Our very first hands-on with Cyberpunk 2077 -- can this game truly live up to the hype? Read on for our full thoughts...
Cyberpunk 2077 Hands-On - A Life More Complicated
From mash-up to sampling to festival culture and dance music, Harmonix’s latest puts player choice and expression front-and-centre.
FUSER - Harmonix Sets its Sights on Festival Lights
The latest June 2020 quarterly update on Diablo IV is a treasure trove of new info, so let’s break it down.
Diablo 4 Update – Open World, Events, Legendary Gear, and More
As the latest LG OLED, the CX presents a high-end display that takes OLED technology forward in meaningful ways.
LG CX 65-inch 4K OLED - A Stunning Next-Gen Ready Display
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 10:28am 29/06/11 | 67 Comments
The International Game Developers Association intends to investigate claims made since the release of the critically acclaimed L.A. Noire, that its employees were mistreated by studio head, Brendan McNamara, and were often forced to work in excess of 100-hours a week during crunch periods, without overtime pay. 130-odd employees or ex-employees at the studio are also complaining about being left off the game's end-credits.

"Certainly reports of 12-hour a day, lengthy crunch time, if true, are absolutely unacceptable and harmful to the individuals involved, the final product, and the industry as a whole," IGDA chair, Brian Robbins told Develop.

He's also asking that any current or ex-employees of the Sydney-based development studio contact the IGDA to help them better understand the situation, from both ends of the spectrum.

"We encourage any Team Bondi employee and/or family member to email qol@igda.org with comments about the recent past and current situation - positive or negative," he said.

In rebuttal to these allegations, McNamara spoke with IGN who first broke the story, but appeared unapologetic for anything he'd allegedly done.

"It's like musical differences in a rock and roll band, right? People say they do want to do it; some don't," he said. "The expectation is slightly weird here, that you can do this stuff without killing yourself. Well, you can't, whether it's in London or New York or wherever; you're competing against the best people in the world at what they do, and you just have to be prepared to do what you have to do to compete against those people.

"If you wanted to do a nine-to-five job, you'd be in another business," he added.

We'll have more on this as it obviously develops over time, but we do know some of our regular visitors are current or former employees of the studio, and we encourage them to support or defend any of the above in our Comments section.



team bondil.a. noire





Latest Comments
fade
Posted 10:32am 29/6/11

If you wanted to do a nine-to-five job, you'd be in another business," he added.

I've heard that one here. Along with, you want school hours - be a teacher.
Midda
Posted 10:36am 29/6/11
If you wanted to do a nine-to-five job, you'd be in another business," he added.

Load of bulls***. Over-time is most often the result of poor decisions by management.
Khel
Posted 10:38am 29/6/11
Yeah, a friend of mine from melbourne worked for them for a while as an animator in 2008 - 2009, and had no end of horror stories to tell. I think he said his record was working 23 days in a row without a single day off, and 10 - 12 hour days became pretty much the norm. And if you did less than that, you'd be reprimanded for not pulling your weight. He was on a contract and they were CONSTANTLY holding the threat of cancelling his contract over his head to make him work harder, he ended up quitting and moving back to melbourne cos he was utterly miserable there.

Just emailed this to him, so hopefully he sends the IGDA an email.
bepatient
Posted 10:43am 29/6/11
If you wanted to do a nine-to-five job, you'd be in another business

I kinda agree with this quote because its such a passion for the people who do it. With that said though, I believe you should be compensated accordingly. Bit of a cop out to use that as an excuse though.
Mephz
Posted 10:42am 29/6/11
Those sorts of comments are from my observations usually handed out by people in managerial roles who are really poor at their job and typically lazy pricks themselves.
Dan
Posted 10:56am 29/6/11
If any of this is true, it paints a pretty sad picture about the state of game development in Australia. That in order to actually be competitive with a big budget AAA title, management have to work their staff like slaves to achieve the same level of product that Canadian and US studios can put out under normal operating conditions.

L.A. Noire has impressed me more than any other game developed in Australia since like Dark Reign 2 eleven years ago. I mean, there's been a few decent games come out locally in recent years, but nothing I'd rate in that same top tier league.

So is it all about the tax breaks and IR laws that are on offer in those other countries, or is it just that all of Australia's best dev talent has already left for those pastures?

