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[PATV] Extra Credits s.3 e.8 - Cutscenes

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edited September 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub
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  • FyndirFyndir Registered User regular
    "War never changes" in that voice.

    I can't decide if that was hilarious and awesome, or really weird and terrible.

  • PaperLuigi44PaperLuigi44 My amazement is at maximum capacity. Registered User regular
    Adorable guest art, I hope Alison's recovery is going along smoothly.

    I've always had a soft spot for cutscenes when they're used well, but you're right about the frustration that emerges when they break the rules of the game.

    Cutscenes that aren't skippable, however, always tend to be a pain, mainly when one appears before a boss fight and keeps appearing every time you have to retry.

    - Fixed a bug where the Moon was upside down.
    - Fixed a weird door.
  • Dox the PIDox the PI Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    awesome as always guys.

    Dox the PI on
  • tehbeardtehbeard Registered User
    Brilliant episode as ever, glad to see you settling in here.
    I have to agree that bioshock, despite what faults it had still had some of the better (in terms of how they were used cutscenes), even bioshock 2 did as well, even if it's opening cutscene did feel a bit compressed.

    Glad to hear your recovering. Hope you get better soon.
    U4izZ.jpg
    Does this mean we might see Allison with a chainsword appear in one of the episodes?

  • FullmetalfoxFullmetalfox Registered User regular
    Great episode as always! Nice too see you found a new home here at Penny-Arcade!

    137832.png
  • Ilk1986Ilk1986 Registered User
    Ehhh...I really really disagree with the whole cutscenes aren't supposed to be used as story/expedition. IMO the gameplay of RPGs just isn't that amazing. It's menus and underneath them, numbers. And let's face it, in RPGs, having that same generic attack animation is far less wowing than watching a cutscene. In my opinion, JRPGs should be movies. Because at heart, that's what they are--they're another storyteller presenting their vision to you, with the story and experience already set in stone. The difference between a film and a JRPG is that in a JRPG, the story unfolds at the pace the player wishes, rather than at the pace of a film. If you want to stick around and grind for levels somewhere, you have that prerogative.

    Also, what about cutscenes that use the game's engine, such as warcraft 3?

  • RendRend Registered User regular
    Ilk1986 wrote:
    Ehhh...I really really disagree with the whole cutscenes aren't supposed to be used as story/expedition. IMO the gameplay of JRPGs just isn't that amazing. It's menus and underneath them, numbers. And let's face it, in RPGs, having that same generic attack animation is far less wowing than watching a cutscene. In my opinion, JRPGs should be movies. Because at heart, that's what they are--they're another storyteller presenting their vision to you, with the story and experience already set in stone. The difference between a film and a JRPG is that in a JRPG, the story unfolds at the pace the player wishes, rather than at the pace of a film. If you want to stick around and grind for levels somewhere, you have that prerogative.

    Also, what about cutscenes that use the game's engine, such as warcraft 3?

    You're talking about JRPGs here, so I'll fix that for you; but there's a reason you see fewer JRPGs on the market these days. They're getting stale these days. We've passed the age of JRPGs, indeed transcended them, to a point where we can tell the same stories, except in formats that are good and fun.

  • 2 Marcus 2 Ravens2 Marcus 2 Ravens Registered User regular
    Ilk1986 wrote:
    Ehhh...I really really disagree with the whole cutscenes aren't supposed to be used as story/expedition. IMO the gameplay of RPGs just isn't that amazing. It's menus and underneath them, numbers. And let's face it, in RPGs, having that same generic attack animation is far less wowing than watching a cutscene. In my opinion, JRPGs should be movies. Because at heart, that's what they are--they're another storyteller presenting their vision to you, with the story and experience already set in stone. The difference between a film and a JRPG is that in a JRPG, the story unfolds at the pace the player wishes, rather than at the pace of a film. If you want to stick around and grind for levels somewhere, you have that prerogative.

    Also, what about cutscenes that use the game's engine, such as warcraft 3?

    The thing is, RPGs tend to not do this well.

