Skip to main content

L.A. Noire gag reel demonstrates the horrors of motion capture technology

L.A. Noire

When L.A. Noire made its retail debut in 2011 it was hailed for featuring some of the most lifelike characters ever seen in a video game. This was largely due to the work of a company called Depth Analysis, which specializes in intensely detailed motion capture technology. Motion capture tech has been a staple of game development since the early 90s, but the system employed by Depth Analysis takes the concept to a whole new level of detail, allowing in-game characters to feature the same minute facial tics and unconscious physical reactions that commonly appear in real-world conversations but are almost entirely absent from the virtual world. L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi used Depth Analysis’ technology to complement the game’s hard-boiled, noir detective story, and as a result the act of interrogating witnesses in L.A. Noire is one of the most detailed, realistic CGI experiences to emerge from the gaming industry in recent years.

However, for all of the benefits that Depth Analysis’ intensive motion capture process delivers, it’s also got a dark side. The motion capture seen in L.A. Noire is the end result of what must be extensive audio production and editing work, not to mention countless hours of both voice and motion capture acting. Without all of this effort (which would otherwise be largely invisible to players), the characters in L.A. Noire could have been very different. Frighteningly different.

Related Videos

Below this text you’ll find a newly-released vignette courtesy Depth Analysis that attempts to document the unintended hilarity that emerges from simultaneously capturing an actor’s voice and facial expressions simultaneously. Ostensibly the video is supposed to be a funny, interesting look behind the scenes of a big-budget, blockbuster video game release, but it also gives us a look at the capabilities of the technology as well as showing us new high water mark for the uncanny valley. 

It also is pure nightmare fuel.

Editors' Recommendations

L.A. Noire lead programmer defends Team Bondi in a letter to the IGDA

Reports emerged last week of troubling working conditions at Team Bondi, the Australia studio responsible for developing Rockstar Games' latest, L.A. Noire. The info came from a number of unidentified former Bondi staffers, who also indcated that the situation led to a split between Rockstar and the studio on future projects.

As is always the case with these sorts of stories, there are multiple perspectives and not all of them see things as the whistleblowers do. Disturbed by the allegations raised by those former Bondi staffers, Noire lead programmer Dave Heironymous fired off a letter to the International Game Developer's Association, which he then shared in its entirety with Gamasutra. Heironymous admits that working conditions were difficult -- really, that's nothing new for the games industry, especially during "crunch" periods -- but he believes that the allegations which have been raised are not so much meant to make things better as they are meant to see the studio "destroyed."

Read more
L.A. Noire ‘isn’t complete yet,’ according to a Rockstar Games rep

The last announced downloadable content release for Rockstar Games and Team Bondi's open world adventure game L.A. Noire. That doesn't mean we've seen the last of Cole Phelps, however. That's what a Rockstar rep seemed to indicate in a recent chat with Kotaku. Actually, forget the "seemed to"... that's exactly what was said.

"The game isn't complete yet," the rep said, without further clarification. Which leaves plenty of room for speculation. There's still some content out there that hasn't been released as paid DLC, such as the "Consul's Car" case that came with PlayStation 3 versions of the game. There are also multiple in-game references to Cole's time on the Burglary desk, where he worked between Traffic and Homicide. Its exclusion from the final game seemed strange, but perhaps it was meant all along as a large-scale DLC pack.

Read more
L.A. Noire expansion Reefer Madness fires up a new trailer

The newest downloadable content for L.A. Noire, a vice case, is on the way and we have the new trailer below to prove it. The DLC titled “Reefer Madness,” will be released on July 12 on both Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network for 320 MS points or $3.99 respectively. Those that purchased the Rockstar Pass for $10 will receive the case as part of that fee.
The "Reefer Madness" case pits Vice Detective Cole Phelps against drug smugglers pushing the vile weed known as marijuana onto the streets of L.A. In order to stop people smoking it and possibly committing suicide or committing rape as the 1936 film of the same name suggests will happen, Phelps and his partner must crack one of the city’s largest narcotics rings.
The “Reefer Madness” DLC is the second additional case for the game, and it joins the arson-based investigation currently available under the name “Nicholson Electroplating,” as well as two other cases that were originally pre-order bonuses, but can both be purchased as well.

Read more