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Cutscenes

JinniganJinnigan Registered User regular
edited January 2007 in Games and Technology
I have been playing more RPGs lately, which of course leads to cutscenes. Specifically, the cutscenes in NWN2. Actually, also the cutscenes in KotOR2. And Fable.

The voice acting is fine, but the actual cuts, random shots of people standing around, it's... well, meh.

All I am saying is that I would enjoy cutscenes a lot more if someone with a more cinematic eye had directed them.

What do you think?

Also, because I don't own any consoles, feel free to bring up any games that you felt had awesome cutscenes.

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Jinnigan on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Kojima. I fucking loathe the man's writing, but he/his team can direct pretty well.

    Much as I dislike a lot of what Square do, they, too, can usually... infuse a game with something of the cinematic which escapes many other developers. I just finished Dawn of Mana on import and though I understood barely a word of the story the visual flair in the cutscenes (while admittedly not way original or anything) had me captivated.

    Eight Rooks on
    <AtlusParker> Sorry I'm playing Pokemon and vomiting at the same time so I'm not following the conversation in a linear fashion.

    Read my book. (It has a robot in it.)
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    GraviijaGraviija Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Jinnigan wrote:
    Also, because I don't own any consoles, feel free to bring up any games that you felt had awesome cutscenes.
    Metal Gear Solid(s) all have awesome cutscenes.

    Final Fantasy games as well (seriously, FFVIII has some of the most stunning FMV moments ever, even to this day).

    Twilight Princess has some awesome scenes, as do most Zeldas.

    [spoiler:a6310d5014]Pulling out the Master Sword has never been so beautiful[/spoiler:a6310d5014].

    Graviija on
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Yeah, this actually really bothers me. Who stands in one place while talking to someone else? I mean I know it happens, but when I'm speaking with someone, it's usually while walking, or looking around. I rarely just face the person I'm speaking with and stand still.

    Delzhand on
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    tehmarkentehmarken BrooklynRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I think FF7 had really good cinematography work in their cutscenes, even if they were technologically limited.

    And too many cut scenes ruin a game. Dirge of Cerberus is a prime example, spurts of aciton between cutscenes.

    MGS2 has som pretty long cutscenes, but they were also well done. But they definately could have been better if they were a bit shorter. I remain playing it for the first time, and my parents called me for dinner, but I was all like "i'm waiting for a point to pause!"

    my chicken was cold =\

    tehmarken on
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    YarYar Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I felt Dead Rising did a marvelous job.

    But yeah, usually it's all the relevant characters standing in a circle doing the same "talk" animation while the camera slowly rotates in "for effect."

    Yar on
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    RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Bioware's Mass Effect seems to do a good job addressing this complaint. And yeah, Kojima knows what's up, as does Vagrant Story.

    Most 3D JRPGs have above average cutscenes when compared to American RPG cutscenes. From my experience, anyway.

    Renzo on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Vagrant Story is a beautiful example, IMO; it cuts from a very, very traditional "video game" perspective on the action to cinematic cutscenes all the time and rarely if ever does this feel jarring. I still maintain it's one of the most beautiful videogames I've ever played and this is partly down to the absolutely masterful direction.

    Eight Rooks on
    <AtlusParker> Sorry I'm playing Pokemon and vomiting at the same time so I'm not following the conversation in a linear fashion.

    Read my book. (It has a robot in it.)
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    AroducAroduc regular
    edited January 2007
    Welcome to the limitations of video games. I'm just happy they've barely started to move out of 100% second person narration personally. Besides, do you realize how damn hard it is to tell a story in 95% dialogue? There's a reason the overwhelming majority of game story's are not exactly high art.

    Aroduc on
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    RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Vagrant Story is a beautiful example, IMO; it cuts from a very, very traditional "video game" perspective on the action to cinematic cutscenes all the time and rarely if ever does this feel jarring. I still maintain it's one of the most beautiful videogames I've ever played and this is partly down to the absolutely masterful direction.
    "Get out of my head, Charles!" Seriously, I could watch the Greyland Event Climax cutscene over and over again.

    Also, those guys do amazing texture work. The same guys did the textures for FFXII, and it shows.

    Renzo on
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    RookRook Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Aroduc wrote:
    Welcome to the limitations of video games. I'm just happy they've barely started to move out of 100% second person narration personally. Besides, do you realize how damn hard it is to tell a story in 95% dialogue? There's a reason the overwhelming majority of game story's are not exactly high art.

