In the March issue of Game Informer, readers are treated to the first preview of Rockstar Games’ next major release, the long-on-rumor, short-on-facts L.A. Noire.  The company is touting it (via game director/author Brendan McNamara, best known for The Getaway) as the next big step forward not only for them, but for gaming in general; not only does it feature an innovative image-capture technology that they claim will make the problems of the uncanny valley a thing of the past, but its sprawling rendition of post-war Los Angeles is  the biggest in-game environment ever created, a near 1:1 block-for-block recreation of the city right down to prices on diner menus.

The amount of research Rockstar has put into the game’s design is impressive (they reviewed over 180,000 period photos from newspapers to create its look), but there are fewer details of the gameplay.  The lead character is played by Aaron Staton (Ken Cosgrove from Mad Men) and the game action is directed by Michael Uppendahl (a TV vet who’s directed a handful of Mad Men episodes himself), and both are tight-lipped about how the game will actually function, but both agree that it will make the GTA games look like, well, games that weren’t GTA. Photos from the magazine do make it look pretty amazing, and Rockstar has a history of delivering big, but on the other hand, GI is a tad fawning in its coverage.  Taking the lead from our head writer, we remain, as ever, cautiously optimistic; if the September release date is to be believed, pencil us in as unavailable until Thanksgiving.