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Posted by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

Think about some of the games that people feel tell great stories. Games like The Last of Us, The Witcher 2, Kingdom Hearts, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic and BioShock Infinite. Now, think about how many times in these and other games you were watching a cut scene. How many times the game took control away from you and said "Watch this." At that point were you even playing a game? Or are games just filler, a way to pad out a 2 hour movie. A way to make you "Earn" the right to see the next scene or clip.

I should point out here that I'm not declaring games as a bad way of telling a story, or that games haven't told great stories before. I'm merely asking a question, something that I have been thinking about for a bit. Also I don't think cut-scenes are totally bad or wrong. I'm just interested in seeing more games move beyond using videos to tell stories.

But do games lack the ability to tell stories, so instead developers and writers use cut scenes as a way to tell a story. I guess the real question is can gameplay tell a story? We all have played tons of games that told fantastic stories, but I'd be hard pressed to tell you a memorable story moment that happened in game-play- not a cut-scene.

The Walking Dead game, from Telltale actually at times pulls this off. I was playing through Episode 2 of Season 2, don't worry no spoilers, and there is a part where someone is in trouble and you have to decide if you act or let this person get hurt, maybe even die. I decided to step in and saved the person and doing so was a pretty memorable story moment, that I was in control of. Now to be fair, all I did was hit one button and stuff happened. So it might be a bit of a stretch to call it "gameplay". But at least it wasn't just a 2 minute video where I sit back and watch my character do stuff. At least I was interacting, even if it was a small interaction. Also in the first season of Walking Dead there is a moment where Lee has to kill his brother, who is now a zombie, so he can get his key to unlock a room. It is a pretty emotional moment to have to kill your brother to death, and you have to smash his head a few times.And the whole time you are in control.

A bit older, but one of Red Dead Redemption's best moments happens while you are in control. Spoilers. After doing everything the feds ask you to do, John Marston is finally allowed to go home and spend time with his family. You teach your son how to hunt, skin animals and herd cows. You spend time with your wife and just enjoy life in general. But then the feds and the Army come to kill you. You fight them off, protecting your family and helping them get away. Then your trapped in a barn and exit the barn to be gunned down by dozens of armed soldiers.And for the most part you control all of this, and even control your son who gets revenge of the Federal agent who did it.

But these games feel like exceptions to the rule. The amount of games I've played where I set my controller down and watch is pretty damn high. In fact I feel its too high. Games seem so reliant on cut-scenes to tell story. Look at how many former or current movie writers are now game writers. Is that a sign games are becoming more watch then play? With next gen consoles now here, it seems that many games want to "show off" how great they look. And as I learned playing Killzone Shadowfall, that seems to mean boring but pretty cut-scenes.

What does this mean? Does it mean that games are not good at telling a story. That outside of cut scenes games just have trouble telling a story worth caring about. Maybe. But I really don't think that's true. I think its case of two things. One being how young of a medium we are. Maybe we just need more time. More time to figure out how to tell better stories, without relying on videos to do so.

And I think the other issue is that for the longest times games were chasing movies. I remember when the 360 and PS3 first came out. Every developer was talking about making their game "more cinematic". Developers talking about how they were learning from movies how to do camera angles and writing. There seemed to be this feeling among many game devs. that games were "chasing" film. That the ultimate goal was games that looked like movies. Look at Uncharted, a fun game don't get me wrong. But it is also the poster boy of this era of game development. That game was made from the ground up to replicate a movie. And it feels like it.

So, maybe as developers move away from that mentality, as they stop trying to prove that games are as good as film, we will see this reliance on cut-scenes begin to disappear. We already see indie games like Gone Home, which tell a great story with out any cut-scenes or quick-time events. Hopefully more games will try and tell stories with out taking the game away and saying "Watch this for a bit, ok."

#1 Edited by SingingMenstrual (327 posts) -

Wonderful post my good man.

@halomaste19 said:

So, maybe as developers move away from that mentality, as they stop trying to prove that games are as good as film, we will see this reliance on cut-scenes begin to disappear.

