Report: LA Noire developers may not work again with Rockstar Games

LA Noire may have been the best selling game in May when it launched from publisher Rockstar Games and it may have also gotten lots of critical acclaim for its developer Team Bondi. However the road to making the historical open world action game was reportedly so filled with delays and issues that Rockstar Games may not publish a game with Team Bondi again. In a new article on Gamesindustry.biz (free registration required) internal Team Bondi emails as well as info from unnamed sources paint a picture of issues between Rockstar Games and Australia-based Team Bondi, particularly with the developer's founder Brendan McNamara.

The article's author previously wrote a story for IGN where 11 former Team Bondi team members, all of which didn't want to be identified, talked about the various issues in completing LA Noire. The game reportedly started being developed in 2004. Earlier in June, a web site was posted which claimed that a large portion of team members who had worked at Team Bondi but who left before the game was completed were not mentioned in the game's credits.

Today's Gamesindustry.biz story expands on the IGN story with even more info from unnamed sources and emails. One source claims, "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 source added, "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."  The source added that Rockstar had thought about acquiring Team Bondi but later decided that would be "a terrible idea." Rockstar Games has not responded to either story. In the IGN story McNamara is quoted as saying, "I'm not in any way upset or disappointed by what I've done, and what I've achieved I'm not even remotely defensive about it."

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"The game reportedly started being developed in 2004"

While in Rockstar (several teams)
2004 - San Andreas. / GTA Advanced
2005 GTA Liberty City PSP /
2006 GTA Vice City PSP/PS2
2008 GTA 4
2009 GTA 4 Lost and Damned / GTA Chinatown / GTA Ballad Tony

While Team Bondi in the same elapse of time:
2011 La Noire

Publishers need to be relegated to a lesser role,the damage done to the game is most times irreparable,plus their cut,for what they do is excessive.Ubisoft has totally ruined the SH series.

Title is horrible, makes it sound as if it's Team Bondi that don't want to work with Rockstar.

Also, Rockstar did a lot more than just publish. Anyone who's played the game can see that, clear as day.

DARKFiB3R said,
Title is horrible, makes it sound as if it's Team Bondi that don't want to work with Rockstar.

Also, Rockstar did a lot more than just publish. Anyone who's played the game can see that, clear as day.

True. I was late to the LA Noire party since I didn't know anything about it until a week after it launched. But after having seen trailers and this and that, when I saw the TB credit at the opening I thought, "what? Rockstar didn't make this by themselves?".

TCLN Ryster said,
Developers should secure funding on their own and cut publishers out of the equation altogether. Let the likes of Activision and Atari wither away and die. Publishers take a massive cut from the profits, and introduce their own priorities into the process.. such as prioritising release date and money grabbing, over important issues like quality and length of support.

Publishers rushing out games to meet an arbitary release date, have been the downfall of many games, most of which had massive potential. Unfortunately though, if you release a buggy unfinished product, the damage to the reputation of the game is done and can rarely be recovered.

But in this instance it looks like the publisher was keeping the developer in check.

psionicinversion said,
Rockstar published grand theft autos - I think they know what there doing in that genre of stuff

They both owned by Take 2. So they will do what mother company will say. If Take 2 will say you will keep working with Rockstar Games, so they will.

coth said,

They both owned by Take 2. So they will do what mother company will say. If Take 2 will say you will keep working with Rockstar Games, so they will.
It doesn't work like that. A company may own other company's but they usually don't have a say in what that company does. Microsoft learned this the hardway which is why they had to divide their company up into MANY divisions. This is called "Subsidiaries"

Morphine-X said,
It doesn't work like that. A company may own other company's but they usually don't have a say in what that company does. Microsoft learned this the hardway which is why they had to divide their company up into MANY divisions. This is called "Subsidiaries"

what do you mean? microsoft didn't have to split. there are different divisons under the company but they are all under the orders of the CEO.

