Rockstar’s new videogame looks like a real movie

December 20th, 2010 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 20 (IANS) Rockstar’s L A Noire could be the most realistic videogame using cutting edge technology to create the feel of a real movie.

The technology being used to display the character’s face captures every detail, every line and every facial tick. Not only is it an incredible piece of work, it has an immersive effect on the player too.

Developed by Rockstar, the creators of the Grand Theft Auto series, in collaboration with Team Bondi, L A Noire is a crime thriller set in 1940s Los Angeles.

According to Rockstar’s development head Brendan McNamara, getting players to connect emotionally with the game’s characters will be key to its success, reports the Telegraph.

“We know we’re asking a lot from players,” says McNamara. “We’re asking them to connect with characters and remember names, faces and events.”

L A Noire shows how far Rockstar’s games have come. Gone are the cartoon-like graphics and slapstick violence of earlier titles.

L A Noire feels like a high-end HBO drama, its characters look and give a feel of real people and the vintage L A backdrop is shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

“Film-wise and literature-wise I’ve always been interested in the period,” says McNamara. “The challenge of setting a game there was finding a hook - or a number of different hooks - that would kind of work in that setting.”

The first ‘hook’ in this instance is MotionScan, the incredible technology constructed for the game by Depth Analysis.

Using cameras, microphones, lights and editing software and built from the ground up, MotionScan enables the developers to capture every nuance of an actor’s facial expressions.

They can then recreate them, providing a level of realism, detail, performance and emotion never seen in a game before.

This is combined with a full-body motion capture performance to create the vivid representation of the actors on the screen.

The second ‘hook’ is the use of Hollywood actors - such as Mad Men’s Aaron Staton, who plays the game’s lead character Cole Phelps.

However, McNamara says because of the Depth Analysis technology, the success of L A Noire requires very believable characters and that’s only possible through great acting.

“The casting of Aaron is inspired choice,” he says. “The character Aaron plays is conflicted and has quite a bit of depth and Aaron is great at conveying those things.”

Thanks to the MotionScan technology, the visual representation of actors in video games is almost exactly like watching a real-life performance.

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