Overlap - Investigations in new and forgotten storytelling

Interactive Drama and the Pixel-Perfect Performance

Last month, Rockstar released its gritty detective game LA Noire. Accompanied by an anthology of short stories, the console game sold itself on its use of narrative, 1940s setting and the talent involved in its creation. With a cast including Mad Men’s Aaron Staton, Heroes’ Greg Grunberg and Fringe’s John Noble, many of the game’s 400 actors are recognisable from their television roles in both voice and appearance. However, one of the  game’s largest innovations is its use of “MotionScan”, a new form of facial motion capture. The technology can reproduce nuances in performances that previous systems are unable to – crucial to a game where body language is used to detect the truthfulness of suspects’ testimonies.

LA Noire isn’t new in its attempt to combine traditional performance with gameplay; voice acting has long been ubiquitous in the videogames. There is also a long history of interactive dramas, movies and cut scenes attempting to close the gap between between games and film. Over three decades, this use of performance has influenced opinions on how games fit with more traditional media.

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Overlap is a place for investigation, discussion and events about new and forgotten storytelling. We focus on emerging and undiscovered platforms for stories and narrative – everything from videogames, augmented reality and role-playing games to flash mobs, social media and more.

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