And there's like half of my answer. The half about film imitation as an attempt to achieve artistic legitimacy. When game developers become secure with their products - and they have been gaining more security and faith in their creativity and ideas :) - Then we'll see them use cutscenes less.

The other half is, what else is there other than cutscenes? Yes, that part in RDR was amazing for me as a player, and TWD letting you decide the faith of another human being based on your actions in real time, those are two amazing examples. But these are only minor story parts.

How can you replace the grand plot points that need to be read/listened to/watched (consumed), via gameplay? The problem is the consumption of events and plots, I can't even imagine how they can incorporate it and present to you a story you do not yet know, other than having you watch it happen...

#2 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@singingmenstrual: Well you experience ALL of Gone Homes narrative via gameplay. Granted it all takes place in the past, but there are still some moments where I was shocked or surprised.

As for what else is there, that is a great question. And luckily for you and me, Im not a designer. So, I don't have to come up with anything. But I agree, it seems cutscene are the only way to get major story elements across to the player. Though that could change.

#3 Edited by Vuud (1943 posts) -

I am a cut scene skipping scumbag, I mostly don't care and will just look at the objective bullet list any way. I have always believed that a good game should never take control away from the player, at least for no more than a few seconds. A game is all about gameplay, story should be incidental to the gameplay and serve only to set up the action. Games can't be like movies or vice versa, because there is a huge difference between the audience being a participant or an observer, and mixing it up doesn't give better results. One of the best examples I can think of is Half-Life. You never leave the perspective of Gordon Freeman, and the story is all setup around the action to tell you the context of what is going on: scientists opened up a portal to another dimension, aliens came out, everyone wants to kill you. The only time control is taken away from you is to set up an action/puzzle sequence where you are thrown into a garbage compactor.

When I see reviews of a game praising it for its story and characters, then I know it's a mediocre game.

#4 Posted by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@vuud: I dont agree with your last comment, but I agree that the best games, or at least my favorite games tend to be ones that are more concerned with letting you play the game. Half Life 1 and 2 are my favorite games of all time, but I didn't mention them because I feel I talk about those games too much..lol.

#5 Edited by believer258 (11642 posts) -

Kingdom Hearts

I thought you were talking about good stories.

I really like The Last of Us's story. I'm not a huge fan of the gameplay surrounding it for reasons that have been better-discussed elsewhere, but I liked its story a lot.

can gameplay tell a story?

Yes. If you fire up the original Half-Life without knowing anything about the game, then you have to put together a lot of the story yourself. You could run through the game almost like a precursor to Call of Duty - or, you could stop for a minute and put together what's going on and you'll find that it, largely, makes good sense. That game was, and still is, a master class in video game storytelling. That "telling" bit is pretty important, as the story itself is pretty much Doom with more seriousness and frills. Dark Souls does a fairly decent job at giving you the pieces and asking you to put them together as well.

For what it's worth, no other medium delivers world building in the same way that video games do. You can't have codex entries in movies or side quests in books.

#6 Edited by EuanDewar (4761 posts) -

I think the Half Life/Portal universe has my personal favourite set of stories and mythology going on within it (in terms of gaming) and they certainly merge gameplay and storytelling very seamlessly. I don't know if that blurring of the lines is specifically what makes it so compelling to me, I've never really put much thought into it actually, but maybe that's secretly whats so good about how they handle it. That through my all time with those games I never even considered it, it just happened and I enjoyed it.

Interesting topic for sure, nice blog dude.

#7 Posted by Sergio (2050 posts) -

To simply answer what the title asks: No.

I think part of the reason that games employ cut-scenes as a way to tell part of the story is because there is either no need for the player to control the character at that time, or the developers don't see a reason to include a lot of small quick time events to let you control what the character is doing during some more intricate scenes.

You include a picture of Uncharted. Part of the story is told by the characters talking to one another while you travel from one point to another. There may be scenes where they're simply talking to each other in a room. I would find it odd for you to simply walk around the room for no reason or get up and leave. Those conversations also don't fit in with the walking and talking parts of the game.

