A group of former Team Bondi developers have created a website which aims to recognise all those who contributed to the seven years of development for L.A Noire. Over one hundred Team Bondi names are missing from the endgame and manual credits for the smash hit detective thriller game, while others have been merely given "Special Thanks', a lower level of recognition than what they should have received for their work. The ex-employees describe how important receiving proper accreditation means for the creative talent behind the game, particularly those who had spent many years at Team Bondi or who count L.A Noire as their first entry in the games industry.
From the lanoirecredits.com website...
These people devoted their talent, creativity and passion towards the project and, as is common in the games industry, have not been credited because they were not there during the final month or two of production, or other subjective criteria. A significant portion of these people did not leave Team Bondi by choice: they were made redundant as art production wound down, and as Quality Assurance work was shifted off-shore to Rockstar's studios.
The group say that the missing names fit the credit standards as outlined by the International Games Developers Association (IGDA). These state that:
- "Any person, contractor or employee, who has contributed to the production of the game for at least 30 days of a 12-month or greater project must be credited"
- "credit must include a name and role, not just a name."
- "credit is retained by any person who leaves the company or project prior to the project's completion, provided they pass Rule 1."
The issue of fair creditting is a sore point for developers in the industry where there is no standard for proper accreditation.
In the past, Rockstar Games (the same publisher for L.A Noire), did not give credit to 55+ Rockstar Vienna developers for their work on Manhunt 2, despite the studio's two and a half years of development before closure. Ex-Rockstar development lead, Jurie Horneman, sought to make his own Manhunt 2 credits list containing the 55 missing names at his blog whilst posting this comment directed at Rockstar for the glaring omission...
I am disappointed and outraged that Rockstar Games tries to pretend that Rockstar Vienna and the work we did on Manhunt 2 never happened – the work of over 50 people, who put years of their lives into the project, trying to make the best game they could. I am proud to have been a part of that team.
You can find the complete credits for L.A Noire at LANOIRECREDITS.COM
Somebody think of the children!
Thanks for sharing your experiences Anonymous. What you have gone through is *precisely* why we have decided to raise the profile of this issue.
We understand that the game discs are pressed; manuals are already printed, that the horse has already bolted - we aren't trying to shut the gates. Look, if Team Bondi and Rockstar Games decide to posthumously build a memorial ala the LAPD's Memorial for Fallen Officers and engrave the names of every missing developer into a permanent monument - then hey, thanks for being awesome and the bigger man, TB and R*! But that isn't what we're after.
A big part of what we are trying to do is make developers (especially new ones) aware of potential pitfalls when signing contracts to work on projects. We want developers to go into these arrangements aware of exactly how their career will turn out once they are done with their contracts - voluntarily or involuntarily. Even if a studio lays out unsavoury terms of employment, at least the developer will know that these aren't necessarily industry norms - that there are studios and organisations out there that believe otherwise. Every dev that makes the smarter choice when accepting where to ply their trade ennobles not only themselves, but the studio that ends up hiring them.
The discs may be pressed and the manuals already printed, but there is no reason TB can't update the credits list in an upcoming game patch or DLC pack. It would be the easiest thing in the world to just add a bunch more names to the "Special Thanks" section.
No need to agonize over who should be included and who shouldn't, just follow the IGDA best practice and be done with it. So come on, Brendan! Be the bigger man. Credit where credit's due!
(Disclaimer: I never worked at Team Bondi and have no personal interest in this. But it just seems wrong that people who devoted months or even years of their lives contributing to LA Noire should be left off the credits, just because they weren't there in the final month or two of its seven year development. It is particularly unfair if their art/code/design is still in the finished game. Not even to give them the bare minimum courtesy of a "Special Thanks" mention just comes across as petty and mean.)
Yeah, always a kick in the nuts. I know I was in a similar position but was fortunate that I preempted just before the title was complete and could get the publisher (not developer) to include me. However, it wasn't for the final title I held but at least it was a "special thanks" -- was listed as "Additional Design" instead.
This was before the IGDA set out the best practice in such cases, but even then, I doubt I could have done better than what I was credited as.
Feel sorry for the folks that missed out. Seven years is a long time and I know that some of the people I know of that worked there and didn't get a credit were there 3+ years. That's the length of an average game's development.
Personally, if I ever work as an employee again on a title, there is going to be an additional clause in my contract about it. I don't appreciate getting short changed, especially since I played a big part in the title I mentioned -- honestly, it wouldn't exist if it weren't for me.