Jimquisition: Cutscenes Aren't A Failure State

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DustyDrB:

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.

Not too good at spotting the point, I see. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule. If you wanna argue, go ahead and read about 1000 random Twitters and get back to me.

Sheesh.

Therumancer:

Absurdist arguements contribute nothing to a discussion.

Neither do dismissive comments, but you saw fit to say the above, and follow it up with nothing that changes my point.

Hmm.

I have no problem with cutscenes as long as they can be skipped. When I go back and play ME2 for the 12th time I don't need to see your half hour video sequence again just let me skip it.

Cut-scenes can be great, but there are so few games that show the story purely from player narrative, that it is easy to dislike how much of them we see.

I suppose using cutscenes in a videogame is like using still images in a animation/film scene, or having a blank screen while just sound plays.

Nothing says you can't do that, and it can be very effective at times if used right. It's just that some people will be 'against' such a practice considering 'interactivity' is hyped up as videogame's distinguishing feature from other media types. (in the same way moving imagery is hyped as animation and film's distinguishing feature)

I feel that cutscenes are good depending on how you use them.

I do feel that Xenoblade Chronicles was a bad example to demonstrate your point, overall. While you are right that pre-boss fight and post-boss fight cutscenes are very good, Xenoblade Chronicles hinders itself by making the cutscenes go for way too long and have the characters perform actions that I cannot make them perform in gameplay. In short, I feel cheated. Not to mention quite a few XC bosses are killed not by your efforts but by the aftermath of the battle.

Here's another thing I hate about cutscenes: characters do things that you cannot make them do in gameplay. The combat of Xenoblade Chronicles is like an MMO and it's long and tedious and you don't really do much. In cutscenes, the characters actually dodge, block, parry and even jump (shockingly). Why can't I do this in gameplay?

I believe in the guideline: "Don't show it, let the player do it."
This idea is just like the film guideline: "Show, don't tell."

In both cases, its not wrong to go against the guideline, its just usually a bad idea to do so when it is not necessary. But there are advantages to every media: interactive game play, film, text, images, music, etc. Each can do things the other can't do. Really its all about realizing what each form of media is good at, and then using the right form of media for what your trying to portray.

Silent Hill 2 a fun example of a game that uses every form of media. Great example of sticking to game play: When Pyramid Head appears, there is no cutscenes, the player remains in control. But it jumps to cutscenes when it need to adjust the pacing, the long scene with James just sitting in a room as he and the player realize the truth is amazing and impossible to do in game play. The painting in the Historical Society says a lot and reinforces the mood, despite cutting player from the game. There are complete audio segments that interrupt game play too, which like all music can have a different meaning each time you hear it depending on the mood and your experiences. And every Silent Hill game has text messages that creed out the player further: There was a hole here, it's gone now.

No form of media is inferior to another. Games should explore the areas their media that no other can succeed at, but games should also take advantage of how easily they can shift the form of media they present.

As much as I hate control taken away from me for extended periods of time, I also hate being forced to play forever with no respite. Getting a nice cutscene of reasonable length can make for a very satisfying reward when used sparingly.

the first visual example of the silent hill 2 cut scene with the burning stairs has always been one of my personal favorite game moments.

i always try to explain that moment to people who havent played the game. impossible.

Yeah, I hate action cutscenes. If you have to have them, make them a final blow thing and do them from first person perspective... so not a cutscene but taking control from the player for a few seconds at the very end of say, a boss battle. At the very least, this'd leave the player relieved that there's no way they'll die by accident during the boss' death animations. On the flip side, I hate it when games do this mid-battle. End or not at all, please.

Actually, one exception: action where the player character is not involved but bears witness. Please use cutscenes then if they fit well. Good storyboarding can make or break such a scene. Of course, there needs to be a narrative reason why the player character is able to safely watch from a distance in the first place (limited player character movement to evade in order to watch is naturally acceptable in-scene).

I think the best purpose for a cutscene is to add drama to boring interactions. So using creative camera angles to add tension to an otherwise lacklustre conversation.

Cutscenes have been somewhat abused in recent year. And such backlash often leads to dismissal entirely. I feel much the same way, but it's not easy to admit to in the current gaming climate.

Something people arguing against cutscenes often forget: Cutscenes allow to show events that do not happen in the field of view of the player character. They allow you to show what's going on in the evil guys lair, they allow you to foreshadow events or look back at past memories. You can't do those things properly in gameplay.

The problem with the Half Life style of storytelling is that it moves everything to the player characters eyes, so the view you get of the world is far smaller then what you could have with cutscenes. Sometimes that's ok for immersion, but sometimes it just leaves you confused as to what the hell is going on, as you never actually learn the backstory.

