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Report: Rockstar Will Not Work With Team Bondi Again
Report: Rockstar Will Not Work With Team Bondi Again
July 5, 2011 | By Mike Rose

Rockstar Games will not be publishing any future titles from LA Noire developer Team Bondi due to a "badly damaged" relationship between the two companies, according to media reports.

In a report [registration required], an unnamed Team Bondi ex-staff member explained that co-founder Brendan McNamara and his management team made "insane decisions" that were eventually overruled by Rockstar.

"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," said the source.

"Team Bondi are trying to find another publisher for their next title, but the relationship with Rockstar has been badly damaged - Brendan treats LA 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 LA Noire, and their marketing was fantastic. Without their continued support, Team Bondi would have gone under several years ago," continued the ex-Team Bondi staffer.

Discussing Rockstar's contribution to LA Noire's development in more depth, the source said, "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."

"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."

The source concluded, "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."

Last month, a number of developers who worked on LA Noire said they were subsequently left without credit, describing 10-12 hour work-days, including weekends.

Studio head Brendan McNamara later claimed that he had done nothing wrong, stating, "It's my game... I can go to anyone I want in the team and say, 'I want it changed'... I've been doing it for a long time, and it seems to have worked out so far for me."

Gamasutra has contacted Rockstar parent Take-Two for comment on the report.

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Sebastian Cardoso
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For a second there I thought this article was going to be about how Rockstar was horrified by the working conditions at Team Bondi, in which case I was ready to pepper a comment about the mental crunch at Rockstar San Diego to release Red Dead Redemption ... but this wasn't about that at all :(

Jeff Beaudoin
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so you did it anyway?

such contribution!

Michael G
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I'm not surprised, Bondi spent more time trying to get the facial mapping to work than anything else. How much d'you wanna bet Valve could've done it in less time and gotten the game onto 1 disc?

Clifford Anderson
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Boy, saying Valve would've done it in less time is perhaps the most insulting thing I've heard in a while. That's not to say Valve doesn't do great stuff, mind, but they definitely take the "it's done when it's done" approach.

Maurício Gomes
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At least they do not got compared with DNF...

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Harris Javed
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I wonder about the technology then. Will Rockstar not use some of that neat facial mapping in their future games? I haven't even played L.A. Noire yet, but the expressions I've seen in videos are so cool!

Michael Lezon
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It's impressive at times but generally only from the cheeks down. The faces themselves often still look like a texture peeled over the head and then some sort of film or membrane peeled over that. I don't know much about the technology but I have a feeling that there is a lot of fine tuning that goes into the animations after it's recorded from the actor or whatever. There were many points in the game where expressions don't quite match the setting or dialogue.

On a side note, there was an article somewhere around here about how important the eyes and brows of your characters are.

Christian Nutt
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I don't think R* owns it, unless they funded this company. That will likely determine whether or not it's used in the future:

Duong Nguyen
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Team Bondi stuff isn't that impressive, face mo-cap has come along way and there are better alternatives. Problem with Bondi technology are the faces are immutable, you get what you get.. Other face mo-cap capture enough of the performance to keep its essence but can remap onto other faces.. Rdr2 face mo-cap and Ninja Theory Enslaved stand out..

Quantic Dreams 2nd generation face mo-cap is said to be pretty good too..

Harlan Sumgui
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Not surprising. Rockstar is run by professionals (mostly), team bondi is run by a mental patient.

Buck Hammerstein
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Rockstar must have experienced some outrageous events during the making of LA Noire to completely walk away from Team Bondi given how they were so positive during the initial development.

considering the time and money invested by Rockstar in getting the game completed you would think they would now believe Bondi was better prepared for the next game production cycle... seems they have witnessed "game ending" fundamental practices within Bondi's upper management that is better not to be party to for future publications.

LA Noire was not the best game i have ever played, not even close, but its slower play style and fresh tech on the face animation made it an experience i enjoyed. the over arcing story was not as compelling as GTA's last few outings but the characters were fairly rich.

Joshua King
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' ... Brendan McNamara later claimed that he had done nothing wrong, stating, "It's my game... I can go to anyone I want in the team and say, 'I want it changed'... I've been doing it for a long time, and it seems to have worked out so far for me." '

Yeah, worked for _YOU_ Brendan. Way to ruin it for a possible "Rockstar Sydney".

Jonathan Murphy
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Most likely Rock Star will hire the talent away from Bondi. It's bad watching department leads bash heads with upper management. Nothing gets done. Those crazy work hours are a result.