On one hand team Team Bondi's management sound completely out of line in what they've put their staff through, but on the other hand, they achieved a result that other local studios have not been able to. I'm not saying what they allegedly did was right -- far from it -- but I think it potentially highlights that our Country isn't doing enough to foster this important creative industry.
Sipawhore
Posted 10:59am 29/6/11
God this just reminds me of my last 3d project. Was given a really poorly designed storyboard with minimal information, had 3 months to work solo, did 12-14 hour days, weekends and even had to bring in my home pc for rendering. The project took 3 months and the budget was 4k...after that we got rid of the project manager haha.

So yes it is a s*** manager who doesn't know how to plan properly for a project.
taggs
Posted 11:27am 29/6/11
what exactly is this investigation by some non-profit games development body supposed to do? they have zero power to do anything meaningful so i assume they will write up a report saying Team Bondi were naughty, naughty children? or have i completely missed the significance here?

Load of bulls***. Over-time is most often the result of poor decisions by management.


lol.

conducted a comprehensive survey of paid over-time in australia, have we? or are we making sweeping generalisations because once upon a time we had a bad manager?
Khel
Posted 11:20am 29/6/11
I'd assume Midda was just talking about overtime in game development specifically.
Raven
Posted 11:24am 29/6/11
Having to work more than 40 hours a week is simply due to poor budgeting and management decision on deadlines. If someone needs to work 70 hours a week to get stuff done, you *clearly* need to be employing two people that that one role.

When I worked at Ausregistry there were periods where the team(s) were doing 60 hour weeks - people would be there sometimes til 4am, then come back at 10am completely trashed and ready/having to do it all again. I got hauled in over standing up for the team and insisting they do reasonable, manageable hours. Shortly after I left, the team I was on started needing to do 70 hour weeks. (Also, after I left, the teams bug/defect rate went off the charts).

Now I work for a University where if I work more than 37.25 hours/week, they get unhappy :)
Hogfather
Posted 11:26am 29/6/11
My people work 7.5 hours a day, no overtime. Ever. Leave taken every year. If they go over that it becomes a problem and we actually start counselling them to reduce hours.

Its not about being humanitarian, I could probably squeeze more out of them. I reckon the quality of work I get from them is better this way, and unpaid overtime is a false economy. Most places I've worked in where the team worked 10+ hours a day weren't as focused and productive.
Enska
Posted 11:28am 29/6/11
Yeah I previously subbied to a bloke who would make me take a day off if I hit 38 before the week was up, but that wasn't because there was nothing to do, he just didn't want to pay ot.
Midda
Posted 11:32am 29/6/11
lol.

conducted a comprehensive survey of paid over-time in australia, have we? or are we making sweeping generalisations because once upon a time we had a bad manager?

I'm talking about my experience in the games industry.
Sickly
Posted 12:06pm 29/6/11
"I kinda agree with this quote because its such a passion for the people who do it. "

Rubbish. Saying that it's okay to overwork and underpay someone because they enjoy their work is taking complete advantage of someone. It's a poor excuse for bad management and cost cutting.
Fixah
Posted 12:26pm 29/6/11
^ I agree with your first post, as such, you'll come along way around here.
WetWired
Posted 12:29pm 29/6/11
That is possibly the best first post ever, I couldn't agree more.
Thundercracker
Posted 12:33pm 29/6/11
There are a few teams where I work that are forced to work weekends and crazy hours when a big project looms. They don't get paid for the privilege either. I just point and laugh, it's not hard in my industry to find work where they don't try and f*** you over like that.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 12:33pm 29/6/11
Every games journo who ever got their start at Next Media (PC PowerPlay, Hyper, Nintendo Gamer etc) back before they were bought out by the current mob, were totally hired as cheap, passionate labour. I got my official start there (after writing for a few fan sites in the late 90s) and was totally exploited. Small budget, smaller team, and crazy work hours to get everything done. No formal training in any of the extra roles we all had to perform etc...

However, I did get my start there, so it's tough to be overly annoyed at those days, but I guess it's one of those things that happens - exploitation in the workplace is common, and while it needs to be changed, it's unlikely it ever will be
bepatient
Posted 12:46pm 29/6/11
"I kinda agree with this quote because its such a passion for the people who do it. "

Rubbish. Saying that it's okay to overwork and underpay someone because they enjoy their work is taking complete advantage of someone. It's a poor excuse for bad management and cost cutting.


