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L.A. Noire Director’s Next Game Called ‘Whore of the Orient’

November 28, 2011 Written by Sebastian Moss

L.A. Noire‘s Brendan McNamara, once head of the now closed Team Bondi, has begun work on a new project, titled ‘Whore of the Orient‘.

McNamara now has a job working for KMM Interactive, the Australian studio known for the Happy Feet films, along with some of the Team Bondi staff – according to the Australian Financial Review. KMM have also started developing a  game based on Mad Max 4: Fury Road, which Mad Max creator George Miller agreed to do “after resisting the impulse for years”.

KMM co-founder Doug Mitchell said:

With the government’s support we can immediately go forward with two games. Warner Bros is standing by, willing to do Fury Road; the incentive would bring it back here in a New York minute. It’s not immediately obvious but the potential in the video games sector is massive. Just from the statistics people are showing me, it’s a $60 billion industry fast-tracking towards $90 billion. And it’s not dominated by any particular country. Films are very expensive, so studios . . . are making drastically fewer of them, but much higher quality, and they invest in sequels, because they know that they’ve got an opening which they don’t have to buy with their marketing dollars as aggressively.

Continuing:

They’ll make 10 films where they used to make 20. So, instead, people are drifting to game acquisition because of the budgets. The cost of a film may be $170 million – twice that to market it – whereas the basic cost of making a game might be 10 per cent of that. Look at LA Noire, they sold about 3 million units in a week, about $US135 million ($130 million) net revenue, off a cost base which was infinitely lower than even your average low-budget film.

But financial gain wasn’t the only reason for the shift from films to games, George Miller was excited by what games can do as a storytelling medium:

It’s four-dimensional storytelling. A game can literally become the equivalent of a novel. That is the thing that people like me who write screenplays envy about novelists: that you can actually stop time and explore little cul de sacs. Whereas in a movie, you’d love to stop and examine that character, but you can’t. You’re on a rail . . . and if you talk to Brendan [McNamara], who is the brilliant mind behind this, it’s all the same issues as film. Instead of writing a 100-page screenplay, he wrote a 2800-page screenplay. But it’s the same dialogue, acting, blocking, wardrobe, costume, lighting, vehicle simulations. It’s a movie that’s played interactively at home.

Miller was apparently won over by Team Bondi’s revolutionary motion capture techniques that meant that L.A. Noire had incredibly realistic facial acting. No details were given about Whore of the Orient, but the phrase was an old term for Shanghai, so it is possible the game will be set in the city.