    Look at Final Fantasy XIII, since it's a great example of how to do this wrong. The cut scenes are long, full of awkward exposition, repeating ideas and themes constantly, and unravel far too slowly. If those cut scenes were looked at as scenes from a film, they simply wouldn't work. Those are things that get cut out of scripts before anyone would even consider progressing with the project. In games, it seems, that the project is already well under way, and the designers are looking to fill up gaps with as many cut scenes as possible as an after thought. As a result, they're either filled with expository dialog to try and make sense of the story, or mindless action to distract you from it - or both. The only game I can think of that has a lot of cut scenes that doesn't offend in this regard is Enslaved, which is due to it being written by a very successful screenwriter.

    Another thing that Final Fantasy XIII messed up is cutting back on what little game there was in the genre. I'll compare it to Final Fantasy VI, since it's my favourite, but you can use just about any older Final Fantasy game.

    You're right; the combat in RPGs is basically just menus and numbers, which, in a good game, are used to employ strategy. There are countless variations of it, but that's basically what it comes down to. FF XIII had an interesting battle system which allowed for some fun, fast paced strategic thinking. What it was missing was everything else. What happened to exploring maps and towns? What happened to the adventure? By leading you down a straight path (often literally), only being interrupted by repetitive fights and annoying cut scenes, the sense of wonder and adventure was all but missing from the game. Compare that to the world of FFVI which was full of people with their own stories. Different towns had different cultures, and you could experience them in many different ways. The game spent a lot of time trying to show you how friggin' cool that world was, instead of showing you how cool and stylish its characters looked. Even with its SNES graphics, it still felt much more alive than the world of FFXIII. That ups the immersion, the intensity, the drama and the overall connection to the game.

    Another thing, which is a little less relevant but is still interesting, is that older Final Fantasy games had no interest in playing out like movies. They played out much more like plays. There was a single pulled back angle that rarely moved showing all of the action within it. The characters were filling a stage. That's a big part of why the melodrama worked so well. The larger than life characters projected themselves beyond the technological limitations of the medium to reach out to the audience. The music, the art styles, the characters and the themes were all much more theatrical than cinematic. When the series shifted away from that style, that's when it lost much of its charm, and a pretty large portion of its fan base. Let's face it, FFXIII isn't going to be remembered as fondly the franchises Super Nintendo and Playstation entries, and I think that's a major reason why.

  • QuiotuQuiotu Registered User regular
    The thing is, RPGs tend to not do this well.

    Look at Final Fantasy XIII, since it's a great example of how to do this wrong. The cut scenes are long, full of awkward exposition, repeating ideas and themes constantly, and unravel far too slowly. If those cut scenes were looked at as scenes from a film, they simply wouldn't work. Those are things that get cut out of scripts before anyone would even consider progressing with the project. In games, it seems, that the project is already well under way, and the designers are looking to fill up gaps with as many cut scenes as possible as an after thought. As a result, they're either filled with expository dialog to try and make sense of the story, or mindless action to distract you from it - or both. The only game I can think of that has a lot of cut scenes that doesn't offend in this regard is Enslaved, which is due to it being written by a very successful screenwriter.

    Another thing that Final Fantasy XIII messed up is cutting back on what little game there was in the genre. I'll compare it to Final Fantasy VI, since it's my favourite, but you can use just about any older Final Fantasy game.

    You're right; the combat in RPGs is basically just menus and numbers, which, in a good game, are used to employ strategy. There are countless variations of it, but that's basically what it comes down to. FF XIII had an interesting battle system which allowed for some fun, fast paced strategic thinking. What it was missing was everything else. What happened to exploring maps and towns? What happened to the adventure? By leading you down a straight path (often literally), only being interrupted by repetitive fights and annoying cut scenes, the sense of wonder and adventure was all but missing from the game. Compare that to the world of FFVI which was full of people with their own stories. Different towns had different cultures, and you could experience them in many different ways. The game spent a lot of time trying to show you how friggin' cool that world was, instead of showing you how cool and stylish its characters looked. Even with its SNES graphics, it still felt much more alive than the world of FFXIII. That ups the immersion, the intensity, the drama and the overall connection to the game.

