtime did bring about some changes at EA. Will these revelations have a similar effect on Rockstar, or indeed the industry as a whole?
The answer is we very much hope so. To be personally enjoying something that has had a serious and tangible negative effect on the wellbeing of the people who made it is morally questionable to say the least (although sweatshops, be they in the 'first world' or 'developing world', that make goods for Western consumers is hardly something limited to the games industry).
As gamers we are largely in the dark over working practices in studios but when revelations such as these transpire we can do one very important thing, and that is to vote with our wallets and refuse to buy games from studios where such practices exist. It is perhaps up to regulatory authorities, in whatever guise that might be, to ensure that the situation does not arise in the first place.