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Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split

A post on GamesIndustry.biz (registration required) follows up on reports of development woes as well as worker complaints at Team Bondi, developers of well-received detective game L.A. Noire. This new story, by author of the original whistle blowing article, reproduces a number of emails showing an ever-deteriorating relationship between Team Bondi and publisher Rockstar Games, and includes indications that Rockstar will not be publishing Team Bondi's next game, and the Aussie developer will not be crating the next L.A. Noire game. Here's the overview:

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. I have a few logs that show the relationship souring see below.

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54 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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54. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 6, 2011, 09:42 Pankin
 
Ruffiana wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 17:03:
Pankin wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 15:38:
Ruffiana wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 13:21:
Pankin wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 12:18:
Gee, I wish we had a developer resource [who regularly posts here despite vowing several times to never do so] to come in and supply some industry perspective.

He's far from the only developer who frequents the comments here at Blues.

Who said he was?

Reading comprehension phail.

The statement very clearly references a specific person and heavily implies that sole person is the only one who can offer 'industry perspective' on this topic.

No, you inferred it. Which is okay. People incorrectly infer things all the time. It's O-KAY. Really.
 
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53. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 23:26 Tanto Edge
 
Funny. I read an article here that talked about how a shit tonne of people were left out the credits for that games development.
It's depressing that when I talked to my alma mater regarding their stark lack of technical classes, they countered that the recruiters (at EA) they were in contact with, didn't need technically savvy people.
They just need artists.

*spits*
Fuck these whales.

Chazix wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 22:54:
I was surprised this game was ever finished considering all the complaints I'd heard throughout its development.
Some of my co-workers were ex Team Bondi and they made it sound like hell, that the game would never be finished and that the bosses were delusional.

Apparently they treated all their staff like shit, the company would go around to all the schools fishing for young people to work for cheap, and then dumping them after they were burnt out a few months later.
 
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http://www.youtube.com/user/tantoedge
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52. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 23:14 Lorcin
 
TBH the only thing that truly impressed as a game was the facial acting. The overall plot was covered with band aids, the main character made arbitrary choices which 99.9% of the gaming public couldn't relate to, the world itself was a total drag - after the fourth mission I made my partner drive everywhere. And last but by no means least - within 5 minutes of the first level your forced to totally contaminate evidence (and no that's not a historical mixup, after a discussion with my wife I looked up when the FBI opened a fingerprint unit and it was before this games setting).

Without the superb vocal/facial acting LA Noire is a very questionable title - I really hope rockstar owns the tech to that side as well.

The greatest compliment I could pay this game now was to say it's plot rivalled an Agatha Christie novel - instead I can only say this game's plot was worse than Roger Rabbit and possibly even worse than an episode of Heart to Heart.
 
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51. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 23:11 Beamer
 
That's likely because you don't understand the street culture

I'm going to respond to this using a term I've never used on this site:

LOL
 
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50. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 22:54 shponglefan
 
entr0py wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 22:03:
Did you ever play adventure games back in their hayday? You couldn't lose those either.

Clearly a LucasArts gamer, not a Sierra gamer.
 
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49. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 22:54 Chazix
 
I was surprised this game was ever finished considering all the complaints I'd heard throughout its development.
Some of my co-workers were ex Team Bondi and they made it sound like hell, that the game would never be finished and that the bosses were delusional.

Apparently they treated all their staff like shit, the company would go around to all the schools fishing for young people to work for cheap, and then dumping them after they were burnt out a few months later.
 
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48. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 22:48 Creston
 
nin wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 22:19:
Did you ever play adventure games back in their hayday? You couldn't lose those either.

You could in some of the early ones! Failure to find/pickup a certain item could mean hours of wasted gameplay when you realize later you needed it, and can't get back to it.

*harbors dark, evil memories of The Guild on the Amiga 500...*

Creston
 
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47. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 22:48 entr0py
 
space captain wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 22:08:
entr0py wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 22:03:
Did you ever play adventure games back in their hayday? You couldn't lose those either.

wtf are you talking about kidd0? ever heard of sierra? how about zork?

Naw man that wasn't the heyday, them's the early days. The forgotten time.

This comment was edited on Jul 5, 2011, 22:54.
 
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46. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 22:32 Sepharo
 
Allow me to pile it on.

Did you ever play adventure games back in their hayday? You couldn't lose those either.

