You can't make a triple-A game without killing yourself, says unashamed Team Bondi boss
The self-admittedly “obsessive” founder of Team Bondi has defended his studio’s controversial practice of extended crunch work.
Brendan McNamara said “if you want to do a nine-to-five job, you [should] be in another business", after a string of accusations were put to the studio exec.
Faced with claims that some LA Noire developers had to at times worked more than 100 hours per week, McNamara said “we all [at the studio] work the same hours".
"People don't work any longer hours than I do,” he told IGN.
“I don't turn up at 9am and go home at 5pm, and go to the beach. I'm here at the same hours as everybody else is. We're making stuff that's never been made before."
McNamara, who officially founded Team Bondi in 2003, claimed he would usually work 9am to 8pm, on "whatever days it takes", with frequent travel, along with 4am conference calls with its New York-based publishing partner Take-Two.
He also claimed that the expectation from Australian developers, in general, “is slightly weird”.
He said it was strange that Australian developers believed a game can be made “without killing yourself”.
“Well, you can't,” he said.
“Whether it's in London or New York or wherever; you're competing against the best people in the world at what they do, and you just have to be prepared to do what you have to do to compete against those people."
A full list of accusations of dev culture at Team Bondi – found here – includes claims that McNamara himself has been hostile with staff.
McNamara defended his actions and insisted they were not abusive.
"Am I passionate about making the game? Absolutely. Do you think that I'm going to voice my opinion? Absolutely. But I don't think that's verbal abuse,” he said.
"I can go to anyone I want," McNamara said when hearing allegations that he exerted pressure and control across the entire studio.
"It's my game. I can go to anyone I want in the team and say, 'I want it changed’. I've been doing it for a long time, and it seems to have worked so far for me.
"And is that a bad thing? I make video games. They're personal statements for me. I write them, I direct them, I put the technology together to make them. I go out to the world and say, 'Will you fund them?' So if you think that's obsessive: absolutely."
He said he was “not in any way upset or disappointed by what I've done, and what I've achieved."
"I'm not even remotely defensive about it, he added.
"I think the beginnings and the ends [of a game’s development are always great, and the middle is torture.
“That's the same with everything. It was the same with The Getaway, and the same with the stuff I did before that. In the middle, it just feels like you're watching paint dry. It moves very slowly. But when you get to the end, you hope it's all worth it."
McNamara added that "everything" was riding on the success of LA Noire: "the studio, the opportunity to make new things; family, house. Everything. All the usual stuff."