    Films, tv and theatre and one could probably argue graphic novels do a pretty neat job of it.

    Rook on
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    Zephyr_FateZephyr_Fate Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    FFXII is one of the first games on my PS2 where I have purposefully skipped every long cutscene because it was downright boring.

    I dunno, cutscenes can be a mixed bag.

    Zephyr_Fate on
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    AroducAroduc regular
    edited January 2007
    Rook wrote:
    Aroduc wrote:
    Welcome to the limitations of video games. I'm just happy they've barely started to move out of 100% second person narration personally. Besides, do you realize how damn hard it is to tell a story in 95% dialogue? There's a reason the overwhelming majority of game story's are not exactly high art.

    Films, tv and theatre and one could probably argue graphic novels do a pretty neat job of it.

    Uh, there's a bit of a difference between watching people act things out, and/or having constantly changing pictures to accompany things and a pair of talking heads.

    Aroduc on
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    RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    FFXII is one of the first games on my PS2 where I have purposefully skipped every long cutscene because it was downright boring.

    I dunno, cutscenes can be a mixed bag.
    Yeah, but you have a personal vendetta against Square and see them as the opposition of the Shadow Hearts franchise.

    For some reason.

    Renzo on
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    NevaNeva Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    XenoSaga had a with cut scenes that if you missed an acronym, you wouldn't know what the hell is going for the next two hours that the scene plays. I've fallen asleep during these cut scenes only to wake back up later before they ended.

    Neva on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Aroduc wrote:
    Welcome to the limitations of video games. I'm just happy they've barely started to move out of 100% second person narration personally. Besides, do you realize how damn hard it is to tell a story in 95% dialogue? There's a reason the overwhelming majority of game story's are not exactly high art.

    Yeah, it's called laziness and complacency. ;)

    Eight Rooks on
    <AtlusParker> Sorry I'm playing Pokemon and vomiting at the same time so I'm not following the conversation in a linear fashion.

    Read my book. (It has a robot in it.)
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    AroducAroduc regular
    edited January 2007
    Aroduc wrote:
    Welcome to the limitations of video games. I'm just happy they've barely started to move out of 100% second person narration personally. Besides, do you realize how damn hard it is to tell a story in 95% dialogue? There's a reason the overwhelming majority of game story's are not exactly high art.

    Yeah, it's called laziness and complacency. ;)

    Tch. Above and beyond that. :P

    Aroduc on
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    Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    tehmarken wrote:
    I think FF7 had really good cinematography work in their cutscenes, even if they were technologically limited.

    And too many cut scenes ruin a game. Dirge of Cerberus is a prime example, spurts of aciton between cutscenes.

    MGS2 has som pretty long cutscenes, but they were also well done. But they definately could have been better if they were a bit shorter. I remain playing it for the first time, and my parents called me for dinner, but I was all like "i'm waiting for a point to pause!"

    my chicken was cold =\

    Dirge also made the huge mistake of letting the character do far more amazing things in cutscenes than he can ever do in-game.

    Vincent Grayson on
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Cross-posted from D&D chat:
    Jinnigan wrote:
    I don't mind cutscenes and all, but I guess I am spoiled by movies because I keep expecting them to have, I don't know, pacing and timing and shit.

    Am I asking too much?

    I really dislike cutscenes. I recently read an article in GFW called "Why Do Videogame Stories Suck?" and there was a good point brought up about how videogames need to stop sticking mini-movies every half hour to advance the storyline, but work the narrative into the medium of the videogame itself, like the Half Life series. Stop borrowing from other media forms and embrace the unique properties of your own format, fuckers.

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    apotheosapotheos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2007
    Anyone play Swordcraft Story 2? Talk about a retarded amount of cutscenes. It was like a cheesy still frame anime with a dash of video game thrown in.

    apotheos on


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    CyberJackalCyberJackal Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Blizzard makes some badass cutscenes. I always looked forward to finishing a chapter in D2 or Starcraft so I could see what happened next.

    CyberJackal on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Aroduc wrote:
    Aroduc wrote:
    Welcome to the limitations of video games. I'm just happy they've barely started to move out of 100% second person narration personally. Besides, do you realize how damn hard it is to tell a story in 95% dialogue? There's a reason the overwhelming majority of game story's are not exactly high art.

