In the recently released, new-look PSM3 we speak exclusively to Brendan McNamara, head of Team Bondi - the studio that spent the last seven years making LA Noire.
During this candid chinwag we cover every aspect of the game, from its inception through to development, the divisive ending, and the post-release reaction and controversy.
It's an epic interview - the final recording clocked in at an hour long - making it far too large to feature whole inside the mag. However, if you want to read the whole thing, and you've got a nice chunk of time to spare, we've included the entire interview here, unedited, for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.
PSM3: LA Noire started life back in 2004, how different did it look in your mind back then to what it's ended up becoming?
Brendan McNamara: We were talking about this the other day, doing the post-release on the game internally, and I think it's about 80% of what we wanted to achieve. We had some more open world type things happening in the game. We had what we called 'hot sheets' where if you did badly in a case then you'd get bumped down to traffic and you'd be running around trying to chase hot cars in the traffic or doing smaller type street crimes. So that was one of the components of it, but as we went through testing, and people were trying to remember a whole case and remember who the characters were and what their relationships were and what this thing was - it just became more and more apparent that to immerse people, those sorts of things became a distraction.
We just kind of refined that down, and I think that was in the original design, but in the end - the expectation was that there would probably be a bit more of that stuff - but in the end I think it was the right decision because people seemed to be finishing the game which is a good thing. That means they're getting through the story part of it anyway.
PSM3: Now that the game is out there, has the reaction of the fans and critics been largely as you expected it would be? Has anything in particular they've said surprised you?
BM: A bunch of things have surprised me, you don't release a game for a while, and you forget what the first week's like. The first people who buy it, they just sit there and binge through the game where they play it in a 16 or 18 hour chunk. When you make something that takes five or six years and then someone gets through it in 16 hours it's kind of amazing to watch, so that one was kind of strange.
From the outset it was meant to be police procedural, and we thought people would spend an hour here or a couple of hours there on a case and maybe do a couple of cases a night, but I suppose the game has crossed over into a pretty broad audience. So you get the kind of people who seem to want to play the game through in one sitting and then you get the kind of people now, five weeks in, where they're playing it more the way we expected them to.
PSM3: Amongst the core there's definitely a culture of trying to suck the marrow out of every game as quickly as possible isn't there?
BM: Yeah, it seems to be like when we had that time when all the people were queuing up outside at midnight in places in the US, and then you'd read on twitter in the morning that they'd went right the way through the night and didn't have breakfast and didn't go to work to play the game. As you get a bit older you forget that people actually do that kind of stuff.
PSM3: That must be pretty gratifying in its own way to think of people doing that?