Regarding Gone Home, I'd say it's very subjective. I found it to have a decent after-school special type of story with lackluster gameplay. Instead of cut-scenes we basically had audiologs. It's lack of cut-scenes didn't make it better.

#8 Edited by mosespippy (4036 posts) -

I think the biggest problem is how young the medium is and our familiarity with the other mediums. Anyone who plays video games today lived their entire life in a world where television and movies have been the most pervasive and dominant medium of entertainment. Audio logs and written texts are also more common forms of storytelling in games than actual interaction is. As we start to figure out the strengths of the medium we will be able to get more meaningful stories from games.

It's going to take a lot of trying new things and failing at them to figure out what works and what doesn't. An obvious example of a failure here is Homefront's press X to hide in mass grave moment. It was trying to be an interactive moment with meaningful actions, but it missed the point completely.

#9 Posted by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@euandewar: @believer258: I love half life as well, and I agree it does a fantastic job of telling a story with out a cutscene, but I write about it so much I purposely omitted it from this post.

#10 Posted by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@sergio: Well about walking around why characters talk, or just leaving, that's what I would want. Games offer us a way to interact with and change the story and world, yet we just watch videos. I wish I could just get up and walk away, that could be really interesting. Also, I personally found Gone Home to be filled with fun gameplay,,manipulating objects, exploring a house that felt like a real home, etc. But to each their own.

#11 Posted by dudeglove (7688 posts) -

No, part of the problem is whoever's writing these garbage plots doesn't bother putting any time or effort or research into what they're trying to create. They watch a bunch of Hollywood films and think "I want to make a game out of that" and totally miss the point about what games are capable of in the first place. Games are about unique-yet-shared experiences that books, TV or film can't really compare to, because they're very much a one-sided relationship between the medium and the audience.

They are not about watching Scarface 10 times and then remaking it scene for scene.

#12 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@mosespippy: Oh man, I remember that.. I agree. Games are so young, everyone making them is people who grew up watching movies and TV. So as kids of today grow and start making there own games, I think we could see new ways to tell a story.

#13 Posted by Flacracker (1597 posts) -

The Half Life series is the best example. No cutscenes. You never leave the view of Gordon Freeman. In every major story interaction you have full control. This is how it should be done. Also about Gone Home: If you really think about it does the story really come through its gameplay? You have to read a bunch of notes and pick up audio logs to get the story. Reading is just reading. One could also make the same argument about games like Baldur's Gate and Fallout but those game at least have interaction through their dialogue. There are options to chose from based on how you want to role play and you can change the outcome.

#14 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@flacracker: Well about Gone Home, you also explore a home that actually FEELS like a real house. And you have to manipulate objects and drawers. Its basic, but it felt natural and organic. And at the very least I was able to control what was happening, not be forced to watch a cutscene.

I do agree about Half Life, easily my favorite game series. But I write WAY too much about it, so I decided to omit it from this blog post.

#15 Posted by believer258 (11642 posts) -

@euandewar: @believer258: I love half life as well, and I agree it does a fantastic job of telling a story with out a cutscene, but I write about it so much I purposely omitted it from this post.

Clearly, most of the people posting here seem to think that Half-Life simply cannot be cut out of a conversation about video game storytelling. And they're right. It's a landmark game largely because of the fact that it tells a story so well and in a way that only video games can (and I'd almost say that no game since has surpassed it in that regard, even its successor).

Cutscenes are hardly bad storytelling devices. Again, The Last of Us told a really good story using cutscenes. It's especially handy if you want to tell a linear story with little to no variation (meaning the story is going to play out the same way every time).

#16 Posted by Video_Game_King (36034 posts) -

So, maybe as developers move away from that mentality, as they stop trying to prove that games are as good as film, we will see this reliance on cut-scenes begin to disappear.

You do realize that you don't need cutscenes to make a game feel like a movie? I mean, that's an important cornerstone of modern Western game design: blend game space and story space into one so you can't tell the two apart. Games like Dead Space and Spec Ops: The Line both feel like movies not because they use cutscenes, but how they do so. Hell, Dead Space doesn't even use cutscenes (as far as I can tell) and it still structures itself like cinema.

