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 L.A. Noire  Will Allow Players To Skip Difficult Sequences
L.A. Noire Will Allow Players To Skip Difficult Sequences
April 26, 2011 | By Tom Curtis

April 26, 2011 | By Tom Curtis
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    18 comments
More: Console/PC, Design



Team Bondi and Rockstar Games revealed that the upcoming open-world crime title L.A. Noire will allow casual players to skip scenes they find too difficult.

If players fail several times during one of the L.A. Noire's action sequences, the game will ask them whether they would like to skip the sequence altogether and continue through the campaign, reports MTV Multiplayer.

Most of the game won't require quick reflexes, however, since the title will focus on slow and methodical investigation sequences in which players examine clues and interrogate suspects. Even if players skip the game's fast-paced moments, Rockstar claims that players will still witness "the bulk of the narrative."

In Rockstar's previous open-world title, Red Dead Redemption, the company took a different approach to modifying challenge, and included traditional difficulty settings that altered in-game properties such as auto-aim and regenerating health.

L.A. Noire is developed by Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, and the title will launch for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on May 17, 2011.


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Comments


Brian Bartram
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I applaud this, and have been asking for it for years. I've always felt cheated when I get stuck on a particular mission or level in a game and put the game down in frustration. Turn off my Achievements, label me a "wussy", blacklist me from MP, whatever you feel you need to do. But if I pay $60 for a game and don't get to see more than 2/3 of the content, I'm highly likely to go straight to Gamestop and sell that used game. And I know you don't want that.

Joe McGinn
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I agree. We did this same thing in Simpsons Hit & Run years ago, and no one ever complained ... several people thanked us though!

David Wilcox
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Letting players switch to a super-easy mode at any point in the game (a la "Dragon Age") is a better way to do this, I think. Gives them the whole experience without the headache. But I guess it's one step at a time with Rockstar and difficulty levels.

Lyon Medina
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Booooo, games are ment to be challanging. If it's too hard that should be the fault of the developer.



Of course games are not suppose to be impossible, but this seems like a shortcut for them not to balance the level, and when they give you the option to skip it its almost like they get a reson to just be lazy and not work out why the chapter is impossible not challenging. This in a sense is too casual, it's a jump in the wrong way where people don't exp the full game, and enjoy the full offer by having to work for their accomplishments.This reminds me of the Farmville mentality. Pay your way to getting better things with no real work involved.



I beat Portal 2 and that was a hard game and I felt rewarded by that fact and that I finished it without cheating. If I had the option to "skip" the hard part's then what was point of playing in the first place to be such a fair weather gamer?

Mark Harris
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You can't balance perfectly for wide range of player skill, period. In action games some content that would be satisfyingly challenging for some players is just plain impossible for others of lower skill.



So, you can still keep trying and get your satisfaction, or you can skip it and move on. Lots of people don't have the time to repeat the same sequence for two hours until they either get better or get lucky.

Gregory Kinneman
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An important element of most Rockstar games is the open world to explore. I stopped playing San Andreas because I couldn't beat this one mission and that meant I couldn't experience the second or third city. I didn't enjoy the missions, the characters or the story very much, but I loved exploring the space. This move in L.A. Noire to allow the skipping of certain sequences sounds like an excellent idea.

Ardney Carter
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@ Lyon Medina: I've been a gamer most of my life and I can relate to an extent to the sentiments you're expressing.



However, I don't think the comparison of Portal 2 to this game is an apt one nor do I think the developers are making a misstep here. The major focus of Portal 2 (from what i understand. havent played) is not narrative. The major focus of LA Noire IS narrative. From the early previews I've read regarding LA Noire, the focus is not on action but instead on dialogue. I've also seen comparisons drawn to the Phoenix Wright games.



Given that, it's easier to understand why the devs made this decision. If the bulk of your game is focused on dialogue and slow paced deduction with the occasional action sequence to spice things up then it's far easier to justify giving players the option to skip that action sequence if it's holding them up because that isn't the point of your game. It's about knowing what your audience is there for.

Lyon Medina
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Ok I will try to bring up all points here, there are lot so excuse me if I miss something big.



