A person under the guise "veracious_shit" has recently been using the Twitter service to unload a whole lot of well known truths, half-truths, and other unpleasantries concerning the behind-the-scenes development of Team Bondi's L.A Noire.
Understandably, it's cause a bit of a sensation around gaming sites with the Twitter stream reported by various websites including Kotaku, Play.tm, and Strategy Informer. It comes at an untimely point for publisher Rockstar who recently promised a big reveal next month for the title.
The tweets start with the development background for the head of Team Bondi, Brendan McNamara, and then mainly concerns the power-struggles involved with Sony (the original publisher for L.A Noire), and staff retention issues at the Sydney studio.
While a lot of tweets made by veracious_shit has been general knowledge for quite a while now, I've been informed by developers who used to work at Team Bondi that various bits of information are very much incorrect (particularly those regarding Sony) and that the timeline in which things were reported are way out of order. It was the opinion of one ex-Team Bondi developer that the information posted in the Twitter stream is second hand knowledge of accounts.
For the tweets, click on the following link...
I work in a related fiield of 3d architecture design and I have never heard of people being paid for overtime.
Stop complaining about working in such a cool company and look around at what other people put up with first.
I can certainly attest to the appalling working conditions, the angry and abusive boss and the ineffective leads who were completely unwilling to do anything to protect their team members.
I got out while the getting was good. I keep in regular touch with TB and ex-TB staff, and it sounds like it has gotten far worse. For example, I've heard that everyone had to sign an agreement that they would be paid for overtime only after the project was complete, and if they left the company before then they would not receive any owed monies.
Incredibly unethical and, I suspect, even illegal.
Another former employee here. I was appalled at the way they treated staff. Each week there was another farewell drinks for employees leaving, that looked bad for the constant stream of new employees who where getting pulled in left right and center. After a while they started to play it down.
I also was subjected to sexual harassment from Brendan McNamara, he's lucky I didn't take out a suit against him. It was very demotivating to say the least.
It was by far the worst company I have ever had the misfortune to work for,
and yes, Brendan McNamara is a complete knuckle dagger, hes nothing more than a shaved ape. But I think some apes are better trained.
Dumb as a box of nails, bad communicator and very effective in the art of intimidation.
If I see him on the street I will break his nose.
Concerning the Comments in relation to overtime. It is highly illegal to withhold overtime payments let alone place a ‘caveat’ on conditions and salary owed.
Current and former staff of Team Bondi with concerns should take this issue to the Fair Pay commission and lodge a complaint. It’s your Right so use it.
I love the reason for the "L.A. Noire" spelling - the "e" came from a programmer's typo of "noir." A story like that's gotta be true! ;)
But putting on my language nerd hat for a second, isn't the "noire" spelling more gramatically correct? The reason is that "film" is a masculine noun in French, while "city" is a feminine noun. Now my Year 7 French is admittedly pretty vague, so Google Translate to the rescue!
Type in "a black film" and you get "un film noir":
Type in "a black city" and you get "une ville noire":
Nice theory, huh? So what happens if you type in "black Los Angeles"?
Theory crushed. Ok, back to blaming the programmer. :)
Hey, what gives? I thought this thing was supposed to turn web addresses in to links automatically. Trying again with an explicit <a> tag...
Sums up my experience there. Heard it has gotten worse, but seeing as everyone I know has left, I have no direct contacts anymore. Turnover is un-fucking-believable there - I stopped counting when 30 people had resigned.
Last I heard, working on Saturday was mandatory, but they've backed off a bit since the RockStar spouse thing.
And I'm sure L.A. Noire is going to be so wonderful, ego-sublimating and generally world changing as to make all this misery worthwhile. I've heard some horror stories come out of Team Bondi from people who've worked there in the past and its abhorrent that these young kids are being thrown into a 24/7 corpse grinder with their perpetual crunch and weekend overtime.
Usually when the scope of a project is unmanagable then  the Producer, and  Stakeholders need to re-evaluate timelines and re-scope the design to make things plausible. Seems like when everyone's wearing the same dumb smiles, then all this lack of direction just falls onto the heads of the workers trying to get a foothold in the games industry. This is downright exploitation by any other name, and unfortunately our local industry has been dependent on this kind of churn + burn approach to staffing instead of educating, and fostering talent.
It would be nice [ makes Bat signal ] to see some representation from the IGDA to protect people from this kind of abusive workplace management, and to establish some kind of baseline rights or just inform workers of Australian regulations where relevant. It's just unfortunate though that nothing seems to ever happen with this regard because the industry groups are riddled with company CEO's and other opportunists, and lack any bite to their bark. Perhaps the new IGDA could make some constructive comment or raise light on these issues?
