Team Bondi selling studio, IP - Report

L.A. Noire developer's assets scooped up by Mad Max director's multimedia production firm; all employees offered jobs with acquiring outfit.

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The reputation of L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi was tarnished earlier this year when employee complaints about abusive working conditions and credits omissions drew the attention of the International Game Developers Association. At the time, one of Team Bondi's senior-most developers said the studio would learn from its mistakes, but the company might not have the chance.

L.A. Noire is the only game in Team Bondi's six-year history.

According to a Develop report, "a source close to the matter" has told the trade publication that Team Bondi's intellectual property and assets have been sold to Sydney-based multimedia production firm Kennedy Miller Mitchell. The firm--cofounded by Mad Max director George Miller and frequent producing partner Doug Mitchell--is currently working on the film Happy Feet 2 and in pre-production on Mad Max: Fury Road. Its game-making arm, KMM Games, is producing the game adaptation of Happy Feet 2.

Develop's source states that all Team Bondi employees have been given the choice of moving to work at Kennedy Miller Mitchell or accepting a severance package. It's unclear if KMM plans to have Team Bondi continue to exist as a label. However a transfer of ownership to KMM plays out, it won't include the L.A. Noire name, as that intellectual property is owned by Rockstar Games.

For more on L.A. Noire, check out GameSpot's review.

Discussion

70 comments
th3warr1or
th3warr1or

Rockstar games still owns LA Noire, so LA Noire 2 (if there is one) will be made by Rockstar, probably (and hopefully) under the RAGE engine.

ryzrocks
ryzrocks

They still made millions of dollars and made millions of fans....so they just gonna leave us hanging 4 maybe the next decade

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

Considering all the controversy surrounding the development of L.A. Noire, this was seen coming. I don't know whether it's a good or a bad thing, but as long as the studio doesn't go to Activision everything will be A-Okay. What happened in the past can't be changed.

mull20641
mull20641

I'm torn, is this a good thing or a bad thing?

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

@alexLmx6 You missed my point. My point was that when you have a different studio handle an IP, it's almost never up to the same quality. Crash Bandicoot's a good example, when Naughty Dog moved on from that franchise, games were still made after they left, but they were all crap. Fortunately, if any publisher has a stable of dev teams that are universally great, it's Rockstar, so maybe they'll buck the trend.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

@ CaptainHerlock the fact that you agree that there have been lawsuits of over the rights to Superman proves my point. notice how i still agreed with your original point?

Vodoo
Vodoo

There goes the chance of having a good sequel to LA Noire.

fadersdream
fadersdream

Someones defending heavy rain as having "more" gameplay? L.A. Noire wasn't exclusive... it's okay, let it go. You should Alan Wake!

HaloPimp978
HaloPimp978

I guess their next game is Happy Feet LA lol

iEatToothpicks
iEatToothpicks

Sooooo happy! L.A. Noire was poo, It was a 20 hour movie, No gameplay what-so-ever... I like "Games" like Heavy Rain, But even that had gameplay.... This game was like peddling your first bike with training wheels, it did almost everything for you. So glad rockstar are not wasting more time on another one of these games, Go away L.A. Noire, your idea and game was a flop. Hell even it coming out on PC is annoying me, Red dead would have been a WAY better game to bring to PC than this pile of crap, Go on youtube and you can play L.A. Noire on there.... LOL

phillkillv2
phillkillv2

Please don't sell it to Activision !

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

@FallenOneX It's not a "bad analogy" just because you declare it so. Why do you think DC or Marvel don't take outside submissions anymore? All the characters that Jack Kirby created over the years for Marvel he never owned the rights to. Why do you think Todd MacFarlane held back Spawn, which he created in 1979, from appearing in any Marvel comic? There's been lawsuits for ages over the rights to Superman. As far as games it also applies. David Jaffe doesn't own the rights to God of War, nor Twisted Metal. Sony does because they published both games.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

@ CaptainHerlock I know what you're trying to say, but bad analogy. Just look up Superman.

MOwens9512
MOwens9512

This was kinda seen coming. After all the bad press about how things were run, it's not suprising that the studio heads might want to bail before the hammer dropped. Just sucks that the employees were kinda left out there. It's good that KMM are offering them jobs though. Also, people can probably stop complaining about L.A. Noire 2 (if there is going to be one). Rockstar owns the rights and knowing them have been already tinkering with at least using the tech used in L.A. Noire in there next game if not considering another game in the series.

Pumpkinhead3
Pumpkinhead3

Well maybe someday we'll still get LA Noire 2.

nickery123
nickery123

shame, LA Noire was the first game in a while I really thoroughly enjoyed and I was sad when I got the the finish so its really too bad that these guys are getting screwed over after doing a really fantastic job

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

L.A. Noire has sold nearly three million copies, and that's in a very competitive game market. RockStar isn't stupid, they know they have a hot property on their hands. I'm fairly certain there will be another game.

TheIfym20
TheIfym20

LA noire is one of my favorite games of the year. I guess don't be expecting a sequel anytime soon.

jeffreystark069
jeffreystark069

Why is everybody talking about Happy Feet 2??? Maybe Frank Miller bought them to make a series of Mad Max games... Now there is something I'd buy!!!!!

