“L.A. Noire” has been in development for a long, long time. We’ve been hearing about the title since 2004, but since then the game has gone through many changes, to the point were I don’t think anyone outside of Rockstar is completely sure what sort of game it’ll end up being. Thankfully today’s trailer sheds a bit more light on the project, which appears to be as gritty as you’d expect from the makers of “Grand Theft Auto” and “Red Dead Redemption.” You can check out the trailer up top.
My first impression of the trailer is that the similarities to “L.A. Confidential” are unmistakable. Clearly that movie was a big inspiration, as were the noir detective stories of that era. We also get a peek into the game’s story and cast, which we’ve discussed before. Yep, that’s Aaron Staton, also known as Ken Cosgrove on “Mad Men,” taking on the lead role in both voice and likeness.
My second impression, frankly, is that I was left a little underwhelmed. Rockstar has always been on the forefront of character animations, specifically facial animations, but the character detail in “L.A. Noire” looks like a step down from “Red Dead Redemption.” Obviously the game is still in development for a Spring 2011 release, so that all could get cleaned up in the coming months. Here’s hoping it does. On the bright side, the lip syncing and overall facial animation is some of the best I’ve ever seen in a game. I just wish the faces themselves weren’t so, well, bland. Or maybe Aaron Staton just looks like that.
While the trailer is all in-engine, it doesn’t actually show off any gameplay, though you can figure that car chases and shootouts will be present. Beyond that, we’re just looking forward to going hands-on with the game, as there’s really only so much you can glean from a series of cutscenes. Have the delays been good for “L.A. Noire” or is this project a relic from a different age? Only time will tell.