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Stuart Black, Developer Of Black, Leaves Bodycount Team

Is it still a spiritual successor when the guy who made the predecessor leaves?

Stuart Black, creative director on Codemasters' upcoming shooter Bodycount, has announced to Eurogamer that he will be leaving the game before it releases next spring. Black has been with Codemasters for the past three years, setting up the team as well as overseeing development of Bodycount.  
 
What makes this story strange is that Mr. Black's departure disrupts the main marketing message that has driven interest in Bodycount. While Black has a number of major British game titles on his resume (he worked for Bullfrog! Did you ever work on Dungeon Keeper? That's what I thought.), he is still best known as the designer behind Black, Criterion's explosion-heavy first person shooter released in 2006. While the game had a mixed critical reception, Black has a sizable cult following of people who just want to see explosions on their television at all times.   
 
 
 This is pretty much what Black looked like too.

== TEASER ==Mr. Black departed Criterion after the release of Black, but that hasn't stopped him (or Codemasters) from framing Bodycount as the spiritual successor to Black (a sequel to which was announced in 2006, but is now considered to be canceled). That's a fine and good tactic to garner interest in the new game... except that the man behind Black, building the spiritual successor to Black, is no longer working on "The New Black." 
 
Mr. Black will formally depart the company this October, after completing the rest of his design duties. It might be just me, but it's super weird when a game company attributes a game to a designer/developer who no longer works at the company anymore. Hothead has released plenty of trailers for their downloadable action-RPG DeathSpank, billing it as the new game from Ron Gilbert, developer of the Monkey Island games... but Gilbert is no longer working at Hothead. He departed the company a few months before DeathSpank was released.  
 
Gilbert's exit didn't stop Hothead's marketing plan, and I'm sure Black's departure won't stop Codemasters from releasing trailers that remind you that Bodycount is a game "from the explosive minds behind Black!" For what it's worth, Codemasters has told Eurogamer that Bodycount is still on track for a Spring 2011 release, and that the game is still being staffed by a team of 80 developers. I dunno. It just makes me feel weird.
23 Comments
Posted by MattBodega
Stuart Black, creative director on Codemasters' upcoming shooter Bodycount, has announced to Eurogamer that he will be leaving the game before it releases next spring. Black has been with Codemasters for the past three years, setting up the team as well as overseeing development of Bodycount.  
 
What makes this story strange is that Mr. Black's departure disrupts the main marketing message that has driven interest in Bodycount. While Black has a number of major British game titles on his resume (he worked for Bullfrog! Did you ever work on Dungeon Keeper? That's what I thought.), he is still best known as the designer behind Black, Criterion's explosion-heavy first person shooter released in 2006. While the game had a mixed critical reception, Black has a sizable cult following of people who just want to see explosions on their television at all times.   
 
 
 This is pretty much what Black looked like too.

== TEASER ==Mr. Black departed Criterion after the release of Black, but that hasn't stopped him (or Codemasters) from framing Bodycount as the spiritual successor to Black (a sequel to which was announced in 2006, but is now considered to be canceled). That's a fine and good tactic to garner interest in the new game... except that the man behind Black, building the spiritual successor to Black, is no longer working on "The New Black." 
 
Mr. Black will formally depart the company this October, after completing the rest of his design duties. It might be just me, but it's super weird when a game company attributes a game to a designer/developer who no longer works at the company anymore. Hothead has released plenty of trailers for their downloadable action-RPG DeathSpank, billing it as the new game from Ron Gilbert, developer of the Monkey Island games... but Gilbert is no longer working at Hothead. He departed the company a few months before DeathSpank was released.  
 
Gilbert's exit didn't stop Hothead's marketing plan, and I'm sure Black's departure won't stop Codemasters from releasing trailers that remind you that Bodycount is a game "from the explosive minds behind Black!" For what it's worth, Codemasters has told Eurogamer that Bodycount is still on track for a Spring 2011 release, and that the game is still being staffed by a team of 80 developers. I dunno. It just makes me feel weird.
Posted by Shuborno

Not promising.

Edited by Crono11

....I tried to come up with something to say that I cared about this but I just can't, because I don't.

Posted by VWGTI

Now that's some news!

Posted by cousinike

I think its a good idea what he is doing. Its clear he has low hope for his games to sell well, so what better way to get your ideas made then by going to a developer work with them just about every step of the way and then once its about to release go to someone else and tell them another new idea before your last idea fails...

