The Great Cutscene Debate

I’m about to tackle an area of great contention within the gaming community: cutscenes.

There’s a large number of people who loathe cutscenes as they temporarily remove the player’s ability to interact with the game and therefore reduces immersion. Cutscenes are sometimes seen as completely separate to the game, especially if there is a large difference in the graphics quality between the game and the cutscene (imagine Pacman with photo-realistic cutscenes).

Others love cutscenes as they’re a great tool for storytelling (and lets face it, they generally look good). Personally I love cutscenes, they’re like an achievement that shows you’ve done something monumental in the game. Also, the artist in me likes looking at pretty things.

One game that handles cutscenes particularly well is Mass Effect. They use the in-game models, so there’s no discrepancy between what the user sees during gameplay. The cutscenes are also very interactive with a wide variety of dialogue choice which affect the outcome of the scene, there are also ‘Paragon’ and ‘Renegade’ options depending on the personality of your character.

Which side of the fence are you on? Do you love cutscenes or loathe them?

To conclude, here is a technical demo running in realtime on PS3 (a year ago) which shows the future of cutscenes.