Jimquisition: Cutscenes Aren't A Failure State

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT

Also, Silent Hill uses cut-scenes super-effectively.


I thought the cutscenes in Gears 3 were executed superbly. Same for the Halo games - yet they wouldn't be so good in CoD or Portal.

And there's a reason for that.

CoD's soldier of the hour, and Portal's... ugh... portal gun using character are silent protagonists.
While Halo's Master Chief/Noble Six, and Gears of War's Marcus Fenix are NOT silent protagonists.

Call me crazy, but I don't think that's a coincidence.

Also, who else misses games with opening cut-scenes that get you pumped to play?

Noble Six and the Chief rarely speak, if ever, during the process of the game; yet you see them both from many different perspectives without so much as whispering in-game. Relatively silent is as good as being silent. While the Chief has a memorable voice, it's because you rarely hear it. This is unrelated to cutscenes, which are in every mission, because his voice is not. CoDs protagonists never speak and yet there's no cutscenes.

That cutscene would still be epic if Six never spoke.

B&W2 used cutscenes as well, you don't speak there. Every time Skyrim prevent you from moving & it's not a chit-chat moment? Yeah, head-camera cutscene.

And just at the time when i tohugh i was the only one left LOVING cutscenes :)

Does Jim just pick a hot topic, throw on his tired, tissue thin facade and rile up the sheeple every week? Seems like it. The show is about as informative as reading a Twitter feed.

the antithesis:

Jimothy Sterling:

the antithesis:

then make a fucking movie instead.

Fucking no need because fucking cutscenes fucking exist.

Yes. Yes they do. So does the skip button.

Tell you what, though. I'll concede your point that cutscenes are a tool in the box that can work well when used effectively if you'll allow that cutscenes can be a crutch for lazy or untalented designers to do things they could have or should have done though game play.

Sure, they can. Cutscenes can be used for good or for bad. They are not, inherently, one thing for the other.

I really like cut scenes but they can go on for too long and you start to think, when is it my turn. Take Games like Devil may cry and Bayonetta and admittedly most Japanese titles, the max for a cutscene should be no longer than 10 minutes, after that it is too long (unless it is the ending cutscene).
I find in games without cutscenes I am often not looking where I am supposed to at the right time and end up confused. Cutscenes show you the important stuff and present it nicely, the way the developer intended you to see it.
If you try to show me something important, chances are ill have my sniper rifle zoomed in on my support characters bum, not on what I should be focused on.

I couldn't imagine Res Evil 4 without the cut scenes, they play such a big role in explaining the story, not just the playable scenese either. In fact I don't think any RE games would be as good if not for the cut scenes. I like the first cut scene in RE5, where the guy has the bull horn, shouting, big crowd gathering, then you get spotted and that crowd is coming for you now, and big zombs with hammers, and the action actually unfolds into real gameplay, no slacking, not in any RE game I've played. I mean consider RE games properly - they aren't addictive, they aren't a great deal of fun to play, the driving force is real challenge. RE games are stressful, you have to be in the right mood to play them, and maybe those cut scenes are vital in letting the player know they are on track, otherwise people might not play RE games at all!. The mindset that makes me want to play RE games, makes me accept the cut scenes and pay attention, understand the plot, and play the game as if it was important.
RE4 is my all time favorite game, aspects of it remind me of Half Life 1+2, the stress in playing it (dealing with stat guns in bunkers for instance) - these are daunting games, they need really strong plots, and an effective way of revealing the plot to the player.

Some games take the piss though - when the cut scene is boring, too long, or irrelevant it just annoys, like an advert break 5 minutes into your favorite TV show. Inherently bad cut scene karma puts me off buying some games - like Final Fantasy, or Metal Gear - I just won't buy these games because I prefer to play games, not watch them. I guess the most annoying cut scenes are the irrelevant ones - I mean any cut scene should achieve more than just showing some plot, it should give the player a hint as to what to do next - it's too common just to prerender a cut scene when the plot get's too big for the game, show an epic battle in a cut scene then resume play with absolutely nothing going on. Even with games with high quality engines that can deal with pretty much anything use this, Gears of War... damn I hate the cut scenes in that, wow epic battle then once everything is dead, everyones had a hug, and the game can get back to normal, with the player looking for the obligatory convenience weapon before the grind fest starts again. When the cut scenes are playable, well it's more like just a cut scene that you can look around and shoot swarms of pointless enemies. Gah - anyway cut scenes are good when they explain plot details or give gameplay hints. Cut scenes are bad when they are used in-place of gameplay.

