The game required a year and a half of research before development even began.
Former Team Bondi head Brendan McNamara has reflected on the lengthy (and troubled) development of LA Noire, stating that the game was "probably too big".
In an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine, McNamara gave his views on why the delayed title took so long to make.
"It's a huge game – probably too big," he said. "The map's massive, and so that's probably my fault. We had to build a new process to do that. We were a brand-new studio – we had brand-new tools, new technology. We have tools that allow you to build cities now, but we had to build that kind of stuff and make it work.
"Everything from the road network, where all the trolley cars go, all the cables connecting automatically to all of the buildings. The tech was pretty extensive, including MotionScan."
McNamara added that LA Noire required extensive work in terms of pre-production research:
"I'd say the first year and a half – [maybe] even longer – was just research. Newspaper research, guys going over to LA and doing research on the buildings, taking photos, getting all the resources together... We were quite a small studio – 16 people or something – and we had to have all this material so we could start building stuff."
In the same interview, McNamara comments on the final days of the game's production, which led to a massive increase in work hours for the development team. McNamara subsequently received criticism for forcing employees to work under "sweatshop conditions".
"It was a long, painful process, but making games is like making films in that it's a marathon, not a sprint – and some people come into the process not knowing that," said McNamara. "I’'d love to spend more time at home with my family and kids. We run things differently now – we have flexi-hours, for example. But everybody has their view on who's the worst boss in the world, and maybe that's me.
"I've read some amazing things about Steve Jobs in his biography, and I've never seen him get as vilified any way as much as I have. Sam Peckinpah fired [plenty of] people off one movie, and nobody said a thing. Werner Herzog pulled a gun on Klaus Kinski to get him to finish a movie! Obviously I don't compare myself to any of those people..."
That Werner Herzog story isn't true, apparently. It's still a great movie legend, though.