Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto 6 might just be one of the most hotly anticipated upcoming PS5 games and upcoming Xbox games of all time, but that doesn’t mean we actually need it just yet. What we really need, and what I desperately hope Rockstar is working on secretly right now, is LA Noire 2. Unrivaled in its genre, even to this day, this 2011 release is without a doubt one of the developer’s most interesting games and a sequel that builds on the foundations of LA Noire with the new technology available really could end up being one of the best games of all time.
Developed by Team Bondi, then published by Rockstar Games, LA Noire is a unique title in the GTA developers’ portfolio of games – in both a good, and a bad, way. Graphically, it easily presented players with some of the most nuanced facial animations available in 2011 and they still largely hold up to this day – if you ignore the fact that some of the textures are a little blurry. The core investigation gameplay loop and case-by-case structure also continues to deliver the most satisfying ‘detective’ experience in gaming; there really is nothing quite like it when it comes to triple-A games. On top of that, this game also delivers one of Rockstar Games’ most interesting narratives; you could certainly call Cole Phelps’ story something of a tragedy and the protagonist’s fall from grace is spectacular.
However, LA Noire is far from the perfect game; Phelps’ movement is stiff at the best of times, the driving mechanics are janky, and there’s little to do in 1940s Los Angeles outside of your case work and car collecting. When you look at Rockstar Games’ catalog prior to this, LA Noire feels like a step backwards mechanically; for all the improvements Team Bondi made when it comes to immersive storytelling and impressive graphics, it’s lacking in the areas that make Rockstar Games’ titles really tick. You can watch content creator ‘theRadBrad‘ play through the opening case below, if you need a reminder.
Fast forward to today and it’s safe to say that Rockstar Games has more-or-less perfected the open world game with both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto 5. So, as a developer that always seems to be looking to push the boundaries, we think it’s time for Rockstar Games to try and perfect the detective game with a sequel to LA Noire.
When you look at what this strange genre has thrown up over the years, nothing quite compares to what LA Noire delivers – and that’s the real crime, here. Sure, games like Disco Elysium and the Ace Attorney games offer up some interesting detective work, but they don’t combine that with the intense car chases or shoot-outs of LA Noire – even if the controls are a little awkward in the 2011 release.
Similarly, Frogwares’ series of Sherlock Holmes games offer up some interesting case work and area exploration, and they look decent-enough graphically, but they’re so much more scripted than LA Noire; it’s almost impossible to make the wrong decision as Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous detective. There are also some fantastic point-and-click indie games out there – some of which you will find are some of the best detective games out there. However, these rarely deliver on the intense interrogations and hard-hitting themes of LA Noire. Just take the following scene, as an example. It’s very intense.
So, there’s plenty of space in the genre for a sequel to LA Noire to thrive and Rockstar Games has the chops to improve upon all the areas of the 2011 release that are lacking. But, why should we get an LA Noire 2 instead of Grand Theft Auto 6? Well, because there’s still a lot of life left in GTA 5 – even though it originally launched just two years after LA Noire.
The Expanded and Enhanced Edition of GTA 5 only launched in March 2022, improving the title for current-gen consoles and introducing features like 4K resolutions, 60 FPS gameplay, and improved lighting. When you couple that with the fact that Rockstar Games is still adding new content to GTA Online – which also benefited from the facelift the recent Grand Theft Auto 5 release introduced – there’s still life in the old dog yet. Looking back a few more years at 2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2 and you’ll find a timeless masterpiece that’s graphically stunning, feature-rich, and delivers one of the best narratives in recent memory. Like any one of the best PS5 games or best Xbox games, RDR2 isn’t going to feel dated for a long time – if ever.
But, as brilliant as all of these games are, they’re all quite similar to one another when it comes to the core gameplay experience. We might not know much about GTA 6 ahead of the Grand Theft Auto 6 release date, but I would say it’s fair to assume that it will play quite a lot like GTA 5 and RDR2. LA Noire, however, is a different story.
That’s why the time is right for a sequel to LA Noire. The genre is wide-open for a game of its’ caliber, Rockstar Games could take advantage of the advancements in motion capture technology and video games graphics to deliver one of the most visually stunning games yet, and it could improve upon the gameplay and open world presented to players in the 2011 release – righting the wrongs of Team Bondi’s otherwise stellar release. There’s just really so much you can do with a detective game like LA Noire and, for all its faults, it deserves Rockstar Games’ attention in the same way as the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption series. It’s that simple.