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

@Giga_Surfer It's because who ever publishes the game owns the rights to the name and the intellectual property. It's kind of like if you create a character and it's published in Marvel. You don't own the character, because you were working for Marvel. Marvel owns the character. It's the same thing in the game industry. RockStar owns the game.

Giga_Surfer
Giga_Surfer

They just killed the game, even worse I don't get it why they would buy the studio but not L.A Noir, this story doesn't make sense at all, I can't see what anyone would want to by buy Team Bondi.

nurnberg
nurnberg

Something is fishy in this story... The game sold millions. It looks like some corrupt executives put all the money in their pockets and ran.

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

I think Rockstar should continue L.A. Noire, maybe with something like N.Y. Noire (or just L.A. Noire 2). I thought it was extremely original, especially with the investigations, and how you'd have to pay attention to people's facial expressions to see if they were lying or telling the truth, like a real cop.

PumpkinBoogie
PumpkinBoogie

@alexLmx6, While that's true, what OJdaLIONKing is getting at is not the fact of whether any future installments would be done....the question is w/ a different set of 'hands' (i.e. a different dev team other than Bondi), if the quality & magic that made Noire what it was won't be affected by this sort of shake-up.

ziproy
ziproy

Awesome, I can't wait for Happy Noire to come out

alexLmx6
alexLmx6

@OJdaLIONKing - Rockstar owns the L.A. Noire IP, this will have no effect on whether a sequel will be made or not.

jellyman68
jellyman68

I hope the uncertainty with this studio is swiftly resolved. L.A. Noire wasn't the ground-breaking, mind-blowing, super amazing game of the decade that people were expecting, but nonetheless it's a great game and I'd happily buy any sequel.

deathstream
deathstream

I had more fun playing DNF than I did playing L.A. Noire. Reviewers got distracted by the tech and gave it ludicrously high scores. Rockstar is the company with the history of employee abuse, so I would guess that they were behind the Bondi problems, too. Hopefully Rockstar can make a decent Noire game and the Bondi team can succeed without Rockstar trying to make their next game into something it isn't. It is clear that the two companies were a poor fit and that the conflict hurt the final product.

zaphodbblbrox
zaphodbblbrox

Rockstar, don't leave us hanging without the PC port puhleeeze?

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

The way this studio was run was questionable at best, but that doesn't mean this is the solution, particularly when the buyer seems to be interested in nothing more than crappy movie games. Does this mean no more LA Noire 2? It was a great game but even if the name continues to exist, in general handing an IP to a completely unrelated dev never turns out great.

calvinsora
calvinsora

That's a rather sordid conclusion to a franchise, at least in terms of who develops it. And being sold to a company that makes Happy Feet 2, that's a real slap in the face.

JohnnyWPSP
JohnnyWPSP

It would have been a lot better if Rockstar bought them and turned them into Rockstar Sydney.

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

that's hard to tell. but that's the right thing to do.

JohnnyWPSP
JohnnyWPSP

@VilandasUK: Woudn't hurt if you'd put a spoiler warning for everyone who hasn't finished the game yet.

Jaga_Telesin
Jaga_Telesin

So, were the people responsible for the outrageous overtime sacked? Or did they get bonuses and the option to transfer as well?

adit942
adit942

That's what you get for not releasing L.A noire on the pc :P

leikeylosh
leikeylosh

That's sad and all, but... L.A. Noire's PC port?

Spartan-1657
Spartan-1657

wow, I feel terrible for these guys. Losing their jobs or going to a company that develops games like Happy Feet 2. Haven't these employees been punished enough? wow!

tmacman
tmacman

Team Bondi nagged about so called "harsh" working conditions, other devs came forwards and said "That's nothing", R* let them go, now they make "Happy Feet" games. FAIL

VilandasUK
VilandasUK

Oh well, I hope they are going to make LA Niore 2, because every game Rockstar Games made was great, but to be honest with you I didn't like the ending, what I was hoping to see in LA Noire end was Cole to become a hero and not to die in sewers. :(

Diophage
Diophage

I hope Rockstar North and Rockstar Sandiego develop L.A. Noire 2. I bet they would do a better job than Team Bondi did with the first one. It is Rockstar's own IP, so why not?

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

There was bad blood in the water (to mix metaphors) over the whole L.A. Noire, so i guess it's not surprising that there is fallout. This is extreme, but still. Fallout. Oh wait, wrong dev.

telefanatic
telefanatic

Hope all is well for them, i was in similiar situation couple of years ago, the company i worked for got bought out and within few months they were closing down the shop and moving to another state, i have worked there for 7 years so it was hard and all of the employees in the shop were like family so it was hard on us all (we all belonged to Ironworkers Union). All we got was a weak severance package that we had to take or nothing at all. I hope everything workes out great for these guys.

homegirl2180
homegirl2180

No jobs are being shipped overseas. Team Bondi has always been based in Sydney, which is why it didn't surprise me that another Sydney company bought them. That being said, I can't claim I know enough of what went on between R* and Team Bondi and Team Bondi's employees. All I can say is I hope they'll still be able to make good games.

asmodeus_z
asmodeus_z

Your employees is your greatest assets. Treat them like dirt and you will not lasts long too ...