L.A. Noire Team Laid Off, Next Project On Hold

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L.A. Noire Team Laid Off, Next Project On Hold

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Financial difficulties have halted development of the ambitious Whore of the Orient.

Team Bondi, the development studio behind the 2011 detective thriller L.A. Noire, has had a troubled past, and the future doesn't look much brighter right now. Though the game was met with critical and commercial success, the studio was plagued with controversy over working conditions and the team's relationship with publisher Rockstar. After Team Bondi formally closed and was sold to a multimedia production firm, the development team starting working on a new title, Whore of the Orient. Now reports are saying that Whore of the Orient is on indefinite hold following a wave of layoffs.

It's unclear how many employees still have their jobs, but the studio itself has not shut down. The team was never able to secure a publisher for the game, so the studio's financial troubles may have led to the halt in development. Sources say that Warner Bros. dropped an unannounced publishing deal with the team, leaving the game unfunded. Still, there may still be hope: Doug Mitchell, one of the bosses of the company that acquired Team Bondi, is still pushing to see the game to completion. "Whore of the Orient is a unique and extraordinary story and game," he says, "and we are still actively pursuing the right investor to partner with."

Whore of the Orient was planned to be a spiritual successor to L.A. Noire. Set in 1936 Shanghai, the game would be another detective thriller (likely using the same facial-capture technology as L.A. Noire). The developers clearly believed in its potential, with studio head Brendan McNamara describing it as the story of a group of Western cops trying to keep the peace in "the most corrupt and decadent city on the planet."

If a publisher for the game is found, it's possible that the team will be brought back in to resume development soon. It's an unfortunate reality that many games never recover from this kind of interruption, but then again, Whore of the Orient isn't like many games. For now, though, the project is frozen at a standstill.

Source: MCV Pacific

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Shame. I liked LA Noire. It was flawed sure, but very enjoyable and something I could play with friends that weren't all that into games.

Best of luck to the development team.

Edit: My appalling spelling

Kickstart this game.

A game called Whore of the Orient has to exist based solely on the fact that I want to go up to people and ask them: "Did you play Whore of the orient?"

Whoa. This is actually a bit of a shock. What a shame as I was looking forward to their next game. Hopefully they can find another publisher or try to self publish through something like Kickstarter.

Wait this was the same development team? I the CEO fired everybody before the game shipped, and that was why they had to make their own credits.

1337mokro:
Kickstart this game.

This.

I enjoyed LA Noir, but it was a little... well, that setting is not my favorite setting. It was a well realized setting, but a little too... not me. Still, I enjoyed the game. Having a similar game set somewhere with a bit more color, and having it be about a private eye (I assume) rather than a police officer. I think that would be an amazing game.

So yes, seriously: get a Kickstarer going, guys.

Whoah, that's unfortunate. The premise of the game sounds very intriguing (although, I have to say that's a pretty awful name for a game). I'm currently playing L.A Noire and I've been really enjoying the atmosphere and the setting.

Dat title. Whore of the Orient? Seriously? You don't need to be a corporate market researcher to know that's just stupid.

This shouldn't be exactly surprising, given that L.A. Noire took ages to make, production was apparently managed amazingly poorly, and when it did come out its core gameplay was basically Phoenix Wright but not as good.

I liked L.A. Noire, I wish the interrogation was better, other than that, it does what it does well (although the ending was VERY abrupt)

Whore of the Orient...name sounds cool actually.

Damn, an L.A. Noire game set in Shanghai? Sounds absolutely fantastic. That said, if you're having trouble getting people to pick up your idea, maybe you should change the name from "Whore of the Orient". I mean, fun as that may be to many of us, it's just going to be off-putting to people who don't know what the game's about - not just in possibly generating mindless controversy, but also your casual gamer who doesn't really research their games before getting them - the name doesn't reflect the kind of game it's supposed to be.

First thought when i saw the title;
Wait, it wasn't THAT bad.

Whore of the orient as a sequel, while proposing a nice setting, sounds a bit too much directed on the <12 market to me.
I'd still play it probably, as long as they would improve the interrogations.

Nicolaus99:
Dat title. Whore of the Orient? Seriously? You don't need to be a corporate market researcher to know that's just stupid.

Actually, you do, since looking at some of the replies here, some people like that name.

Team bondi still exists?

these guys never catch a break, do they? :(
first they've got an asshole boss, said boss scraps employees from the credits that didn't see the production through from the very beginning to the very end following their murderously stressful development cycle.

now this.