Cutscenes and Quick Time Events are just tools. Their misuses abuses should not define them.

Man, I'm tempted to finish up that Quick Time Event blog I've left festering for a long while.

Kingdom Hearts

I thought you were talking about good stories.

Fuck you, man. Kingdom Hearts is amazing.

#17 Posted by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@video_game_king: Well I agree, I was saying that one of the effects of game devs giving up chasing film is that games will become there own thing, not focused on trying to be cinematic. Which is fine, cinematic games are ok, but we don't have a lot of games that really take advantage of the best part of games, the interactiveness of them.

#18 Posted by Video_Game_King (36034 posts) -

@halomaste19:

Eh, I'd say we do and that we don't entirely pay attention to those factors. But this feels like splitting hairs at this point.

#19 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@video_game_king: I don't really see it, and I feel like I'm paying a bit of attention to games.. I want games to really allow me to effect the world and story. I feel that were just scratching the surface of what games can do.

Edit: Tablet typing is hard..lol

#20 Edited by Slag (4016 posts) -

@halomaste19:

Yeah I prefer immersive story telling myself. It's something only games can do and I wish more leveraged the medium's unique capabilities better. I want to experience the story, not watch it.

Cutscenes, while cool looking, break the suspension of disbelief for me. Maybe it's as simple as my actions moving out sync with the protagonist. Whereas in gameplay they are one and the same, a cutscene often cause a divergence. A lot of cutscenes will be sweet action sequences, but I could have the controller sitting on the floor unattended and it wouldn't matter. So why the protagonist may be running for her or his life, I'm just chillaxing.

Back in the day, Ps1 era etc, cutscenes were great since the graphical difference was so stark to gameplay. You could watch them and say to yourself, hey here is what I'd played really looked like to the player characters.

But today they feel like an old non-optimal way of story telling.

#21 Posted by Video_Game_King (36034 posts) -

I want games to really allow me to effect the world and story.

That's not all games need to do, or can do. You can use interactivity to bar you from affecting the world and then incorporate that into your story, a la BioShock or the choices in Fire Emblem: Awakening. Or you can operate on an entirely different spectrum, like that one level toward the end of Napple Tale. (That example would require far too much explaining, so long story short, the level design complements the narrative.)

It doesn't have to be all about freedom or expansiveness or whatnot.

#22 Posted by Aetheldod (3511 posts) -

I like movies as much as I like games ... so cutscenes are all fine and ok for me ^^

#23 Posted by Pezen (1562 posts) -

The problem with interactivity, is that even life itself gives you story in most ways that isn't the necessary motor functions of your body. I mean, if my wife tells me about her day, my interactivity level (at best, a dialogue wheel) is basically watching a cut scene in first person. And if the developer want to tell a story within the mechanics that isn't cut scene or audio logs.. it basically only leaves symbolism and text. I think games though could give you gameplay and story at the same time though, the way Joel and Ellie talk to each other during Last of Us. Expand that idea and maybe cut scenes are at some point unnecessary because the developer found a way to keep the interactivity going without having to pause the story or vice versa. I don't think the problems with the medium is a knock against the stories of the medium, and I would argue the medium has a lot of potential to be really great at putting you in the story itself.

Besides, as someone that loved playing through all of the Metal Gear Solid games, sometimes a cut scene "break" from the game that you "earned" is pretty nice.

#24 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@video_game_king: I understand,but I really wouldn't mind seeing more freedom and choice in games, personally. I think games are still to binary. And I don't want expansive worlds only, I just wan more choice. I see games today as great but so much more could be done. Look at how far TV has come since black and white days, its matured and become better more diverse. I feel games have so much more potential,things like the Occulus Rift look so cool. I just want more, interesting games that tell stories in unique ways, ways only a game could. More of those the better.

And to be fair I wasn't implying thats all games can do or should aim for.

