Former Bodycount Creative Director Stuart Black says the real reason for his sudden departure from the game and Codemasters was simply that “an agreement was broken” and nobody seemed willing to do anything about it.
Things happened quickly for Stuart Black over the summer. In April he was extolling the virtues of Codemasters as a place he could “get some creative freedom, some creative control and really develop something I want to develop.” But in July he made the surprise announcement that he was leaving Codemasters once he had “completed his design responsibilities” in October, a move rumored to be the result of negative response to Bodycount at E3. Those rumors were strengthened when Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens claimed that the publisher was unhappy with the state of the game and strongly hinted that Black was shown the door.
But Black says that in spite of the “odd and silly rumors” that have been kicking around, the decision to leave was his, and it sounds like it was all business. “At the end of the day these things are mundane. I’ve never spoken about it and don’t have a lot to say,” he told GameSpot. “An agreement was broken. No one really wanted to fix it. I decided to move on. The rest seems to be self-generating noise.”
While Black apparently shared Codemasters‘ dissatisfaction with the situation, he clearly felt that the problem wasn’t with the game itself. “My decision to leave Codemasters and Bodycount was the hardest choice of my career,” he explained. “However, it was clear that Codemasters were unable, or unwilling, to provide the support needed to realize the vision I had for Bodycount. Some of the marketing initiatives and trailers were not, in my opinion, doing justice for the game.”
“Bodycount was very important to me, being its creator and working through the things I hadn’t done on my own before. I felt we got to the halfway mark and it was good. People who played it were digging some of the more risky choices. Then the future just shattered in front of me,” he continued. “Thankfully I had a slow wind-down and exit, but the first month was just awful.”
But his split from Bodycount has an upside: Black is now working with City Interactive on a Second World War shooter he claims will actually bring something new to the genre. “We want to invoke the spirit of films like The Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare, The Guns of Navarone, and a bit of Inglourious Basterds,” he said. “That’s what we’re after; more rock and roll, spray and pray, slo-mo death, and glory, wrapped in a progressive metagame that you don’t usually see in a shooter.”