Is it just me, or does their choice in game title, particularly while still woo'ing investor money, just seem to scream that maybe, just maybe, they are still not quite grasping the nature of some of the bad judgement calls that caused them all the issues with LA Noire? I mean really? Whore of the Orient? As a Video game title? Yes I understand that they were going for an edgy noir'ish crime thriller, but still! This is not gonna get shelf space at Walmart or attract family friendly publishers to throw money at them.

Probably noone wants to work with McNamarra. I wouldn't blame them either for the crap surrounding their first game. For those laid off, my sympathies but considering the working conditions you've likely had to put up with and further, most of you receiving no credit for your work, your probably better off in the long run.

Longstreet:
First thought when i saw the title;
Wait, it wasn't THAT bad.

Whore of the orient as a sequel, while proposing a nice setting, sounds a bit too much directed on the <12 market to me.
I'd still play it probably, as long as they would improve the interrogations.

Nicolaus99:
Dat title. Whore of the Orient? Seriously? You don't need to be a corporate market researcher to know that's just stupid.

Actually, you do, since looking at some of the replies here, some people like that name.

Just to point out, it's not a direct sequel, it's a spiritual sequel. Think Bioshock to System Shock 2, or Perfect Dark to Goldeneye 64. It's not following the storyline from L.A. Noire, it's just taking the concept and applying it to a new setting.

Assuming it gets made, that is. I'd buy it, but from the sound of it, Team Bondi isn't exactly the most reliable developer, and that's only going to get worse if they don't have Rockstar keeping them in line (well, post-Rockstar Wives debacle Rockstar).

1337mokro:
Kickstart this game.

A game called Whore of the Orient has to exist based solely on the fact that I want to go up to people and ask them: "Did you play Whore of the orient?"

Kickstarter only allow Americans to put up campaigns. A friend of mine is working on a game and enlightened me on how that works, he had to go to indie gogo. Sadly because most game sites will only promote kickstarter it didn't meet its goals. This needs to be fixed asap as there are many talented dev teams outside the US that aren't getting the exposure they deserve.

Bara_no_Hime:

1337mokro:
Kickstart this game.

This.

No.

We are "Kickstarting" waaaaay too many things lately, and a large majority of the games/consoles kickstarted seem to come out in an extremely rushed state. (I'm looking at you Forge, though the game is worth playing now.) We are relying on Kickstarter too much a thing a need to dial it down a bit. Also, Team Bondi's reputation is horrible for publishers. Let's not forget that Rockstar had to lend them people to help finish developing the damn game as well as continuing to fund the game for the fans rather than shutting down the project which they easily could have done.

I would want to see people throw money at Team Bondi due to the history is has of internal strife. When former employees are claiming that they were working insane amounts of hours and a significant amount of people still working for Team Bondi (not even management) we denying the claims, I wouldn't give money to a developer that can't get its shit together on that level.

Rockstar Games payed more than they expected for L.A. Noire to be finished out of their pockets to appease gamers and good on them for that, but I can't say I'd be down with seeing Team Bondi make another game funded with other consumer money. It'd be an insanely high funding request too. L.A. Noire cost $50 million to make. I doubt people would be willing to give Team Bondi even half of that.

AzrealMaximillion:

Bara_no_Hime:

1337mokro:
Kickstart this game.

This.

No.

We are "Kickstarting" waaaaay too many things lately, and a large majority of the games/consoles kickstarted seem to come out in an extremely rushed state. (I'm looking at you Forge, though the game is worth playing now.) We are relying on Kickstarter too much a thing a need to dial it down a bit. Also, Team Bondi's reputation is horrible for publishers. Let's not forget that Rockstar had to lend them people to help finish developing the damn game as well as continuing to fund the game for the fans rather than shutting down the project which they easily could have done.

I would want to see people throw money at Team Bondi due to the history is has of internal strife. When former employees are claiming that they were working insane amounts of hours and a significant amount of people still working for Team Bondi (not even management) we denying the claims, I wouldn't give money to a developer that can't get its shit together on that level.

Rockstar Games payed more than they expected for L.A. Noire to be finished out of their pockets to appease gamers and good on them for that, but I can't say I'd be down with seeing Team Bondi make another game funded with other consumer money. It'd be an insanely high funding request too. L.A. Noire cost $50 million to make. I doubt people would be willing to give Team Bondi even half of that.

