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Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors

The creative staff behind L.A. Noire comprise the majority of creditors waiting for repayment from insolvent developer Team Bondi, reports GamesIndustry.biz (registration required). They quote the legal documents relating to the company's liquidation showing that 40 creditors are owed more than $1.4 AUD, and the staff are owned most of this, ranging from $1600 and $99,000. They also not that studio boss Brendan McNamara is also owed more than $102,000, while one of the few business still owed money is motion capture firm Depth Analysis, which was also co-founded by McNamara. Word is: "With the company being liquidated it's increasingly unlikely that staff will be repaid any significant percentage of the outstanding amount."

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23. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 8, 2011, 10:39 DG
 
Flatline wrote on Oct 7, 2011, 17:55:
Heh. Usually when there's issues the employees are the first to lose their paychecks.
Is this some US thing? In UK creditors are being told "cheque's in the post" and all that well before employees stop being paid.

Even if the company gets liquidated, if someone else has a fixed security they can take away that specific asset but otherwise employees are first in line to get money owed (including for any holidays not taken).

Bosses have equal standing with other staff - but only debts that related to them being an employee. If they have an investment and also are owed salary then only the salary gets preferential treatment.

Very surprised it's done differently elsewhere, since the basic rationale is that employees are not taking on risks & rewards of business and anyway the employee needs better protection since they do 100% of their trade, as it were, with the employer. That's some messed-up priorities if employees aren't at the front of the queue.
 
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22. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 18:14 theyarecomingforyou
 
finga wrote on Oct 7, 2011, 17:43:
Yep, huge failure, primarily on the part of the company's founder, Brendan McNamara. This documents some of it.
Yeah, the guy sounds like a complete prick. The money should go to everyone else before him, as he was the person most responsible for all the problems.
 
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21. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 17:55 Flatline
 
DG wrote on Oct 7, 2011, 17:32:
Fairly safe bet that employees not being paid knew chances are they'd never see any money. For any business the first people to get paid are staff.

It's not always stupid to keep on working for nothing; on the one hand you have the strong probability of nothing but on the other you have the certainty of nothing. Turn up at work and maybe get paid, maybe build CV, or have a lie-in and grow a beard.

When the employer is genuinely in trouble and not just taking the piss the sage advice isn't quite in the 20/20 focus you get with hindsight.

Heh. Usually when there's issues the employees are the first to lose their paychecks. Strangely, the bosses usually aren't. Unless you have really ethical bosses.

Company I worked for went under and stiffed me for several grand in back wages. I knew it was going to happen. I stayed on the job because of *my* work ethic. I was installing a network for a school, and could have walked. I didn't want to do that to the kids and teachers, so I stuck it out, not on the off chance I'd get paid, but because I wasn't going to walk out on clients who were relying on me and did nothing wrong.
 
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20. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 17:43 finga
 
Quboid wrote on Oct 7, 2011, 16:40:
My guess is that Rockstar did the sensible thing - when Bondi came begging, they only contributed in exchange for something like equity, profit percentages or IP ownership. As Bondi had to come begging time after time, when the game was released Bondi had little profits to keep and no IP to develop or sell. Management fail.
Yep, huge failure, primarily on the part of the company's founder, Brendan McNamara. This documents some of it.
 
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19. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 17:41 finga
 
I think 2K/Rockstar should man up and pay the developers what they're owed, even though it wasn't their problem to begin with. It'd really do a lot to help their image.

But fuck McNamara. He shouldn't be paid what he owes. From everything I've read about that guy, he may be half the reason that the game was so good, but he's also half the reason that these guys are out of jobs (along with plenty of others who quit, as the company had huge turnaround) and are owed so much cash in the first place.

Also, Blue, three typos in two sentences.
 
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18. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 17:32 DG
 
Fairly safe bet that employees not being paid knew chances are they'd never see any money. For any business the first people to get paid are staff.

It's not always stupid to keep on working for nothing; on the one hand you have the strong probability of nothing but on the other you have the certainty of nothing. Turn up at work and maybe get paid, maybe build CV, or have a lie-in and grow a beard.

When the employer is genuinely in trouble and not just taking the piss the sage advice isn't quite in the 20/20 focus you get with hindsight.
 
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17. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 16:40 Quboid
 
ViRGE wrote on Oct 7, 2011, 14:51:
How the heck does a studio that just recently developed a best selling AAA title go bankrupt?

My guess is that Rockstar did the sensible thing - when Bondi came begging, they only contributed in exchange for something like equity, profit percentages or IP ownership. As Bondi had to come begging time after time, when the game was released Bondi had little profits to keep and no IP to develop or sell. Management fail.
 