Ever try walking a winding cliff path only two pixels wide?
 
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45. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 22:19 nin
 
Did you ever play adventure games back in their hayday? You couldn't lose those either.

You could in some of the early ones! Failure to find/pickup a certain item could mean hours of wasted gameplay when you realize later you needed it, and can't get back to it.
 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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44. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 22:08 space captain
 
entr0py wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 22:03:
Did you ever play adventure games back in their hayday? You couldn't lose those either.

wtf are you talking about kidd0? ever heard of sierra? how about zork?
 
Go forth, and kill!
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43. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 22:03 entr0py
 
CommunistHamster wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 20:28:
You aren't supposed to lose games today, though.
Clearly you should be able to, as you say.

Did you ever play adventure games back in their hayday? You couldn't lose those either.

But you could fail to progress. I think what what really felt off about L.A. Noire is that it spawned deus ex machinas to make up for your failures and ensure the case is completed at a steady pace. Miss a clue? No worries, someone else will figure it out and tell you where to go next.

Then again, if I did terribly on a case I just replayed it. If you have the willpower to be a perfectionist, the game doesn't need to impose it on you.
 
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42. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 20:28 CommunistHamster
 
You aren't supposed to lose games today, though.
Clearly you should be able to, as you say.
 
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41. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 19:28 Creston
 
It's hard to write, because you'd have a branching story, basically. But you could have a cause and effect scenario, where if you don't solve cases properly (or not at all), you couldn't continue with that desk's storyline. Which, for example, in the case of the homocide desk (secret) wouldn't allow you to eventually go on the easter egg hunt to hunt down the actual killer.

Similarly, in vice, if you're a guy who can't get the job done, Roy may make you the fall guy earlier, leading to an earlier ending where Cole's demoted back to a beat cop.

Right now, you can miss every clue, fail to ask a single question right and NOT get a confession, and the case will still be solved. And that's just poor game mechanics. It's (rightly) led people to say that there are no consequences to anything you do in LA Noire, and you're just watching the game play itself, with you occasionally pressing X.

So there's definitely room for improvement.

Creston

 
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40. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 18:56 wolve
 
Creston wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 16:19:
Vulkan wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 14:09:
Perhaps if Rockstar do acquire to rights, they'll be able to turn out something special for the sequel.

More of the same with a little less help in the cases (and being able to actually FAIL them,) and an open world that has more to do in it would pretty much be a perfect LA Noire for me.
In terms of failing cases, I assume you mean actually suffer consequences? That would be interesting, but wonder how that could be implemented. The rank (experience) system is pretty pointless / useless, but they could beef it up and make it affect gameplay.

This comment was edited on Jul 5, 2011, 19:16.
 
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39. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 18:28 Creston
 
Tumbler wrote on Jul 5, 2011, 17:43:
Sad to hear that Bondi was so disfunctional. The game had a lot of fantastic elements and moments that I'll remember forever but it doesn't sound like anyone from the first will be involved on the 2nd.

It doesn't say that. It says it's unlikely that Team Bondi will be involved with Rockstar anymore. There's nothing keeping Rockstar from hiring some or all of the FORMER Team Bondi employees who had a solid hand in creating LA Noire.

And, from the emails, it seems that much of LA Noire didn't really come into its own until R* started putting actual talent into the studio.

So I wouldn't worry too much.

Creston
 
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38. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 18:22 personman_145
 
I've created mods for Open Arena, Oblivion, and Battlefield 2142.

(Open Arena Fortress, The Nine and the One (also part of the MERP team), and Battlefield Revolution: Anarchists vs Feds, respectively)

I'm thinking the only way to avoid wage-slavery in gaming (or any other venture) is to fund yourself.
 
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37. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 17:43 Tumbler
 
Sad to hear that Bondi was so disfunctional. The game had a lot of fantastic elements and moments that I'll remember forever but it doesn't sound like anyone from the first will be involved on the 2nd.  
99gamers.com-Game trading site, PC digital trading!
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36. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 17:15 Dades
 
Sure, if you own the company or have some indispensable talent that can't be easily replaced by another person. Everyone else is a wage slave. The lightest crunch times at the most forgiving gaming companies at the industry would still make most people working other careers balk.  
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35. Re: Insider: Rockstar/Team Bondi Split Jul 5, 2011, 17:13 eRe4s3r
 
You can work on games and not be a wage slave  
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