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L.A. Noire tech is "interesting dead end"

David Cage discusses future of mo-cap.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The impressive motion capture tech that fuels Rockstar's forthcoming open-world crime epic L.A. Noire is nothing but an "interesting dead-end" according to Heavy Rain creator David Cage.

Rockstar showcased DepthAnalysis' Motion Scan technology in a clip released late last year, reproduced below. It demonstrated the game's remarkably smooth facial animations, leading many to proclaim that the infamous 'uncanny valley' had finally been bridged.

Quantic Dream boss David Cage, however, isn't so easily impressed. Speaking in an interview with CVG, he complained that the process was both impractical and too pricey.

"I think it's an interesting solution to a problem for now. But it's also an interesting dead end. That's exactly what I feel. Their technique is incredibly expensive and they will never be able to shoot body and face at the same time."

Cage then explained how the system that Quantic Dream is currently using allowed both body and facial movement to be tracked simultaneously.

"We are doing that now [at Quantic], and our next games will be shot with performance capture," he said.

"We see a huge difference between shooting the face and body separately and shooting everything at the same time. Suddenly you've got a real sense of acting that is consistent. You can't imagine how related what you say with your face is to what your body does. [Those using MotionScan] will never be able to do that.

"The other thing is that they can't have real time lighting. Their technique means they can't have lighting the way I think we should do it."

He then went on to claim that this technology would be capable of producing Avatar-esque photo-realistic visuals within the next five years.

"I think L.A Noire looks good - 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.

"We've made significant progress since Heavy Rain and will continue to make progress until we reach the stage of Avatar. That is probably three, four, five years from now.

"Maybe it's going to require a new [gaming] platform, but when you look at where real-time is right now, it's probably where CG was five, six years ago," he added.

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