It seems the 7-year development of L.A. Noire has put quite a strain on the relationship between developer Team Bondi and publisher Rockstar Games. In fact, it’s being reported by Gamesindustry.biz (via an anonymous source close to the situation) that there is no way Rockstar will be publishing the next Team Bondi project, whatever that happens to be.
"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. Team Bondi are trying to find another publisher for their next title, but the relationship with Rockstar has been badly damaged…," reports the source.
The source went on to explain that if it wasn't for Rockstar's help, Team Bondi would have went under long before development on L.A. Noire was finished.
"…[Team Bondi founder Brendan McNamara] 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.
"Rockstar also made a huge contribution to the development," continued the source. "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 mentioned that Rockstar thought about bringing Team Bondi into their fold as a subsidiary at one point –Rockstar Sydney. However, after spending some time with Bondi during the development of L.A. Noire, it was concluded to be an awful idea.
"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," explained the source.
This news comes to light following an expose posted by IGN about a week and a half ago, which detailed the extreme work conditions at Team Bondi. Since it’s publication, the article has sparked an investigation by the International Game Developers Association into the inhumane treatment of Bondi’s employees by boss Brendan McNamara. In short, working at Team Bondi during the development of L.A. Noire was not all peachy. Therefore, this latest news about Rockstar wanting to cut ties with Bondi and McNamara doesn’t really come out of left field.
We at Crave loved L.A. Noire, but it’s no secret the game took forever to get made and that it cost both Team Bondi and Rockstar a mint to get it out the door. The stress of that whole situation, stretched out over 7 years, can unsurprisingly ruin relationships. It doesn’t take a detective to figure that one out.
We suggest reading the whole article at Gamesindustry. It's a great read that gives some more insight into the whole debacle.