Although I admit I should've explained what I mean by it a little better, you obviously didn't read the rest of my comment where I stated they should be compensated accordingly AND that the excuse was a cop out. So I never said that it's ok to "overwork and underpay someone because they enjoy their work". Next time read my whole comment before responding.
infi
Posted 12:43pm 29/6/11
hey if you enjoy having no quality of life - go for it.
Eorl
Posted 12:50pm 29/6/11
And this is why I am getting out of this industry by changing degrees to Teaching. S*** is going down hill in this country.
Paul
Posted 01:06pm 29/6/11
The whole idea of having a project manager is to manage a project in an efficient and productive manner. If ANYONE is forced to work that much overtime, then that project manager should be fired.

I don't care what anybody says, working ridiculous hours just to complete a project IS and always will be, the fault of management, and anybody who is unwilling to work those overtime hours should NEVER be reprimanded for that.

Happiness and focus are key elements in being productive in the workplace.
shcipwa
Posted 01:18pm 29/6/11
Unfortunately the "crunch" mode has become a trend in all areas of the software industry not just games.

The main difference I see is that game industry managers take advantage of developers passion and actually plan for crunch mode as a way of getting cheap labor.

In the days of ID Software's beginnings "crunch mode" or "the death schedule" was glorified as pizza, coke and programming what you love for long hours, difference being that those guys all owned the company and were working hard for themselves.

Now days you have very profitable companies forcing this trend on the passionate programmers and artists who get piss all share in profits when it succeeds.

In the end of the day, if you don't like the way a company is run, nobody is holding a gun to your head to stay there.

What better time to start something better than an industry full of disgruntled employees.
bepatient
Posted 01:24pm 29/6/11
Now days you have very profitable companies forcing this trend on the passionate programmers and artists who get piss all share in profits when it succeeds.

This. I cannot possibly agree more.
skythra
Posted 01:33pm 29/6/11
I kinda agree with this quote because its such a passion for the people who do it. With that said though, I believe you should be compensated accordingly. Bit of a cop out to use that as an excuse though.

Well, isn't it more like this: Guy goes to university because he's passionate about videogames. Finishes degree and finds a position in a good respected company. He wants to progress his life with his family (perhaps wife and children) but can not. Then is faced instead with the options 1) Leave the video game industry or 2) Be a s***** father/partner.

Doesn't sound australian, or even humane to me. But then again we decry china for doing things not far disimilar but i guess it's okay when our locals do it.

Edit: I just wanted to add when i worked with some programmers, they were underpaid and overworked, constant weekends and long (sometimes 14+) hours. The reason they were fearful of leaving wasn't the economic climate, but they had to be 100% sure they had a job lined up the week after they left. With kids and a home to pay for, s*** was too risky to ruin their family life because their life at worked sucked. Even though their work life was already above 50% of their life.
Dan
Posted 01:32pm 29/6/11
I think we've established that the consensus is that it's not acceptable for people to work in crunch-time conditions in Australia, but does anyone else see the bigger issue that an Australian studio was seemingly only capable of creating a top-tier game due to (alleged) inhumane working conditions?

Or do people seriously think that LA Noire could have been the high-rating, top-selling game it is today if the Sydney-based Studio had benevolent management? I think that's the point -- as pigheaded as it comes across -- that McNamara is trying to make in that IGN article.

No other Australian-developed game really comes close. Think about the bigger games that have come out of Aus studios in the past few years. de Blob, Stormrise, you can even count BioShock 2 if you want but obviously the great mobile and indie stuff doesn't count. While certainly not terrible, they're really not even in the same league as LA Noire.

So what I'm saying is that maybe Team Bondi's success -- if it is indeed due only to unacceptable employer practices -- highlights a bigger issue with the viability of operating a game development studio under Australia's current economic conditions.

If -- as McNamara claims -- that is the only way to ship a globally competitive product when you're creating in Australia, then something is wrong with the system that they're trying to operate within.
Hogfather
Posted 01:34pm 29/6/11
Game publishers are mostly American, right?

