L.A. Noire was a great game in its own right. It provided a story that was captivating enough that my wife would pester me to play it, eager to find out what happened next. A good chunk of its success comes from the MotionScan technology used to recreate the voice actor’s facial expressions while delivering dialogue which was critical to one of L.A. Noire’s critical mechanics: being able to tell if someone was lying to you or not. One thing I hadn’t considered however was the fact that there would inevitably be bloopers but unlike other games that use motion capture these would be captured in glorious detail. The results are incredibly hilarious:
I think my favourite part of all of it is the sneezing.
It also highlights one of the more glaring issues with the MotionScan technology and that’s it’s current limitation of only capturing facial movements and expressions. This was enough to facilitate L.A. Noire where much of the dialogue between characters takes place with the cameras firmly focused on their face but when their bodies got involved it was incredibly obvious that they lacked the same level of fidelity that their faces had. This gives you this weird disjunct between the head and the rest of the body making it look like they took human faces and slapped them on a robot body.
This didn’t go unnoticed by Depth Analysis (the company behind the technology) however and they’re currently working on extending the technology to be able to capture full body motion. Whether it will appear in another L.A. Noire game any time soon remains to be seen as Team Bondi was shut down at the end of 2011. The IP, and I’d figure by extension all the tools they developed for L.A. Noire, is owned by Rockstar however so there’s the possibility that another development house will end up creating another title using the technology (and possibly the IP).
The big question will be data density however as L.A. Noire was a huge game which spanned 3 discs on the Xbox and just barely fit on a single bluray for the PS3. Considering that was just the faces a game that included a full body motion capture would likely require several times more data in order for it to be possible. This isn’t to say it’s impossible, there are already data mediums that have this level of storage available to them, just that such a game would likely be in the range of 100GB or more.
Considering that the next generation of consoles are rumoured to come out (or at least be announced) this year there’s the highly likely possibility that they’ll bring in a new storage solution both for new games and movies a like. This could be something as simple as a bigger hard drive as they’ve always been on the small side but it could extend to something as exotic as ultraviolet discs which have an order of magnitude greater storage than blurays. Still that’s all wild speculation at this point but if the rumours are true we’ll only have to wait 2 weeks to see what Sony is bringing to the table which is really quite exciting.