Agreed. I always kinda liked cutscenes though. More so in the old days when they were treated more like 'rewards' than, 'oh, here's another one... just take it.'

Oh yeah, and watching that video reminded of how stupid and ridiculous MGS4 is.

And that's one more Critical hit from Jim.

While games that tell the story through gameplay rather than cutscenes DO tend to be more engaging *coughBASTIONcough*, that doesn't mean that cutscenes have no place in games.

As was said, they allow for nifty camera angles, they allow the story to unfold in a carefully crafted manner according to the developer's vision, and (if done right) they CAN hype you up for a good gameplay sequence.

Personally, I don't mind cutscenes. As long as they aren't super long, and as long as you have the ability to skip them once you've seen them, then I have absolutely zero problems with them, especially in a linear game that doesn't focus on player choice.

But I really have to emphasize my point about skipping cutscenes if you've seen them already. I love the original Kingdom Hearts....But that one cutscene you see right before you fight the boss of Hollow Bastion (A REALLY hard boss)....I had to watch that long-ass cutscene at least 8 times because I wasn't allowed to skip it if I lost to the boss. It was a great scene, but after watching it 8+ times it just got on my nerves.

So yeah, if you have cutscenes, PLEAAAAASE let us skip them. I don't want to have to rewatch them if I lose. X_X

God damn, Jim, you are on a role lately.

I've been sick of people disparaging a perfectly serviceable storytelling tool basically just on principle for a while now. 'Interactive' is good when it works, it has a place and a use and those uses are many in games, but different elements have different weights in every situation, and sometimes it's just not the best way to tell your story. Sometimes it is. Cutscenes should never be criticised just because "GAMES ARE INTERACTIVE" is taken as a truism.

While I'm inclined to agree that cutscenes are are useful for narrative and expression of ideas, like any tool using too much of it can take away from the game rather than adding to it. Then again the rule of thumb is to use the right combination of available tools in order to deliver the best experience of your vision as an artist to your audience.

This whole attack on cutscenes is bizarre as fuck.

Anyone here played Bioshock?

Would it be possible to do Ryan's speech and big reveal without a cutscene?

Of course not, and that was one of the best moments of the game.

Another game I really like has a cutscene where the character the player has been controlling commits suicide. Now tell me how would that work if they gave control to me? Would it still force me to kill myself some how, and would it really add that much for me to walk the guy over to the roof and jump myself? I'd probably run around trying to see if I could get out of the suicide thus breaking the pacing of that moment like a twig.

Also, Silent Hill uses cut-scenes super-effectively.

And yet Pokemon does not

So, to summarize this episode:

- Cut scenes can be bad but aren't always
- Cut scenes can be good
- People shouldn't be forced to use cut scenes but shouldn't be forced not to
- Cut scenes can sometimes be good
- Not all cut scenes are good but some are
- Games should be allowed to use cut scenes when the designer thinks it appropriate
- Cut scenes shouldn't be compulsory but nor should they be banned
- Hating cut scenes doesn't make you clever
- Cut scenes can be good

...yes, well, it's a fine argument and hard to contest but it doesn't stop me being pissed off when I watch a cut scene in which my character does something cool that I could have done in the game.

That said, most games these days feature so much challenge-free busy work that they may as well be pure cut scene.

Also, there are no cut scenes in multiplayer. This has changed people's expectations of gaming as a whole.

Father Time:
This whole attack on cutscenes is bizarre as fuck.

I didn't even realize there was a whole attack on cutscenes.
What's bizarre to me is that it seems like the most harmless thing: it's a brief moment where you don't have to do anything and just watch a scene but if you don't care and want to move on, you can press the x or start button and get on with it.
It's like if people complained about ice cream cones: it's not like you have to eat it. You can just eat the ice cream if you want.
I remember when Ninja Gaiden (NES) came out and cutscenes were a novelty.

Jimothy Sterling:

Sure, they can. Cutscenes can be used for good or for bad. They are not, inherently, one thing for the other.

Frankly, I'm impressed at how well you span one sentence into 5 minutes. Top stuff!