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16. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 15:03 Beamer
 
ViRGE wrote on Oct 7, 2011, 14:51:
How the heck does a studio that just recently developed a best selling AAA title go bankrupt?

http://www.bluesnews.com/s/123360/insider-rockstar-team-bondi-split
 
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15. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 14:51 ViRGE
 
How the heck does a studio that just recently developed a best selling AAA title go bankrupt?  
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14. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 14:37 Cutter
 
The first time you don't get money your owed alarm bells should be going off. Cres is right, you have to be stupid to keep working in that case. It doesn't matter how plausible sounding an excuse is if they can't pay you for your work something is dreadfully wrong.
 
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13. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 14:10 Prez
 
Wow, now THAT is shitty.  
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12. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 12:59 Quboid
 
Only if the entity that you had the contract with still exists.  
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11. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 12:56 Halo
 
AFAIK a verbal contract is as binding as a written. So even if you don't get your big return you should at least make sure to get your initial money back.  
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10. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 12:28 Creston
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Oct 7, 2011, 12:08:
So what happens to all the money from the PC version of LA Noire? It would seem strange for it to all go to Rockstar, while the people that developed it get left high and dry.

It just seems a really strange situation.

It all goes to Rockstar, since IIRC there was no royalties provision for LA Noire. Rockstar coughed up the money to finish development of the game. Without them it would have never been released.

Creston
 
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9. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 12:08 theyarecomingforyou
 
So what happens to all the money from the PC version of LA Noire? It would seem strange for it to all go to Rockstar, while the people that developed it get left high and dry.

It just seems a really strange situation.
 
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8. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 12:03 Creston
 
Alamar wrote on Oct 7, 2011, 11:40:

If only this were followed precisely, and everywhere...

I personally hate all those shitty indie games made by teams of people doing it because they love it, and only get paid if the game succeeds...

/sarcasm

-Alamar

An indie isn't really a typical salaried employee.

Hey, if you want to do something because you love it and run the risk of not getting paid, fine. It's your life, more power to you. Just don't start crying when the company goes bankrupt and then you don't get any money. Because if you wanted to get money, you shouldn't have accepted the I.O.U.

This doesn't seem that difficult a concept. I'll clarify my original statement a bit.

Creston

 
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7. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 11:58 Beamer
 
Yeah, there are times to take an IOU.
The stronger rule is not to make concessions without taking concessions. If your boss tells you he can't pay you but is expecting a windfall soon you can continue working if you have faith that the windfall is coming and if you get a concession. If the boss offers to pay you double, or give you a cut of the windfall, etc., it's well worthwhile.

It's gambling, but if you know the risk and feel it's worth the reward then it's worthwhile. Plenty of people have made killings in startups because, when the money ran out and they couldn't be paid they instead worked for equity. had the Team Bondi employees done that they'd still have nothing. In other companies, though, they'd be rich.
 
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6. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 11:57 Quboid
 
That's a very different situation that you're trying to be sarcastic about. There is a difference between investing money in something you love and taking IOUs from your employer. When your employer does that, I'd say it's time to update your resume.

I don't know the situation here, but I've heard of a games developer going bust and leaving employees with big credit card debts. While I have sympathy for them, who the hell pays for something with their personal credit card because their employer can't afford it???!

I'm sure it's tempting when it sounds like a case of "$3000 for this will bridge the gap and allow us to finish the project and you'll get several times your money back" but all too often it's "$3000 for this and $3000 for that and $3000 for the other and it's still not enough, so we lose it all".
 
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5. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 11:40 Alamar
 
Creston wrote on Oct 7, 2011, 11:00:
nin wrote on Oct 7, 2011, 10:51:
"With the company being liquidated it's increasingly unlikely that staff will be repaid any significant percentage of the outstanding amount."

THAT sucks.


Yep. Then again, if you take your boss' "oh, don't worry, I'll pay you once we get paid" bullshit at face value, you're basically running the risk of getting screwed.

Never, ever, EVER take an I.O.U., no matter WHAT industry you're in. Get PAID.

Creston

If only this were followed precisely, and everywhere...

I personally hate all those shitty indie games made by teams of people doing it because they love it, and only get paid if the game succeeds...

/sarcasm

-Alamar
 
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4. Re: Staff Are Team Bondi's Largest Creditors Oct 7, 2011, 11:28 RenownWolf
 
This is the same guy who was called out for being a "asshole" as many said in regards to his management practices.

No doubt many believed they would get paid because the game was commercially successful. Shame... it's the guys who actually do the work that get done over the most when the failure is at the top.
 
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