advocacy games industry

How to schedule like an idiot: Vicky Lord, Team Bondi

Let’s play a game! What’s wrong with the following two sentences:

“So we are going to change to the way we have completed milestones in the past. It’s no longer going be about just completing your schedule for the milestone.”

(from the goldmine of info about the abuses at Team Bondi / LA Noire – NB: original link (which I don’t recommend using) is – but they have a stupid and offensive policy that means no-one is able to view it)

Need some help? How about the lines that followed:

“As many of you have families or weekend commitments, we are giving you notice of this to allow you to make alternative arrangements to enable you to be in the office. If we can be of any assistance, please see myself or Denise. During the last week of the milestone you will be required to work through your tasks for N10 and if they finish before N10 ships to keep going on your sub-alpha tasks until the milestone ships. That means that everyone is required to keep going until the milestone ships or your lead informs you that you have done all that you can for N10 and sub-alpha. Specifically this means in the last two weeks of the milestone you can expect pretty long days. It’s “one in all in” until we get the Milestone shipped and get the game ready for testing. We need teamwork to get the game finished to the quality that we are after and that means being here to help a tester, a designer, an artist or programmer who needs your support to get their work finished.”

Hey, Vicky, let me help you with that (rambling, waffling) email!

(my version): “In most companies, you have a job to do, and you do it. However, I’m so stunningly incompetent, and my boss is such an idiotic bully, that we’ve got lots of people with too much work. The only way we can bully them into working masses of unpaid (in some countries, probably illegal) overtime – and STEALING their lives, their family time, their work (we’re not paying for these hours, remember?) – is to show them that we’re being equally evil to ALL employees.

If you did your work on time: HA HA! YOU IDIOT! Here at Team Bondi, we don’t believe in “getting things done”, we believe in “looking like we’re doing stuff, even if we’re not”, and “making the management look good at all costs. Especially if that can be achieved over the gasping corpses of our staff”.”

I think that about summarizes it.

Add Vicky to the blacklist: never work for her, or any studio she is part of, ever.

7 replies on “How to schedule like an idiot: Vicky Lord, Team Bondi”

I can’t help getting this feeling that’s it’s like saying, “hey Steve isn’t done yet! Everybody else go break something so that we can ship even later!” Maybe they have some sort of super version control that prevents that from happening but the possibilities do seem endless for that kind of stuff.

Yes, over-tired coders managing to check in a subtle bug which makes the game tools useless to the design team I’m in for three days while they track it down is such fun.

I have, unfortunately, been there

Me , for once , I am going to disagree with all that . For starters ,conditions werent remotely as bad as some people claim here. The amount of overwork was not much different than in other games studios I have been . Workiing on weekends ? It really wasnt that compulsory . Some people did , some others didnt . There were people that NEVER went to the studio on a weekend , and others -that for personal reasons , lack of social life , etc – were there even without being asked to. This is common amongh games studios that ussually have a 24/7 open doors policy . Most people on weekends were doing low-intensity work ,when not goofing off browsing the web. Some people even just went before lunch ,to get the free lunch ,browse a bit , and leave to the pub.

But what puzzles me the most about all this whinning is that no-one was forced to work there. Working for TB was optional. Everybody could quit at any time , most of those even without being required to re-pay visa expenses (another common trend in the industry ). If conditions were that bad .. why the fuck didnt leave rigjhtaway ? instead of cowardly blame the management/company/ Brendan ? . Why wait until the end , and then anonimously try to bring down the studio with them ? Outright cowardy.\

The door was always open for people to leave . Quitting was never a traumatic experience for no-one , most people even given parties , speeches and praising the management and staff alike.

Most of those “Sydney 7” have not the balls to tell any of those complains to Dave, Franta or -even worse Brendan – face to face. They hide from a safe keyboard miles away . This way is way tooo easy to be complaining.

Finishing ,, the management at TB wasnt probbably the best in the world (me particularly never could stand Dave ,-and viceversa , probbably didint spoke to him in 3 years ! – . But can’t say that he was unfair with staff. And most importantly , Brendan , Vicky , Franta , Dave (?) and Cheeken were doing *at least* as many hours as everybody . I can assure they were the very last to leave.

Anwyay.. I sincerily hope that those that spread those shit about TB find themselves working in a real sweatshop studio. They ll have the rest of their careers to realize that TB wasnt that bad at all .

Adios !

“no-one was forced to work there. Working for TB was optional. Everybody could quit at any time”

Yes. Just as 5-year old children weren’t “forced” to work in the mines – they were free to exercise their right to simply starve to death.

“And most importantly , Brendan , Vicky , Franta , Dave (?) and Cheeken were doing *at least* as many hours as everybody . I can assure they were the very last to leave. ”

and how much were they being paid? Was everyone else getting overtime – or just having their free labour taken from them with nothing given back in return?

Adam .: if you worked there , you ll know the answers to all those questions .

I rather don’t discuss the weekend payment schemes , but suffice to say that there WAS one , and that every employee was fully aware of the rates , payment dates ,and so. I (and I assume everybody ) was paid in full (well before the end of the project ) for every Saturday/ Sunday that worked there on weekends. People who claim It was unpaid weekend work they are simply lying .

“if you worked there , you ll know the answers to all those questions .”

Seeing as 99.99999% of people didn’t work there, that’s a stupid thing to say. It’s just another way of saying:

“I don’t want to tell you”

which normally means:

“the answer to that question would undermine my point”

I have no idea who you are, but the phrases you use, the claims you make – and the lack of anything remotely approaching verifiable evidence – are exactly the same as we’ve heard thousands of times before.

Very few people working in the industry are going to believe you; you sound too much like a shill. Sorry!

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