In this case Rockstar would have to do whatever Take 2 says because Take 2 owns them and they pay the bills. Just because a parent company allows another company to retain its name doesn't mean they still don't have authority over them.

Developers should secure funding on their own and cut publishers out of the equation altogether. Let the likes of Activision and Atari wither away and die. Publishers take a massive cut from the profits, and introduce their own priorities into the process.. such as prioritising release date and money grabbing, over important issues like quality and length of support.

Publishers rushing out games to meet an arbitary release date, have been the downfall of many games, most of which had massive potential. Unfortunately though, if you release a buggy unfinished product, the damage to the reputation of the game is done and can rarely be recovered.

TCLN Ryster said,
Developers should secure funding on their own and cut publishers out of the equation altogether. Publishers take a massive cut from the profits, and introduce their own priorities into the process.. such as prioritising release date and money grabbing, over important issues quality and length of support. Publishers rushing out games to meet an arbitary release date, have been the downfall of many games, most of which had massive potential. Unfortunately though, if you release a buggy unfinished product, the damage to the reputation is done and can rarely be recovered.
You don't think they'd have had the motion capture and technology available to them without that publisher, do you?

TCLN Ryster said,
Developers should secure funding on their own and cut publishers out of the equation altogether. Let the likes of Activision and Atari wither away and die. Publishers take a massive cut from the profits, and introduce their own priorities into the process.. such as prioritising release date and money grabbing, over important issues like quality and length of support.

Publishers rushing out games to meet an arbitary release date, have been the downfall of many games, most of which had massive potential. Unfortunately though, if you release a buggy unfinished product, the damage to the reputation of the game is done and can rarely be recovered.

Publishers are needed. You can't expect the developers to handle all the logistics of marketing, advertising, printing discs...

FlintyV said,

Publishers are needed. You can't expect the developers to handle all the logistics of marketing, advertising, printing discs...


+1 They do more than some people would like to accept.

TCLN Ryster said,
Developers should secure funding on their own and cut publishers out of the equation altogether. Let the likes of Activision and Atari wither away and die. Publishers take a massive cut from the profits, and introduce their own priorities into the process.. such as prioritising release date and money grabbing, over important issues like quality and length of support.

Publishers rushing out games to meet an arbitary release date, have been the downfall of many games, most of which had massive potential. Unfortunately though, if you release a buggy unfinished product, the damage to the reputation of the game is done and can rarely be recovered.

Besides all the logistic and marketing the publisher does for the dev house, they also lend money to them so they can pay their employees and complete the game...

TCLN Ryster said,
Publishers rushing out games to meet an arbitary release date, have been the downfall of many games, most of which had massive potential. Unfortunately though, if you release a buggy unfinished product, the damage to the reputation of the game is done and can rarely be recovered.

You see - there is a problem. Hypothetically, some developers not willing to lose their jobs upon release. So they will rather work on the game whole their life. Publisher investing money to make a profit, not just pay wages.

Remember Alan Wake, Duke Nukem Forever, STALKER. They could take much longer time or even infinite time to develop if producers won't urge developers.

M_Lyons10 said,

+1 They do more than some people would like to accept.
Considering all of which is defined by the word "Publisher" I know exactly what they do.

TCLN Ryster said,
Writers should secure funding on their own and cut publishers out of the equation altogether. Let the likes of Random House and Double Day wither away and die. Publishers take a massive cut from the profits, and introduce their own priorities into the process.. such as prioritising release date and money grabbing, over important issues like editing and quality control.

Publishers rushing out books to meet an arbitrary release date, have been the downfall of many great books, most of which had massive potential. Unfortunately though, if you release an unedited, unfinished book, the damage to the reputation of the writer is done and can rarely be recovered.

Look how silly that sounds when applied to another medium. Whether in the print or game world, unfortunately publishers are needed. They do a lot more than push people to release before they're ready, though that trend can be bucked with good publishers.