#25 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@slag: They feel like a tradition too, which worries me. I really love the "indie movement" for highlighting the rut we were sort of in. These small teams are making smart and fun games that are going against tradition which I love. :)

#26 Posted by Video_Game_King (36034 posts) -

@halomaste19:

It still feels like you're making false equivocations, like that freedom in video games is desirable, or that cinematic qualities intrude upon that freedom. Personally, I'd say games should move away from cinematic influence, too, but for different reasons. Namely, games have their own tools for relating the experience to the player, and games would be so much more powerful if more developers understood/recognized this.

#27 Posted by SoldierG654342 (1735 posts) -

Yeah, kind of? When it's the only tool used to tell the story, yeah that's bad. It's not that it's a problem inherent to games, as you can tell a story with environment and mechanics, it's just that it's way harder than cut-scenes.

#28 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@video_game_king: I said personally I want more freedom, buy I fully support and even joy games who are more focused.Cinematic qualites don't intrude always, but cutscenes for me at least can easily hurt a games freedom or interactivness.And I agree wholeheartedly with your last statement hence my post asking if cutscenes are good for game based storytelling. Honestly not sure why you think I don't feel that way..

Edit:Tablet still sucks for replying, don't care playing Threes

#29 Posted by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@soldierg654342: Oh yeah, its pretty damn hard I agree. I look at something like StarCraft and wonder if it could tell a story without cutscenes.

#30 Posted by miko1222 (208 posts) -

I don't believe it proves games to be 'bad as story telling.' Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriots literally has hour long cutscenes, but Writer/Director Hideo Kojima's cutscenes are so great in quality, that sometimes, you find it hard to complain. However, I'm not one to bash people on their opinion.

I do however believe that sometimes, yeah, I find I zone out of a cut scene because it's too long and too boring. Some games' cutscenes are interesting, and so you make exceptions for it.

#31 Edited by Video_Game_King (36034 posts) -

Honestly not sure why you think I don't feel that way..

I think it's just your repeated emphasis on freedom/choice. Maybe it's creating a more limited image than you're intended, at least for me.

#32 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@video_game_king: I enjor freedom and for me moving away from cutscenes could bring that to more games,but its not the only thing I care about. Didn't mean for my comments to read that way. I just really want games to take advantage of what qualities makes them unique, compared to any other medium. I feel we are in agreement on that.

#33 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@miko1222: I love Metal Gear, but some of those MGS4 cutscenes could drag a bit.still MGS is interesting to think about because of how intense that game can be, mentally. After sneaking through a huge enemy base, finding your objective and sneaking/fighting even more enemies your nerves can be a bit frayed. So I think a cutscene works there. I literally need a break. Time to relax a bit.

#34 Posted by joshwent (2119 posts) -

They are not about watching Scarface 10 times and then remaking it scene for scene.

(shhhh, you're gonna make Rockstar cry.)

I think this argument has be anchored in terms of what's actually possible with current technology and budgets. We'd all love games where you had more impact in a story, but being able to get up and walk away from one character saying one line, and them reacting to that and making everything still flow and make sense just isn't really possible yet in a lot of situations.

All early films have almost nothing but still shots because moving the camera was incredibly complicated. I'm sure there were people arguing then that movies are just trying to be plays, but even worse because you can't hear the actors. Now film has a language all its own, but it only began after some major innovations.

As the tech progresses, interactive narratives will too. If we can still experience great stories via cutscenes until then, so be it.

#35 Edited by miko1222 (208 posts) -

@halomaste19:

Yeah. Through my time playing Metal Gear - every time a cut scene would play - I would just set my control back, sit down, and just enjoy the cut scene as it plays. But some of the Metal Gear cutscenes can be dragged, as you said, and that causes some people to zone out from the scene, and I did a couple of times.

#36 Posted by believer258 (11642 posts) -

@video_game_king: I said personally I want more freedom, buy I fully support and even joy games who are more focused.Cinematic qualites don't intrude always, but cutscenes for me at least can easily hurt a games freedom or interactivness.And I agree wholeheartedly with your last statement hence my post asking if cutscenes are good for game based storytelling. Honestly not sure why you think I don't feel that way..

