The third installment of this week's running feature on the Painstaking Production Design of L.A. Noire focuses on props, and the attention to detail paid in recreating these ancillary accessories in L.A. Noire's 1947 Los Angeles. Read on below for more on how Team Bondi researched and integrated props from the era, with further insight from the game's Production Designer, Simon Wood.
Part Three - Props
Before any case was written or any dialogue fleshed out, Wood had to create a prop list of all furniture and set dressing items expected to be seen in the game.“ It was a huge undertaking but our core reference was great and we knew we'd have a great mixture of residential and commercial locations in the game. So I laughed and started with the word 'Chair' and the list grew from there... actually it grew quite a bit." Wood and the team had an extensive photo shoot over four full days in L.A., " We hired almost every conceivable vintage prop from the biggest Hollywood prop houses in the business. Ben was photographing items as quick as the Prop Men could get them off the truck."
The team would then begin to dress the locations based on the Production Bibles, carefully placing items to ensure they worked well for gameplay and for the realistic encounters in the game. " We were always mindful of the game's super life-like conversations and the need to light them correctly. Chee Kin (Team Bondi Art Director) had to have something to justify the way people were lit, so just like in film, we placed practical lights in the locations."
There was of course particular attention paid to vintage props collected specifically from the 1940’s. Font typography, brand and product styling is very distinct from decade to decade, so it was key to make sure original items that appeared as part of set dressing accurately recreated the period. As you play through L.A. Noire, whether you’re rifling through a murder suspect's home, grilling a bartender at a neighborhood pub, or examining a stick of lipstick at a grisly crime scene, the game world items have been designed in believable period style.
Stay tuned for much, much more in our Behind the Scenes features series looking into the making of L.A. Noire over the coming weeks and months.
Part One– Locations&Set Design