Why it took seven years to make L.A Noire, and what's next for Team Bondi

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1up.com have conducted a highly interesting interview with Team Bondi founder, Brendan McNamara, with questions touching on the long development time of L.A Noire, why it changed hands from Sony to Rockstar, and Rockstar's involvement in its development.

So why did it take a whopping seven years to complete L.A Noire when it was initially predicted to only take three? McNamara puts it down to a number of things, but it's mostly due to the team underestimating the huge job they had at hand. From 1up...

(McNamara) Obviously, having a brand new team, with brand new technology, and a brand new type of game, and some technology that had never been seen before was a pretty big undertaking. So yeah, we massively underestimated it. But also we started with one line of code; now we've got eight million. That's what you need to run this type of game.

What's not often officially talked about is why L.A Noire made the switch initially as a Sony funded title over to a Rockstar Games release. McNamara explains that a change in Sony management meant that the continued development of L.A Noire was on shaky grounds, so he consulted with long-time friend and co-founder / president of Rockstar Games, Sam Houser, for Rockstar Games to take on the role as the new publisher. Sony, McNamara indicates, were nice enough to hand it over...

(McNamara) Sam Houser -- who runs Rockstar -- and I go back a long way. We were both in it when Sam was an A&R [Artist & Repertoire] guy at BMG Records, and they started the BMG Interactive division, which was trying to do some games and that kind of stuff...

I knew him when he was in BMG Music, and I went over as kind of a freelance artist working on different things. We went back a long way, and we used to get together and talk about games over these marathon Chinese meals.

It looks like Rockstar gave Team Bondi the additional resources and extra time to polish and refine the title, providing some developers from Rockstar North to assist in animation, cleaning up motion capture data, and tweaking various gameplay aspects. Finally, McNamara reveals that Team Bondi are finished and done with L.A Noire apart from some loose ends such as the Japanese translated version of the game and possible DLC add ons. Most of the team are on holidays while McNamara is kicking around some ideas for the next project.

For the entire interview piece with Brendan McNamara, head on over to 1up.com!

Comments

souri's picture

the Guardian has reviewed L.A Noire, and they've given it 5 stars - the review got pulled down however due to a review embargo for L.A Noire until Monday...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2011/may/13/la-noire-game...

The Official Xbox 360 magazine (UK) give it a 10/10, a source has 'claimed'

http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/988983-la-noire/59107303

** ok, it seems that was fake...

"We haven't reviewed LA Noire yet - that score going around is a weird and very badly written hoax."

There's a 15 minute poor quality L.A Noire gameplay video file floating around..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P53cUVvd8yk

Anonymous's picture

Now that the game is finished how many people are still working at Team Bondi?

Anonymous's picture

It took 7 years to make because Sony bailed out after blowing 20M$ and three years on demos and prototypes with nothing to show. The engine was a nightmare to work with and missions called for gameplay that was unattainable within the capabilities of the engine (stealth, standoffs, etc.)

Brendan thinks he's Guy Ritchie circa Snatch but he's got no idea what's going on and neither do his underlings. Amazingly talented development team (art and animation reflects this) who struggled under extreme mismanagement and ambiguity. Here's a hint for next time: If you're going to make massive changes on a whim, have a bible/wiki/documentation to update rather than sending out an email and hoping for the best. Team Bondi had no documentation to refer to and the project was made on whims, hearsay and guesses. That's why it took 7 years. And why it's not fun to play.

Anonymous's picture

Can't comment on the communication, but it's getting absolutely stellar reviews, so it can't be that bad to play...