LA Noire is Grand Theft Auto: Uncanny Valley

Rockstar’s LA Noire is breaking ground by letting you live the life of a dangerous criminal (Internet sarcasm just schooled you, famous-cool game school). The sole feature that’s been part of their marketing is their impressive motion cap and facial expression. What it should be known as is Grand Theft Auto: Uncanny Valley: 1940s Edition.Facial recognition is the next step toward holographic porn with celebrities. Isn’t that what all this is for? No one’s excited to see a more recognizable Hugh Jackman in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine game. They just want to be able to dial up a solid hologram of Angelina Jolie and play “Beowulf” with her. So this is a bold day for pornography everywhere, nothing else benefits.

For the uninitiated, the Uncanny Valley describes a point in graphical realism where the brain is freaked out by what it sees. The near-human likeness is unsettling because you detect, even subconsciously, what’s not right with it. If we were able to cross this gap, we’d have the plot of Simone. It’s okay, no one remembers Simone.

I met Tom Hanks last month, and the first thought in my head was “YO MR. HANKS, YOU WERE PRETTY SCARY IN “THE POLAR EXPRESS”. The Christmas Train Movie made two mistakes; trying to stretch out a 10-page book into 90 minutes and CGI-capturing all the actors. I’m sure it was a fun acting challenge to play everyone in this movie, Acting Legend Tom Hanks, but there are mo-cap actors out there starving. Surely you could’ve spread the jobs around a bit.

LA Noire wants the player to read facial expressions to determine if characters are lying. I will allow you that, Art World! That is the one reason your devilry will be permitted! But solid force fields (a requirement for sex holograms) are decades away. Not to mention the dreaded Static Genital Rot that will affect millions of men and women who use the electric love of a hologram gigolo.

There’s no misconceptions over how motion capture works, but is it cheating a little? Until an CG animator can make a character model from scratch, I am not on board. Motion capturing real actors is closer to rotoscoping video ala A Scanner Darkly than it is animating.

Why would a studio spent countless more hours tireless working on animating a model from original assets? Scruples? Being fans of this blog?

Perhaps it’s best we just go back to the old FMV of the SegaCD days. Kids, at one point it seemed better to just show recorded video instead of animating polygons around. It was like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book for videos! Technically, it doesn’t get any more realistic than this:

I’d be all for this coming back. Nothing was better than the cheesy videos of Command and Conquer. Do you know how it feels to have a girl dressed in Neo-Russian regalia compliment you on your battle prowess and then ask you out for a date? It feels great.



About Chad Quandt

Writer for videogames, animation, the webcomic Suffrage. Master blocker in dodgeball. Barbecued with Corey Haim before he died.

Posted on February 11, 2011, in Chad Quandt, History Lessons, Movies, Videogames and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow, I betcha can’t wait for True Crime: Hong Kong to come out either…

    Sorry, I don’t remember where I was going with this.

  2. Chad’s the best. I’d “Beowulf” him any time.

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