If there is no market for it, the kickstarter will fail. If there is it will succeed.

RicoADF:

1337mokro:
Kickstart this game.

A game called Whore of the Orient has to exist based solely on the fact that I want to go up to people and ask them: "Did you play Whore of the orient?"

Kickstarter only allow Americans to put up campaigns. A friend of mine is working on a game and enlightened me on how that works, he had to go to indie gogo. Sadly because most game sites will only promote kickstarter it didn't meet its goals. This needs to be fixed asap as there are many talented dev teams outside the US that aren't getting the exposure they deserve.

That is actually not true, your friend just got rejected then made up a story. I really don't know what the requirements are but as far as I know the requirements are not that much, just that you have an amazon account or something along those lines.

There have been multiple Canadian games kickstarted and even gamestudios based in China, Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden, etc.

There are DOZENS of kickstarters going on right now for people outside the US.

Here is a project from the Netherlands right now:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sharrifsimmons/the-spoken-world-project-amsterdam?ref=home_location

Here is a project from Australia same as Bondi:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vconstantinou/an-australian-odyssey-photographing-australia?ref=live

And if you say something like "Oh but for games there are different rules" a game kickstarted from Norway:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/krillbite/among-the-sleep?ref=category

Your friend fed you bullshit, might want to get a kickstarter to get some money to upgrade that friend :)

1337mokro:

If there is no market for it, the kickstarter will fail. If there is it will succeed.

Not true, look at the Ouya. There was also that other Kickstarter console that I can't even name right now. The latter has been already panned critically and there was damn good reason for it too. If only I could remember the name.

Either way, people funding something on Kickstarter doesn't mean there's a market for it. People use Kickstarter as a pre-ordering system rather than an the investment model its supposed to be. If there weren't any pre-order goodies I can tell you that a lot less games and gadgets would be funded. Its not a marketing thing, it's an "I want it first" thing.

AzrealMaximillion:

1337mokro:

If there is no market for it, the kickstarter will fail. If there is it will succeed.

Not true, look at the Ouya. There was also that other Kickstarter console that I can't even name right now. The latter has been already panned critically and there was damn good reason for it too. If only I could remember the name.

Either way, people funding something on Kickstarter doesn't mean there's a market for it. People use Kickstarter as a pre-ordering system rather than an the investment model its supposed to be. If there weren't any pre-order goodies I can tell you that a lot less games and gadgets would be funded. Its not a marketing thing, it's an "I want it first" thing.

Yes but critics don't decide the market. Do I really need to point at Michael Bay?

The critics also decided to review what was essentially a promo-edition. Things that backers got as an extra reward. They reviewed a unfinished product that was basically a prototype. They have done some bad journalism.

Now is that Ouya thing good? Not really. But people wanted it. Are your seriously saying that pre-ordering is not the same as a market? The Ouya took money on advance used it to develop a product and is now selling it, any sales outside of that pre-order market are just bonus profits.

That is the market. Now kickstarter games can go and spread out beyond that market as well, but even if it is just the pre-orders, that's also a market. So what if people just kickstart things because they want the game first? Isn't that exactly what the industry has been doing with pre-orders, get this exclusive cocksword if you pre-order now? Here on the other hand the pre-order money get used directly to fund the game's development rather than make up for the cost after the fact. How has that ever been an investment? It's not the stock type investment where they share in the profit, it is literally buying a product that will be made using your money. Kickstarter has never really been an investment platform, it's always been a pre-order site.

Kickstarter is the equivalent to a custom chair or custom lamp or anything else custom made. You get in touch with the craftsmen, pay them money, get your custom shit made and receive it.

I really don't know how to tell you this but A: Telling people how they should spend their money is stupid. B: Saying pre-orders are not part of a market is also stupid because even if it was just pre-orders, that is still a market. C: The gaming industry has been doing what Kickstarter does AFTER they made their game for a decade now. D: Pretending like Kickstarter is something noble and not just another business is beyond stupid, that 5% cut is not there because it costs so much money to run a web page.

Put the game up on kickstarter, if NOBODY wants it, it won't get any funding. Then you get your wish of killing the game with the best title ever.

Wasn't this the development team that didn't have their act together in the first place, and LA Noire was released only because of publisher intervention?

If so, I wouldn't be sad if they never worked again.

