It’s become very en vogue to rail against cutscenes, claiming they break the flow of gameplay and do the interactive medium a disservice, but at least one writer believes otherwise. Rhianna Pratchett, whose last writing credit was Overlord II, believes the noble cutscene still has merit, and should not be discarded so easily.
“There’s no denying that given the fan-base of games like the Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy series, many gamers enjoy cutscenes, even incredibly loquacious and lengthy ones,” she explains. ““Whilst, personally, I’d rather a game wasn’t turned into a wannabe movie, I believe there’s still a place for artfully crafted, well timed and smartly paced cutscenes. Granted, the games that manage to do all three are fairly rare.
“Putting interactivity aside for a moment, there’s still a lot we can do to improve our linear storytelling. There are exceptions (there always are) but our strength in this regard is by no means across the board. It is improving though, title by title. Cutscenes are still an important tool in our narrative toolbox, and we shouldn’t throw out the hammer just because we keep hitting our thumb with it. We just have to learn how to wield it a little better.”
I’m with Pratchett on this one. I don’t think cutscenes diminish the so-called artistic value of the medium. It’s just another tool, something that videogames can do potentially very well, and it doesn’t diminish the game in any way if it borrows elements from other media to tell its story. Cutscenes are fine by me. How about you?