L.A. Noire Explores Subtleties Of Crime With Nuanced, Digital Actors

It's here, the first real trailer for gritty '40s detective game L.A. Noire and it's going to blow you away.

I've always been bothered by how out of sync, how unreal, digital actors look in video games. That's exacerbated in the sorts of games they expect you to read anything into the folks you run into in a game.

Imagine trying to tell if someone is lying to you when they're wearing an ill-fitting rubber mask. That's essentially the issue with most dialog-heavy video games, until now. If Rockstar is to be believed, this is a game created to "render every subtlety and nuance of an actor's facial expressions and emotions."

Why does that matter? Because in L.A. Noire you play a detective in the Los Angeles of the 1940s. Rockstar says the game has you trying to solve crimes through a "blend of classic action, clue-finding and interrogation, allowing players to analyse every subtle nuance of an actor's performance in order to get to the truth."

If they can do it, if these aren't just canned animations, then L.A. Noire could become an important piece of interactive fiction. More importantly, it could be one of the first games that allows you to use some of the real-world skills investigators tap into to solve crime.


    Oh my lord. Facial animation that doesn't suck!



    I caught the trailer this morning when I got up and, while the shrieking woman looked a little weird, the animations aren't too bad. One thing was a little surprising though - it looks nice, but from the driving and scenery it also sorta looks like GTA was just painted over with some Mafia textures.

    Not that it's a bad thing, it really doesn't show you enough to get a proper idea, but I was hoping there might be something new in terms of gameplay, rather than just narrative.

    Though I walk though the valley of the shadow of uncanny, I shall not fear...

    Yeah there will still be some uncanny valley stuff here for sure, but I read months ago about the massive amount of facial motion capture they undertook for this game. Pretty ambitious. I hope for their sake it works, even as well as Heavy Rain, for a benchmark.

    @Ambrose: If a game is set in an American city, aren't the all going to look somewhere between GTA and Mafia? Eventually there will be lots of them, I would think, so we could just say... they're in an American city, right?

    This looks great, I just hope they can do a better port job over to the PS3.. better than RDR and GTA4. :\

      There is no port job, it's a PS3 exclusive, right?

        its multiplatform, but ps3 is the lead consoles, so its a port to the 360

    Want. It actually looks like an interesting new style of gameplay.

    The animation is definitely good, but the models, or possibly lighting/texturing is letting them down. They have quite a rubbery, waxy look to them in this clip.

    If you could transplant the smooth animation from this onto the models from say, left 4 dead, I think you'd have the best effect yet.

      Personally a game at that large of scale (if it is an open-world sandbox) the skin textures I can forgive. All games have to make compromises when it comes to rendering at a decent fps. But WOW, I'll say it again WWWWOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!!! This has got to be THE BEST facial animation I have seen in a game, nothing was out of synch, the expressions worked.

      Before I shoot myself in the foot, yes I did play GTA 4 and RDR, some bits worked and others just didn't

    Did anyone else notice that the lead character is the Ken Cosgrove from Mad Men? thats epic, he is so well rendered and voiced. Very excited for this LA Confidential type game

      I didn't pick it up myself until his line "We're done for now" near the end but that's totally Ken alright.

    Dig that Bernard Hermann-esque soundtrack.

    Team Bondi is not mentioned ONCE in this nor included as a tag... this isn't technically a Rockstar game, they're not just developers but also PUBLISHERS!!

    Yeah, uncanny valley alright. After the first 5 views or so the faces started to look like wobbly jelly.

    Why is everyone so floored by this? One of the PS3's launch titles had better facial animations (Heavenly Sword). Oh and Enslaved. Just a bit weird that people only seem to be taking notice because its a Rockstar game.

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