lead

LA Noire’s Enigmatic Sequel



Sharing buttons:

When you ask the average gamer what they would think of an LA Noire sequel, their overwhelming

reaction tends to be: “gosh darn heck yeah let’s do it.”

As was demonstrated in my extremely scientific poll the other day.

Most people who have played the original game hold remarkably warm feelings towards the

IP.

It was one of the most groundbreaking games of its time, regardless of how it has aged.

Simply, LA Noire has cultivated a fan base that demands a sequel; a sequel that we would

all be very willing to purchase should it arise.

But despite this reality, Rockstar has remained silent on the game and a potential sequel

save for a few coded and cryptic statements from their management teams.

But what I can confidently say, is that an LA Noire sequel makes sense, in whatever form

it would take, more on that in a minute.

But don’t take my word for it.

AND if anyone over at Rockstar happens to see this who could have an impact on this

maybe sorta happening, maybe you could, you know, be convinced and make the game and fulfill

all my hopes and dreams and take me out to dinner and then drive me home walk me to the

door and then…

Hrm…

Let’s uh…

Let’s just get into it.

LA Noire was designed to be the first game that made its animation quality the driving

gameplay feature.

Using a new and, for the time, revolutionary facial capture system allowed the developers

over at Team Bondi to achieve a level of visual fidelity that had never been seen before 2011.

[LAPD…

SNEEZE]

Bear in mind, this game launched on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

This was running on fairly antiquated hardware which made it all the more impressive.

In fact, I remember my first experience with the game.

My uncle owned it for the 360 and had the case sitting on the couch one day when my

family went over to visit him.

I was struck by the interesting cover art and so I opened it, and the case had 3 discs!

I remember being struck by the thought of how vast the game must be to require 3 discs.

And so, I asked to borrow it, and before I knew it, I was home solving my first few murders.

It’s hard to describe, but the feeling that this game gives the player, the quality of

the world building, and the life with which the gameworld is painted all serves to create

an experience unlike anything else.

I had never encountered anything like this.

And little 14 year old Luke was stunned at how engrossing every twist and turn was.

The game makes full use of its 3 disc length campaign.

It puts you in the shoes of an up and coming homicide detective in the LAPD in late 1940’s

Los Angeles.

Everything from the cars, to the music, the acting, dialogue, and even the patterns on

the cloth that makes up the lead character’s suit prove historically accurate and effective

in establishing the world of LA Noire as that of post-world-war-two America.

All of this took an immense amount

of work.

Team Bondi worked for over seven years to create LA Noire, and it almost didn't release

after a close call in 2009 when they couldn’t get a demo build working when Rockstar executives

showed up to see the game’s progress.

There were a plethora of technical issues with the game.

For one, data streaming was pretty terrible leading to extreme pop in when driving through

the map.

Load times were very long, and the massive video files required for every characters

facial animations proved very taxing in terms of storage on the game’s discs.

Hence, the 3 discs on the 360 port.

Furthermore, the facial animations weren’t dynamic, they were all recorded and projected

onto basic meshes.

This is something known in the business as “sticky mapping,” a technique where you

project a 2D texture, or in this case a video, onto a mesh in 3D space such that it can move

freely in 3D space as though it were a 3D texture from the outset.

It’s a technique used in movies and TV to allow for you to create a 3D scene from something

as simple as a single picture.

Heck, I even used one such clip earlier in this video made by Andrew Price from Blender

Guru.

It’s actually pretty easy, you can even do it using free software, in 2020 that is.

But in 2011 this was ground breaking and very hard to get working, especially on antiquated

hardware and consoles.

However, despite this, they were able to get it working, and they launched the game in

2011 to extraordinarily positive reviews.

It sold quite well and talk of a sequel began immediately.

However, Team Bondi had screwed up pretty massively while working on LA Noire.

They were accused of pushing their employees into “12 hour work days” and months of

crunch time.

They had extremely high turn over because of these work conditions.

Furthermore, there were a plethora of accusations against the games’ creative director Brendan

McNamara stating that he was responsible for poor management and cultivating a toxic work

environment.