I liked the joke at the beginning, Jim, but you probably dragged it on too long to the point where it started to get a tad bit uncomfortable. Just saying...

As for your opinions on cutscenes, I do agree, but I'm surprised you didn't bring up the criticism that arises when developers overuse cutscenes instead of story, especially after bringing up two big examples of this, Metal Gear Solid and Xenoblade (technically I'm thinking of Xenosaga. If the two aren't very related to each other, I'm sorry about that.)

My point is that games with good cutscenes help to let the player relax or become invested in a story, but a cutscene that lasts too long will bore a player. I tend to think that seven, maybe ten minutes at the most is appropriate for a cutscene in the middle of the game, while cutscenes that are the ending to a story arc could prolly go for fifteen to twenty minutes, and the ending can just be somewhat longer than that (but not by much). Anything else seems excessive, and will bore the player, because while we do like seeing these developers evolve their stories, games that feel a bit too involve in simply making the game all about THEIR story with little input from the player feel alienating and selfish.

What was that game at 3:23?

I enjoy cutscenes. Cutscenes are cool.

Some Random Tosser:
I feel that cutscenes are good depending on how you use them.

I do feel that Xenoblade Chronicles was a bad example to demonstrate your point, overall. While you are right that pre-boss fight and post-boss fight cutscenes are very good, Xenoblade Chronicles hinders itself by making the cutscenes go for way too long and have the characters perform actions that I cannot make them perform in gameplay. In short, I feel cheated. Not to mention quite a few XC bosses are killed not by your efforts but by the aftermath of the battle.

Here's another thing I hate about cutscenes: characters do things that you cannot make them do in gameplay. The combat of Xenoblade Chronicles is like an MMO and it's long and tedious and you don't really do much. In cutscenes, the characters actually dodge, block, parry and even jump (shockingly). Why can't I do this in gameplay?

There's one cutscene in MGS3 where Snake CQCs a half-dozen Russians, and apparently it's more or less possible in gameplay, though very hard to perform.

JonnWood:

Some Random Tosser:
I feel that cutscenes are good depending on how you use them.

I do feel that Xenoblade Chronicles was a bad example to demonstrate your point, overall. While you are right that pre-boss fight and post-boss fight cutscenes are very good, Xenoblade Chronicles hinders itself by making the cutscenes go for way too long and have the characters perform actions that I cannot make them perform in gameplay. In short, I feel cheated. Not to mention quite a few XC bosses are killed not by your efforts but by the aftermath of the battle.

Here's another thing I hate about cutscenes: characters do things that you cannot make them do in gameplay. The combat of Xenoblade Chronicles is like an MMO and it's long and tedious and you don't really do much. In cutscenes, the characters actually dodge, block, parry and even jump (shockingly). Why can't I do this in gameplay?

There's one cutscene in MGS3 where Snake CQCs a half-dozen Russians, and apparently it's more or less possible in gameplay, though very hard to perform.

That's the exception. More often than not, my point stands true.

Cutscenes may have been seen as a reward in the PS1 era because they were so much prettier than the real gameplay graphics. Rendering cutscenes in the engine is not rewarding at all. In fact, games look so good now that even FMV cutscenes don't look as good as they used to, by comparison to the gameplay graphics.

I am really getting tired of having "games are art" used against the consumer.

When are you going to put up a dislike button for this guy? Or loathe. That would work too.

Oh Jim, you're the cup of tea that I can not only stand, but love. I enjoy your videos so much, and am glad I stuck through with watching you.

Just don't die for any bad things I've done. S'not fair, bro.

I`ve never seen cutscenes as a failure. They are a reward to me and i love todays ingame cutscenes, rather than waching some gci created stuff.

Saints Row filled me always with joy seeing my own created character talking and doing things. Aslong as they are in range of what the game allows me to do they are great. I don`t like seeing my character doing moves i can never pull of ingame like in dmc ( sorry only example that comes to my mind right now).
Dead to rights retribution is one game that gives great rewarding cutscenes while mantaining a schwarzenegger movie vibe. You can argue about the games qualities but it`s one of my favorites because of that and what about RDR? RDR would never achieve it`s emotional impact without it`s cutscenes.

On the other side i hate it when developers don`t allow to skip scenes you`ve seen for countless times. If you`re going for an achievement or a trophy and you`ve to watch the same cutscene over and over again, i just hate it.

edit:
Good show but not as good as the ME and bad publisher episodes (at least to me).
I keep watching.

edit2: Damn to much use of the word "stuff" fixed it.

Pretty much in agreement.
Cutscenes are also useful for presenting information that can't be shown through in-game, though the other reasons are far better. However the option to skip them should be there.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen was just as a valid movie as Blade Runner. That doesn't make it any less $#!+. Occasionally cut scenes can be good but for the most part they are $#!+.

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