1940s Hardboiled Detective Drama coming 2011
The company behind Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption has unveiled their latest project, L.A. Noire. Produced by Rockstar Games and developed by Team Bondi, L.A. Noire promises to be a gritty detective game taking place in a “perfectly recreated” 1940s Los Angeles. The game is being directed by Michael Uppendahl, one of the directors of the hit series Mad Men.
“The case that makes you and the case that breaks you… The case you never solve; the case that keeps you awake at night.” With this week’s release of the game’s first trailer, gamers learned that it appears to take a hardboiled approach to the crime fiction genre. As a detective, players will take on an “open-ended challenge to solve a series of gruesome murders” in this single-player adventure. Just how open-ended it will really be remains to be seen, but after last year’s release of Heavy Rain, which now has Move support, the detective genre has a pretty high standard to live up to.
The game exudes a very distinctive style, reminiscent of the similarly-named and critically acclaimed L.A. Confidential, which tells the fictional story of crime and corruption surrounding the 1950’s Los Angeles Police Department. L.A. Noire will be an extremely cinematic experience and will feature a Jazz soundtrack, as well as very specific noire lighting. Based on the trailer, exploration of a 1940’s Los Angeles looks like it might be worth the price of admission alone; Era-specific cars, clothing, offices, voices, billboards and atmosphere are all front and center in the game.
Team Bondi is headed by Brendan McNamara, who wrote and directed Team Soho’s classic PlayStation 2 adventure series The Getaway. It was, at the time, the only series like Grand Theft Auto that was able to successfully compete. Despite having slightly clunky controls, it featured brand name cars and an accurate recreation of modern day London. To date, The Getaway sold over four million copies. L.A. Noire was first announced in 2005, but went under the radar for years as the project underwent massive changes. Those changes look as though they are paying off, as the project now uses a brand new technology called Motion Scan that better captures and expresses emotion in the faces of game characters by more directly translating the actual performance of a motion capture actor into the game. The results so far show serious potential. The change is also to enable a blending between cut-scene and gameplay, providing players with a more interactive experience. That could make all the difference in a game which involves frequent interviewing of suspects and surveying crime scenes for new clues.
Aaron Staton, known for his role in Mad Men as Ken Cosgrove, will voice the main character of the game, Cole Phelps. Known as Walter Bishop in Fringe, perhaps the best show on television, John Noble will also voice a character in the game. The game is expected to release in early 2011 on both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.