Team Bondi's L.A. Noire has been in development over 5 long years and is almost ready for its May 17th release date. Through DepthAnalysis's new MotionScan facial motion-capture technology, L.A. Noire will take realism and believability in video game characters to unprecedented heights.
But L.A. Noire isn't just about pretty faces — the game takes place over a painstakingly recreated 1947 Los Angeles, spanning over 8 square miles. Driving from one end of the city to another will take over 30 minutes in the vast open-world landscape. Historical landmarks like Union Station and Downtown LA will accurately represent the era.
Despite having such a large area to explore, we're told that L.A. Noire is not as open as GTA or Red Dead Redemption, instead focusing heavily on narrative and the main story. The main story itself takes place over a one-year time period and 23 cases. The case we witnessed was roughly an hour long. A rep for Rockstar told us that the main storyline would take anywhere between 25-30 hours to complete. There's also optional "unassigned cases" that help build the backstory of secondary characters and retailer-exclusive pre-order DLC that will eventually be released to everyone.
Also unlike GTA and RDR, the game will feature a much more "mature" theme. While main protagonist, Cole Phelps (voiced/played by Mad Men star, Aaron Staton) can draw his gun for an over-the-shoulder view shootout, using your gun should be only a "last resort". The combat doesn't end there, either — in an interrogation scene, the detectives prodded a man whose wife had just been murdered. The man grew angry after being called out on a lie and engaged the detectives with fisticuffs.
This same interrogation scene was used as a demonstration of the MotionScan technology used to capture the most realistic facial expressions and animations ever seen in video games. You can easily pick up things like a quivering lip, darting eyes, or repetitive glancing in another direction to help you determine if a witness is lying.
Over 400 actors have been scanned using the same MotionScan technology as the main characters, giving all of the game's NPCs the same visual fidelity.
Even with only a 45-minute demonstration of L.A. Noire with Rockstar at PAX East, this information is just the tip of the iceberg. Look out for more information in our in-depth preview, coming later this week.