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Whore Of The Orient team shut down - Report

KMM devs laid off after losing publisher for latest project

Kennedy Miller Mitchell, the production studio that snapped up part of Team Bondi's development team after LA Noire, has reportedly closed down its game division after struggling to find a publisher for its latest title.

The news was reported by Kotaku and confirmed by MCV, after they heard from affected staff who told them the studio lost a publisher for its Whore Of The Orient game, headed up by L.A. Noire creator Brendan McNamara, in late 2012.

Now the production company, which also works on films like Happy Feet 2 and the upcoming Mad Max, has apparently done away with its development team.

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Brendan McNamara

As recently as this April the company had been advertising for staff for a "new AAA title, next gen and narrative action adventure title set in Shanghai in the 1930's, realistic setting and characters."

The blog of a partner to one of the Whore Of The Orient team suggests that redundancies started in December, after Warner Brothers pulled out of the project.

"Our departure from Sydney was not a happy one: [Her partner] had been made redundant by KMMIE as they had recently lost their publisher Warner Bros," she wrote in a blog post that has since been deleted.

"We had only been there for a few weeks and had just signed for an apartment, decorated the place and made ourselves comfortable before they hit us with the bad news. [His] final working day was to be the 21st of December, right before Christmas. Any new deal with a new publisher would come too late (expected: April)."

Her partner's LinkedIn confirms he worked at KMM Interactive Entertainment until December 2012.

It was August 2011 when rumours of an acquisition of Team Bondi by KMM first surfaced, and according to sources was a result of the bad press about working conditions that struck Team Bondi after the release of LA Noire.

"The word is going round that Team Bondi is being folded into Kennedy-Miller Mitchell Films studios," a source said at the time.

"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."

Team Bondi was officially closed up in October 2011, and at the time it was reported KMM stepped in to buy some of its assets.

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Latest comments (21)

Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
Maybe it was the title.
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Peter Bond Studying Art & Design, University of Bedfordshire3 years ago
or McNamara...
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Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios3 years ago
You can't call a video game "Whore of the Orient" It's stupid and not marketable.
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Show all comments (21)
Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
Or it least a large project that needs mainstream publisher support. I'm pretty sure you could call a small budget self financed indie PC title whatever you liked, more or less.
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Mike Wuetherick Lead Designer, Super Mega Awesome Games3 years ago
ugh, can't see how something with that kind of name even got greenlit in the first place.
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Simon Dotschuweit MD SE / CTO, Dorado Games3 years ago
Yeah wondering as well...
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
Guess I'm not the only one who wondered how they came by such an unfortunate name...
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
Addition: I wonder what the reaction would have been like if this was the title of a film however...
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Mike Rusby 3d character modeller 3 years ago
yeah, horrible, racist demeanaing name. WTF. I am pleased it went down
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
@ Mike

As Adam asks above, would you have that reaction to a film? And what if the game had had a name-change before release? I'm fairly certain a title this provocative was at least half-chosen due to the publicity it would garner.

Meanwhile, I'm sad that a period-set "AAA... next gen and narrative action adventure title" with "realistic setting and characters" has been canned. Given the scarcity of games that are set in places like the Far East, it's pretty bad to see it go.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
Amusingly enough, this reminds me of Sony not deciding to localize the wonderful and visually bizarre 4-disc game Kowloon's Gate for the US or Europe. That game took a few years to make (with a pretty big team for the time) and for an early PS1 title was much more impressive to me than some of the games we ended up with (Final Fantasy VII couldn't hold a candle to its art direction). Of course, an arty semi-RPG with a Feng Shui-based combat system and a cyberpunk flair was probably going to fly right over the heads of some gamers, but it was (and is) still a "lost" masterpiece...
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus3 years ago
I won't ever be displeased at anything bad happening to Brendan Macnamara, but it's unfortunate that he has to take so many people down with him.
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Mike Rusby 3d character modeller 3 years ago
@ Morville. I would still have the same objection. So you think its ok to make a racist nasty title just to garner a little publicity or maybe you don't think the title is that bad ?
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Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios3 years ago
Did a search on IMDB, there's about 8 films with whore in the title, most are documentary's showing the plight of real life prostitutes, and some B grade action crap. Think about the publisher, think about the consumer, we can come up with a better title right now. A tale from the Orient, Lady of the Orient etc. (brings a real mysticism to the game, as a consumer I want to know more)
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Maybe retitle it as Phroawr of da Orient - that could update it for LOLspeak generation :)
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 3 years ago
@ Mike

No, I didn't say it was okay; I just said that the title was probably thought of with publicity in mind, and that you can't infer from the name what it would have been like. It could've have been amazing, it could have been shallow tripe. But to say "I am pleased it went down" simply because you hated the name (which could have been changed before release), and when so little was known about it, is short-sighted.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 21st April 2013 4:19pm

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gi biz ;,pgc.eu 3 years ago
@Adam: It would probably be a triple A porn featuring Rocco Siffredi as the main character and telling his tales as he travels to China and Japan. It could be an explicit version of Marco Polo's story, without the boring parts. Omg I so much hope they make such a movie...! _
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gi biz ;,pgc.eu 3 years ago
@Mike: many people around here would toss their money at any average to top quality game even if the story was about insulting their mom and sister for 25 hours from the intro to the ending credits. Not everybody, but I suggest you drop the matter.
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Mike Rusby 3d character modeller 3 years ago
I have made my position clear anyway. I think the name change argument is nonsense quite frankly, it was a very deliberate choice of words and obviously the publisher did n't think too much of it either or it would not have been canned.
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Paul Gheran Scrum Master 3 years ago
Dear everyone; there is nothing inherently racist or demeaning about the title. Your perception is purely your own fear, inhibitions, and ignorance given voice.

Not being able to look at the product as a whole is exactly why the 'games are an art form' platform will never gain any significant traction. I could go on, but I know it's wasted on this forum of people who think that sexism has something to do with appearance and more obviously, occupation.

I'm ashamed to be in games when I read through discussions like this.
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