It feels like ages since LA Noire was announced. Team Bondi’s crime thriller has emerged from the ashes and has been shaping up very nicely.
#1) You play as a good guy for once
The primary gameplay will see you solving crimes as Cole Phelps. You will go to people’s houses, invite yourself in, interview them and then move on to your next witness/suspect. These encounters will range from well-mannered house visits to car chases, shootouts and rooftop pursuits.
#2) LA is rockstar’s biggest environment yet
The city has been rendered almost 100% accurately to its 1940s layout. Using hand-drawn maps from the time and early aerial photography, Team Bondi has recreated the city right down to 3D shop fronts, but simultaneously making this a bigger environment than anything yet seen. And in this pre-freeway era, you’ll even drive down streets that don’t exist any more, which sounds kinda spooky to us.
#3) It’s got new facial animation tech
NPCs all converse with you in real-time, thanks to a 2,000 page script and new technology that allows dialogue and motion to be captured at the same time. The result is an ultra-fast process for Team Bondi’s sister company Depth Analysis, who can record around 20 minutes of final footage a day, as opposed to the usual timeframe of two animators taking a month over one minute. The results are reportedly spectacular, with faces so realistic you can lip-read them and even tell if they’re lying just from watching them.
#4) The team is paying extreme attention to detail
Everything in the game, from the soundtrack to the prices of food on café menus has been researched extensively to make sure this is a believable environment. There are some 140 interiors in the game, many with multiple rooms, and each one will be full of lovingly-rendered items. Some of the clothes have even been modelled on loaned items from the wardrobes of Saving Private Ryan and King Kong.
#5) Cole’s character will change
In movies or literature, it’s uncommon for a lead character to end as the same person they were in the beginning. Videogame characters, on the other hand, are much more likely to remain the same. Cole is a complex character, with regrets about his past (and particularly his actions during WWII), but who has the strength of his convictions.
#6) Progress is a desk job
Cole starts off as a simple cop on the beat. He’ll be at street level, trying to solve and stop crimes for the first missions, but you’ll soon move to higher, more important tasks. Each ‘desk’ in the police department has its own crime theme and you’ll move through traffic, arson, vice and burglary until you reach your ultimate goal – homicide detective. Each desk job will give you a new partner to work with, although some may be typically corrupt so you should be careful who you trust.
#7) The vehicles come from Jay Leno’s garage
No, really. While most of the game’s several thousand in-game objects have been painstakingly rendered in 3D thanks to some 180,000 photos from newspapers of the time, the game’s vehicles are Jay Leno’s. The late-night comedian apparently gave the team access to his personal collection of vintage vehicles, from cars right through to a fire truck to make the game as authentic as possible. Well… it’s nice to find some use for them, right?
#8) Rockstar has overseen the action scenes
The game seems to be mostly a tense but verbal affair, although the team has recognised the need for gunplay and more traditional action in order to placate the GTA crowd. Rockstar has given Team Bondi the benefit of its exhaustive knowledge on the subject to make sure there’s no shortage of thrills.
#9) The conversation system is similar to Mass Effect’s
While interrogating characters in the game, you’ll have three options at your disposal: coax, accuse and force. These can be used to steer the conversation as you go, so it’s entirely up to you how you go about getting the answers you need. Careful, though – the wrong choice will see your target clam up. There will be unique voices too – some 300 actors and actresses have lent their talents to the game.
#10) It’s based on real crimes
Although some alterations have been made to protect the still-living relatives of those involved at the time, the majority of crimes in LA Noire actually happened in 1940s Los Angeles. Newspaper stories have been scoured for interesting events, and the material looks set to cover the harrowing and the ridiculous in just the right amounts.
L.A. Noire is looking pretty good so far, and the detail to the enviroment is going to go a long way in the game and enhance the gameplay. Rockstar is definetly putting all their manpower and technology behind this game and I can’t wait to get a glimpse of some gameplay. Who else can’t wait to get their hands on a cool historical thriller/adventure game?
- via Games Radar