Watch The Eyes, See Them Lie In L.A. Noire

Watch The Eyes, See Them Lie In L.A. Noire
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The art of lying is the most fascinating thing.

Some people do it well, others are just plain bad. But it’s rare that someone trained to detect an untruth can be completely fooled. That’s because no matter how good a liar a person is, they almost always have a tell of some sort.

That’s what has me so excited about the potential of Rockstar’s upcoming crime game L.A. Noire. Thanks to some slick technology and some, hopefully, solid acting, Rockstar seems on the precipice of delivering the sort of game that will allow you to read the game’s characters.

That means people like me, people who read way too much crime fiction, watch way too much crime television and movies, won’t be able to rely on crime noire tropes and their extensive knowledge of crime cliche to pick apart a story and figure out who the criminal is.

Instead, we’ll have to do what real detectives do: find the clues, interview the suspects and try to see who is and who isn’t lying.

That sounds like an absurd statement, but it’s also the realised promise of interactive fiction. It could mean interaction that can shape the experience. Image a game that doesn’t just spill out canned graphics and animation when hit a programmed trigger. A game that not only has a variety of reactions, but the technology to deliver those nuanced differences.

Sure, I don’t know if that’s exactly the direction Rockstar will be taking with their game. But looking at this video, it appears they could. The technology they are using allows them to capture every little detail of an actors face as they go through the part. That means the nervous facial ticks, the double eye blinks, the dry lips, all of that could in theory come across.


  • That makes me so happy. We’re just getting started as a medium – the potential that gaming has is light years beyond anything else and I’m sure that Ebert will one day eat his words. The future of gaming is going to be awesome.

  • This is all very interesting, but having just finished a unit on communication, we were taught that the one thing that is constant about people’s lies is that others are very bad at picking up on them.

    There are no universal “tells” like hollywood would have us believe. People are much more complex and difficult to read than the “Lie to me” pop psychology suggests. While it is true that heightened arousal in the human body can be an indicator of lying, it is also an indicator of a whole heap of other things, like for example, the fear of being convicted of a crime you did not commit.

    While I am loving the level of detail that R* are putting into this game, I hope that they don’t rely on cliches to tell their story. Hopefully they did enough reading into the research done regarding high-stakes lying and have applied it to this game.

    • That’s a good point Sam R, but I think they’ll have to rely on the false clichés as there’s no other way to really build a game around it. That’s always the way it is with Hollywood and gaming – you have to simplify the reality to make it digestible and enjoyable, at least until the broader public become aware of the subtleties.

      Though I’m sure that level of realism isn’t out of the question in the future when games get more sophisticated; I’m really impressed with what they’re doing, but I also know as one of the first games to try something like this, they won’t push it too far so they can make sure the mechanic still works. People who are educated in the field like yourself may find it cliché and clumsy, but the average person won’t look behind the curtain and will be love it.

      • For sure. To make a product entertaining, most of the time, life has to be simplified, and above all, this is a game, and as such, it has to be “winnable”. It would suck to play a game where there was no discernible way of telling what the right move was, but I’d still like to see them treat it as more than just the typical lie formula that occurs in so much of our pop culture already.
        Having said that, I’m super stoked to see where this type of tech will take us, the amount of detail in the performances that have been captured is incredible.

  • i dont think this game will sell particularly well but as a tech asset for rockstar games its huge, imagine this tech is put into all their future games it’d be light years ahead of any other studios.

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