Rumour: Team Bondi To Be Absorbed Into George Miller's KMM Studio In Sydney

With Rockstar reluctant to publish Team Bondi's next game, rumours are circulating that Brendan McNamara is in talks with George Miller's KMM studio - some employees believe that Brendan McNamara and the remainder of Team Bondi are being absorbed into KMM.

One verified source working at Dr. D, George Miller's animation studio, claimed that multiple members of Team Bondi, including Brendan McNamara himself, were seen getting a tour of the Dr D offices.

"Brendan McNamara was seen walking through the buildings of Dr. D yesterday, where Happy Feet 2 is being made," claimed our source.

According to the source this bothered some Dr. D employees, many of which were ex-Team Bondi employees.

"Because Dr. D is filled with former Team Bondi employees who left due to the abusive work conditions," the source continued, "this unexpected visit was quite... unsettling — to put it mildly."

Another verified source, from within KMM, claimed that it was broadly known within the company that George Miller himself was incredibly impressed with Team Bondi's efforts and McNamara's refusal to compromise his artistic vision in the face of deadlines.

This matches with the claims of the source at Dr. D.

"The word is going round that Team Bondi is being folded into KMM studios, Team Bondi is pretty much doomed after the scandal and can't find any new supporters, so by doing this they can hide their name."

Our source within KMM couldn't confirm whether or not this rumour had any validity, but stated they would be surprised if it wasn't true.

KMM studios is currently headed up Cory Barlog, who claimed earlier this year that he was working on a Mad Max game, to be designed in tandem with a George Miller movie based in the Mad Max universe. At the moment, however, all of Miller's resources are being moved to Happy Feet 2 to make an extremely strict deadline that many within Dr. D believe the team can't make.

For that reason, the Mad Max movie is currently on hold - so at this stage we really have no idea what KMM's Sydney studio is working on at the moment. KMM's Brisbane studio is currently working on a Happy Feet 2 video game to be released alongside the movie in November this year, but after that they're also without a project.

We're currently in contact with KMM/Dr. D in an attempt to get more details and will update as soon as we hear back.


Comments

    Fair enough some ex-Team Bondi members are reluctant to work with McNamara again however for the Aus game industry to succeed we need to get some bigger studios going.

    Team Bondi have made the most successful AAA title in Australia, as far as I'm aware. That is something that needs to built upon. Hopefully McNamara will have learned from his mistakes and will be a better employer for it. While I don't defend the actions he is accused of, we need to build an industry with more studios of that size and caliber.

    Interesting if true. I was worried that the fallout between Bondi and Rockstar would mean the end of the studio, which would have been a shame.

    Let's hope things work out better for them under new management.

    "impressed with Team Bondi’s efforts and McNamara’s refusal to stick to his artistic vision in the face of deadlines."

    Wait shouldn't it be "Refusal to COMPRIMISE his artistic vision in the face of deadlines."

    That would sound like a much more admirable trait and wone that I admire aswell, of course McNamara has gone well below any worthy admiration.

      Good spotting, I missed that.

    Urgh, Team Bondi needs to go away.

    Their connection to Rockstar allowed them to shift units of an incredibly repetitive, dull game that played itself while you sat twiddling your thumbs hoping it gets interesting.

      Perfect description of the game.

    I honestly don't think that's a positive thing at all. Why would you encourage that. All I think it will do is destroy KMMG Sydney and its reputation before it even has one.

    As a 3D artist myself looking to be employed by KMM Sydney eventually, i can say i would be reluctant to apply with them if they absorb McNamara.

    (edited by moderators)

      I agree with you, but it's hard to judge what would happen if this went ahead.

      McNamara might not actually placed as the head of a project, but be on the creative side of things only, which might go along way to calm any employee concerns.

        The agreement was also too some of your other comments as well, ie: Leopards/Spots.

          I doubt being in charge of only the creative side would change his managerial skills in any way at all. It would just free up more time for him to spend cracking the whip.

            But that's what I meant, it could be new concept development and overall reports to whoever the project manager would be, McNamara may not technically have any sub-ordinates to actually manage.

      Was the moderator line a joke or is there some kind of Orwellian thing going on at Kotaku?

