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L.A. Noire's Cole Phelps "slightly psycho" when using Doubt, McNamara's fault
Posted: 15.11.2011 13:39 by Simon Priest Comments: 0
Brendan McNamara, former head of Team Bondi and creator of L.A. Noire, talks about the film noir inspired detective game. He reveals why the option to Doubt was "weird."

Originally the player as Phelps could "Coax, Force and Accuse" but it was changed to Truth, Doubt and Lie - but the actor's performances were already recorded. It made Phelps "slightly psycho".

It was about what strategy we wanted to use as a detective, in the beginning, but it changed. Internal tests at the studio found people "never really liked the words" or understood.

"Are you going to coax an answer out of them, or are you going to jump in there and try and force an answer out of them - or do you just suddenly accuse them of lying straight up?" posed director and writer, Brendan McNamara.

"We tested that round and round the organisation and people never really liked the words or got the words. But that was the way it was written. Then we switched to Truth, Doubt, Lie, because that was more straightforward for people. But it made Doubt weird." It was odd to watch Phelps at times when choosing Doubt.

"Truth and Lie are pretty straightforward, right? But Doubt... what it changed it from was what your strategy was into what was the person's performance like? I don't think it made it bad, it just made Aaron appear slightly psycho on the Doubt button. That's my fault, not his," admitted McNamara.

"When people go, he turns into a maniac when you press Doubt, that's my fault, not his."

His proudest achievement with L.A. Noire is character interaction and getting gamers thinking. "That sort of level of personality and humanity really comes across in the game and people instantly believe in those characters and want to see that journey," he said, but he's "just generally really happy with the game overall."

"You used to get that in adventure games but you had to make it up in your head because you were just reading text. Now there are characters like Bukowski and all these guys who people just love, and there's the partners and those characters. I'm really pleased with how it evokes that time and place."

In the end it was too easy an experience, confesses McNamara. "In the plot, at some points you will probably just have to dead end people and people would have to work it out for themselves. What we would do is slightly handhold people. Someone would come up to you and tell you what to do next," he explained.

"At one point we had a way where you would fail conversations and then you replay them over and over again. It lost all the drama. So it was the right decision not to do that and have these constantly replayed conversations where people would just trek through the options. To go at it instinctively is fun."

"But there were stages when it was going through different points of QA people saying I don't get this or I don't get that. It's a trend in games, I wouldn't say they're dumbing them down. But they're slightly too easy. A lot of games are too hard. The Getaway was rock hard, ridiculously hard. But there were points where I wouldn't like as much handholding we did. But in the end that was the right process because a lot more people finished it."

Check out the full interview between Brendan McNamara and Eurogamer. Did you play and complete Team Bondi's L.A. Noire? The developer has since closed down but Rockstar Games retain ownership of the IP.

Source: Eurogamer
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