Posted by scottygrayskull

Eh, he's probably just mad because they wouldn't let him put his name in the title again.

Posted by Olivaw

Black. Black black black.
 
Black?
 
Black!

Posted by Damien

Everytime I see this game, all I can think about is how the crosshairs expand the whole width of the screen.  How does that even work?  And how would that be fun?

Edited by Godlovesugly

 

                                                                                  'Mr. Black'
 http://revver.com/video/668619/ventrilo-harassment-mr-black/
Posted by Druxk
@Damien said:
" Everytime I see this game, all I can think about is how the crosshairs expand the whole width of the screen.  How does that even work?  And how would that be fun? "
That's exactly what my friend and I were talking about the other day.  When it comes to shooters, for me, one of the most important factors in whether or not I like it rides heavily on the shoulders of the appearance of the crosshairs.  So far Bodycount's just look clunky and downright weird.
Posted by Innovacious

He still worked on it, just like Ron worked on Deathspank. Their work dosnt suddenly become void because they dont work there anymore, their work is still there, and they are still in the credits. You even said it yourself "Mr. Black will formally depart the company this October, after completing the rest of his design duties"

Posted by Damien
@Druxk said:
" @Damien said:
" Everytime I see this game, all I can think about is how the crosshairs expand the whole width of the screen.  How does that even work?  And how would that be fun? "
That's exactly what my friend and I were talking about the other day.  When it comes to shooters, for me, one of the most important factors in whether or not I like it rides heavily on the shoulders of the appearance of the crosshairs.  So far Bodycount's just look clunky and downright weird. "
I'm just genuinely confused.  If the game's premise is 'shooters today are slow and boring, here's run and gun and explosions', how can the crosshairs be rendered useless after holding down the trigger for 2 seconds?  Will the bullet just randomly go anywhere on screen?  I just don't get it.  I agree with you.  It just makes the game look bad.
Posted by guilherme
@Olivaw:   He will now begin a new studio, Stuart Black's Black Studios, with a new game: Stuart Black's Black Studios' Black Black (AKA Black 2). 
Posted by SpaceDandie

I think I'm more shocked that Ron Gilbert left Hothead. I hadn't heard about that.

Posted by PJ

If hes done whit his designe duties then I see no difference in him leaving or staying. Its not like Black was in any way a great game especially when looking at the combat designe. So as far as I'm concerned, I'm now more interrested in this game since it can actually be better then Black

Posted by jonnyboy

None More Black.

Posted by Stephen_Von_Cloud
@jonnyboy said:
" None More Black. "
Lol.  Was about to make the same comment after reading "black" about 20 times in one paragraph, but I'm sure everyone else was too.
Posted by Stephen_Von_Cloud

Maybe he's leaving to go work with Lady Gaga

Posted by paulunga

Black.

Posted by Milpool
@Damien said:
" @Druxk said:
" @Damien said:
" Everytime I see this game, all I can think about is how the crosshairs expand the whole width of the screen.  How does that even work?  And how would that be fun? "
That's exactly what my friend and I were talking about the other day.  When it comes to shooters, for me, one of the most important factors in whether or not I like it rides heavily on the shoulders of the appearance of the crosshairs.  So far Bodycount's just look clunky and downright weird. "
I'm just genuinely confused.  If the game's premise is 'shooters today are slow and boring, here's run and gun and explosions', how can the crosshairs be rendered useless after holding down the trigger for 2 seconds?  Will the bullet just randomly go anywhere on screen?  I just don't get it.  I agree with you.  It just makes the game look bad. "
Maybe the character in the game doesn't know how to use a gun.
Posted by chilipeppersman
@PJ: 
i couldnt agree more
Posted by iFeelWorse

Just to echo what's already been noted; if his design duties are done when he leaves, what does it matter? It's still his work and overall design and the exact same thing goes for DeathSpank. Even if Ron isn't employed at Hothead, it's still his game.
 
More to the point, the parts I liked about Black was the shooting and as long as that carries over I'll probably pick this up. I won't pick it up for full price though. I would probably be more inclined to do that if it was a arcade-y XBLA title, but whatever.

Posted by mewarmo990

Reading the headline about whether spiritual successors can still be considered such when the predecessor's creator is gone, I immediately thought of Deus Ex 3 and Warren Spector :P