All of this came out immediately after the release of LA Noire, and it resulted in Rockstar

management severing ties with the studio.

This left Team Bondi on their own, and after searching for a new studio to partner with,

they failed to find anyone willing to buy in.

And so, Team Bondi was left with upset employees, dysfunctional management, and a brand that

was known for making a cool game but also for mistreating their employees.

And so, in August of 2011 they announced they were looking for a buyer, and after failing

to find one, they entered liquidation on October 5th of 2011.

The company owed over 1.4 million to various people and groups, with over 75% of that debt

being to their own employees.

According to a Kotaku report: 33 staff credited for their work on L.A. Noire were owed a combined

A$1,074,283.28 in unpaid wages or bonuses.

Among those, McNamara claimed to be owed US$102,495.16.

All of this to say, Team Bondi was a mismanaged mess and frankly, it’s amazing they got

anything released at all.

But, despite their liquidation, the team splintered off and started work on a new project under

the veil of KMM Interactive entertainment, a studio established by Cory Barlog, Yes,

God of War Cory Barlog.

They started working on a new game that was set to be the “spiritual successor” to

LA Noire.

It was a game internally known as “Whore of the Orient.”

It was to use similar tech and be set in Shanghai in 1936.

They worked on it for a couple years and we even got leaked gameplay from it that looks

half decent for something very early in production.

BUT, in 2016 it was confirmed that they had abandoned the project and what was left of

the LA Noire team was disbanded and broken up.

So, it doesn’t look good.

Rockstar severed ties and appeared very upset with the team, and the developers disbanded

and went defunct.

Surely LA Noire has been lost to history and will never be touched again by Rockstar or

anyone in their development umbrella....

BUT WAIT!

What’s this?

Oh, it’s a remaster?

It is!

And a Switch Port!

Oh joy!

And a VR expansion!

Wonderful!

It seemed like over night in 2017, Rockstar remembered how much people loved LA Noire

and they began re-releasing it with new textures, animations, and ports.

It showed they still cared for the franchise and that they weren’t giving up on it.

Furthermore, it proved that they still held legal rights to the game and it’s IP.

Something that was seriously in question after Team Bondi’s dissolution in 2011.

If ever there were a sign that Rockstar could be playing with the idea of a sequel, this

would be it.

But to be honest, this is all conjecture, there’s not much evidence either way.

So allow me to wrap up with some reasons for and against a sequel.

For one, the game is still popular and the remasters sold quite well.

Interest is still high and this style of game has its fans.

Furthermore, true crime is taking off right now and is more popular than ever.

Look at the surge of true crime on YouTube, in podcasts, and documentaries.

It’s huge, and taking advantage of it with a AAA video game just makes sense.

Furthermore, the tech has evolved and is only going to help create a more efficient and

effective game of this style.

However, there are reasons not to do a strict LA Noire sequel.

For one, it’s clear that LA Noire’s story wraps up pretty cleanly.

For those of you who haven’t played it, I won’t spoil the final moment, but let’s

just say, there’s little room for a part two to Cole’s story.

Because of this, another game in the same time and place wouldn’t work well unless

it were a straight remake, which could work, but isn’t really what’s being discussed.

Lastly, if they choose to do an LA Noire style game in another time and place, such as Shanghai

in 1936, it would effectively be a spiritual successor and not a direct follow up.

This isn’t inherently bad, but it isn’t exactly the direct sequel that a lot of people

want.

All told, there are reasons for and against creating a sequel to the game.

While I understand and am extremely sympathetic to the sequel argument, I think there is something

to be said for LA Noire being left alone.

It was a fantastic game and one of the most immersive stories and worlds that I’ve ever

explored.

And so, leaving it to age like a fine wine, untainted and corrupted seems like a fair

decision.

But, a sequel, spiritually or not, would be fantastic and I think we all would welcome

it with open arms.

But what do you think?

Let me know.

Please like and subscribe to get more videos like this, thank you for watching, I love

you all more than you could possibly know, and I’ll see you in the next video.

Peace out.