Is L.A. Noire A Glimpse Of The Future?
While I mentioned it in my review (and I'll probably touch on it during my video commentary, which you'll see in a matter of days), I believe this intriguing subject is worthy of a separate article.
There is nothing revolutionary about the action-based gameplay in L.A. Noire and in fact, that aspect of Team Bondi's impressive achievement actually feels outdated in comparison to the facial recognition technology, which is the clear focus. That being said, those faces alone can indeed be considered revolutionary. As this industry continues to progress, it's critical that we find a way to more fully embrace the reality of humanity. Think about how stories have taken a bigger role in our interactive experiences; then, think about how we interact with one another in real life.
The acting in games like Heavy Rain and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is great, but despite all our fancy hardware and developmental advances, the characterization still relies heavily upon the voice actors. In truth, when we speak to others, the majority of communication occurs without words; you know that old saying, "90% of communication is non-verbal." That's absolutely true and if we are to capture the essence of emotion and human drama in video games, we needed another push forward. We needed to emphasize the faces. We needed a technology that can manage to do this.
Hence, MotionScan. I'm not saying it's the answer to the future but it's a definite start. They also picked just the right setting for its debut; placing gamers in the role of a character who must interpret faces on a daily basis. Lives can even depend on those expressions. It wouldn't have been nearly as amazing had such tech been applied to a game that doesn't highlight the need for it. Actually, it's almost as if they wanted to send a message; to say- "Look what we can do now...imagine the ways in which it can be used in the future."
5/20/2011 Ben Dutka