@Gregory Kinneman- You can't balance things perfectly but that doesn't mean you should just skip that process all together. Games that don't feature the proper pacing shouldn't be considered a great game then because the narrative was amazing. What I am saying is then rather writing a free pass is working on the problem that people are having with those "difficult" situations and make them better paced or balanced or even tip the other direction of getting easier as you fail the mission. I'm not trying to say to turn away players of lower skill but to have an alternative then to just giving the player an option to skip the point of why their even there. Which is the game it's self. Where the achievement of beating a game is really the accomplishment.



Again let me re-iterate. I donít want games to be impossible to accomplish that only the "select" few can beat them. What I am saying is that if you just skip the hard parts rather than re-working them to make them less hard and just an overall better exp, than you company is just lazy. That's what play testing was invented for. To see issues and fix them, not just throw a band aid over them. If something is broken then you fix it. So if something is creating issues in difficulty like Rockstar is plainly saying they should create a different method to make the game more accessible than just skipping the content all together.





@Gregory Kinneman- I played San Andreas as well and I actually had the same problem. I was doing the part where I had to learn how to fly planes and acquire my pilotís license. Which is a pivotal point of the game. I almost felt like quitting, but I stuck through it and finally completed the mission even after I had to restart several thousand times. But I felt accomplished when I finished that mission. I swear that mission and flight control's were broken and should have been re-tooled and fixed to better assist me in learning what I was doing wrong.



@Ardney Carter- Thank you for agreeing with me but you are passing the point entirely. Gaming was created because we already have movies. Gaming is here to challenge us. If the player is fickle to the point of where when the game finally challenges you to play better and they just say "no" I want to skip this cause I want to see what happens next then they truly are not gamers. Now again I donít want games to be impossible I want games to be easy enough that everyone can get through them, but people who want a free pass shouldn't be playing games. They should be watching movies or playing game that suites that urge to just win. Their is no test of skills in movies. And if RockStar wanted to make an interactive movie they could have made the choice to never include the difficult part(s) in the first place. Why is it there then? If it's too hard that some people need to skip it than why is it being included? Cause it's a challenge that the game developers thought we could accomplish, and if they made the situation correctly then there should be no problem, If they didn't they shouldnít just cut a corner and just try to cover it up.





So small wrap us is that game delopers should make their games accesible and not immposible that the player needs to skip the game.

Mark Harris
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The challenge is there so that those who like the challenge can work on it, complete it, and get their satisfaction. Allowing others to skip is a feature for those who can't complete the challenging action sequence but want to experience the rest of the game. The sequence isn't broken, it's supposed to be challenging so people like you, who like to keep trying until they overcome the challenge can do so and feel good about it. If they just made it easier then you (maybe not you, per se, but plenty of other "gamers") would bitch and complain because the game was too easy, dumbed down, not a challenge like games should be, blah blah blah the thousand other inane arguments that "gamers" like to throw around.



Rockstar is trying to GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT and also provide a fun experience for those who don't want to "restart a thousand times" just to get by a small action sequence and move on.



Again, why does it bother you that they intentionally left in some challenging content so those who want to be challenged can have their accomplishment and then included a feature so those who can't do the really hard part can just move on?



Is limiting choices a good thing now?

Lyon Medina
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@Mark Harris



Ok, I can tell that you read a lot of what I am saying and you picked up on some key points but youíre still missing my general point. I don't want games to be so challenging that I have to keep trying completing a task that the developers intentionally made it impossible to complete unless you find the niche they were looking for. And get what I am saying I want everyone to exp the game , the full game and enjoy it the same way everyone else does and love on it and just be apart of the series and be apart of the crowd that has completed it, saw the story, gets to the ending, all of that, but I don't want people to simply skip through it, go over the experience, take a detour, divert from the main path, miss something important, get left out of the very reason why they were there to play the game, which is simply to play the game.



Skipping the hard part is lazy on the part of the developer, its like saying rather reworking the situation lets just add a skip feature. Why canít there be a better option? Things don't need to be impossible to be fun. Yeah for some people but not for everybody that what I am trying to get at. Why put it in to torture the audience? Your fans?



