Yesterday, news broke that some PlayStation 3 systems were overheating and shutting down while playing Rockstar’s just-released LA Noire. Posts on the Rockstar Games support website made absolutely clear that the company considered PlayStation 3 firmware update 3.61 responsible for the problem.

Today, Rockstar and Sony have issued a joint statement on the situation. Though Rockstar seems to have considerably softened its stance on firmware 3.61, the two companies have apparently been unable to find — or, perhaps, agree on — the root of the problem.

Responding to questions posed by Edge, a Sony representative made the following statement:

“As with the release of any System Update, we will invariably see a very small number of users whose console has failed following updating their console, which is an unfortunate coincidence”

“Rockstar have now updated their FAQ on the matter, have admitted that it is a fault with their latest title LA Noire and have offered a workaround.”

“It should also be noted that the issue with this title is not PS3 specific and is also affecting other consoles.”

In fact, in the joint statement, Rockstar pointedly does not admit that there is any problem with LA Noire. Read the full text below:

“We have received a very small number of customer support questions about PS3s overheating or shutting down while playing L.A. Noire. At this time, Rockstar Games and Sony can confirm that neither L.A. Noire or firmware update 3.61 are causing the PS3 hardware to overheat. We are both committed to working hard to find solutions to this and any issues that may arise. If you are experiencing any issues with L.A. Noire or your PS3 hardware, please contact technical support using any of the means provided below:

Rockstar Support:
Rockstar Support on Twitter:
PlayStation 3 Support: “

What exactly is happening here? Is Sony attempting to cover up an issue with firmware 3.61? The update is vital to getting the beleaguered PSN back on its feet, and Sony must know that it can’t afford any further PSN mishaps, particularly after the password reset exploit. On the other hand, perhaps the problem really is with LA Noire. As the Sony rep mentioned, Xbox 360 owners are also allegedly having problems with the game.

Serious enough is the problem with LA Noire that Rockstar has put together a faq for users whose games are freezing. If this is happening to you, these are the steps Rockstar Support recommends:

Here is what to do if you are crashing or freezing in L.A. Noire:

1. Delete your L.A. Noire Game Data (not save data) from the PS3 Game Data Utility.  If on 360, clear the 360 cache.
2. Create a new temporary PS3 user to ensure that new save files are created.  If on 360, create an offline Silver Gamertag.
3. Launch the game and try again.  If you are on PS3, try playing while signed out of PSN.
4. Check your disc for scratches, dust, dirt, or other damage. Clean if necessary.
5. Check other game discs in your PS3/360 to see if issues are occurring in other games, suggesting a potential console problem.
6. Try your L.A. Noire disc in a different console or try a different L.A. Noire disc in your console to determine with certainty whether the issue could be with the disc or console, rather than the software.
7. If your console is overheating, try moving it to a more ventilated area or contact Sony/Microsoft for further console troubleshooting.

If the issue is still happening, please click “Submit a Request” at the top of this page and provide as much detail as possible about what PS3/360 model you are playing on and what steps you follow in the game when it crashes.  Let us know exactly what you see (e.g. freeze, black screen, return to system software, etc). and what you are doing in the game when the issue occurs.

Also, if you are on PS3 please move your L.A. Noire save files onto a USB drive and then transfer them to a PC. Compress the folder on the USB drive called “PS3” and attach that file. We will take a look at your save file to see if we can learn more about the issue and its resolution.

Despite the seriousness with which both Rockstar and Sony are addressing the situation, the question remains: what is responsible for the LA Noire crashes? Who, if anyone, will ultimately step up to claim responsibility? Whether it’s the game or the update that is to blame, consumers have a right to know.

Ranters, who do you believe? Is the problem with firmware 3.61, or with the game itself? Have any of you had issues with the Xbox 360 version of LA Noire? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken

Source: Edge, PlayStation Blog, Rockstar Support