    Another thing, which is a little less relevant but is still interesting, is that older Final Fantasy games had no interest in playing out like movies. They played out much more like plays. There was a single pulled back angle that rarely moved showing all of the action within it. The characters were filling a stage. That's a big part of why the melodrama worked so well. The larger than life characters projected themselves beyond the technological limitations of the medium to reach out to the audience. The music, the art styles, the characters and the themes were all much more theatrical than cinematic. When the series shifted away from that style, that's when it lost much of its charm, and a pretty large portion of its fan base. Let's face it, FFXIII isn't going to be remembered as fondly the franchises Super Nintendo and Playstation entries, and I think that's a major reason why.

    I'd go even farther than that with FF XIII. The cutscenes I think were a very small part of what was wrong with it. Sure there was a lot of cutscenes, pre-rendered or not, but so did FF X and it was looked at much more favorably. That was due to everything else... the battle system was more interactive, the story was simpler and fresher, and it moved at a faster pace. FF XIII tried doing too much differently, and they weren't taken well due to the shock of the change or the changes just plain not being good.

    And while I do agree that JRPGs are a dying breed, or at least one that's stagnating, there's some awesome exceptions. Sadly most of them are developed or published by one group: Atlus. Somehow Atlus has taken the tried and true formula for a JRPG and skewed it in their modern games just enough to make them fresh and fun to play again. The Persona games, Demons Souls, Knights in the Nightmare, 3D Dot Game Heroes... all fresh, rather successful deviations from the JRPG norm. They understand what JRPGs were outside their homeland, a niche market that's grown used to the formula, and are finding ways to cater to that niche market once again. I hope more start following by example.

    wbee62u815wj.png
  • srboyceboatsrboyceboat Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    It's an interesting discussion with regard to JRPGs, but it transcends "genre" lines (I hate that interaction methodology is how we define Genre. Hey Extra Creditz, can we talk about Genre? I know you have a backlog of discussions, but there's one more to add).

    If you want to look at shooters, for example, ironically (for a franchise that is, in my opinion, unjustly lauded for its narrative capacity), there was a fascinating examination of one of these issues on the Halo 3 bonus content. I cannot tell you whether you needed the Special Expensive Edition or the Super Special Ridiculously Expensive edition to get that discussion, but it was a sort of retrospective on Halos 1 and 2 via the cutscenes. In it, Joe Staten and Jason Jones discussed some of the problems they had with the initial batch of H2 cutscenes - namely, that they were too long and too talky. They felt like they were getting into a kind of didactic mode where they were just spewing backstory at players instead of letting them play. They're actually, to this day, disappointed with the lengthiness of the cutscenes in Halo 2. Now, narratively speaking, I think the cutscenes are probably the least of Halo 2's concerns, but they talked about a scene where they were going to have the Arbiter do something awesome - basically slit a bunch of space-rhino-monkey throats - and then remembered that this is a game, so let the player murder the space-rhino-monkeys themselves.

    I do find it interesting what they intoned about grinding from narrative point to narrative point. I definitely do that. Sometimes - despite the fact that I love the games - I find myself doing this in Assassin's Creed, but not specifically with cutscenes. I often wanted to dive back into the Animus and advance the story so I could unlock new context-based click-ables in the "real world" or deeper conversations with Lucy (:(), or Shawn, or the other one. So I think they've hit the nail on the head for me anyway. That's a great example of a non-cutscene. I have complete agency over those moments and whether to engage them or not, but I'm pushing as hard as I can for the next little piece of story. What's going on with Ezio? I dunno - dudes are getting stabbed. Buildings are gettin' jumped off of. Ancient mysteries are being uncovered accidentally. But the bits that I was really questing for, personally, were the pieces of narrative I had to seek out myself.

