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Stuart Black, Developer Of Black, Leaves Bodycount Team
by Matt Kessler on
Is it still a spiritual successor when the guy who made the predecessor leaves?
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.
== 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.