    Yeah, it's called laziness and complacency. ;)

    Tch. Above and beyond that. :P

    No. No, seriously, there is nothing above and beyond that. Every god damned reason every single developer ever brings up boils down to laziness and complacency. Cutscenes do not, in and of themselves, preclude the story in a videogame being any good. The ways in which story has, up to this point, been integrated with gameplay could certainly be bettered. I'm not arguing against that. But none of them are an excuse for why the writing just fucking sucks.

    And
    Blizzard makes some badass cutscenes. I always looked forward to finishing a chapter in D2 or Starcraft so I could see what happened next.

    Christ, knew I'd forgotten someone. I don't actually think their writing is that great, but even when it's not their cutscenes are always fun to watch.

    And Oddworld Inhabitants'. Roll on the movie, I say - Munch was an average game at best but I do regret never finishing it, if only because it meant I didn't get to see all the CG sequences.

    Eight Rooks on
    <AtlusParker> Sorry I'm playing Pokemon and vomiting at the same time so I'm not following the conversation in a linear fashion.

    Read my book. (It has a robot in it.)
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    FFXII is one of the first games on my PS2 where I have purposefully skipped every long cutscene because it was downright boring.

    I dunno, cutscenes can be a mixed bag.

    Despite your opinion of their content, the cutscenes in FFXII are a good example of cutscene direction. People move about realistically, make appropriate gestures and use different stances to convey attitude.

    Delzhand on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Delzhand wrote:
    FFXII is one of the first games on my PS2 where I have purposefully skipped every long cutscene because it was downright boring.

    I dunno, cutscenes can be a mixed bag.

    Despite your opinion of their content, the cutscenes in FFXII are a good example of cutscene direction. People move about realistically, make appropriate gestures and use different stances to convey attitude.

    And also their composition suggests the director has at least a passing familiarity with how someone would put together such a scene using live actors and cameras in order for it to come across as visually interesting. :)

    Whereas they still don't in an awful lot of other videogames, basically.

    Eight Rooks on
    <AtlusParker> Sorry I'm playing Pokemon and vomiting at the same time so I'm not following the conversation in a linear fashion.

    Read my book. (It has a robot in it.)
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    RainbowDespairRainbowDespair Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter also had excellent cutscene direction. In lesser hands, the story could have turned out rather hokey, but they manage to make it a very emotional experience and I believe it was due to the direction more than anything else (the graphics aren't exactly state of the art).

    RainbowDespair on
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    RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Delzhand wrote:
    FFXII is one of the first games on my PS2 where I have purposefully skipped every long cutscene because it was downright boring.

    I dunno, cutscenes can be a mixed bag.

    Despite your opinion of their content, the cutscenes in FFXII are a good example of cutscene direction. People move about realistically, make appropriate gestures and use different stances to convey attitude.
    And the voices range from "really good" to "not bad". It's unfortunate that the content of the plot is anemic.

    So there's an example of when well-done cutscenes don't necessarily equate a good story.

    Renzo on
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    LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Chrono Trigger. Not quite cut scenes, but I loved how you could still walk around whilst talking to people, mopre games should do this.

    LewieP on
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    JinniganJinnigan Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I'm not sure if we can equate Blizzard's pre-rendered cutscenes to in-engine cutscenes. afaik, Blizzard's in-engine cutscenes were still comparably run-of-the-mill.

    Jinnigan on
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    No Great NameNo Great Name FRAUD DETECTED Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Xenosaga 3 did it correct.

    No Great Name on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Renzo wrote:
    Delzhand wrote:
    FFXII is one of the first games on my PS2 where I have purposefully skipped every long cutscene because it was downright boring.

    I dunno, cutscenes can be a mixed bag.

    Despite your opinion of their content, the cutscenes in FFXII are a good example of cutscene direction. People move about realistically, make appropriate gestures and use different stances to convey attitude.
    And the voices range from "really good" to "not bad". It's unfortunate that the content of the plot is anemic.

    So there's an example of when well-done cutscenes don't necessarily equate a good story.

    Eh, I still haven't finished FF XII, but what I've seen so far has been better by far than every other game in the franchise. Still, it is a fair point. I'm sure if I pick up Dawn of Mana in English I'll find out the story's some childish, embarrassing hokum I'll wish I'd never bothered to decipher, but even with that in mind it's hard to imagine not being wowed by the direction.
    Jinnigan wrote:
    I'm not sure if we can equate Blizzard's pre-rendered cutscenes to in-engine cutscenes. afaik, Blizzard's in-engine cutscenes were still comparably run-of-the-mill.