It's not a rule but a "maxim" that in cinema to "show don't tell" yet that doesn't mean that narration and exposition is absolutely forbidden, but it should generally be avoided.

A similar maxim for games should be "do, don't show".

Then of course there are he issues with perspective shifts, but that's just a matter of having a careful touch.

Just to add (what many people already have) that there should be an option for a player to skip the cut-scenes.
Leave them be in the developers' artistic bag, but give me the option to skip them if I do not want to see them

Just to add (what many people already have) that there should be an option for a player to skip the cut-scenes.
Leave them be in the developers' artistic bag, but give me the option to skip them if I do not want to see them

Yes but for the love of god have it in a way where you can't accidentally skip them. And please, please, if we can't skip it the first time have an option do the Visual Novel thing (or at least the katawa shoujo and sengoku rqance thing) where things you've already seen can just skip themselves automatically.

I had forgotten all about S Club 7. ...I think that was for the best.

Anyway, I'm fickle. I'm not a fan of just standing there listening to an exposition dump. But I'm also not a fan of cutscenes near 10 minutes long or longer. RPGs usually get it right, having the player involved in exposition while saving cutscenes for truly big moments. I haven't played much of any Half-Life game, so I can't comment on it. But Metal Gear Solid's cutscenes are absolutely ridiculous. I love those games despite the cutscenes, because the gameplay more than makes up for it. That series has fantastic potential for environmental storytelling, but neglects to engage in it most of the time. Metal Gear Solid 3 probably had the most of it, and it is often considered the best game in the series.

As with many things in life, what works best here is a balance.

Grey Day for Elcia:
Does Jim just pick a hot topic, throw on his tired, tissue thin facade and rile up the sheeple every week? Seems like it. The show is about as informative as reading a Twitter feed.

So you're saying he's very informative, then. Because you could not possibly be ignorant of the use of Twitter in major protests (Egypt, Tunisia) over the last year and a half.


Visual Novels are NOT a sub-genere of video games, they are a sub-genere of books (novels) that are simply working in an electronic format. "Choose Your Own Adventure" books gone electronic.

What about visual novels such as Symphonic Rain, Kamidori or Sengoku Rance?

If they break that format slightly but still fall into it enough where they are calling themselves Visual Novels as opposed to making pretensions of being something more, it's a non-issue.

That said it's not my genere of choice, so I don't read many of them.

How else can you do a "meanwhile elsewhere" bit? How else can you make dramatic camera angles that enhance the drama of a scene?

Cut scenes, that's how!

I still believe that games can have stories and that they can convey their stories via all manner of narrative or vehicle, including cut scenes. Honestly I don't even know why we're arguing over is games should have stories or be art or have cut scenes. I mean, how is this even an issue? I mean, what, just because the most popular games these days are shooters that little more than online death match arenas who try oh so hard to appeal to brain dead morons who think is's "cool" to hate art or variety every game needs to be a bland and tasteless death match? Please don't be such a tool.

If you think that way then please stop gaming, you're ruining it for the rest of us. I don't think that all games should be like JRPGs, please don't insist that all games be like Call of Duty ot Half Life 2 (as awesome as the former was).

I really enjoyed that ending. Classy.
No seriously, I was wonder how you were going to try to one-up Jesus, and then it was hilarious when you did. This and ZP are my favorite weekly shows, TV doesn't even compare.

It should be noted that I played Diablo II ENTIRELY for the inter-act cutscenes.

Seriously, the promise of a new cutscene was what got me through the grind.

Jimothy Sterling:
Sure, they can. Cutscenes can be used for good or for bad. They are not, inherently, one thing for the other.

Well, they are inherently one thing: a different medium. It's called motion pictures. Which isn't a big deal as games do use things from other media all the time. Music, for example.

It's also not that new an idea if you consider things like the intermissions in the original Pac-Man, in which case, cutscenes go back to 1980.

But then, in those days it was more about showing off the graphics capabilities of the hardware and the animation talents of the programmers. Furthermore, the cutscenes in the original Pac-Man didn't really tell a story (although later Pac games did).

But that was then. These days, such things are simply taken for granted because they don't have to try to squeeze a game into a 4KB cartridge. So it's less about what the hardware can do than what the game itself does.

