L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi might have created one of the most critically-acclaimed titles of the year, but now it's a company fighting for its life.
L.A. Noire (Rockstar)Just three months after releasing its hit game, the Australian-based studio has been placed into administration, a financial condition that's analogous to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. The protection gives the company time to attempt to regain solvency and reorganize by selling off assets and likely laying off staff.
While most developers would be basking in the glow of the critical and commercial success of such a major release -- L.A. Noire held the number one spot in both May and June -- Team Bondi has been staggered by a series of blows. After L.A. Noire hit shelves, more than 100 people who worked on the game complained they had been left out of the credits. Not long after came complaints that the studio had forced employees to work in excess of 10-12 hours per day in the time leading up to release.
Whether Team Bondi will survive in any form is unknown. There were reports last month that the company had sold some assets to fellow Aussie studio Kennedy Miller Mitchell, which is currently working on a Mad Max game.
One thing that probably wasn't sold, though, was Depth Analysis, the Team Bondi subsidiary that was responsible for the stunningly realistic facial animation in L.A. Noire. That's arguably the studio's biggest asset, since it has captured the attention not only of game developers, but of Hollywood studios as well.
Also safe is the L.A. Noire franchise. While Team Bondi did the heavy lifting, Rockstar holds the rights to the game and is currently working on a PC edition -- and would be responsible for any sequels, should it decide to extend the franchise.