Twitter usually isn’t the most reliable place for inside gaming news and rumors as it’s often a pit of garbage. But there is one reliable source of juicy gaming news on Twitter, and that's Veracious Shit. In the past Veracious Shit has informed us on the history behind L.A. Noire along with dropping the first word on Avalanche Studios (Just Cause 2) working on a game based on an upcoming sci-fi movie. Once again Veracious Shit has delivered the goods and this time it concerns Rockstar Toronto.
I don’t know who Veracious Shit is but he/she seems to have terrific sources as evident by today’s nugget of info about Rockstar Toronto. We all know that when it comes to producing games, Rockstar often takes a long, long time as shown by the five year dev cycle of Red Dead Redemption.
Most of us had assumed that the long development cycle for Rockstar’s productions was a fairly recent thing in the wake of the HD consoles and the sheer amount of hype that surrounds projects like GTA and Max Payne. But according to Veracious Shit, Rockstar’s long dev process goes as way back as to a decade ago when the company began work on The Warriors. Released in 2005, Rockstar’s video game adaptation of the cult 1979 film The Warriors wasn’t a major commercial success but garnered a cult following from gamers thanks to the old-school brawler mechanics and the amount of respect that was paid to the source material.
But according to the sources of Veracious Shit, Rockstar wasn’t too thrilled with the result of The Warriors, mainly because it took over five years to finish. As per Veracious Shit, Take Two acquired the rights to The Warriors in 2000 and then preceded to hand off the dev duties to Rockstar Canada for a planned 2002 release. At the time, Rockstar Canada was also responsible for porting games (such as Bungie’s Oni) thus the resources of the studio were spread a bit thin. Nonetheless Rockstar expected the game to make its planned 2002 release but soon enough that year came and went with the game still being unfinished.
Eventually The Warriors was pushed to a 2003 release but with a feeling within the studio that the project wasn’t progressing well, members of the dev team decided to leave the studio altogether. Eventually, after pressure from Rockstar New York and two years of additional development time, The Warriors was finally released in 2005. Based on Veracious Shit, Rockstar wasn’t too pleased with the finished product of The Warriors considering the time the game took to develop and as a result half of Rockstar Canada (who at that point was now known as Rockstar Toronto) was fired.
But here’s a piece of Rockstar history that was up until now wasn’t publicly known. Despite the “lackluster” result of The Warriors, Rockstar Toronto began work on a game set in the 1960s that revolved around battling mod and rocker gangs. This untitled project, which was also a brawler like The Warriors, began life on the PS2 but was then moved to the PS3/360. At this point the project has most likely been cancelled, but who knows if Rockstar has any intentions on reviving it in the future.
Currently, Rockstar Toronto is helming Max Payne 3, a game which has had murmurs of an equally troubled dev cycle which includes the game script being rewritten three times. Max Payne was originally set for release in winter 2009 but has subsequently been bumped to a “sometime in 2011” release schedule. Supposedly the current feeling amongst the members of Rockstar Toronto is that the studio could face more layoffs if it isn’t completely closed.
There have always been proclaims of mismanagement with Rockstar as a whole and the with the whole Rockstar Toronto situation it’s hard to figure out who to blame. Rockstar may take a long ass time to release a game and there may be countless revisions/changes made throughout the dev cycle, but usually the finished product is better than everything else that’s on the market.
I guess we’ll learn the fate of Rockstar Toronto whenever Max Payne 3 ships as that certainly could be a make or break moment for the studio if this recent crop of rumors were actually legit. Just like the other Rockstar studios, I’m fond of the work Rockstar Toronto has done in the past years and I’m bummed that their 1960s gang game never got off the ground.
We should all keep in mind that this is an unconfirmed rumor so it should be taken with a grain of salt. In the past Veracious Shit has been on the mark, but for all we know this new concerning Rockstar and Rockstar Toronto could be far from the truth.