Though its name has become synonymous with gun-filled games like GTA, Rockstar thinks that one day it could make a game where the player doesn’t shoot anybody at all.
Let’s do a word association exercise: I’ll say the name of a developer, and you say the name of a game or series you associate it with. “Valve.” You probably thought about Portal and Half-Life, right? “Capcom.” Most people would probably think of Street Fighter or Resident Evil. Now, how about “Rockstar”? Most likely, you thought about Grand Theft Auto or last year’s stellar Red Dead Redemption – both of which are primarily games in which your player character shoots lots and lots of men very dead.
But not all of Rockstar’s games have to be quite so blood-soaked. In an interview with The Guardian, Rockstar’s VP of development Jeronimo Barrera said that there was no question that the studio could someday do a game devoid of gunplay – and that L.A. Noire could be the first step towards that.
“We’re flirting with that in this game – there are cases when you never draw a gun or chase a criminal,” said Barrera. “It’s something that’s going to happen sooner than later. I have children and when we get together as a family we play games, we don’t watch TV. We’re a generation that’s always been around interactivity, and in the future something like L.A. Noire could be broadcast directly onto your cable set-top box. It’s the future.”
For Rockstar, says Barrera, L.A. Noire‘s facial-recognition gameplay and more cerebral approach is as risky as the (then) mind-blowing open-world approach the team took to GTA3: “[L.A. Noire] is a bit more cerebral, you have to talk to people, you have to figure out if they’re telling you the truth, but it’s taking that same sort of step that GTA took. We’re going from having a cinematic experience that you can control to a human experience that you can control.”
The goal with the game’s facial recognition technology, he said, was to add a human element to the characters – so that players would be genuinely watching a performance instead of just a talking head on the screen.
This doesn’t mean that games had to do away with the shooting entirely. “Sure, there’s a place for shooting games, I’m a big fan of Dead Space 2, but we have to expand our horizons.”
L.A. Noire is out around the world next week.