Edit:Tablet still sucks for replying, don't care playing Threes

We probably need to define "cinematic" at some point. You'd think it means "like movies", but what does that really mean? And you need to define "freedom" and "choice". I have plenty of freedom and choice in where to go in Super Metroid, but the story is always going to be the same. You have freedom and choice in what weapon to use in Half-Life, but those levels are always going to be linear and that story is always going to be the same, save for the ending where you can go with the G-Man or walk off the tram.

And why is your name "Halo Master" when it seems like you're arguing against a lot of the narrative devices that Halo employs?

@halomaste19 said:

So, maybe as developers move away from that mentality, as they stop trying to prove that games are as good as film, we will see this reliance on cut-scenes begin to disappear.

You do realize that you don't need cutscenes to make a game feel like a movie? I mean, that's an important cornerstone of modern Western game design: blend game space and story space into one so you can't tell the two apart. Games like Dead Space and Spec Ops: The Line both feel like movies not because they use cutscenes, but how they do so. Hell, Dead Space doesn't even use cutscenes (as far as I can tell) and it still structures itself like cinema.

Cutscenes and Quick Time Events are just tools. Their misuses abuses should not define them.

Man, I'm tempted to finish up that Quick Time Event blog I've left festering for a long while.

@believer258 said:

Kingdom Hearts

I thought you were talking about good stories.

Fuck you, man. Kingdom Hearts is amazing.

I tried to play through Kingdom Hearts again relatively recently and that beginning is soooooooooooooooo sllllllooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww.

Back on topic - Dead Space is a pretty good example. Not much in the way of choice or freedom, narratively speaking. You, of course, have the freedom to poke your head in every nook and cranny and a few choices in which weapons to use, but the game is still super linear and the same every time you play it. And DS1 and 2 are some of the best games of last generation/this generation (have we gotten used to calling the 360 and PS3 "last gen" yet?)

I feel like you're criticizing devices themselves and not necessarily the way they're employed, which I think is what @video_game_king was saying in the first place. On top of that, not everything here is well-defined. That's not your fault, it's the fault of current critical video game jargon, but it's still an issue.

I like being one of the people born into this burgeoning new medium, but man, it bums me out that I'll probably be dead or really old before we get a rock-solid, well-accepted method of criticizing video games.

#37 Posted by SteadyingMeat (1114 posts) -

Nope

#38 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@believer258: Going to be honest, don't really understand where this became a conversation about freedom or options. Like I thought we were talking about games and how they tell stories. Then I become the champion of choice? Confused.

About cinematic and how to define it, I guess its all relative? Shitty answer I know, but what someone feels is cinematic others might find boring. Though this whole conversation has gone away from what this post was about. So, color me a bit confused.

M

Like seriously, my whole freedom and choice was more related to his reply that games shouldn't be all about freedom. Which I agree with, and then big words and paragraphs happened. As for the name its an old runescape name that I used. In a long ago time.

Edit:Looks like this all started when I said games weren't interactive enough and he inferred I ment they needed to be big and free. Idk..not really arguing either way. Like I said confused.

#39 Posted by crithon (3081 posts) -

this feels like a discussion that's been going on since 1998.

#40 Posted by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@crithon: Well, to be fair I think its still an interesting conversation to have. But yes, I'm not the first person to point this out.

#41 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1449 posts) -

Cutscenes are a great tool for storytelling when used right. The ones that are used for moments that wouldn't offer interesting gameplay opportunities are the clearest example of the need for them to tell a story. Compared to other mediums, games already devote an exorbitant amount of the running devoted to straight up action, so having quiet characters moments is essential for the pacing and tone, and there quite simply isn't really any gameplay to be had there other than dialogue choices, which aren't a good fit for every game.

Where I tend to agree with you is when the most impressive and action packed sequences of the game are done via cutscene rather than gameplay. As much as I love them, this is something the Metal Gear Solid games have always been guilty of.

In my mind, it's not a matter of the concept of cutscenes "proving games are bad at telling stories", but more that poorly implemented ones are. As someone said earlier, allowing you to walk around the room during a conversation in Uncharted or The Last of Us wouldn't add anything meaningful to the game, and would in fact take away from the atmosphere and story. Cutscenes that exist in areas of the game that don't offer any compelling gameplay opportunities are fine, but when the player feels like control is being taken away from them at the best part, the developers have failed.

