Is It Time For a Major Black And White Video Game?

Our video games are in color. Even our noir video games set in 1940s Los Angeles. They don't have to be, right? This is a trailer for Rockstar Games' L.A. Noire, with one change. We made it black and white.

Sure, this is a crude transfer. I took Rockstar Games and Team Bondi's official L.A. Noire trailer....


... and sapped the color.

I did this, because, well, it seemed like it might be the right thing to do. After I ran impressions of the noir thriller last week on Kotaku, people asked me if the game was in black-and-white, if it could be played in that mode. Black and white would seem to fit the milieu of fast-talking detective work in seedy, dangerous mid-20th-century Hollywood.

One Kotaku reader named t0ddd had asked:

I haven't read much about the game and only understand the very basic premise and keep the title in mind—which makes me wonder, why isn't it in black and white? That would truly be bold


I had asked the Rockstar people, too, last week, whether there would be a black and white option for their game. It came up during small talk as they played the game in front of me. Their answer was inconclusive, and it was hard to tell if the spring 2011 game lacks the option or if it's just not been decided upon yet.

We've had black-and-white games before — the bloody Sin-City-style MadWorld, for example or the color Ninja Gaiden II which included a grainy black-and-white Akira Kurosawa-style filter, the spooky and superb downloadable game Limbo — but nothing major in terms of big-budget, heavily promoted release. Nothing that seems like it could feel so right. Is it time?

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