The real problem is culture. All game studios from around the world are pretty much the same. The main difference is expectation. When you're working for a US based game developer everyone knows the work is going to be extremely difficult and time consuming. In Australia people seem to be surprised when they experience this.
The truth about the industry is that its all the same. How do you think the industry produces so much amazing stuff for such small amounts of money.
It's so funny seeing posts like this from people who have zero experience.
it's always been for love not money !!
I think it's a very cultural thing. I can confirm that Team Bondi's management is very caustic, uncommunicative, and whimsical so I'm not making excuses for them by any means, but Australians do NOT have the attitude of "suffering for their craft". It's more an attitude of "I'll work the hours we agreed on. A little more if you show some gratitude."
Whereas the US and Japanese culture you're talking about are very dog-eat-dog (or sink-or-swim, take your pick) and they're desperate to impress. Hence they'll gladly suffer for their craft and tolerate apathy from above.
I don't necessarily think that's a *bad* thing. It's just a *different* thing.
Yeah, these statements like "Australians are like this", "Japanese are like that", it's rubbish. I too work hard at my craft, as do my colleagues. Our company is as good or better run than many overseas gamedevs I've seen.
Having worked both overseas and locally in the industry for a long time, I've seen no evidence that overseas developers are any more or less hardworking in general than Australian developers. I've found there is far greater variation between individual developers within a single company, and individual companies within a single city, than there is between whole countries. There are good and bad developers everywhere.
I'm not saying there is no such thing as "culture", but I do think individual factors far outweigh whatever vague contribution you might attribute to glib national stereotypes.
I am possibly one of the most experienced person in the industry - worldwide. I don't generally post, nor have time to do so. I am too busy managing teams. However, I need to throw perspective on this. If you want to make hit games, there is no formula. Project managers are needed to create a sense of order in a chaotic design driven process. If you want deadlines and timelines, find another profession. The reason why very few AAA games come out of Australia is that we know the work culture is very poor, when it comes to making a hit game. Hence they remain in-house titles herein the US and we dont outsource them. If you want to change this, work your butt off, follow the lead of a great designer/CEO and if your game ships and overshoots it's ROI then more juicy projects might come your way. At the moment, as I see it, there are going to be more studio team closures headed you way, simply because we will not fund games with studios that have a 5 day week mentality.it's a competitive world, and Australia and your exchange just don't cut it at the moment. Stop the negativity, stop acting like a bunch of socialist (the GDAA should step in and...) and make fucking amazing shit hot games. Are you guys nuts ?
Typical that a non Australian (read "American") would cry socialist when all that people in THIS country want are fair working conditions and pay!
Slaving away on a game till your team drops or is burnt out is no way to ENSURE you make a successful game.
That's the type of typical Capitalist crap you hear coming from the USA. Anyone who thinks different about anything is a socialist. Give me a break!
Having said that I do hope that Team Bondi produces a great game and I look forward to reading the reviews.
"I am possibly one of the most experienced person in the industry - worldwide."
"If you want deadlines and timelines, find another profession."
Looks like someone isn't actually that experienced at all!
"follow the lead of a great designer/CEO"
The CEO should be running the business, not taking the roll of design director.
"stop acting like a bunch of socialist"
Oh god, really? REALLY? The door is that way -->
I'm a capitalist and I like to get paid for the work that I do. I like working, I like games, I like relaxing and having a life too.....
Blaming development staff for the current state of the industry in Australia, without any form of evidence, is somewhat juvenile. Is this opinion based on any hard evidence, or does it come from a need to shift any responsibility away from CEOs and managers?
There are actual "socialist" countries with healthier industries than ours.....so stop having a go at socialists, they have a right to their beliefs.
We should stop the negativity:
Stop telling developers that they are a bunch of lazy socialists. Managers should take personal responsibility for their actions, lead by example and treat people with respect and decency.
People are doing it tough at the moment and we could do without this kind of mass character assassination.
How honored this humble forum is to receive a post from the most experienced person in the industry in the whole wide world! But I didn't catch the name...?
This is pure troll, of course. Some great quotes though: "the (Australian) work culture is very poor", "stop acting like a bunch of socialist", "are you nuts?". All well crafted to push people's buttons and elicit indignant replies! I especially had to laugh at the "socialist" jibe. Who seriously uses that word anymore? 5 out of 5 troll points!