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Rockstar's first virtual reality release is LA Noire

GTA developer also releasing 2011 crime thriller for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PS4 - with enhancements for X and Pro

In a surprise announcement, Rockstar Games is dusting off a past hit and using to test the still uncertain waters of virtual reality.

The developer has announced that LA Noire: The VR Case Files, a new version of its acclaimed detective thriller, will be released on November 14th. The game will bring seven cases from the original to HTC Vive users, rebuilt specifically for virtual reality.

While the firm doesn't go into detail, this almost certainly means head-tracking controls allowing users to physically look around crime scenes and inspect clues, as well as face-to-face interrogations with LA Noire's various facially captured characters.

This will be Rockstar's first release for virtual reality platforms, but no doubt strong sales may encourage the studio to bring its flagship IP Grand Theft Auto to headsets - particularly given the inclusion of a first-person mode in the current generation version.

Rockstar also announced the original LA Noire will be released on Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One, arriving alongside The VR Case Files this November. All three versions will feature both the complete game and the additional downloadable content, while the latter two will feature enhancements that take advantage of PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.

The Switch version of LA Noire will be Rockstar's first release for a Nintendo device in eight years, having last released Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on Nintendo DS. It was originally to be an exclusive but was later ported to PlayStation Portable and mobile devices.

As with VR, it could be that Rockstar will use this release and its sales performance to judge whether further support for Switch could be beneficial - teasing the prospect of a fresh version of Grand Theft Auto V for the portable console.

The November 14th date also plugs a gap in Rockstar's schedule, with the hotly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 originally due for release by Christmas. Since the open-world Wild West outing was pushed back to Spring 2018, it could be that the revival of LA Noire is designed to shore up some of the lost sales Rockstar and parent Take-Two would have been hoping for this Q4. Without it, the publisher is mainly relying on its annual NBA and WWE franchises heading to shelves this Christmas - although Take Two is still confident of healthy revenues this year.

The original LA Noire was released in 2011 to critical acclaim, although its legacy was soured somewhat when a dispute between Rockstar and developer Team Bondi emerged over working conditions.

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