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Team Bondi feature describes reported working conditions during L.A. Noire development

Saturday, 25th June 2011 20:17 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

IGN has an excellent feature posted on the trials and tribulations Team Bondi went through to get L.A Noire out the door, and it also brings more to light regarding the reported issues surrounding the departure of frustrated staff.

In the feature, one of the former programmers described Team Bondi founder Brendan McNamara as “the angriest person” he’d ever met stating: “It’s one thing for him to be angry behind closed doors, but it was incredibly common for him to scream at whoever was pissing him off in the middle of the office.”

While such a comment could be shrugged of as the words of a disgruntled employee, McNamara made no apologies to IGN, and confirmed that he see arguments as part of the deal.

“Am I passionate about making the game? Absolutely,” he said. “Do you think that I’m going to voice my opinion? Absolutely. But I don’t think that’s verbal abuse.”

Back in March 2007, Leading Teams, a corporate team-building firm, was hired to speak with employees regarding their discontent along with the high turnover rate the firm was experiencing. According to a source speaking with IGN, some employees were comfortable discussing what they were upset over, but others were afraid if they aired any grievances, they would face negative requital. contribute to the sessions.

According to the source, the atmosphere around the studio was a bit more positive for a while after the two Leading Teams assessments, but it was not to last.

“One of the outcomes was the requirement that Brendan had to sit isolated from everyone else, but that just made it worse, since he would then pace back and forth all day, bothering people even more,” described a former programmer for Team Bondi.

When McNamara was asked if he took any feedback to heart when the employees aired their concerns and complaints to him in one of the monitored sessions, he replied: “I don’t know. It was 2007.”

“I’m not in any way upset or disappointed by what I’ve done, and what I’ve achieved,” he said. “I’m not even remotely defensive about it. I think, if people want to do what I’ve done – to come here and do that – then good luck to them. If people who’ve left the company want to go out there and have some success, then good luck to them.

“If they don’t want to do that with me, that’s fine, too. It’s like musical differences in a rock and roll band, right? People say they do want to do it; some don’t.”

The above is just one snippet from the feature, and it goes on to explain the long working hours the former employees had complained about in previous weeks. McNamara insists that working hours were compensated for, and that he would not ask anyone to work any more than he did himself.

Again, this is an excellent feature, and it is well worth the read.

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24 Comments

  1. Hunam

    Sounds like McNamara is just a bit of a cunt.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Telepathic.Geometry

    There should be a bonus for working for a cunt, sorta like danger money.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. LOLshock94

    bit harsh what hes done to people that have achieved what hes wanted to achieve

    #3 3 years ago
  4. DSB

    I guess they did achieve a small victory by wrapping it up and getting it out of the door. Without the crunchtime it probably would’ve ended up like Duke Nukem Forever. It looks pretty dated as it is.

    @1 Not exactly uncommon for people in leading positions, sadly enough. Incompetence, malice, no situational awareness. I’ve met guys like that just working in supermarkets.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Hunam

    Tbh, Supermarkets attract that kind of person in my experience of working at them when I was a student.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. KrazyKraut

    not only there…in the hotel & gastronomy industry too. ppl like McMalaria suck ass and destroy for every one.

    The best thing in the IGN article is:

    “they didnt pay overtimes, and only when you stayed till the end.”

    and then McMalaria: ” We paid overtimes…we did it. And normally we dont have too”

    I read between the lines, that the guys were right and not the choleric tyrann.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Prof.Dr.Moertel

    Well, guess it´s gonna be tough for McNamara to find enough employees in the future.

    And I´m actually kinda surprised to see such a excellent and investigative piece of writing at IGN.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. DSB

    @5 Exactly, I had my own little anthropological study going. I figure that if you’re stuck running a supermarket, and nobody else would ever dream of hiring you, then you’re ultimately going to make life as bad for everyone else, as it must be for you.

    Still, that McNamara guy sounds just like those supermarket dictators.

