Oh dear. Oh deary dear. All is not well between L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi and publisher Rockstar. Rockstar Leeds are busy working away on the PC version, but a report by GamesIndustry.biz, indicates Rockstar have no intention of working with Team Bondi again. Here's the grisly details:
The damning quote comes from an anonymous ex-Team Bondi staffer, who said to GI.biz:
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.
There also seems to be continued contention about working hours and rates of pay. Team Bondi boss and founder Brendan McNamara told IGN:
There was a bonus scheme for working evenings, and people got a month off for that, and people who worked weekends got paid for it. We brought in a weekend working scheme for that. But contractually, we don't have to do that. Part of the thing is that we pay over the odds, and it says in their contract that if they need to do extra time. I've done 20 years of not getting paid for doing that kind of stuff. I don't begrudge it. I get the opportunity to make these things.
Whereas speaking to GI.biz, the anonymous ex-staffer says:
This quote is definitely misleading. There was no company policy about a bonus scheme for working evenings. Our original contracts stipulated that our hours were 9-6 Monday to Thursday, then 9-4 on Friday. The typical employee worked longer hours than that, especially during crunch periods, but eventually there was too much anger about enforced weekend working so the weekend working scheme was introduced.
Even long after the dust has settled on this one, I doubt we'll get a full picture of exactly what went on during L.A. Noire's protracted development.
I'd actually quite like to discuss RPS working conditions. They've let me come to visit Castle Shotgun for a couple of days, with the promise of playing lots of PC games, and the reward of having a go on the slide if I work hard enough. In reality, I've been cleaning out Quinns' old bedroom most of today, and I'm not even allowed a tea break until 3pm this afternoon. Carrying boxes of discarded PC components to the furnace all day is not in my contract.