      (edited by moderators)

        Part of the original comment was potentially defamatory, so it was removed.

    So much for the "watershed moment" for the Australian games industry...

    Agreed completely. I've heard many a horror story about Mr McNamara and his company's high staff turnover rate. And from interviews with him that I've read, it seems he's not to worried about it at all... not only did this leave a bad taste in my mouth, it made me not want to play LA Noire anymore...

      Same here:(

    I can't help but feel that all the negative criticism of McNamara is a little over the top. Sure there have been a few ex staff members who have come out with bad experiences, but when people on internet forums who have never met the guy start abusing him, it becomes a bit ridiculous. It's not fair to jump to conclusions.

      McNamara's vilification would be unjust and unbackable and as over-blown by bitter employees if only it wasn't reaffirmed by the words of the man himself.

      In articles describing his management from legit sources as well as interviews with him published on this very site overall supports the character we've built for him.

    “Because Dr. D is filled with former Team Bondi employees who left due to the abusive work conditions,” the source continued, “this unexpected visit was quite… unsettling — to put it mildly.”

    This is amazing. How about they simply leave McNamara out to dry while absorbing the rest?

    Where there is smoke.......

    Mr. McNamara has a reputation for a reason. However the extent of what is true and what is not will likely never be known. Common sense simply states that if enough people are jumping ship then there is something wrong. Also the fact that Mr. McNamara has made no steps to assure both the gaming press and gamers that the claims are unfounded are telling. Does he have to? No. Would it go a long way to help get rid of the bad taste in our mouths? Yes.

    I sincerely hope he makes a turn in his studio management, wherever he ends up. L.A. Noire was a great game and reminded me a lot of Assassin's Creed with potential for something greater. Pickpocketing, eavesdropping and interrogation became tailing, fisticuff, and gunfighting. Here's hoping!

    Well, interesting timing since KMM in Brisbane is closing down

    My friend left his Mel DEV studio to go to Syd and work on L.A Noire.
    He was so excited to work on such a historic game.

    And then over time... I played online less and less with him. I saw him less and less. And then I talked to him less and less. Seeing him sign-in to Steam was a rarity.

    On the rare occasions I finally got to talk to him on chat, I found out, that he no longer had time to play games or go out. He went to work at 9am... and didn't leave til 1-3am.

    after 8ish months he couldn't handle it anymore. Of course... he wasn't added to the in-game credits, either.
    No credit for working his ass off for all that time too.

    There is a lot more to this than meets the eye.
    A question that I have is WHY would TB want to be taken over by KMM?
    Let’s face it Brendan McN has an ego the size of a small country and there is no way that an ego that huge would be prepared to let their studio go unless there was something else happening, something going wrong.
    The only thing that I can think of is that he is broke and hasn't got 2 cents to rub together and now he is looking for someone to bail him out.
    Yes, they just released LA Noir, but let's be realistic, it took 7 yrs, 3 publishers and $40 - $50 or who knows how many millions of $'s to finish. He's not going to get any return on that for a while. If the studio had money, it would now be working on their next title irrespective of having a publisher or not. It would be early days in development and you can fly solo until you have something to sell.
    But it looks like this 'merger' is moving quite quickly, TB guys touring around the studio, which can only mean that Brendan needs it to happen fast as he can't afford to have a team that is effectively unemployed.
    Next question; Why would KMM want to take over TB? Well I guess they get a 'ready made team' that has just released a title that has done OK. Is it a successful team? Well that’s debatable as having played the game it should not have taken 7 years and all that money to make. Oh and of course the pivotal question, Has the team made money? - No! Has it allowed the studio to continue onto other projects?  - No! (Brendan would more than likely chirp in about now and tell us all (again) that he wasn't doing it for the money only for the artistic recognition bs!)
    So aside from a team (that is very nervous about their future), what else do KMM get? Do they get the TB tech? Well maybe some. Yes, there is the facial mo-cap tech that has been raved about. But what about the LA Noir game engine? To me it looks suspiciously like a Rockstar engine,  so I guess that wouldn't be included since it would have been licensed from Rockstar.
    They don't get much else... oh aside from a larger payroll and absorbing TB costs!
    Go figure!

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