    @7 I can’t be arsed to read the article, but do they only have that one unnamed source? Because if so, it’s really not investigative, it’s just being served to them on a silver platter.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Prof.Dr.Moertel

    @8 It´s not only one source, there are multiple ones, programmers, artists etc. All unnamed though. And of course McNamara himself. It´s probably really not extraordinary investigative but good nevertheless.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Moonwalker1982

    So this has little to do with Rockstar? Cause i remember the stories from those Rockstar employee’s wives, about the horrible working conditions during RDR development.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. DSB

    @9 Oh, well if they got more than the one, and they’ve properly confirmed those sources (which we have to assume is the case) then it’s obviously a great story.

    I’ve just only heard of “the one guy” in the previous reports, so I didn’t know.

    Kudos, IGN.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. mathare92

    Thanks for sharing this Steph. Some great insight in that piece. IGN’s apparent phobia of good games writing features like this is one of the main reasons I hardly pay them a visit anymore. Good on them for putting this up. It doesn’t show well on their great number of full-time writers though – the fact that the piece was written by a freelancer, that is.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Hunam

    @10 I’d imagine that rockstar NYC (their head office) knew about all of this but again chose to ignore it like they did with san diego.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. xino

    very single minded…

    #14 3 years ago
  15. osufan21

    I read this article earlier today, its great. Everyone should read it.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Gigabomber

    The big point in the article is the direct quotes from the staff that worked on the project giving voice to their duress. It is unfortunate, but I guess we had all naively hoped that video game dev offices were immune from this sort of thing because we all love the games so much.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. osric90

    So, okay… all the pain and suffering was really worth it.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. brotherhoodofthewolf

    and the game is OK but not that good either! mcnamara must be an absolute shite fella to work for if he has taken seven years and plenty of rockstar funding to get that out of the door.
    i both sympathise and ridicule the staff (not just on this production either). a horrible situation to be in, but for gods sakes they really should organise/unionise better.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. sb319

    It should go without saying, but given some of the comments above I’ll say it anyway – Team Bondi aren’t R*. They are their own company and run it as they wish. If anything, without R*’s professionalism, funding, and commitment the game would never have seen the light of day.

    McNamara may be a horrible cunt and a rotten manager (as are many of the other higher-ups at Team Bondi) but sometimes it takes a cunt like that to get things done and keep a project creatively on track. Probably the greatest difficulty for them was the location – with such an inexperienced staff (and no local means of finding better) it should not be surprising that the few people who actually knew what the fuck they were doing had to become somewhat monstrous to get anything accomplished.

    That said, the Aussies can be a bunch of fucking moaners sometimes. During the final six-month push to get the game done, Team Bondi devs were all hitting the beach come 5.30 (while the R* devs brought in to help voluntarily continued working into the night).

    #19 3 years ago
  20. DSB

    @19 The stick is as valid as the carrot depending on the situation, but no matter which way you swing it, deliberately humiliating people in the middle of an office is not professional, and it does nothing towards building a coherent team.

    Everybody meets a boss like that at some point in their lives, but generally speaking, if you find yourself needing to enforce an atmosphere of fear, then it generally says more for your own lack of leadership ability, and I strongly doubt that it’s the most efficient way to run a workplace.

    Actual respect motivates people a lot better than fear.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. sb319

    Agreed but that’s the world we live in eh? Yet to ever encounter any organization that gets the balance right.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. DSB

    True dat. Cockroaches always slip through the cracks.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. Old MacDonald

    So this Brendan guy is the inspiration for those times when you press “doubt” and your character just goes completely mental on the witness?

    #23 3 years ago
  24. Amaterasu

    Cuntish though he may be, I appreciate his honesty on the matter. And considering the final product, he has nothing to be ashamed about either. In terms of the writing, L.A. Noire is top-notch and it bringes more originality to the table than most any mainstream game could claim. It’s not perfect, but a single glance at the CoDdudebroshootercommunity’s rather negative reaction to the title reveals just how much better the game is than other competitors in the mainstream genres.

    #24 3 years ago

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