While the relationship between Rockstar and Team Bondi seemed water-tight during the public build-up for L.A. Noire, it's capitulated ever since. Talk of long hours, poor management and "disdain" between the developer and publisher have surfaced over the past few weeks — prompting a report from GamesIndustry.biz that suggests Rockstar will not publish Team Bondi's next title. Blimey.
"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," an anonymous source told the industry website.
"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 L.A. Noire, and their marketing was fantastic. Without their continued support, Team Bondi would have gone under several years ago."
L.A. Noire was originally being funded by Sony as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, but the platform holder famously pulled support leaving Rockstar to pick up the pieces. Reports popping up all over the Internet this past week suggested that developers were asked to work 110-hour weeks without overtime pay during crunch periods.
"Rockstar also made a huge contribution to the development," the source added. "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.
"At a lower level, Rockstar also pitched in with programmers, animators, artists, QA, etc. Part of the conflict between Team Bondi and Rockstar was due to Rockstar's frustration with Team Bondi's direction, and eventually Team Bondi's management in turn resented Rockstar for taking lots of creative control.
"It's also worth pointing out that Rockstar used to be very keen on making Team Bondi something like 'Rockstar Sydney' - the more they worked with Team Bondi management, the more they came to understand that this was a terrible idea."
Ouch. It's going to be interesting to see who picks up Team Bondi's next project after the ruckus that has emerged following the release of L.A. Noire.