In June, Take-Two Interactive said L.A. Noire would launch in the quarter ending October 31. Since that time, the publisher has barely mentioned the Rockstar-published, Team Bondi-developed game, much less ramped up a prelaunch advertising blitz. In a note to investors this morning, Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson gave a possible reason for that, saying retail sources have told him the game is being delayed into next year.
"We have confirmed the delay of L.A. Noire from fiscal Q4 (Oct.) well into [fiscal] 2011 [November 1, 2010 to October 31, 2011]," Wilson wrote. "As far as we can tell, Take-Two has not shown the game to retailers."
Representatives with Take-Two and Rockstar had not returned GameSpot's requests for comment as of press time.
By Wilson's count, L.A. Noire would be the 20th major delay for the publisher since its current management team took over in 2007. L.A. Noire would have accounted for three of those delays.
Wilson doesn't believe the delay will prevent the publisher from missing its full-year financial guidance. He said the company set the bar conservatively low with its numbers, and whatever negative impact it might have on the company's fourth-quarter results could be made up for by continued strength of Rockstar's last title, Red Dead Redemption.
"Clearly, management either has no control over the release of its games, cannot accurately predict the timing of their completion or is not concerned with the forecasts it issues to investors," Wilson wrote. "In any case, the delays have reinforced the low confidence we have in current management. We continue to have low confidence that management has any idea about when its games will actually be released and believe the confidence that it displays to investors is misplaced."
The debut effort from Australia-based Team Bondi, L.A. Noire takes place in 1940s Los Angeles, a popular setting for detective films and novels. The game will have players entangled in a violent web of vice, corruption, and crime in the titular metropolis's underworld, tasked with solving a series of murders in what Rockstar describes as an "open-ended challenge."
L.A. Noire was originally announced as a PlayStation 3 exclusive in 2005, with Rockstar picking up the publishing rights to the title the following year. Rockstar cofounder and creative director Sam Houser is executive-producing L.A. Noire, with Team Bondi founder Brendan McNamara (writer and director of The Getaway) serving as director of development.