Team Bondi working conditions called into the spotlight

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LA-Noire

See that shiny new game in your hands? Its not just a freshly pressed disc bundled in a case, its the result of hundreds of people pooling their talent together to craft something that the gaming community will enjoy, a process that takes several years from start to finish. And while a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into creating these digital masterpieces, its not always made public just how overworked some studios are.

Team Bondi, who you might recognise for creating one of the freshest gaming experiences of the year, LA Noire, are now in the news about allegedly improper working conditions. While the game has been lauded for its outstanding facial technologies and gripping story, former employees of the studio are now coming out to detail the terrible conditions they had to work under.

Allegations such as 60-100 hour work weeks , mandatory overtime without weekend breaks and former employees having their names omitted from the credits have come to light, something that Team Bondi Leader Brendan McNamara doesn’t think is such a big deal.

If you want to do a nine-to-five job, you (should) be in another business. We all (at the studio) work the same hours. People don’t work any longer hours than I do. 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

Ex-staff however, have also detailed the mentality that was enforced upon them by management, with one anonymous member describing McNamara as “the angriest person he’d ever met”.

There was simply an expectation that you’d work overtime and weekends. I was told that I was taking the piss by saying that I couldn’t give every single one of my weekends away. We were looked at as a disposable resource, basically. Their attitude is: It’s a privilege to work for us, and if you can’t hack it, you should leave. I heard one of the upper echelons say pretty much that. I thought it was disgusting. I don’t understand how they can’t see that maintaining talent would actually be good for them

This isn’t the first time that working conditions have been brought up in the gaming industry before however, as Rockstar employees criticised the publisher following the release of Red Dead Redemption last year, and EA was under intense investigation as well several years back for shady work practices.

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The International Game Developers Association has confirmed that they will begin investigations into these accusations.IDGA chair Brian Robbins has said that "the organization will be soliciting reports, ‘positive or negative,’ from "any Team Bondi employee and/or family member."

Source: Game informer.com Joystiq.com

Last Updated: June 30, 2011

Darryn Bonthuys

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