There could be a problem.
bepatient
Posted 01:38pm 29/6/11
Well, isn't it more like this: Guy goes to university because he's passionate about videogames. Finishes degree and finds a position in a good respected company....

This, as I said, is because I should've explained what I meant by it a little better.

Regardless, I am completely against forcing people to do additional hours. I agree with everything everyone is saying here, what I was simply trying to point out, whether its right or wrong and regardless of the causes, is development projects always seem to require more than a 9-5 commitment.
shcipwa
Posted 01:40pm 29/6/11
It is not like the US games industry is all hunky dory when it comes to this type of treatment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EA_Spouse

I'm not sure how much the industry has reformed since then, I can't imagine it is completely gone.
Eorl
Posted 01:52pm 29/6/11
Well, isn't it more like this: Guy goes to university because he's passionate about videogames. Finishes degree and finds a position in a good respected company....

It is like that. That is what I am doing. I went TAFE, now at Uni switched from programming major to game design major. But now I am realising that the government is only now just waking up to supporting the industry, that right now, the Australian games industry is practically dead, with only small indie titles, in the manner of smartphone games or facebook games, that are making money. That and if you actually want to work in a job that pays your way, you need to slave hour after hour, until the point where you actually start hating your job. Also 6 month contracts, and if they don't like you, or they've gotten all they need out of you, kapoot. So the only real thing to do, is make your own business/indie group, and then you have to manage that etc.

It's just not affordable at the moment for Australians to get into the Games Industry. It's sad, and as Dan says, the only real way we can compete, is by slaving away, 100 hour + work weeks, and working for companies that will flick us as soon as they've gotten what they need. There is no real permanent career in the games industry, unless your a higher up, or you've been working for 5+ years, and can go apply at the bigger companies.
thermite
Posted 01:53pm 29/6/11
I'm curious as to what the average age/experience is of the employees that got shafted. When you're new to a creative industry you are very susceptible to these businessman scheisters that want the world for free and make a lot of promises.
Midda
Posted 01:54pm 29/6/11
Or do people seriously think that LA Noire could have been the high-rating, top-selling game it is today if the Sydney-based Studio had benevolent management? I think that's the point -- as pigheaded as it comes across -- that McNamara is trying to make in that IGN article.

I'm not going to make any comments specifically about Team Bondi, as I was there as a contractor, so I had different arrangements to a lot of other people there, but I think Hoggy was right about overtime being false economy. If you think you're actually getting 12 hours of work per day out of people who are there for 12 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, you're seriously deluding yourself. There are more efficient ways to work, and I don't think any project *needs* obscene amounts overtime.
Khel
Posted 02:00pm 29/6/11
Or do people seriously think that LA Noire could have been the high-rating, top-selling game it is today if the Sydney-based Studio had benevolent management?


Yes, as long as it was benevolent, competant management. Especially since they had Rockstar bankrolling them and helping them, and had such a large team working on the title.

does anyone else see the bigger issue that an Australian studio was seemingly only capable of creating a top-tier game due to (alleged) inhumane working conditions?


It also took them 7 years, two publishers and a hell of a lot of other people's money. If nothing else, that has to raise some alarm bells about poor management.

Sure, no other game aussie studios have put out a high profile title like that, but how many other game studios have Sony and Rockstar millions behind them, or have 100+ people working on a single project. Australian game companies aren't geared up to make these sort of games, I don't think its that we can't, we just don't have studios built to do it. Sure Team Bondi did it, but I really don't think they should be held up as some kind of example, because they did it VERY VERY POORLY. Yeah the game turned out good in the end, but do you think if Rockstar weren't involved it would have?
Hogfather
Posted 01:55pm 29/6/11
But now I am realising that the government is only now just waking up to supporting the industry

Woah there tiger.
Eorl
Posted 01:57pm 29/6/11
Woah there tiger.

Haha, I'm just annoyed that I got led by all these shiny things :( Ah well, gotta figure something else out! Such is life.
Taipan
Posted 02:00pm 29/6/11
Yeah I previously subbied to a bloke who would make me take a day off if I hit 38 before the week was up, but that wasn't because there was nothing to do, he just didn't want to pay ot.