    I think that may be why we like "audio log" style collectibles so much, as well. I just finished Space Marine and I wanted to find me some servo skulls. All the servo skulls, all the time. I wanted 'em. I'm not saying that's a better method of delivering narrative (I would say it's actually worse in some ways), but I think it helps to illustrate that point. (@Extra Creditz - also maybe, some exposition on the "Player Rewards" theory? It's a very old one, but maybe a modern discussion of how it works and what needs to change)

    I will say this - I have to disagree a little bit on their theory on words. Yes, brevity and simplicity are meaningful and useful. In scriptwriting, that's just as true as it is in video games - say what the character needs to say as efficiently as possible. But in KOTOR or Mass Effect or Drag-hell-who-am-i-kidding BioWare games, I feel like the words are a distinct part of the gameplay, and there's a rather lot of words in those scenarios. Since the entire point of the game, of the interactive experience, is to create a person and play a role within a story, the words you choose are part of your play. So I don't think it's fair to view words as a sort of necessary evil of storytelling (i.e. "the fewer the better"). Words and even wordiness have their place in all forms of narrative, including games.

    srboyceboat on
    Picture is Dave Dorman's (http://www.davedorman.com/)
  • srboyceboatsrboyceboat Registered User regular
    They played out much more like plays. There was a single pulled back angle that rarely moved showing all of the action within it. The characters were filling a stage. That's a big part of why the melodrama worked so well. The larger than life characters projected themselves beyond the technological limitations of the medium to reach out to the audience. The music, the art styles, the characters and the themes were all much more theatrical than cinematic. When the series shifted away from that style, that's when it lost much of its charm, and a pretty large portion of its fan base. Let's face it, FFXIII isn't going to be remembered as fondly the franchises Super Nintendo and Playstation entries, and I think that's a major reason why.

    That's a super fascinating idea. Also explains why Adventures of Ledo and Ix feels like a decent Waiting for Godot interpretation. It would be very easy to commit a little post hoc fallacy and assume comparative continued success of similar titles on the DS and its ilk are either a sign or a symptom of that idea. Since they remain relatively confined, I wonder if that doesn't make it more theatrical, as you say. But! The notion does preclude the idea of the three-quarters thrust or the theater-in-the-round. You could make the argument that modern FF games use these models as much as they do the cinematic model, particularly the former (since you're never "behind" the action, per se). I don't think it's a strong argument, but it's not without precedent.

    Picture is Dave Dorman's (http://www.davedorman.com/)
  • Tumbler 360Tumbler 360 Registered User
    I think Extra Credits is a fantastic addition to this site and I enjoy your videos.

    But I'm confused. So Allison hurts her shoulder and needs major surgery. You held a fund raiser to help her afford the surgery. It worked so well you got into a disagreement with "the other guys" and ended up leaving and joining PATV? But I thought the whole point of the surgery and the fundraiser was to help Allison and you continue doing what she loves? Why is she working at Relic? Wasn't that fund raiser supposed to help her continue making these videos? A very odd turn of events.

  • DuelLadySDuelLadyS Registered User regular
    I think Extra Credits is a fantastic addition to this site and I enjoy your videos.

    But I'm confused. So Allison hurts her shoulder and needs major surgery. You held a fund raiser to help her afford the surgery. It worked so well you got into a disagreement with "the other guys" and ended up leaving and joining PATV? But I thought the whole point of the surgery and the fundraiser was to help Allison and you continue doing what she loves? Why is she working at Relic? Wasn't that fund raiser supposed to help her continue making these videos? A very odd turn of events.

    Allison did have the surgery and is currently doing rehab, so she certainly can't be drawing every episode right now. As for Relic- I think it's pretty safe to assume EC doesn't pay massive wages. These guys gotta eat at some point, after all. Plus, this isn't excactly stretching her artistic muscles... Allison is WAY too good to only draw EC as a career. I'm sure she'll be able to keep doing the show on top of her new job duties (once she's fully recovered), and I wish her well in her endeavours.

  • RendRend Registered User regular
    I think Extra Credits is a fantastic addition to this site and I enjoy your videos.

    But I'm confused. So Allison hurts her shoulder and needs major surgery. You held a fund raiser to help her afford the surgery. It worked so well you got into a disagreement with "the other guys" and ended up leaving and joining PATV? But I thought the whole point of the surgery and the fundraiser was to help Allison and you continue doing what she loves? Why is she working at Relic? Wasn't that fund raiser supposed to help her continue making these videos? A very odd turn of events.

