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LA Noire A Huge Gamble For Rockstar

by William Schwartz on May 12, 2011

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    I can’t remember the last time I was as excited for a gaming experience as I am with LA Noire.  The promise that LA Noire holds is impressive.  With Team Bondi moving away from the traditional formula other games in the Rockstar family made famous, the gamble for both the publisher and developer is a big one.  Between the sky-high development costs and the extensive marketing ambush that the game has had for months, Rockstar has bet big with the upcoming title.

    Why have they put so much faith behind LA Noire?  Well, if you haven’t had the opportunity to see the technology behind the game you’re missing the point.  In LA Noire you play the role of a detective that will work his way up the ranks of the Los Angeles police department.  The game consists of many cases, having you work different departments as you sharpen your detective skills.  So how does one venture into the world of virtual detective work?  As you may or may not expect, detective work involves extensive interviews with suspects.  In traditional games, this would seem like it would be a game filled with many awkward cutscenes.  In LA Noire the developer has invested heavily in a new technology that by many accounts could be a turning point for video games and the type of experiences that we can expect from them.  Have a look at the motion capture technology for LA Noire in the video below if you haven’t had the opportunity to do so.

    Rockstar’s biggest gamble is introducing this type of game into a world full of gamers that have literally been raised on online multiplayer shooters.  Games that are fueled by twitch reflexes and repetition, are comprised of selling points that LA Noire just doesn’t have.  LA Noire is also not the type of game that the Rockstar name is associated with, it’s not GTA.  In fact, LA Noire is fueled by narrative.  So much so, that the developer gives you the option to skip the traditional platforming parts of the game that could give you trouble if that’s your preference.  With such a large step away from what defines a successful game these days, it will be interesting to see how LA Noire resonates with consumers.  Then again, the same thing was said about Heavy Rain last year and we all know how that turned out. The game was praised by almost everyone that played it from a critical standpoint, and sold well also.

    The gaming landscape that we have five years from now could be quite different than it is now, and when we look back, games that took chances and invested heavily in the progression of our hobby are the ones we’ll look back at give credit to for blazing the trail, at a time when many were risk averse.  That being said, we haven’t played LA Noire but here’s hoping its as good as it sounds…and looks.

    LA Noire releases on May 17th for Xbox 360 and PS3.

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