Game narratives are finally competing with Hollywood’s best because of breakthroughs in technology, the director of LA Noire has said.
Team Bondi founder Brendan McNamara said the unique ‘performance-capture’ technology behind LA Noire allows the games industry “to compete head-on with film and TV in terms of storytelling”.
LA Noire has grown to become one of the most successful new game IPs in years, willing widespread acclaim and selling over a million units worldwide.
Central to its success is the MotionScan tech that many are saying adds groundbreaking levels of fidelity to character animation.
The MotionScan process films actors with over 30 surrounding cameras, and then maps each inch of facial movement onto a 3D character model.
The result is a meticulous attention to detail, and character models capable of conveying deeper subtleties of human emotion.
Speaking to the BBC, McNamara said this use of quality acting means games can capture the past parts of cinema to create something new altogether.
"If you take all the strengths of what’s great about a video game and you take all the strengths of what’s great about cinema and film you can get this amazing new product and what that means is video games become the pre-eminent entertainment form for the 21st century," he said.
In April, McNamara told Develop he was hoping the MotionScan technology could expand to capture full body animations.
How many other game studios will want to licence MotionScan is a matter of debate. Many studios appear impressed, but cautious of processor costs.
McNamara explained, however, that it’s more than games companies hoping to buy the tech.
"We’ve had all sorts of approaches from different people wanting to use it for medicine and for security and people like law enforcement wanting it for lying simulators to show operatives how to read faces,” he said.