    She's still recovering, which is why there are still guest artists, and she's working at relic now because Extra Credits is not a full time position.

  • A-lorA-lor Registered User
    I really found cutscenes much like those in Mass Effect 1 and 2 to be very suiting. The games have a strong cinematic air with space opera intentions, and it seamlessly cuts between situations where you're playing and situations where you're watching the results of your actions unfold. Seemed to work really well for me.

    Temet nosce.
  • nashidarnashidar Registered User
    The cutscenes in Halo Reach also worked very well. To my recollection - they were quite well integrated and utilised the game engine.

    In fact - I think the whole Halo series (i.e Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: ODST, and Halo: Reach) did that and quite well. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Also - another game that did it was Republic Commando for PC. Awesome game.

    So yes - there are examples of where cutscenes have been used well and do not break gameplay.

    However - there are plenty where cutscenes have been used badly as well - and that is the point this episode is trying to make.

    Cutscenes are required elements of a game - they just need to be properly integrated so that they enhance - not distract from - the gameplay.

  • ZeeZee Registered User
    Why didn't they mention Half Life 1 and 2? In that game, there are no cutscences, yet masterfully orchestrated events really drove the plot along without ever breaking immersion. This was done far more widely and in more varied ways than what you experienced in Bioshock (where suddenly you're on rails).

  • bobsbarricadesbobsbarricades Registered User regular
    i very vividly remember playing Diablo 2 and YEARNING for the next cut scene. But it really was about the story. They were two separate events the gameplay and story of D2. And back when it first came out I couldn't get over how awesome the cut scenes were and how much they gripped my imagination. They really did a great job of pulling me in.

    I wish I could forget them and experience the game all over again new 0.o

  • Peter EbelPeter Ebel CopenhagenRegistered User regular
    I enjoyed this episode more than the others. That may have been due to the...

    8-)

    Meissner effect.

    Fuck off and die.
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    Got to say I think I now prefer the guest spots, nothing against Alison's art but they do tend to use more of it - makes it look more consistent rather than cutting between the art and an photo. I think it'd be much more fun to watch fully drawn episodes and ditch the GIS parts entirely.

  • A-lorA-lor Registered User
    Tastyfish wrote:
    Got to say I think I now prefer the guest spots, nothing against Alison's art but they do tend to use more of it - makes it look more consistent rather than cutting between the art and an photo. I think it'd be much more fun to watch fully drawn episodes and ditch the GIS parts entirely.

    I think they do this for production reasons, saves time efficiently to mix images in with art in a "slideshow".

    Temet nosce.
  • galwwwgalwww Registered User
    silent hill ran into my head about one minute through this video. it cut scenes were both a reward and worked great with the actual game,
    especially the roundabout scene and the terrifying "give me a hug" sequence!
    bioshock 2 dropped the ball right from the start, the "skip" button was an immersion killer.



  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    A-lor wrote:
    Tastyfish wrote:
    Got to say I think I now prefer the guest spots, nothing against Alison's art but they do tend to use more of it - makes it look more consistent rather than cutting between the art and an photo. I think it'd be much more fun to watch fully drawn episodes and ditch the GIS parts entirely.

    I think they do this for production reasons, saves time efficiently to mix images in with art in a "slideshow".

    I've no doubt it started off that way, but it's increasingly risky as you come under the spotlight (I seriously doubt that they even know who the original artist might be in some cases, let alone make sure they have permission) as this is a for-profit enterprise. Plus it makes its better, the art tends to be more fun and sometimes surprisingly apt, something that has never struck me in the same way with the images.

  • JenSevJenSev Registered User regular
    And with the introduction of Extra Credits, Penny Arcade become a whole new type of scary to game developers and publishers.

    First we have the comic which makes fun of the games and publishers/devs.
    Then we have Checkpoint which ridicules the whole industry.
    And now we have Extra Credits which points out all the flaws in games and the industry and tells them how to fix it.

    Yeah, if I were a game publisher I would seriously dread the day a product of mine shows up here...

