A former Codemasters employee has accused the publisher of imposing unlawful working conditions and threatening laid-off staff with bankruptcy proceedings for not returning wages "mistakenly" paid to them.
Semi Essessi, a programmer who worked on 2011 first-person shooter at the publisher's now defunct Guildford studio, contacted Eurogamer to detail a long list of grievances held against his former employer.
Codemasters has now responded to these allegations.
You can tell a lot about a game from its Achievements. After one hour and six minutes of playing Bodycount, it had doled out 335 points. Not only are the names uninspired ('Boombastic' - really?) but they're handed out in great chunks for standard progression. Unlock a new ability, another 50 points. That's not generosity - it's desperation.
Bodycount is a desperately average FPS, a poorly-conceived and barely finished rush-job entering the most over-saturated genre around. It has a campaign clocking in at around four hours, a multiplayer mode that redefines bare bones, enemies that don't respond to your presence, and a frankly terrible line in costumes.
This was supposed to be Black's spiritual sequel - a line that Codemasters has been playing down since the departure of Bodycount's spookily-named former project lead Stuart Black. But Bodycount loses out in every way to Black, a game released five years ago on last-generation hardware. There's no point in dwelling on the comparison just to stick the boot in, but you wonder why it was made in the first place.
A few years back, when DICE was sitting down and putting together its plans for domination of the first-person shooter genre - plans that may well come to fruition later this year - it peered into the future and asked: what's the one feature that all first-person shooter games will have?
Andrew Wilson, the game director for Bodycount, has hit back at claims that the first-person shooter has suffered from high-profile departures, rumours that suggest a troubled development, and launch delays.
Codemasters’ shooter prepares to emerge from cover.
Bodycount's been no stranger to adversity: Codemasters' spiritual sequel to Black has seen the departure of some important team members, and been the subject of plenty of rumour regarding missed milestones and brutal crunch periods. With the project finally headed to a late summer release, we caught up with game director Andrew Wilson to get his perspective on a troubled development – and to see what's driving this ambitious shooter.
Bodycount approaches the FPS genre a little differently to the real world shooters we've been bombarded with of late. In fact, says game director Andy Wilson, there's been a deliberate decision to move away from what has become a familiar formula.
If ever a man reflected the character of the game he was making, it's Stuart Black, the wild creative lead behind Codemasters' gun porn shooter Bodycount. Loud, effervescent, uncompromising, relentless, engaging, destructive. If his mouth was a gun, energetic banter with the silver-haired Scot would end with your brains smeared over the wall.
Stuart Black, co-creator of Criterion's superb game Black, is making a new first-person shooter for Codemasters called Bodycount.
He is creative director and his project is scheduled for release on PS3 and Xbox 360 in Q1 2011.
Set in the present day, Bodycount follows the story of a no-questions-asked task force ordered to kill "Targets" on behalf of a "Network". Destructible cover will feature, as will online multiplayer and co-op.