L.A. Noire might have the most realistic characters a videogame has ever seen, but Quantic Dream says it can do better.
Thanks to Rockstar Games' innovative MotionScan technology, the company says that L.A. Noire will blur the line between videogames and movies. After seeing the game in action at PAX East 2011, I agree. Quantic Dream's David Cage, known as the visionary behind Heavy Rain, commends Rockstar for trying to do something different, but says MotionScan is nothing compared to the technology Quantic is currently working on for its next game.
MotionScan uses dozens of HD cameras that currently capture an actor's face from all angles, allowing L.A. Noire to display every twitch, blink, and eye movement. Speaking to CVG, Cage called MotionScan an "interesting solution to a problem for now," but added that it's also an "interesting dead end."
"Their technique is incredibly expensive and they will never be able to shoot body and face at the same time," Cage said. "We are doing that now [at Quantic], and our next games will be shot with performance capture."
Cage's opinion is that there's a "huge difference" between shooting just an actor's face, versus an actor's entire body. "You can't imagine how related what you say with your face is to what your body does," he continued. In addition, Cage said MotionScan probably wouldn't be able to incorporate real-time lighting, or allow for developers to change important aspects such as eye direction in-game if necessary.
"I think L.A Noire looks good," Cage admitted. "Honestly, it does - but I don't think they'll go much further than where they are. With the technology we use, we can improve; there is a lot of room for improvement and we hope to show very soon where we are now."
Cage says Quantic Dream has come a long way since Heavy Rain, whose characters looked good enough to freak out plenty of fans. If it can do even better than Rockstar is doing with L.A. Noire, more power to Quantic Dream, but I hope this isn't a case of promising too much too soon.