Which is why there's a movement among developers and fans that the story should be told through the gameplay instead of splicing a movie clip into the middle of things. I don't think it's a mark of failure, really. Failure means you tried something and it didn't work. I think it's more a warning sign of stagnation. It's just one more area where the medium is not being tested. Why try to figure out how to do all those things I quoted earlier through gameplay when you can just use a tried and true method from another medium? I think that's the real problem.

Spielberg said that too? And i thought it was weird Del Toro said it.

I agree completely although i would have used metroid prime instead of xenoblade.

"Video Games" are the ultimate form of Multimedia - They are drawings, sculptures, movies, paintings, symphonies, and interactivity all rolled into a single package.

You're not "Leaving video gaming and going into movies" when you insert a cutscene, because movies are a part of the whole of a video game. The issue is integrating them well.

I didn't even realize this idea was under fire. If you don't like cut scenes why play video games with them? isn't that kind of like pulling your own teeth out? Anyway, I'm with Jim its a tool to be used or not. Personally I'd rather watch a well rendered cut scene then feel "involved" in the scenes when they make me "tap A rapidly" or press a 3 button combo. The experience is just that. An experience. All games would and could like to differ in delivery of this idea. Nothing wrong with either form. I know what I like and avoid what I don't.

Thank god for Jim.

Mylinkay Asdara:
I come from the generation that saw the emergence of the cut-scene as THE new thing that was made of awesome - something that most of us considered, at the time, to be a huge reward and something we actually played the game to work towards. I still carry this mentality imparted by that experience of playing state.

To relate this to a current event, I think that's part of why I was so dismayed by the ending of ME3 - the feeling that there should have been a long, rewarding cut scene to provide closure and reward to my epic achievements - whatever they may have been - contributed to my general feelings about why the ending was unsatisfactory, much more so than the actual writing of the ending, the god child, or all the other things others found seriously problematic. I was more accepting of those things in general (though I didn't care for them particularly) than I was of the lack of closure / cut scene reward.

Now, I'm not saying that games that are light on cut-scenes aren't good. In fact, I love the open world games that more or less leave cut scenes in the tool box minus some opening and beginning context providers/closure tools. It works with how they are telling the story - or letting you tell it to yourself, as the case may be, in which case being laden with cut scenes would be getting in the way more than helping things along. If a Final Fantasy game, on the other hand, came out without cut scenes I would be totally confused.

Different games, different approaches to how much is going to be done in cut scenes. I think Jim hits this one straight on.

Speaking on the generational note.

AMEN. Can you say Syphon Filter? One of the first and best RPG military games that utilized cut scenes to the max. The only reason I finished each level was to see what was coming next. While gripping a pillow at the edge of my seat. Granted I was 11 at the time but damn that was good stuff.

Now for me, I admit Im more concerned with the reason WHY I am slaying 10 million zombies rather than the simple mechanics of slaying zombies. (thats why L4D is so disappointing to me personally. I know its supposed to be a B movie vibe, but SOME plot other than "Were trying to escape" would have been nice.

As well as a lot of other people, I find this to be a sheer brilliance in the game. We don't care how it happened. We don't care why we're doing it. We just wanna have fun. It's already plenty ridiculous and rather simplistic on the player's end, so, why add extra narrative?

Although, I can say that those cutscenes at the beginnings of the levels with the characters just standing still are quite unnecessary. They really should have just been talking to each other like that in the gameplay itself.


We don't care why we're doing it.

To each their own of course, but if you dont care why your doing it.. then why bother doing it?

"because it is fun" is not a sufficient answer. Without motivation what is to stop you from having "fun" by repeatedly killing yourself, or jumping off a bridge to spell your name with your own corpse, trying to kite as many zombies at one time, etc.

It cant be the mechanics because the mechanics are as formulaic as any other major shooter on the market.

So again, without the motivation to "escape" what is the point of following the developers pre plotted course of entertainment? Why not make your own entertainment within the games context?

If you dont care for the motivation, then why play by the rules of the game at all, or even playing it to begin with?

Very rarely do I feel the need to post because I am offended by something. However I feel that the "I would have died for your sins" comment crossed the line of humor and entered the realm of offensive. While it may not be necessary to agree with one's religious belief making fun of them borders on prejudice. I would expect the same courtesy extend to any religion be it Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim or Atheist and I would certainly expect a "professional" journalist to have more tact.

whats xenoblade aboot?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
Register for a free account here