A number of anonymous developers who worked on Team Bondi's L.A. Noire
claim the game's seven-year cycle was due to "mismanagement," but studio head Brendan McNamara says he's done nothing wrong.
Speaking anonymously to IGN
, a number of ex-developers have alleged that McNamara's studio offered them "appalling working conditions," that McNamara himself was "angry and abusive," and that department leads were "ineffective" at protecting their teams from "perpetual crunch and weekend overtime."
One major complaint centers around McNamara's management style, with developers complaining that if he wanted something changed, he would bypass section leads and go straight to the team members implementing the content. Even if the request was "unreasonable," a developer said, their bosses would be "ultimately powerless" to challenge the decision.
"It's my game," McNamara told IGN in response. "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," he continued, saying that Rockstar's Sam Houser has a similar management style.
McNamara denied allegations that young recruits were expected to work a near-persistent crunch (one ex-employee said that he was "just a resource to be burned through") while upper management went home.
"People don't work any longer hours than I do. I don't turn up at 9am and go home at 5pm, and go to the beach," he said, never actually denying the game's long crunch cycles. "I'm here at the same hours as everybody else is."
"If you wanted to do a nine-to-five job, you'd be in another business," he added.
This is not the first time former Team Bondi employees have spoken out against the company. Over 100 developers who claim to have contributed to L.A. Noire
's development say they were not officially credited
for their work because they had left the company before the game was completed, with many complaining of 10-12 hour work days that included weekends.
"There has been a lot of press saying how incredible this is for the Australian gaming industry, since it is the biggest (and most successful) game made in Australia to date," an anonymous developer said. "But that has come at the price, as most of the people that worked on it will never have proof of having worked there (unless they want to pull out a paycheck)."