L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi has been under the microscope since the Rockstar-published title shipped, and things are still up in the air with regards to how they’ll turn out.
It’s being reported this week that on the heels of the publicity debacle, Team Bondi boss Brendan McNamara is shopping around the possibility of a merger, with fellow Australian company Dr. D Studios/Kennedy-Miller Mitchell Films (which also has a Games division). The digital production firm is co-founded by director George Miller, and behind upcoming flicks Happy Feet 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road.
According to Kotaku Australia, McNamara and others just recently toured the facility — much to the chagrin of some of its ex-Bondi staffers — and that discussions are going on about the developer being folded into Miller’s company. Miller is said to be quite enamored with TB’s 6-year-in-the-making-detective romp.
“Brendan McNamara was seen walking through the buildings of Dr. D yesterday, where Happy Feet 2is being made. Because Dr. D is filled with former Team Bondi employees who left due to the abusive work conditions, this unexpected visit was quite… unsettling – to put it mildly,” claimed an unnamed source within the studio.
“The word is going round that Team Bondi is being folded into KMM studios, Team Bondi is pretty much doomed after the scandal and can’t find any new supporters, so by doing this they can hide their name.“
It was previously alleged from insiders that in the wake of L.A. Noire’s troubled development, Rockstar would not be publishing Team Bondi’s next unannounced project; the L.A. Noire IP is now owned by Rockstar.
There haven’t been any official comments on the matter from any party, so remain skeptical for now.
[Update]: Still no comment from from the company as of yet, but things have gotten more interesting. It’s being reported now that Team Bondi are, in fact, in the bankrupting process (if not there already), and the studio and remaining employees — including McNamara — will be sold off to and absorbed by KMM Films.
Moreover, it’s also claimed that the company which pioneered L.A. Noire‘s MotionScan facial performance capture tech, DepthAnalysis, isn’t doing so hot either. Apparently they too have made “little to no money” off it, and are struggling. No word on what may happen/be happening with them. Rumor has had it that Rockstar were considering MotionScan for other titles, chiefly GTAV, so things could pick up. There’s always the chance the firm and/or the tech itself could be acquired, too.
Interestingly, one competitor in the performance capture space, Heavy Rain’s Quantic Dream, recently commented on MotionScan, saying it was not the way of the future, and called it an “interesting dead end”. DepthAnalysis later refuted the statement, saying they were overhauling the tech, and it would soon sport the ability to capture full body performances.
L.A. Noire admittedly did not burn up the sales charts compared to other Take-Two/Rockstar efforts (currently surpassing just 4 million copies), but its primary developers basically going ass-up after it’s release is a curious result. It would be something to find out what’s going on with the publishing contract on the troubled production, but this smacks of horrendously inept management, just as has been unearthed, if the situation winds up panning out. We’ll have to wait and see.