Ah mate you should of been getting O/T everytime you worked more than 8 paid hours in a day. I actually didn't think that "work 38 hours then get o/t" actually even existed in Australia. To do that allows and employer to thrash the f*****g s*** out of you for a couple of days and then punt you off home without paying any penalties and it's a blatant manipulation of the system and total f*****g bulls***.

It's stories like the one in the OP that highlight the reasons why unions or an organized workforce is still important. If you don't think most companies would work you into the ground for peanuts given the chance you are f*****g kidding yourselves. Sure you might find the odd comapny that has a clue and realizes a happy workforce is loyal and productive but those companies aren't in the majority.

Hogfather I like your first post sadly though there aren't enough bosses around with that much of a clue. Wish there were a few more of you in the work place.

last edited by Taipan at 14:00:23 29/Jun/11
Paul
Posted 02:03pm 29/6/11
Well, actually the GFC is holding a gun to their heads.

No-one can afford to be out of the job.
Dan
Posted 02:11pm 29/6/11
It is not like the US games industry is all hunky dory when it comes to this type of treatment.
Yep for sure, I'm sure there are plenty over the guilty of the same, U.S. labour laws let companies get away with way more of that type of s*** than they would here. But there are definitely plenty of places shipping top-tier games where that isn't the case. A good friend of mine recently started at Epic in NC and is absolutely loving it there.

I don't think its that we can't, we just don't have studios built to do it.
That's definitely a much more uplifting possibility, but then you have to ask why don't we have them? Perhaps it's as simple as the exchange rate reason as Hogfather pointed out, but other creative industries here in Australia seem to bang out some globally competitive products (Fox and Warner's film studios as examples) which also tends to suggest that it's not just our smaller population base either.

I don't know much about the differences between the tax-breaks/grants that film production gets versus games, but it seems like that would be the most likely culprit.
Eorl
Posted 02:19pm 29/6/11
Pretty much, and no one can afford to be given a job either
taggs
Posted 02:32pm 29/6/11
I don't know much about the differences between the tax-breaks/grants that film production gets versus games, but it seems like that would be the most likely culprit.


you're right, they get very generous government assistance.

Australian Screen Production Incentive
The Australian Screen Production Incentive is the Australian Government’s primary mechanism of supporting film and television production.

It provides generous tax incentives for film, television and other screen production in Australia and is available in three streams:

- the Producer Offset, to encourage the production of Australian film and television projects. For information on this offset visit Screen Australia which administers this scheme

- the Location Offset, a 15 per cent rebate which supports the production of large-budget film and television projects shot in Australia

- the PDV Offset, a 15 per cent rebate which supports work on post, digital and visual effects production (PDV) in Australia, regardless of where a project is shot.


http://www.arts.gov.au/film/production-incentive
thermite
Posted 02:39pm 29/6/11
There's no grants in the film industry, only loans which come with some pretty uncomfortable terms, and tax breaks for investors.
taggs
Posted 02:43pm 29/6/11
only loans which come with some pretty uncomfortable terms


are you talking about loans from the government or just standard commercial loans?
shcipwa
Posted 02:43pm 29/6/11
I think if you are looking to find a reliable job so you can buy a house and pop out 3 kids, no volatile industry is for you.

If you are a programmer who could actually cut it in the games industry (by far one of the most technically challenging disciplines of software if not any job) you could easily contract in business IT to make a dumptruck of cash while times are "tough"

There is a skill shortage in the Australian software market and contractor rates are higher here now that the UK (thats saying something) and plenty of jobs.

I am doing exactly what I have described here, I have saved enough money to work the next 2 years on the thing I am passionate about... making games.

F*** AAA titles, the industry has to grow organically, and that is exactly what we Australia is doing,

Australian independent titles and mobile games are competing very well on the world stage, teams that try to make AAA titles in any country as their first release are getting ahead of themselves.
thermite
Posted 02:55pm 29/6/11
are you talking about loans from the government or just standard commercial loans?


http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/funding/
There's also the QLD one http://www.pftc.com.au/ but their site is down or perhaps they don't exist anymore, but other states have one like http://film.vic.gov.au.
To get the funding you already have to be working with people that are well-known and successful within the industry, their committee get to call the shots on your script/development, and they partially own the project.
Hogfather
Posted 02:59pm 29/6/11
There's no grants in the film industry ... tax breaks for investors.

