Building the L.A. of “All That Glitters”: Touring the City of Angels (Virtually)

This article excerpt, part of a series entitled The Quorum Chronicle, appears in full — along with expanded audio content — exclusively for our Patreon backers. See our Patreon page for further details.


The Quorum ChronicleOne critical step in building a story’s environment — at least for those taking place in the real world — is familiarizing yourself with the location as much as possible. The last thing you want is for someone to be taken out of the story because of some obvious detail you’ve overlooked. But for “All That Glitters,” not living in Los Angeles meant that I was left making a fair number of assumptions and relying on more than a little educated guesswork.

All of which led to an unusual source for exploring the City of Angels in detail: video games. Stick with me here.

One big advantage of presenting the city in something like L.A. Noire is that it showcases the city as befits a noir environment… This is L.A. as backdrop for crime and corruption.

I’ve never been a hardcore gamer — honestly, I bought a PlayStation 3 less for its gaming capabilities than because it was the least expensive Blu-Ray player on the market at the time. But one day, I happened to be perusing a Time magazine article on the top 10 video games of 2010, and I was struck by an image for a game called Red Dead Redemption: a lone cowboy astride his horse, framed against a gorgeous desert sunset. Intrigued, I picked up a copy of the game, and was immediately hooked by the stunning western vistas, playing the game through to the end, exploring every nook and cranny of this phenomenally detailed open world in the process. (I’m kind of obsessive that way.)

A short time later — in the spring of 2011 — I was at a local GameStop when the clerk commented that the studio that published Red Dead Redemption had another open-world game due to be released that month: a 1940s-set detective story called L.A. Noire. I preordered it on the spot.

Produced by Australia’s Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, L.A. Noire is set in Los Angeles in 1947, one of the deadliest years on record for violent crime at that point (including the infamous “Black Dahlia” murder, which is referenced heavily within the game). Players take on the role of Marine veteran Cole Phelps, now a member of the Los Angeles Police Department, as he works his way through several different desks — from Traffic to Homicide, Vice and Arson — solving a series of cases inspired both by real-world events and classic film noir stories.


Be sure to check out the complete article, in both text and enhanced audio formats, along with the rest of The Quorum Chronicle series, at our Patreon page. And thanks so much for your continuing support of Jabberwocky Audio Theater!

— William R. Coughlan, writer/director of Quorum

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