PS3 News: IGDA Investigating "Brutal" Team Bondi Working Conditions - PS3 News

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IGDA Investigating "Brutal" Team Bondi Working Conditions

The amount of effort that went into L.A. Noire is astounding.

But maybe those involved were pushed just a little too far. Based on a number of Team Bondi employee statements and accusations, the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) have decided to investigate the matter, according to Develop.

The association finds the current evidence of an overly punishing workload to be "absolutely unacceptable," and they're also looking into accusations against the Team Bondi boss, Brendan McNamara. IGDA Board of Directors chairman Brian Robbins had this to say on the matter:

"[But] 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."

He has also asked Team Bondi employees and/or family members to e-mail the IGDA with comments concerning the situation, whether they be positive or negative. Since L.A. Noire launched to widespread critical acclaim, the development studio responsible has come under fire for pushing the employees to extreme limits; that allegedly includes work weeks of over 100 hours. So far, McNamara has only responded by saying the company's policies are not unfair.

You can also check out the full list of accusations. ...this might get a little ugly.

Related Game(s): L.A. Noire

Tags: l.a. noire, la noire, team bondi, game news

6/29/2011 10:22:05 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (35 posts)

maxpontiac
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 10:39:10 AM
Reply

Might get a little ugly indeed.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 10:41:39 AM
Reply

100 hour work weeks? Damn! That is intense!

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Claire C
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 5:18:37 PM

After reading that long IGN article about all this I'm glad it's being taken seriously. You should be able to make a good game like LA Noire without being led to hate the gaming industy.

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Xombito
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 10:44:34 AM
Reply

At 100 hours I bet they're not complaining about those paychecks.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 10:48:40 AM

100 hours in completely unreasonable. No paycheck could ever make a consistent 100 hour schedule worthwhile. Most people would burn out in well under a year. Totally not worth it.

Agree with this comment 7 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 10:49:18 AM

Indeed the checks will be nice, but after about 10-17 hours of overtime you really start to lose a lot. It's almost not worth it after that. but more so not worth it physically. I mean that's harsh and just completely uncalled for.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 10:51:23 AM

Part of the problem is that Team Bondi apparently didn't pay any overtime, which means salaried employees were paid the same all the time; i.e., 40-hour pay for a 100-hour week.

If what they're saying is true, of course.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 6/29/2011 10:51:34 AM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 10:57:53 AM

Ah, so in other words, they are paid a salary based on a 40 hour work week.

At my work, if I work, say, 45 hours in a week, I'm still paid on a 40 hour week. So I don't make extra cash on that 5 hours. BUT: The time does get banked. So, if I bank those 5 hours, then two weeks later decide I need to get off a little early, I might find myself working a 3 hour day on a Friday, thus starting the weekend early.

Based on complaints, I doubt they ever had an opportunity to bank time.

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bigrailer19
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 11:20:52 AM

Oh now that's just terrible. I thought there was a law that any employee working more than 40 hours in a week that was overtime. I'll be honest if I worked more than 40 hours and wasn't getting compensated for that long of time, something would have been said much sooner!

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Xombito
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 11:38:07 AM

@Ben

Really. Well then screw that! I'd quit.

@Underdog

Many guys at my work would argue otherwise. I wouldn't though 50 is the max I'd put in. Otherwise no gametime.

Last edited by Xombito on 6/29/2011 11:39:57 AM

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Highlander
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 11:45:06 AM

Xombito, the days of game developers getting paid in Ferraris are long since past. It's little more than a Joe-job now, for the majority in the industry. Working 100 hours but being paid for 40 isn't a recipe for high moral or fellow feeling.

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darxed
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 2:25:25 PM

Well... and here I thought that game development was different from software development. I'm a software engineer and in my first job I worked 13 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a 40 hour salary. I stuck with it because the year I spent there gave me the recommendations that I needed to get my actual job, which is just like Underdog says, We don't get payed extra, but we get compensatory hours and days for use after deadlines. I know what these guys must have felt... don't really know why the most popular and bigger money making industries always like to treat their workers this way.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 10:47:40 AM
Reply

After reading the list via the final link Ben gave, it only gets worse.

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Looking Glass
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 10:51:31 AM
Reply

2K is not going to like this. They're already having problems with the disaster of Duke Nukem Forever and the lower-than-expected sales of LA Noire. And now this mess comes along.

