It is fair to say that with this its not just about character animators its also about character modellers, this new bit of technology is fantastic and no animator could ever match the level of realism it produces and the same applys for modellers, it has took games to a proper cinematic level. It is no longer the case that the actors hired are just voice actors to sort of recognisable 3D sprites, now the actor has to do the same job that they do in TV programmes and movies by actually doing a full performance.
I do think 'LA Noire' will become a bench mark for future games as it looks incredibly impressive, i do however think the technology needs some work but not so much the MotionScan tech but more the old tat Motion Capture tech. My reasons for saying this are the heads look so good that its actually making the old fashioned motion capture that is used on the body look really dated and its devaluing it, for example, 2.44 on the clip the detective pulls out a gun but it looks incredibly dodgy and jittery in comparison to the smooth movement of the head.
Now do i honestly think that this is the beginning of the end for character artists and animators? Well no not really at least not fully, sure with the technology there to create such incredible likeness's of the head its only a matter of time before this is combined fully with motion capture and extends to the rest of the body, but there will always be a need for character artists as not all characters are human or based on realism and of course these will need to be animating. Further more this could be a blessing in disguise after all animators can put their focus on making the other aspects of the game seem more real such as environment animation or animal animation.
Overall I'm just glad to see the industry is still striving in the pursuit for ever more realism and from a gamers standpoint this is awesome but from a game artists point of view i imagine this is a scary prospect after all as the limitation get lower and lower, the level of expectation goes the other way but i suppose like myself this also seems exciting as what would be the point in being an artist if you didn't want to strife for realism.