Dave Heironymus, lead gameplay programmer at Team Bondi, has posted an open letter regarding the development of L.A. Noire over on Gamasutra where he states that some of the comments and stories regarding the slave-drive mentality at the firm which have come out lately, are from people who want “to see Team Bondi destroyed.”
According to Heironymus, the accusations made against Team Bondi have been elaborated, and while there was indeed some long hours logged by employees during crunch time, it wasn’t an inhospitable work environment.
“Recognising that working on the weekend was inevitable, Team Bondi put in place a scheme to (generously) reward employees for their weekend days spent at work,” he stated. “Additionally, in the last 6 months of the project a scheme was put in place to reward employees for staying back late on weeknights, and this resulted in myself and most of my team getting an additional 4 weeks of leave upon completion of L.A. Noire, on top of the weekend working payment.
“Towards the end of the project I was probably working (on average) around 65 hours per week. Apart from a few isolated cases (various demo builds) this was the highest my regular hours ever got to, and at no time did I ever work 100 hours per week. If you think about it, that’s 14 hours per day, 7 days per week, which is huge. I can’t say that no-one ever worked 100 hours per week, but those sorts of hours were not encouraged. In fact, if someone on my team was working that hard I would have done my best to stop them.
“I never (and in my experience, neither did any of the other managers) expected anything from my team that I didn’t expect of myself. The management team at Team Bondi was not ensconced in an Ivory Tower working normal hours while everyone else crunched. Brendan himself worked very long hours and few of us here in the studio are aware of how grueling the DA and motion capture shoot in LA was.
“Saying all of this, no-one at Team Bondi is under the illusion that crunching is a good way to work and we’re actively working to learn from our mistakes for our next project. The people at Team Bondi are great to work with and I’m confident that we can make Team Bondi a leading game studio on the international stage.”
You can read Herionymus’ full letter through the link.