IGDA Probing "Harmful" & "Angry" Working Conditions
It's clear that a huge amount of blood, sweat and tears went into making L.A. Noire... but according to a sensational expose over the weekend, Team Bondi may be guilty of making their employees simply work too hard in order to meet the release date. The brutal "crunch" period before a game goes gold (requiring massive amounts of employee overtime) is fairly standard throughout the industry - but the International Game Developers Association trade body/union is now investigating the studio for forcing 100+ hour work weeks and truly horrific working conditions on their developers.
The recent IGN expose shed new light on the 'crunch' period required developers to put in between 60 and 100 hours per week for nearly an entire year, despite deadlines consistently being pushed back throughout the development cycle. On top of that, Team Bondi boss Brendan McNamara was described by an internal source as "the angriest person [they] ever met” - and was allegedly responsible for exploding into fits of rage and deflecting his anger onto the dev team on a regular basis. As one employee put it: Team Bondi was "a nasty place to be." A full list of accusations can be found here.
The IGDA has now vowed to investigate these claims, and suggests that enforcing these crushing workloads harms the industry as much as the individual employees themselves. They'll need to verify the facts before proceeding, though, and have appealed to Team Bondi personnel for confidential statements.
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. - Brian Robbins, IGDA Board of Directors
McNamara has defended both Team Bondi's work ethic and the allegations directed towards his personality; stating that a "passion" for creating great games has been misrepresented as anger or unpleasantness. Naturally it's important to consider both sides of the story, and we'll be following it with great interest. [Develop]