A very good example of what I mean is when you play Battlefield: Bad Company you play a mission that you have to fly a chopper and take out several key positions. If you have ever played a Battlefield series game you would know that the flight controls are always the hardest part. For the campaign mission though they dumbed down (to the level of just plain easy) the controls so that less exp. players could do the mission with ease and still have fun( A lot). The controls for multiplayer though were kept the same where only more exp players could do really well in the helicopter. I was one of those players that thanked DICE for that because when I fly, I burn and crash with the greatest of ease, you might even consider me a pro at it.



So I ask you why the only option (choice) is for LA noire is to simply skip the difficult scene all together. Rather than creating alternatives to finish the mission the proper way by assisting the player by giving them the edge or extra needed help?

Mark Harris
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I don't think it's the only option, but I think it's AN option, and given the damned if you do/damned if you don't situation it's a viable option.



See, you and I are reasonable people. We would understand the nature of gameplay balance and the need for a smooth difficulty curve and whatnot. However, there are just too many people out there who think only in black and white. If the game isn't hard enough, they complain that it's all dumbed down blah blah console babies, etc. And then you have the people who will just stop playing period if they reach a part of the game that is (seemingly) impassible for them.



I'm not convinced in the least that this is the ideal option, but I don't think we should be giving Rockstar too much grief over the decision. I don't think they're deliberately being lazy with this one, I think they're trying something that, given the nature of this game and the way it plays, will give the largest amount of people possible a good experience.



Will it work? I dunno. We'll have to wait and find out.

Lyon Medina
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Agreed on all counts.





Side note-

I dont think your wrong, neither do I think I'm right. We all have opinions, and you made some great points.

Mark Harris
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That's why I like this site. One can (most of the time) have an intelligent discussion without it turning into an ad hominem inferno.

Jack Garbuz
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I think it is a great idea and was used in Red Dead Redemption, where if you failed a sequence a number of times, you had the option of skipping forward regardless. As a 64 year old gamer, I appreciate developers who understand that not everyone who loves playing video games has the reflexes or coordination of a 16 year old. If games are to succeed in garnering a larger and older audience, then failure must not be an option. Let those who want to, and are able to play "hardcore" do so.

Tore Slinning
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We already have that....ITS CALLED CHEAT KEYS!

Eric Geer
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I like what Mortal Kombat did with their Story Mode. If you don't beat a character on the first try..you try again..but it gets a bit easier...if you lose again...you try again...it gets a bit easier(I tested how far it gets) and at one point you will can stand next to your opponents and they won't really do much to you.maybe a jab...so it dumbs the game down over time...which is fine if you really can't beat a boss.



As there are no difficulties levels...and the first round for most fighters is INSANE...(think back to back super combos--and your lifeless ragdoll body not touching the ground until your dead)...I think this is a great way to test your skills on higher difficulty but also allows you to pass go and collect the $200.... eventually.

Daniel Gooding
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Uggh yeah I can't say I wouldn't have used this on a couple Packie missions on GTA4, having to drive across the whole map, then dying from something simple got old quick, even for me, someone pretty dedicated to overcoming those missions.



Plus that damned mission where you have to chase two bikers through the subway. the memories, I finally beat that mission by an awesome accident, slammed my bike into a wall launched off my bike over a barrier I wasn't supposed to during the mission slamming into the side of an escalade, hopped into the escalade, and just kept heading towards the dot plowing through cars. Finally he slowed down, and I knocked him off the bike, and re-inacted the shooting hitler in the face scene from inglorious bastards. I stood there unloaded all my 1000 of my uzi bullets on him. Now THAT was unnecessary rage.

David Serrano
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After reading all the comments posted, I have this observation. Designers and players who insist gameplay must be about challenge and difficulty are the Fox News of the gaming world. Both have adopted highly polarized and radical opinions which distort long standing concepts and philosophies. Both only represent a small minority yet both still demand they speak for the majority. Both apply an all encompassing, dismissive label to anyone who dare disagree with them. And both will remain completely and totally blind to the damage they cause to the greater good until its way too late.


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