It seems that the spiritual successor to the original Xbox title Black, known as Bodycount, continues to struggle. Following the departure of Black’s creator, Stuart Black, it is now confirmed that Criterion alum Adrian Bolton has also moved on from the Codemasters’ Guildford studio where Bodycount is being developed.
Reports seem sketchy as to why all of the ship-jumping has been happening. A number of rumors surrounding Black’s departure seem to suggest that he was unhappy with the response from the title during its showing at E3, but it seems that the majority of the reviews were positive from what was shown.
A more likely scenario seems to be centered on the quality of the title itself and where it is in the development process. Whispers that we hear seem to suggest that the length of the development cycle and the quality of the game isn’t where Codemasters thought it should be. Former GM Adrian Bolton has yet to publically comment on his opinion of the situation, but we expect that it will come out at some point.
Despite all of the turmoil in the development of Bodycount, Codemasters still plans to finish and release the title once it is finished and the quality is where they would like it to be. The release for the game is now being estimated as coming at some point in the early summer of next year, with a more official date to be announced early next year.
Codemasters apparently believes that the departure of both Black and Bolton will have little effect on the finished product. The company apparently believes that they internally have a number of candidates who can jump into the breach and fill the hole left by these departures. It remains to be seen if Codemasters is right and the title will survive all of these personnel problems and actually be successful.
In the past, titles that have had a lot of personnel changes often have received bad reviews and have struggled for sales. Codemasters’ re-focus on quality is likely a good decision.