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VIVIsectVI
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 10:57:12 AM
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With all the negativity surrounding Team Bondi as of late, I can't help but assume some of it has to be true. I used to work at a nuke plant, and when we had (planned) outages I worked 84 hours a week. There's no reason to work anyone more than that.

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Looking Glass
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 11:10:42 AM
Reply

I actually get the impression that a lot of these accusations are indeed valid, if not all of them. Why? Because they provide a good explanation for why the game took so long to release.

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godsdream
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 11:18:44 AM
Reply

The problem with this is, as Ben said in a post above, it seems they didn't pay extra hours to employees. But then, why they didn't complained earlier??

And speaking of the product, it's almost natural that after much hours of work per day, the brain doesn't work well, or at a 100%. I remember a lot of times trying to do missions or trying to defeat some monster or trying to get gold licences, etc. for hours and failing. After so many attempts in a row my brain starts to feel overwhelmed psychologically and decide to quit for the day. And to my surprise, almost every time that I do that, I accomplish my objective within the first 3 attempts of the new day (not saying I do it always the second day, but that I accomplish the objective in my first tries of the second, third, fourth, etc. day).

With all this been said it's amazing to think that this game well could be better than the final result we all know.

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Highlander
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 11:49:34 AM

Well, let's see, you're a game developer with game development skills in an economy bleeding jobs. There's no real market outside your current gig, so you knuckle under and collect the check... that's why. A lot of the people where I work are still here because of the health care, they know that if they leave, there is every chance that the cover they get elsewhere (assuming they get a similarly paid job) will not be as good. In order to match the current standard of healthcare they'd have to pay for a completely personal health plan which thanks to the health insurance industry is astronomically expensive unless you're 18-35 and in perfect health. So they stay where they are, even though their moral couldn't be measured is anything larger than a micrometer. I'm not making a statement about healthcare in general, just using a practical example of one reason why people stay in a specific job despite being unhappy.

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godsdream
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 3:02:42 PM

I agree, and other good examples may apply also. Heck, one can work in some job that you love even though you know you're being forced to work extra extra hard. But just by the fact that you love that, you don't quit or complain, because you know that chances of getting a job that you love doing it now days is very difficult.

I know I'm contradicting to myself in the post above, but if you analyze it well, it could be for a lot of reasons.

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Simcoe
Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 10:30:25 AM

Highlander, I'm glad I will never have to make that sort of decision.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 11:55:04 AM
Reply

When we lived in California my wife worked for a clothing company doing graphics design. They worked her to the bone. She had to work 13 hour days, and sometimes on weekends. She was a salary employee too. So she wasn't paid overtime like she deserved. But instead of whining about it, she took what she learned and started her own company. Now she works a much, or as little as shes pleases.

I understand where these guys are coming from as my wife was very tired back in those days and under paid, but c'mon! She manned up. So should they.

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N_C
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 12:18:53 PM

Typical conservative rhetoric: "If I or people I know did or do it, why can't or shouldn't everyone else?" Moral of this comment, don't be so narrow minded.

Agree with this comment 8 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Jawknee
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 12:27:07 PM

You haven't been banned yet? Shame. Not sure how my wife manning up and making her way in life has anything to do with politics but I guess if your desire to troll is great enough, a troll such as yourself will find any reason to flame bait like a 10 year old child.

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jimmyhandsome
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 12:48:57 PM

I mean, I'm pretty sure most people worked jobs where they felt they were worked to the bone and not properly compensated. My first job out of college was with Enterprise Rent-a-Car and it was an abosolute joke. After a year I was promoted to "Assistant Manager" where you are no longer an hourly employee and don't need to be compensated for any overtime hours. There were times in the summer months where I would work 70-80 hours a week, including weekends. I once had a string of 14 days in a row where I worked 6 AM- 730PM.

I survived and used my experience to get a better job, but that doesn't mean people should just "man-up" and not say anything about it. Especially if the working conditions were so bad that a large number of them walked out because they felt not having a job would be better than working on the project.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 12:54:41 PM

But you did man up and you found a better job. It's not like these guys were working in a sweat shop. They had it tough, yes, no one is disputing that but if my wife can take what she learned from working at and underpaid job and make life better for herself without all the complaining and whining, so can these guys. Whats done is done, the game is finished, they obviously didn't feel it was important enough to do anything about it at the time, so there is no point in whining about it now.

