Pistol Envy: L.A. Noire and Forgotten Dicks

Rockstar Games L.A.Noire Box Cover
Rockstar Games L.A.Noire Box Cover
Set in a dramatically-colored 1947, strivers, sleazes, and sidewinders will be accompanied by loads of jazz in Rockstar Games' new video game to be released on May 17th in the U.S.  In conjunction, Mulholland Books will publish an anthology called L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories, including such authors as: Megan Abbott, Lawrence Block, Joe Lansdale, Joyce Carol Oates, Francine Prose, Jonathan Santlofer, Duane Swierczynski and Andrew Vachss, and to be available in e-book form as of June 6th. (Go here to read Megan Abbott's story “The Girl.”) 

The characters in the short stories will echo those encountered in the gameworld, including, we hope, starring LAPD detective Cole Phelps, voiced by Mad Men's own Aaron Staton, and the player will work through various cases, drawn from actual LAPD casefiles, as the game progresses.  In fact, Phelps is going to have to read subjects' expression for truthfulnesss and follow up on physical evidence and clues from the scene, so it's made to play much more like a classic adventure game than a first-person shooter.

In this instance, the prose of the anthology and gameplay will be interwoven, and the 1940s continue to inspire both thematically and visually.  But I couldn't help thinking about telegenic detectives of other eras who may never get a blood-splattered, first-person, action-adventure game developed for them, no matter how deserving:

Raymond Burr as Ironside, Maury Chaykin as Nero Wolfe, Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher
Raymond Burr as Ironside, Maury Chaykin as Nero Wolfe, Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher


  1. Ron Phillips

    I’ve been watching the trailers for this game. Looks top notch. And with the line up the anthology will definitely be top notch.

  2. Chad Eagleton

    I’ve had my game on order for a while now. I’m really looking forward to it. After Red Dead Redemption, I didn’t Rockstar could top themselves. Obviously, I was wrong…

    One quick question–is the anthology just e-book or will a print edition be available too?

  3. Thomas Pluck

    What a great idea. RockStar’s been into the crime thing since Vice City. May have to get me an Xbox.

  4. Clare 2e

    Ron- I’m sure the stories will be great, and I have high hopes for the game, since adventure gaming is really my fave since playing Zork back on the Commodore 64.

    Chad- I don’t know. Makes sense, in the virtual gamespace, to do it as an e-book, however, I think they’re likely to do a print version for the pretty cover alone, and I’m sure there are lots of non-gamers who’ll want the touch-and-feel of real.

    Tommy- I may have to join you, since we’re PC gamers in my hovel and our old Xbox hit the skids years ago.

  5. Colin Campbell

    I never really got beyond a deck of cards in the back of a police van so video games have kind of past me by. But if you’re talking LA Noire look no further than the movie, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It reinvented the PI story for a modern audience. And kickstarted Robert Downey Jnr’s latest comeback. Now get that on your PS3.

  6. Jake Hinkson

    Very interesting. My game playing never evolved beyond Super Mario Brothers, but this intrigues me. The graphics are great, and Cosgrove is the lead guy! It should be fun to see how this evolves.

  7. Clare 2e

    The fabulous [url=http://popculturenerd.com]popculturenerd[/url], who actually read the news release carefully, rather than just squeeing over the pretty pictures, says this will be e-book only. Thanks!

  8. Megan Frampton

    I love noir, but I do not love video games–but I like the idea of Nero Wolfe hunting down bad guys by serving them Fritz’s poisoned Flapjacks or something, or Miss Marple knitting someone to death.

  9. David Cranmer

    Your post headline has to be one of the funniest I’ve come across in awhile. Great article too.

  10. Clare 2e

    Stab one, perl two, Megan. With a side of flapjacks!

    David, whatever could you mean?

  11. katcop13

    Quite a line-up for that e-book. I’m so impressed – a videogame and an e–book? How interesting.

    Cool post, Clare ~ and I agree with David — very funny title!

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