    The only ones that face reality are the ones too stupid to duck when they see it coming!
  • Ilk1986Ilk1986 Registered User
    Ilk1986 wrote:
    Ehhh...I really really disagree with the whole cutscenes aren't supposed to be used as story/expedition. IMO the gameplay of RPGs just isn't that amazing. It's menus and underneath them, numbers. And let's face it, in RPGs, having that same generic attack animation is far less wowing than watching a cutscene. In my opinion, JRPGs should be movies. Because at heart, that's what they are--they're another storyteller presenting their vision to you, with the story and experience already set in stone. The difference between a film and a JRPG is that in a JRPG, the story unfolds at the pace the player wishes, rather than at the pace of a film. If you want to stick around and grind for levels somewhere, you have that prerogative.

    Also, what about cutscenes that use the game's engine, such as warcraft 3?

    The thing is, RPGs tend to not do this well.

    Look at Final Fantasy XIII, since it's a great example of how to do this wrong. The cut scenes are long, full of awkward exposition, repeating ideas and themes constantly, and unravel far too slowly. If those cut scenes were looked at as scenes from a film, they simply wouldn't work. Those are things that get cut out of scripts before anyone would even consider progressing with the project. In games, it seems, that the project is already well under way, and the designers are looking to fill up gaps with as many cut scenes as possible as an after thought. As a result, they're either filled with expository dialog to try and make sense of the story, or mindless action to distract you from it - or both. The only game I can think of that has a lot of cut scenes that doesn't offend in this regard is Enslaved, which is due to it being written by a very successful screenwriter.

    Another thing that Final Fantasy XIII messed up is cutting back on what little game there was in the genre. I'll compare it to Final Fantasy VI, since it's my favourite, but you can use just about any older Final Fantasy game.

    You're right; the combat in RPGs is basically just menus and numbers, which, in a good game, are used to employ strategy. There are countless variations of it, but that's basically what it comes down to. FF XIII had an interesting battle system which allowed for some fun, fast paced strategic thinking. What it was missing was everything else. What happened to exploring maps and towns? What happened to the adventure? By leading you down a straight path (often literally), only being interrupted by repetitive fights and annoying cut scenes, the sense of wonder and adventure was all but missing from the game. Compare that to the world of FFVI which was full of people with their own stories. Different towns had different cultures, and you could experience them in many different ways. The game spent a lot of time trying to show you how friggin' cool that world was, instead of showing you how cool and stylish its characters looked. Even with its SNES graphics, it still felt much more alive than the world of FFXIII. That ups the immersion, the intensity, the drama and the overall connection to the game.

    Another thing, which is a little less relevant but is still interesting, is that older Final Fantasy games had no interest in playing out like movies. They played out much more like plays. There was a single pulled back angle that rarely moved showing all of the action within it. The characters were filling a stage. That's a big part of why the melodrama worked so well. The larger than life characters projected themselves beyond the technological limitations of the medium to reach out to the audience. The music, the art styles, the characters and the themes were all much more theatrical than cinematic. When the series shifted away from that style, that's when it lost much of its charm, and a pretty large portion of its fan base. Let's face it, FFXIII isn't going to be remembered as fondly the franchises Super Nintendo and Playstation entries, and I think that's a major reason why.

    While I haven't played FFXIII, I did play FFVII, X (and X-2), and XII. And what I feel that X really did fanfreakingtastcially was that while the gameplay itself was nothing special (huzzah, poorly-disguised menus and numbers!), the fact that the game gave you gorgeous cutscenes so often made things amazing.

    Furthermore, if you step back and think about it, what exactly is the difference between pre-rendered cutscenes, and for instance, the ending of the Protoss eighth mission from the original Starcraft? (Here's the youtube: )

    If we define a cutscene not as the pre-rendered prettiness for which your game pauses and turns to a different screen, but anytime that the player isn't in direct control of the characters, then the only real way to deliver the meat and potatoes of the story--through dialogue, can only happen in cutscenes. Sometimes these cutscenes are tiny such as the occasional back-and-forth banter in an Ace Combat mission, and sometimes they're a full-on movie such as when Yuna does her sending dance in one of the FFX cutscenes.