    Oh, you just meant in-engine? :? Still, I would actually rate Blizzard's in-engine stuff pretty highly. Again, not great, but I thought Warcraft III (what I played of it) did a surprisingly good job with such primitive materials.

    Eight Rooks on
    <AtlusParker> Sorry I'm playing Pokemon and vomiting at the same time so I'm not following the conversation in a linear fashion.

    Read my book. (It has a robot in it.)
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    JinniganJinnigan Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Well, we can still talk about prerendered cutscenes - I'm just pointing out that comparing the two isn't exactly fair.

    I think WarIII's were okay, especially given the tools available - but that's largely because they were there only to establish plot, not character development/whathaveyou.

    Jinnigan on
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    Cilla BlackCilla Black Priscilla!!! Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I love cutscene use in the right situation. Say, for instance, you've just fought this extremely challenging boss battle and are, frankly tired out. Well you could just pause the game, but that could potentially shatter the feeling of immersion that a really good boss battle (in my experience anyway) really brings in. So instead there is a cutscene right after the battle. It's the best of both worlds. You have a chance to relax for a minute or so before jumping back in, and the immersion isn't broken (if the cutscene is good) because you're still focused on what is going on.

    On the other hand, a cutscene in the middle of running through this huge dungeon while you're all tensed up and ready for action just ruins things a bit. It's all a matter of knowing when to use one and when not to. Many games don't even need them at all, but some make really excellent use of them and they're a very potentially rewarding tool to use in gaming.

    Cilla Black on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Warcraft III still had a hell of a lot more character development than God knows how many other games I've played, even if it did deal in pretty cliched archetypes. :)

    I don't think the cutscene as a design tool is anything like as dead as some developers like to make out, certainly. Until full 360 wraparound VR complete with all five senses is a reality you'll always have something hindering your suspension of disbelief and I think people rejecting cutscenes does quite often tie in to their worshipping of this ephemeral idea of "playing to videogames' unique strengths" and other such nonsense. Games shouldn't be movies shouldn't be books shouldn't be whatever - all I know is, I'm greatly enjoying the cutscenes in FF XII so far and I can't immediately think of any other way to communicate what they communicate with 100% effectiveness, so I'm prepared to cut Square some considerable slack and not instantly rant on about anachronism anachronism olololo etc., etc.

    Eight Rooks on
    <AtlusParker> Sorry I'm playing Pokemon and vomiting at the same time so I'm not following the conversation in a linear fashion.

    Read my book. (It has a robot in it.)
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    FrostozunaFrostozuna Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    tehmarken wrote:
    I think FF7 had really good cinematography work in their cutscenes, even if they were technologically limited.

    The cutscene towards the end where the whole crew parachutes from the airship at night (I think they were going for Hojo) remains one of my favorite in-game cutscenes ever.

    Frostozuna on
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    AroducAroduc regular
    edited January 2007
    Aroduc wrote:
    Aroduc wrote:
    Welcome to the limitations of video games. I'm just happy they've barely started to move out of 100% second person narration personally. Besides, do you realize how damn hard it is to tell a story in 95% dialogue? There's a reason the overwhelming majority of game story's are not exactly high art.

    Yeah, it's called laziness and complacency. ;)

    Tch. Above and beyond that. :P

    No. No, seriously, there is nothing above and beyond that. Every god damned reason every single developer ever brings up boils down to laziness and complacency. Cutscenes do not, in and of themselves, preclude the story in a videogame being any good. The ways in which story has, up to this point, been integrated with gameplay could certainly be bettered. I'm not arguing against that. But none of them are an excuse for why the writing just fucking sucks.

    When you start gimped as all hell, then of course you're going to end up with 99% horrible writing. "Okay, let's write something as epic as... say... Lord of the Rings. You have 20 different sprites, 5 faces per sprite and about 30 different poses. Oh, and everything else must be communicated via dialogue."

    Whether the egg of shitty writing or the chicken of a shitty medium to write in came first is immaterial. Both are pretty damning factors. Of course they're overcomable. The Japanese Visual Novel scene is great proof of that, but those are far more immersed in the first person perspective where they are free to write it exactly as if it was a novel. There are many that aren't though, so I'll concede that point. For the stuff people are mostly complaining about though, it's 3rd person told almost completely through dialogue and some very VERY rudimentary puppetry. I expect about the same level of emotion and empathic display from that kind of medium as I do from, say, Muppets.

