Ask a Dork: Cutscene Options
“Do you think that video game cutscenes should work like a DVD/blu-ray? Or does sitting through a cutscene add to the experience?”
While I can appreciate the reliance on cutscenes to deliver the finer points of a game’s narrative, I’m a big fan of player autonomy. Some video game series like Xenosaga and Metal Gear Solid like to abuse the attention spans of the players. They subject you to unskippable cutscene after unskippable cutscene, with the hope that you’ll be able to digest all of the bloated exposition thrown your way. That’s not effective storytelling, but it also cuts against the grain of video games being an interactive media. We should not have to sit through every scene if we don’t want to. That should be obvious. But what about giving the player the ability to play around with scenes as they like?
It is interesting that this question was asked, as I was pondering scene options while playing Mario Kart 8 recently. Basically, while I appreciate the option to completely skip over scenes, I think it would be cooler to give the gamer a scene-editor similar to that in Mario Kart TV. How cool would it be to see fan remixes of scenes from Final Fantasy or God of War where things have been slowed down, sped up, and set to hilarious music? We already know that gamers can do hilarious things when they are given the tools to work with. It could be amazing, free PR for the games too if Tumblr suddenly became flooded with remixed cutscenes of Final Fantasy VII’s Aerith dying or Dead Space’s Isaac being impaled directly in the eye with a metal probe.
That’s just me though.