    But nevertheless, from the most basic "press X to talk to a character" to the full-blown ten-minute-long ending FMV, all of these are cutscenes of various extents. In fact, if we think of cutscenes as "points of plot advancement" then cutscenes themselves are usually not done poorly unless the video/graphics themselves are garbage. If the story/dialogue is garbage, then the story/dialogue is garbage. However, what's wrong with having the story served to you (the pre-written story which you cannot change) in beautiful pre-rendered eyegasms rather than just some lines of text on the bottom of the screen?

  • NKnightNKnight Registered User
    Awesome as usual. I'm waiting exited for the promised changes. The topic for each episode and the old episodes (in a better native definition). Keep up the good work guys. :)

  • MrZeebubMrZeebub Registered User
    As far as I'm concerned, your game can have as many cutscenes as it wants. So long as they can be skipped.

    The hat does the talking.
  • Ilk1986Ilk1986 Registered User
    MrZeebub wrote:
    As far as I'm concerned, your game can have as many cutscenes as it wants. So long as they can be skipped.

    So the difference between a good game and a terribad game is whether or not it has the "Press Esc to skip cutscene" button?

  • PaperLuigi44PaperLuigi44 My amazement is at maximum capacity. Registered User regular
    Ilk1986 wrote:
    MrZeebub wrote:
    As far as I'm concerned, your game can have as many cutscenes as it wants. So long as they can be skipped.

    So the difference between a good game and a terribad game is whether or not it has the "Press Esc to skip cutscene" button?

    Dude didn't say anything about the quality of the game, just about the implementation of cutscenes.

    - Fixed a bug where the Moon was upside down.
    - Fixed a weird door.
  • LosarLosar Thane Vector, Rock Star Registered User regular
    Zee wrote:
    Why didn't they mention Half Life 1 and 2? In that game, there are no cutscences, yet masterfully orchestrated events really drove the plot along without ever breaking immersion. This was done far more widely and in more varied ways than what you experienced in Bioshock (where suddenly you're on rails).

    That's because they've already discussed storytelling without cutscenes. They didn't even need to use Half-Life as an example.

    Also, Half-Life totally has cutscenes. Not pre-rendered ones, but certainly instances in which you suddenly have very limited control of Gordon and can only watch as something happens, usually to Alex. It's done pretty fluidly, so it doesn't spoil the immersion (you can even still look around, usually), but it's still a cutscene to me.

    Isn't that informative!? Hooray!!
  • ZeeZee Registered User
    Losar wrote:
    Zee wrote:
    Why didn't they mention Half Life 1 and 2? In that game, there are no cutscences, yet masterfully orchestrated events really drove the plot along without ever breaking immersion. This was done far more widely and in more varied ways than what you experienced in Bioshock (where suddenly you're on rails).

    That's because they've already discussed storytelling without cutscenes. They didn't even need to use Half-Life as an example.

    Also, Half-Life totally has cutscenes. Not pre-rendered ones, but certainly instances in which you suddenly have very limited control of Gordon and can only watch as something happens, usually to Alex. It's done pretty fluidly, so it doesn't spoil the immersion (you can even still look around, usually), but it's still a cutscene to me.

    So to you, Half Life uses storytelling without cutscenes. Only you think it has cutscenes. Hmmm.
    A game which seems to blurr the lines between "cutscenes" and actual gameplay, or which seems to argue that "if you really try, you don't need AVI file-type "cutscenes", seems to be a pretty pertinent case study in a discussion on cutscenes, wouldn't you say?

  • KoosbingKoosbing Registered User
    Zee wrote:
    Losar wrote:
    Zee wrote:
    Why didn't they mention Half Life 1 and 2? In that game, there are no cutscences, yet masterfully orchestrated events really drove the plot along without ever breaking immersion. This was done far more widely and in more varied ways than what you experienced in Bioshock (where suddenly you're on rails).

    That's because they've already discussed storytelling without cutscenes. They didn't even need to use Half-Life as an example.