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Simcoe
Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 10:37:54 AM

Jawknee, that's an unenviable position you two must have been put into. Were you able to alter your hours or work from home so that someone was able to be there with the kids or did you guys have to rely more on family/friends/daycare?

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DjEezzy
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 1:33:35 PM
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Good point... While i think those kind of hours are ridiculous, they really could by all means take what they've learned and start their own development studio. Sure they may not get a AAA title off the bat but good things come to those who are patient.

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Looking Glass
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 3:42:01 PM

Except maybe for the case of Duke Nukem Forever.

Last edited by Looking Glass on 6/29/2011 3:42:54 PM

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A2K78
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 11:17:42 PM
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"100 hour work weeks? Damn! That is intense!"

In my last job I've had hours longer than that(15-16+ hour daily shifts) and was paid well for it so to me there is nothing intense about it.

Anyhow its pisses me off that people in the game industry continue to complain about some kind mistreatment by an employer, yet what these people to fail to understand is that employment by itself is a contractual thing e.g. if an individual except/take a job at a particular entity they are under contractual obligation to accept the terms of their employment, in the case of Team Bondi the 100+ hours they are given.

For all I care these people could be making a handsome cadillac-type salary and their compliaing? If anything these employees seem like those individuals who want something or nothing just like the labor unions.


Last edited by A2K78 on 6/29/2011 11:19:32 PM

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Underdog15
Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 8:55:52 AM

I guarantee they aren't making big bucks in that business. The biggest issue isn't that they worked a lot, (although you are an absolute moron if you think 110 hours in a week isn't much) it's that they weren't compensated for their overtime.

Basically, based on your post, I just think you really don't get it.

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A2K78
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @ 11:24:09 PM
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"While i think those kind of hours are ridiculous, they really could by all means take what they've learned and start their own development studio."

There are nothing ridiculous about those kinds of hours because there are occupations that demand far more working hours that than in 1 week.

Look at this, but I know of individuals who work in the medical feild and have 19 hour shifts. The same can be said about anyone who work does maritime-related jobs.

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Underdog15
Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 9:07:38 AM

You're an effing idiot, kid. My father is not only a medical professional in Emergency Medicine, but he is also an administrator for the province of New Brunswick. On top of that, my uncle is a cardiologist, and my aunt is a neonatalogist.

First of all, 19 hour shifts? I've never heard of such a strange hour. That would be a once in a blue moon type of shift, likely via coverage when on call. I've heard of 12 hour shifts, and someone occasionally covering 2 back-to-back 8 hour shifts. I don't know about your country, but in Canada, it's illegal for health care professionals to work more than 16 hours without sleep. I can 100% guarantee that.

Second, I am a maritimer. I grew up in Nova Scotia, and I have many uncles and cousins in various fisheries. I also have relatives in shipping (on sea). I know what you mean by saying they "work" for as much as 3 straight months at times, but do not forget, that although they are on boats and traveling, they get breaks for eating, sleeping, and rec time. Big breaks.

Have you even stopped to think what a 110 hour work week would look like? There are 168 hours in a week. If you allow a person 8 hours of sleep a night, you're down to 112 hours in a week. That's 2 hours to eat and you know... live your life with your family. PER WEEK. I'm sure these employees need potty breaks too. There's also travel to/from work, showering, etc.

Lastly, it's been proven time and time again, that desk jobs need to take into consideration the fact that these people need sun and exercise. It's well known that someone working in manual labor can psychologically handle more hours of work than someone who stares at a screen.


I just can't understand why you think 100+ hour work weeks are acceptable. I -DEFINITELY- don't get why the hell you're trying to say 19 hour work weeks are normal. (They aren't)

just..... frig... your reasoning is awful.

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Simcoe
Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 10:44:39 AM

Underdog, I think you mean a 19 hour work day, not work week, that'd be part-time. ;)

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A2K78
Thursday, June 30, 2011 @ 1:04:25 PM
Reply

"I guarantee they aren't making big bucks in that business."

People in this industry like Yu Suzuki or John Carmacks are driving ferraris(and these individuals do own such cars) and quite posh work benefit its quite obvious that most of individuals are making tons of money, this when games these days command huge multi-million budgets.

Last edited by A2K78 on 6/30/2011 3:17:48 PM

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