‘L.A. Noire’ developer Team Bondi sleeps with the fishes, but the ‘Whore of the Orient’ may live on

Controversial L.A. Noire director announces new game, ‘Whore of the Orient’

The years have not been kind to Team Bondi. Nearly a decade ago, it appeared that the Australian studio was primed to be one of the trendsetters on Sony’s still mysterious PlayStation 3 thanks to its beguiling L.A. Noire. Brendan McNamara’s studio took more than six years to finish that game though, and when it finally did release to critical acclaim, it also left the studio savaged by layoffs and embroiled in legal disputes with its partner Rockstar Games. While things seemed to be on the mend at Team Bondi in 2012, the studio’s fate as of April 2013 is grim indeed. 

MCV Pacific reported that Team Bondi, still hard at work on the next-gen title Whore of the Orient, was laid off from its current owners Kennedy Miller Mitchell. KMM is the multimedia production company owned in part by George Miller, the famous film director behind Happy Feet and the Mad Max series. The production company brought Team Bondi into the fold in August 2012, announcing that it was backing the production of the 1930s noir, Whore of the Orient, a game that had never been described outside of a press release and some concept art. Rumors suggest that Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment initially planned to publish the game on PC and presumably the PlayStation 4 and Next Xbox in 2015, but the publisher backed away late last year. 

As of this writing, KMM has yet to officially comment on whether or not the Team Bondi staff is still employed, but it did say that the game isn’t dead quite yet. “Whore of the Orient is a unique and extraordinary story and game, and we are still actively pursuing the right investor to partner with,” said Miller partner Doug Mitchell.

KMM has a history of announcing ambitious game projects that never materialize. It was in 2008 that God of War 2 director Cory Barlog, having left Sony Santa Monica, joined KMM and announced a wildly ambitious open world game based on George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Barlog left KMM years ago though, having since joined Crystal Dynamics.

Despite the quality of L.A. Noire, Team Bondi was reportedly a miserable, taxing place to work even under the best circumstances. If the remaining staff has been let go, cut free even from KMM, it may be for the best. May those intrepid developers land on their feet elsewhere and in a healthier environment.

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