    Also, Half-Life totally has cutscenes. Not pre-rendered ones, but certainly instances in which you suddenly have very limited control of Gordon and can only watch as something happens, usually to Alex. It's done pretty fluidly, so it doesn't spoil the immersion (you can even still look around, usually), but it's still a cutscene to me.

    So to you, Half Life uses storytelling without cutscenes. Only you think it has cutscenes. Hmmm.
    A game which seems to blurr the lines between "cutscenes" and actual gameplay, or which seems to argue that "if you really try, you don't need AVI file-type "cutscenes", seems to be a pretty pertinent case study in a discussion on cutscenes, wouldn't you say?


    Just to point out that Half-Life has at least one honest to god cutscene. When you're captured it's a cutscene. The screen may only be black, but control has been taken from you and all you can do is listen. It's always irritated me that people forget this, as it's the type of cutscene which really irritates me. You should be able to stop those events, but the narrative requires it, so suddenly you're paralyzed, and the light on your suit even stops working if you had it on.

  • LosarLosar Thane Vector, Rock Star Registered User regular
    Naturally. I think developers in general should look to Valve for inspiration for storytelling methods.

    I guess the real answer to the question "Why didn't they mention Half-Life" is: they didn't have to.

    In the Narrative episode, I could have sworn that they would mention Half-Life 2. Right from the beginning, I thought for sure that was going to be their big study. Instead they came out of left field with Missile Command, and they presented it in such a way that name-dropping other good examples like HL was unnecessary. In the end, I appreciated the fact that they didn't take the obvious choice, instead focusing on something deeper.

    Isn't that informative!? Hooray!!
  • GospreyGosprey Registered User
    I actually quite like the in-game replacement for some cutscenes in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

    You pick up all sorts of context when you sneak into a new zone, when for example two gangers are gossiping about how crazy the boss is. You can either hold still and listen, or pop around the corner and break both their necks before they finish. Fantastic!

  • grumbelgrumbel Registered User
    For me the best use of cut-scene is when it is used the way they where originally intended (speaking of Maniac Mansion here): To cut away from the play driven action and show you something happening elsewhere. Far to many games these days try to do all their narration in gameplay and from the player characters viewpoint, you never get to see what else is happening in the world, what other characters are doing, etc. This leads to the whole story feeling just incomplete and flat, as it never ends up feeling like a world, but just a nicely decorated corridor.

    Essentially cutscenes become problematic when they try to replace gameplay, when they are used to present things, that by their nature of not involving the players character, can't be gameplay, they are generally far less problematic.

  • DraygoDraygo Registered User regular
    HL2 has several cutscenes, some that take away control from the player completely, and others where they 'trap' you either in an elevator or transportation device, let you freely look around but not interact at all with your surroundings.

    Cant say you dont remember the opening cutscene where gman is talking to you with a black background as you slowly awaken into the world.

    On the subject of boss cutscenes, I never mind seeing them the first time. If you fail and have to restart it becomes annoying. Best method if you want a boss cutscene with the boss tearing into the scene while the player watches for a moment is to one keep it short, and two present a super short version or allow the player to skip it on the second or more runthrough.

    There are all sorts of interesting ways developers can present a cutscene, for example a player can look at video screen and have the video screen play the cutscene in the game world, with the player free to look away at any moment. Or in halflifes case, retain some level of player control as you play out the story elements of your game to setup for later action.

    Then there is the later trend of action buttoning cutscenes. The worse ones is where the cutscene replays if you fail to press x on the right moment, ugh.

  • agilemaniaagilemania Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    FYI there are now RSS feeds and a posted schedule for PATV. There's a feed for all the shows as well as a feed for each individual series.

    All shows: http://penny-arcade.com/feed/show
    Extra Credits: http://penny-arcade.com/feed/show/extra-credits

    agilemania on
  • Ilk1986Ilk1986 Registered User
    I'm wondering...why is there such a tiny community for EC here on PATV? On the escapist there were like 1000 responses to each topic, and now,it just seems dead...

  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    Probably because there's no direct link to this thread on the video's page.

  • ThatDudeOverThereThatDudeOverThere Clock King Registered User regular
    new episode's up

    just waiting on the bogester

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