Team Bondi, the developer of L.A. Noire, has recently been the subject of scrutiny over its work ethic of using crunch time to complete projects, allegedly to the extent of 12-hours a day and some 100-hour weeks. In addition, a group of developers claimed they had been unfairly removed from the L.A. Noire credits roll. All of this has led the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) to investigate Team Bondi, who have now entered administration. This means they face closure, or at least a major restructuring.
Despite that the developer could simply be restructured and continue on to keep making games, Develop reports that most of the management and staff believe the studio will close and that they’re being transferred to Kennedy Miller Mitchell. Likewise, other employees are already in contact with other companies.
Going into administration means the business is technically bankrupt, but an independent source comes in to assess the value of the company’s assets and sells off what is deemed unnecessary in an attempt to cover the debts. If the debts have not been fully paid off after this and the business is unable to acquire further funding, then the company enters true bankruptcy and all of its assets will be liquidated.
Team Bondi had been doing rather well prior to the multiple scandals that now surround the company. L.A. Noire was extremely well received, having earned a Metacritic score of 89 and being highly praised for its facial recognition technology.
Analysis: At this point, Team Bondi is dead. The management and staff, as well as the general employees, are jumping ship. This is directly a result of the bad press the studio has been receiving, which has crippled its ability to acquire contracts. It really doesn’t take much to destroy an indie developer financially, and this is a good example of that. Unfortunately, this also reflects the shrinking industry in Australia. This is a huge loss for that area as many were looking to Team Bondi to reignite the industry there.
On the flip-side of that coin is how the Team Bondi scandal has sparked an interest in reforming the way developers work, which is a good thing for the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, how far that effort will actually extend remains to be seen.