Look, I don't go around actively hoping for people to lose their jobs, but at a point where there are so many cutbacks in staff, to see a bunch of screw-ups potentially get work where solid talent could otherwise have employment is just wrong on all levels. And people who make bad products (or screw up good ones) should be at the bottom rung when it comes to investment.

AzrealMaximillion:

We are "Kickstarting" waaaaay too many things lately, and a large majority of the games/consoles kickstarted seem to come out in an extremely rushed state. (I'm looking at you Forge, though the game is worth playing now.) We are relying on Kickstarter too much a thing a need to dial it down a bit. Also, Team Bondi's reputation is horrible for publishers.

Maybe "Team Bondi" will be a sufficient enough disaster for people to actually learn better.

AzrealMaximillion:
No.
We are "Kickstarting" waaaaay too many things lately,

That's your opinion. I have not been disappointed with any Kick-started product I've gotten. All the projects that I've backed (and that have delivered so far) have been of high quality.

AzrealMaximillion:
I wouldn't give money to a developer that can't get its shit together on that level.

Then don't pledge (for this entirely hypothetical Kickstarter).

That's the beauty of Kickstarter. If you don't trust Team Bondi, then don't give them money. If I do (or if I am willing to risk $20 on a long-shot gamble) then I can hand them my 20.

If they ask for 50 million, then no, they aren't going to KS that. Obviously they'd have to scale back. And if they can't, and they do ask for 50 million, and the fans don't deliver, then no one loses any money because the KS fails. I've been in two KSes that failed to raise the minimum funds and I lost nothing.

If they make a lower goal, set reasonable goals, and convince me that they are trustworthy - then sure, I'd give them a shot. And if they can't, I won't.

That is the beauty of Kickstarter, I say again - if you don't have faith in them, then YOU don't need to give them any money. If I do, I can. Simple.

But don't tell the rest of us not to. And don't tell us that "too many projects" are getting Kickstarted.

Edited to correct a typo.

Bara_no_Hime:

1337mokro:
Kickstart this game.

This.

I enjoyed LA Noir, but it was a little... well, that setting is not my favorite setting. It was a well realized setting, but a little too... not me. Still, I enjoyed the game. Having a similar game set somewhere with a bit more color, and having it be about a private eye (I assume) rather than a police officer. I think that would be an amazing game.

So yes, seriously: get a Kickstarer going, guys.

I really want another game like L.A. Noire. I REALLY want one. Honestly, it was one of a kind, and I love me a detective story. There aren't really any detective games out there on the market that are worth playing, and that disappoints me so much.

Bummer, I hope this is picked up by someone. I really enjoyed LA Noire, and found the story spellbinding.

hmm western cops tryin to keep the peace in an eastern city? why not Asian cops?

Anything that wasn't an interrogation in that game played like refried arse.

I know, lets use the gta driving mechanics for a game that requires you to be a passable law abiding driver.

image

Not really that surprised. They just didn't seem like a team that was ready to be constantly pushing out games like L.A. Noire. Still, I enjoyed L.A. Noire a lot and am sad to see that we likely won't be getting its spiritual successor for a while, provided we ever do get one.

I'm all for the Kickstarter idea, but please not with Team Bondi involved.

Here's an idea to increase the chances of geting a publisher for the game: don't call your game Whore of the Orient.

You're welcome, Brendan "squalid working conditions" McNamara.

RicoADF:

Kickstarter only allow Americans to put up campaigns. A friend of mine is working on a game and enlightened me on how that works, he had to go to indie gogo. Sadly because most game sites will only promote kickstarter it didn't meet its goals. This needs to be fixed asap as there are many talented dev teams outside the US that aren't getting the exposure they deserve.

Wow, that's quite a load of horseshit.

Did you not see that Dreamfall kickstarter which raised 1,538,425$ about a month ago? Where in america was the studio based again?

Oh right, Oslo, Norway.

Hell, some projects even get funded in pounds sterling:

image

Sol_HSA:
Team bondi still exists?

My thoughts exactly. I could've sworn the entire company dissolved quite some time ago.

Mr.Tea:

Wow, that's quite a load of horseshit.

Did you not see that Dreamfall kickstarter which raised 1,538,425$ about a month ago? Where in america was the studio based again?

Oh right, Oslo, Norway.

Hell, some projects even get funded in pounds sterling:

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Looks like you haven't read through the topic, someone has already corrected me on that. Also learn not to assume everythings bullshit, it's called being misinformed as I have never tried it myself. It could also be a case of them changing their policy after the fact.

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