'L.A. Noire' Trailer Gives Look at MotionScan Facial Animation Tech

LA Noire MotionScan Trailer

It’s Hollywood’s Second Golden Age and crime has run rampant. New detective on the beat, Cole Phelps, has just taken a prime suspect into custody and has him waiting in the interrogation. Then, when Phelps enters, he notices that not only can’t he read the facial expressions on his perp's face but also he appears to be dead behind the eyes.  Without any information to go on or subtleties of emotion to read, Phelps is forced to let his suspect go despite knowing he is guilty.

That’s the type of scene that would have played out in L.A. Noire before the introduction of MotionScan technology. With it, developers Team Bondi can accurately display characters’ eyebrow raises, lip biting, and even darting eyes. As detective Phelps -- as the player -- tries to get information he will be able to call them on their bluffs. Think of it as a more advanced Phoenix Wright mechanic.

Five years in the making, MotionScan is a tech unlike anything every seen before. Depth Analysis, a sister company to Team Bondi and special partner with Rockstar, provided the tech that makes use of up to 32 different HD cameras. For each and every person seen in the world of L.A. Noire there was a motion capture session done, with one session including over 400 actors. The development team wasn’t about to cut any corners when it came to creating the first game to utilize this tech.

To hear all of what went into the MotionScan technology check out the trailer below:


The future of motion capture technology may very well be contained within Rockstar studios as MotionScan delivers some of the most breathtaking facial animations seen in a video game. For a long time, the uncanny valley that existed in the eyes of a CG character kept viewers from ever truly being able to form a connection. Now that technology has started to make giant leaps, facial animations are now not only able to provide a sense of realism but can even factor into the gameplay.

Getting to see each actor side by side with his or her CG counterpart shows just how high the level of detail is in L.A. Noire. It might not be the type of open world game that players are expecting from a Team Bondi/Rockstar collaboration but it certainly opens up a world of possibilities.

What do you think of the MotionScan technology? Does it deliver the closest to life facial animations seen in a video game?

L.A. Noire releases in the first half of 2011 for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

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