Coming completely out of the blue with zero indication or teasing, Rockstar today announced that their crime-thriller from 2011, L.A. Noire, is getting four new editions, three of which are remasters and one is a complete re-edit for VR platforms.
The announcement was a massive surprise for two reasons. First, a version for the Nintendo Switch was announced which was completely unexpected. However that said, Take-Two was vocal about supporting the Switch from the very start, even having NBA 2K18 appearing in the console's announcement trailer.
L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files is an even bigger surprise since in the past Take-Two has been openly skeptical of the VR market. Strauss Zelnick raised his concerns regarding just how wide-spread VR would become and how viable it is, however it seems the current state of the VR sphere convinced the company to move forward.
The remastered version coming to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One aren't as surprising, but definitely welcome. Recently, Rockstar has been working through its older library of games and releasing them on mobile platforms, and it's nice to see some gems from a few years ago getting their chance to shine on the current generation of consoles.
The best part? It's not far away. The Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game are all arriving on the 14th of November, meaning they'll be playable in a little over 2 months. The announcement makes it unclear whether this release date applies to the VR version as well, but if it doesn't, we have no indication of when that might launch.
The VR Case Files are coming exclusively to the HTC Vive, and will be a shorter version of the game including 7 of the self-contained investigation segments. L.A. Noire relied heavily on a dynamic conversation system, where players were not only tasked with selecting certain responses to dialogue but to also assess the facial expressions of the characters they were speaking to and determine whether they are lying or not.
This system made use of a special facial animation system which sought to replicate the way people express themselves in real life. While the final result was ever so slightly uncanny-valley category, it is still one of the most impressive examples of character animation in gaming.
Seeing this system play out in VR will be a massive spectacle, and we're definitely most excited for this version of the title. The Switch port is the next most interesting edition, as it has been reworked to incorporate touch screen commands when in portable mode, and special gyroscopic controls to make use of the Joy Con controller hardware. Camera angles have also been adjusted to make the game comfortable to play on the screen of the console.
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions are standard fare as far as remasters go. The graphics are the main attraction, getting major upgrades, new textures, 1080p support and even 4K support on the X and Pro versions of the respective consoles.
L.A. Noire, for those of you who missed out on it, was a detective story set in post-war Los Angeles during the late 1940's. The game starred a decorated veteran who became a detective, and takes players through a number of criminal cases with a wide array of characters making up suspects and witnesses.
Though the game featured some combat and driving, it shined the most during investigations, where players had to collect clues, piece together a hypothesis of how the crime was committed and then interrogate witnesses and suspects while selecting responses based on whether you think they are lying or not. Few games capture detective work as realistically as L.A. Noire did, and in spite of some smaller flaws, the game was generally well received.
This surprising news gives further indication that Rockstar is keen on making use of its extensive library of well liked IP. Between a new Red Dead game being their next big project, an allusion to Smuggler's Run in the latest GTA Online DLC and rumors that a sequel to Bully might be in the works, it seems that Rockstar is bringing out old classics and proving that they can do far more than just make multiplayer updates.
L.A. Noire for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will become available on the 14th of November, 2017.