FMV Has Risen From The Grave

I’ve finally played L.A. Noire, for a few hours. The city is vast, the facial capture is great, but the level of interaction with suspects is disappointing. You get to pick a question, watch their answer and pick one of three reactions (truth/doubt/lie). If you think they’re lying you have to present the right evidence, otherwise they smugly stick to their story. If you debunk a certain percentage of their claims they break and confess.

I’m going to persevere with it, as it may get better later, particularly when I start on the serial killer suspects. These scenes will stand or fall on the writing. But I can’t help thinking that this is a game mechanic that exists only as an attempt to justify the technology. Because if the mechanics came first, Team Bondi could have saved themselves a lot of effort by using good old fashioned FMV. Despite the performance capture, the interrogations are still just a string of multiple choice cutscenes.

However, if they HAD done that, they would have had a jarring transition between the game characters and the FMV actors. The importance of the performance capture is not the interrogation scenes that showcase it – it’s the way it extends throughout the game, even to people you pass on the street. By making it universal, they’ve created a world where the canned interrogation cutscenes fit seamlessly. No other game could pull it off.

But what an effort just to make the audience accept what is basically FMV in a game…


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