The "video games as art" movement just got a huge boost today, thanks to an announcement that Rockstar Games' upcoming open-world title 'L.A. Noire' has been chosen as an official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Today's reveal -- made in a press release from Rockstar's parent company, Take-Two Interactive -- marks the first time a video game has been a featured selection at the prestigious film fest. Somewhere in Chicago, film critic and "video games are not art" proponent Roger Ebert is shaking his fist at the sky in anger.

The news is not only a big deal for gaming advocates who've long argued that interactive entertainment is more than something for children, but also for Rockstar, the distributor behind the wildly popular -- and often much maligned -- 'Grand Theft Auto' games. Naturally, Rockstar founder Sam Houser is pleased. "We're thrilled that 'L.A. Noire' is being recognized by the Tribeca Film Festival in this way. It's a real honor, and another step forward for interactive entertainment."

Jump past the break for more details and a look at 'L.A. Noire's' trailer.

The game, which puts players in the shoes of a Los Angeles Detective working the mean streets of the City of Angels circa 1947, is a violent and noir-inspired mixture of cinematic storytelling and interactive detective work. With a narrative that was inspired by real-life crimes, including the infamous Black Dahlia murder, the title allows players to experience not only an engaging story, but also what it felt like to be a young detective back in the days before forensics was a household word.

Rockstar will be at the festival on April 25 to present a special preview of the game -- due out on May 17 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 -- as part of the Tribeca Talks series. Attendees will get a sneak peek at one of the game's cases, followed by a Q&A session discussing the crossover between games and films, the technology behind 'L.A. Noire's' creation, and what concessions must be made when integrating story and action in the game world.



Tribeca's Chief Creative Officer Geoff Gilmore will moderate the panel. Gilmore justified the controversial decision to feature a videogame at a festival as big as Tribeca by saying:

What Rockstar and (developers) Team Bondi have accomplished with 'L.A. Noire' is nothing less than groundbreaking. It's an invention of a new realm of storytelling that is part cinema, part gaming, and a whole new realm of narrative expression, interactivity, and immersion. We are poised on the edge of a new frontier."


A bold claim for a game that has yet to be released, but those attending Tribeca will be able to see if 'L.A. Noire' is really pushing the envelope in terms of game narrative or if it's just another stereotypical videogame tale made more impressive thanks to the action bits that make up the bulk of the experience next month. We're hoping it's the former.

In the meantime, check out the 'L.A. Noire' trailer and let us know what you think.