LA Noire To Defeat the Uncanny Valley

Some people will tell you that the uncanny valley does not exist. Others champion it like a knight overthrowing a dragon: a trophy to denote sweet, sweet victory. Team Bondi, the developers behind the 1950’s detective game LA Noire, claim they have “defeated the uncanny valley.”

Y’see, Team Bondi believes that making realistic human faces is a prerequisite for creating a complex investigative game. “We wanted to make a detective game,” McNamara, founder of Team Bondi, told OPM. “And a key part of that is interrogating people. If you’re going to see if somebody is lying, you have to be able to look for little poker tells, all that stuff.” p-p-p-poker face?

Of course, you can’t have a discussion about the uncanny valley without mentioning PS3 heavyweight, Heavy Rain. McNamara says that “The characters look great [in Heavy Rain], but in the terms of believability you still have to sort of suspend your disbelief and enjoy the game.”

Hmm, I don’t know–there’s something oddly perfect about the skin of the models, isn’t there? Actually, there’s something oddly perfect about the models in general–the everything has the same perfect, smooth texture. The expressions seem spot on, though.

And while it’s true you had to suspend your disbelief in Heavy Rain, it was still succesful depicting humans with a character like Scott Shelby, who looked insanely real.

Now, compare that to this:

I’m just not seeing it.

4 Comments

  1. Tom

    Those are some fancy poker faces there. P-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p.

  2. Ali

    Wow, that guy’s body did not make a convincing enough sound when it the asphalt.

  3. Fernando Cordeiro

    The uncanny valley doesn’t exist!
    The expression itself is uncanny!
    Why not a mountain or a river instead?

    As long as good voice work is added, we can always fill whatever gap there is between photo-realistic graphics and abstract the hell out of that silly valley. It’s not weird animation or eerie template “skin” that matters in the end. What kills immersion and makes you “suspend you disbelief” is poor voice acting. It’s all in the Acting!

    McNamara is, by principle, full of uncanny shit.

    • That’s why I said ‘some will say it doesn’t exist,’ even the guy that invented the original term came out saying years later that he doesn’t think its true.