#42 Posted by crithon (3081 posts) -

@halomaste19: yes, but walking dead, last of us, and uncharted..... are really excellent worth waiting to see cinematics. Surprised you didn't set up some really easy targets like generic JRPG cinematic heavy game or something like Ride to Hell Retribution story telling.

But personally for me, something like Mirror's Edge or Tomb Raider do have some pretty notoriously bad cinematics that contradict what works about the gameplay or even what you pieced to from your play through. But also we also have a new era where video game stories are designed by developers as "Set piece" FIRST, and then they hire comic book writers to come in and patch in audio logs and journal entries to help flavor up the world.

#43 Edited by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@crithon: I haven't played enough JRPGs to critcize them about this. Your point about set piece stories and brining comic writers is really spot on. I feel like a lot of games use audio logs/diary pages as a way to world build cheaply, with little thought.(Not all audiologs/diary pages, just some.)

#44 Posted by Halomaste19 (140 posts) -

@ll_exile_ll: Yeah, this post was in no way meant to claim cutscenes are bad, just to think about them and what they mean to gaming. As you say they have a use and reason in some games. But I'm a bit strange and would love to see a Uncharted type game that just let me walk away from a cutscene. Lol, that would be neat.

#45 Edited by crithon (3081 posts) -

@halomaste19: you know, now that I think of it, Deus Ex Human revolution had some pretty bad cinematics, but then the joy of the game was hacking ANYTHING and then reading little notes spoiling big plot points. Like the whole "News reporter turning into an AI" wasn't really a surprise or anything worth getting excited about, but then reading a little journal about an Xfiles joke and then I'm all doing air high fives to myself. It didn't have to be a good journal just being proud that I could hack it was the achievement itself.

#46 Edited by HurricaneIvan29 (559 posts) -

This should not be seen as a black and white decision of which direction video game design needs to head towards; it should be seen as a design tool that hasn't been tapped to its full potential. I would like to see more games attempt this style of storytelling, or include it, but at the same time I don't want every game to not have cutscenes either. Cutscenes making video games "feel like movies" is fine to me if that's the tool the designer/director feels is the best way to pass a certain message along or evoke a certain emotion. That's fine and dandy.

There are pros and cons to both styles. Take a moment where let's say you the protagonist is holding onto a supporting main role as they loom over a chasm with sure death waiting for them. If the designer uses a cutscene (with quick time events or not) they could evoke a certain suspense and emotion out of the scene. Now, if they used the aspect and point of view as during typical gameplay it would evoke such sheer shock and awe of what just happened, and then you would have to gather yourself after asking whether or not that just really happened.

It's all about what the designer/director wants to evoke from the scenario, and there are a lot of missed opportunities to use the shock and awe that could be achieved from moments played out during gameplay, but that doesn't mean that the tool and styling of cutscenes should also disappear completely.

#47 Posted by Slaegar (689 posts) -

I like using Bastion as an example of good in game story telling. It's not perfect, it relies heavily on narration, but it let's the player enjoy the game as xe learns about the story. By the end you feel very connected and you understand what happened, is happening, and will happen without the game stealing away controls every time a cart of corpses starts rolling for some reason. An internet dollar to who guess what I'm referring to. I'll give you a hint. Nobody bought it at launch except me (and 29,999 of my friends).

#49 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4639 posts) -

No, it proves that developers are still lazy and holding back the medium.

#50 Posted by Video_Game_King (36034 posts) -

I tried to play through Kingdom Hearts again relatively recently and that beginning is soooooooooooooooo sllllllooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww.

I played it kind of recently, too, and I spent the whole time squeeing like a motherfucker. That intro may be slow (well, at least after discounting the super awesome Dive into the Heart intro), but it serves a purpose.

We probably need to define "cinematic" at some point. You'd think it means "like movies", but what does that really mean?

Yea, this is a toughy. I'd say that it's when a game stages itself very similarly to a movie, but that doesn't solve the issue. I only have examples, which don't get to the heart of the issue.