From my chair that looks awfully like a grant.

Sure it comes out of one end of general revenue rather than the other, but call a spade a spade.
Eorl
Posted 02:59pm 29/6/11
Oh most definitely Shcipwa, and it's something I'm passionate for, but I'm just finding I'm more passionate now in other directions, and couple with the issues I talked about before, it's making me find other avenues.
Dan
Posted 03:09pm 29/6/11
I suppose another big difference with game and film production is there's not much opportunity for promoting Australian culture in them. None of the remotely successful Australian games promote the Country in any way. Hell, LA Noire is a game set in Los Angeles made by Australians under British management.

Whereas films that are shot here tend to promote some kind of tourism with their scenery at the very least and often their content as well. How many tourists would have visited NZ because it looked nice in LOTR? The closet a game comes to that is with something like AFL 2011 and I don't think that's even sold outside of Australia. Other than that (and if you can count Ty the Tasmanian Tiger) there's no Australiana in Australian-developed games.

That said, regardless of those more obvious economic benefits, the government still should be supporting the Australian game dev industry more because it's one of the few things we'll be possibly capable of excelling at above developing countries further into the future, once the rest of our manufacturing has departed for cheaper shores.
bepatient
Posted 03:12pm 29/6/11
That is a really good point, I had never even thought of it from the perspective of promoting tourism (or lack of in this case).
Dan
Posted 03:12pm 29/6/11
From my chair that looks awfully like a grant.
Nobody even specifically confirmed the grants part in the first place. I was only questioning and taggs only confirmed the tax breaks in reply.
ravn0s
Posted 03:16pm 29/6/11
rockstar should do a GTA set in australia
glynd
Posted 03:22pm 29/6/11
rockstar should do a GTA set in australia


do missions for uncle chop chop.
Hogfather
Posted 03:23pm 29/6/11
^ haha
Eorl
Posted 03:24pm 29/6/11
Ride kangaroos?
thermite
Posted 03:26pm 29/6/11
I think you're overestimating the success Australian-themed films have overseas. The real figure is zero. Zero success.
Eorl
Posted 03:30pm 29/6/11
Hey, Australia was a hit classic...wasn't it?
Door
Posted 03:35pm 29/6/11
I think you're overestimating the success Australian-themed films have overseas. The real figure is zero. Zero success.


Crocodile Dundee, BMX Bandits, The Castle, Wolf Creek and the Mad Max series. They're just some Australian THEMED ones off the top of my head. Zero Success...
infi
Posted 03:43pm 29/6/11
Australia.
thermite
Posted 03:46pm 29/6/11
I'll give you Crocodile Dundee, from 25 years ago. My original remark was going to be; to make a successful Australiana game it would have to be marketed by Paul Hogan.
The other movies might be well known to you, but they are not successful. The Castle is a frequently cited example of a film that failed because it was too Australian. I do note that Wolf Creek did alright, but horror films are a bit of an exception because they always find a niche market to sell in.
Door
Posted 04:26pm 29/6/11
I'll take Mad Max too.

Mad Max:
Though the film had a limited run in North America and earned only $8 million there, it did very well elsewhere around the world and went on to earn $100 million worldwide.[20] Since it was independently financed with a reported budget of just A$400,000, it was a major financial success.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Max

Australian films generally start out slow in the US and then BAM. Opening Box Office figures isn't a sign of success with our films. Americans just don't rush out to see a foreign film initially, it's all word-of-mouth. The US has millions to waste on advertising in their country, we don't. There are heaps of successful Australian films. Anyway, our film success shouldn't be judged by US figures, most of our Audience is else where. E.g. Only 24% of Revenue for "Australia" came from the US. The rest of the world is more open to foreign movies...and any foreign culture in general actually. As we don't spend eleventy bazillion on worldwide advertising, I think we're pretty successful considering the handful of artistic products we produce.

To contradict myself, I saw the movie Sanctum the other day and boy was it a steaming pile of s***. Worst acting and writing I've ever seen, how do they get funding for such trash? KILL IT!

last edited by Door at 16:26:20 29/Jun/11
Raider
Posted 04:43pm 29/6/11
Well, isn't it more like this: Guy goes to university because he's passionate about videogames. Finishes degree and finds a position in a good respected company....