    Aroduc on
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    RookRook Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Aroduc wrote:
    Rook wrote:
    Aroduc wrote:
    Welcome to the limitations of video games. I'm just happy they've barely started to move out of 100% second person narration personally. Besides, do you realize how damn hard it is to tell a story in 95% dialogue? There's a reason the overwhelming majority of game story's are not exactly high art.

    Films, tv and theatre and one could probably argue graphic novels do a pretty neat job of it.

    Uh, there's a bit of a difference between watching people act things out, and/or having constantly changing pictures to accompany things and a pair of talking heads.

    I have no clue what you're talking about. Since when were videogames ever limited to a couple of talking heads? And besides, nothing wrong with a couple of talking heads when it comes to a story. I've seen some damn good monologues in my time, and that's just one talking head.

    Rook on
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    bruinbruin Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Say what you will about Halo and Halo 2, but the cuuscene direction and writing are spot on.

    Dead Rising perfected the cheesy awesomeness from the cutscenes in RE4.

    A few of the cutscenes in Gears of War are really great. Especially the one right before you encounter the Beserker.

    bruin on
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    JihadJesusJihadJesus Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Aroduc wrote:
    Welcome to the limitations of video games. I'm just happy they've barely started to move out of 100% second person narration personally. Besides, do you realize how damn hard it is to tell a story in 95% dialogue? There's a reason the overwhelming majority of game story's are not exactly high art.

    Yeah, it's called laziness and complacency. ;)

    It's called lack of motivation. It's hard to see the need to hire quality writers when you're currently sunk up to your eyeballs in the cash from Final Fantasy 36 or Halo 4.

    As long as games continue to sell with shit storylines and dialogue, game companies will keep making games with shit storylines and dialogue. Competition would be really, really good in this respect - like independent games studios could make and release well written but simply produced games for 1/10,000th the cost of big studio titles (ala Hollywood).

    JihadJesus on
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    FyreWulffFyreWulff YouRegistered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2007
    I liked the cutscenes in Twilight Princess a lot.

    Also, Nintendo should keep the skipping mechanism for all their future games.

    FyreWulff on
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    RenzoRenzo Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    FyreWulff wrote:
    I liked the cutscenes in Twilight Princess a lot.

    Also, Nintendo should keep the skipping mechanism for all their future games.
    I prefer the pause/skip option from Shadow Hearts.

    Renzo on
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    Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    JihadJesus wrote:
    Aroduc wrote:
    Welcome to the limitations of video games. I'm just happy they've barely started to move out of 100% second person narration personally. Besides, do you realize how damn hard it is to tell a story in 95% dialogue? There's a reason the overwhelming majority of game story's are not exactly high art.

    Yeah, it's called laziness and complacency. ;)

    It's called lack of motivation. It's hard to see the need to hire quality writers when you're currently sunk up to your eyeballs in the cash from Final Fantasy 36 or Halo 4.

    As long as games continue to sell with shit storylines and dialogue, game companies will keep making games with shit storylines and dialogue. Competition would be really, really good in this respect - like independent games studios could make and release well written but simply produced games for 1/10,000th the cost of big studio titles (ala Hollywood).

    Oh, that was sort of included in my point. Sorry if that wasn't made clear. Laziness and complacency, as in "we keep raking in the money from x, y and z, why do we need to change anything?"

    Aroduc - uh huh. I quite like you (or your board personality, anyway); I respect or am at least greatly interested in your opinion on a whole lot of things... but you don't half talk a good deal of nonsense on a great many others.
    Aroduc wrote:
    "Okay, let's write something as epic as... say... Lord of the Rings. You have 20 different sprites, 5 faces per sprite and about 30 different poses. Oh, and everything else must be communicated via dialogue."

    So sorry, that is not an excuse for terrible writing, dialogue, complete lack of anything but the most basic characterisation and everything else. Try again. Even if it were (and it's not), it's still no excuse for the observation every single line could have been done countless orders of magnitude better. Every bit of writing I saw in what I played of Xenogears was appalling and could have been substantially improved by just about anyone in my Creative Writing class - even if, as you seem to insist (for some... mysterious reason) they couldn't have told the story any differently with the materials they had at the time.

    A bad workman blames his tools... there's a great deal of truth in that, like so many cliched aphorisms. "Shitty medium to write in"... don't even start.

    Eight Rooks on
    <AtlusParker> Sorry I'm playing Pokemon and vomiting at the same time so I'm not following the conversation in a linear fashion.

    Read my book. (It has a robot in it.)
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