More like guy goes to uni because he's passionate then tries to get a job and gets shat on because there is no industry. Most of the peeps i know that went to uni with either doing something else... finally got a job after ~2years of looking or like me went into a different field.
TBBle
Posted 05:32pm 29/6/11
A few posters above have missed the point. McNamara's point in the article is that _anywhere_ you can't make a successful game without burning your staff through years of 60-80 hour weeks, and that Australians expect to not have to do that, therefore you can't make this sort of game in Australia.

He wouldn't try Australia again because he wants to work with people who expect to be doing continuous crunch for the life of a project.

It's clearer in the IGN article, but even the excerpted quote above is quite clear that he's not talking about needing to do continuous crunch because it's Australia, he's talking about Australians not expecting to have to work that kind of life.

Of course, this is McNamara's opinion, based on his own personal experience. He points out in the IGN article that they did the exact same level of constant crunch when producing The Getaway in the UK. The difference appears to be that those guys expected and accepted such... This probably reflects on McNamara's "management" approach, of course, so it's good that he's so open about this. Anyone who works with him in future will hopefully be clearer about his expectations and whether they can meet them.

Interesting comparison to the IGDA discussion regarding Epic's similar overwork practices, the big difference appears to me that Epic were upfront about the fact that they were paying above-average wages on the expectation that people were going to work 65 hour weeks without any overtime (A situation that would not be legal under Australia's workplace relations laws!) while it appears people working at Team Bondi were expecting to have (IMHO) reasonable gamedev jobs (9-5 with occasional crunch when things go wrong).

http://www.riptidegames.com/2010/01/on-exploiting-workers-quality-of-life-and-rockstar-san-diego/ and http://www.igda.org/leadership/2008/11/14/keynote-panel-studio-heads-on-the-hotseat/ are probably relevant. The IGDA Quality of Life page is at http://www.igda.org/quality-life

One other thing I've noticed, some people seem to use "9-5 job" as meaning "Arrive at 9am, leave at 5pm, and nothing you do between times matters" or "a job you don't care about, you're just there to fufill your hours and get paid" as distinct from the sort of job about which you're passionate. Some people mean "A job that works during regular circadian patterns" as distinct from shiftwork. One's perjorative, and one's not. So be careful which one is meant when you hear or use the phrase. ^_^
Midda
Posted 05:49pm 29/6/11
Just because "everyone else" does it doesn't mean it's right. That's what most of us are arguing. Expecting your staff to do years of unpaid overtime is wrong and should be avoidable.
Door
Posted 06:10pm 29/6/11
If the employer provided benefits, respect or pay grade to correspond with their expectations - this would not be an issue.

From the interviews it is quite obvious the head honcho is self-involved, arrogant and passive aggressive.
Trauma
Posted 06:47pm 29/6/11
rockstar should do a GTA set in australia

do missions for uncle chop chop.

I'd buy that... on PC.
Eorl
Posted 07:55pm 29/6/11
More like guy goes to uni because he's passionate then tries to get a job and gets shat on because there is no industry. Most of the peeps i know that went to uni with either doing something else... finally got a job after ~2years of looking or like me went into a different field.

Same thing I'm doing haha. Thinking of going Teaching.
trillion
Posted 07:55pm 29/6/11
Bandai!!!!!!

i mean... Bonsai!!!!

Bondi wtf. beached as bro.
Dazhel
Posted 09:03am 30/6/11

If the employer provided benefits, respect or pay grade to correspond with their expectations - this would not be an issue.

From the interviews it is quite obvious the head honcho is self-involved, arrogant and passive aggressive.


I won't disagree that the top bloke sounds like an a*******, but the mentality of treating creative staff (programmers, artists, etc) like factory workers that can churn out X amount of widgets per hour and then simply paying Y hours of overtime to get X*Y widgets produced is fundamentally flawed.

Creative staff simply can't produce good quality work at a constant 100+ hrs per week due to fatigue so the boss might as well send them home anyway or risk burning their staff out. I'd be very interested to look at LA Noire's employee churn over those 7 years and compare it to an the industry average rate.
Commenting has been locked for this item.
67 Comments
Show