Is the Pre-Rendered Cutscene a Gift or a Curse?

Illustration for article titled Is the Pre-Rendered Cutscene a Gift or a Curse?

In today's episode of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter Aikage laments the general lack of pre-rendered cutscenes in today's video games, a feature many were glad to see die out. Which side of the gorgeous CGI fence do you fall on?

Maybe I've been playing the wrong games, but I miss the pre-rendered / anime cutscene.

I know I'm in the minority here since all I see are people complaining that Metal Gear Solid 4 was a movie with a couple of interspersed action sequences, but I remember when I played Final Fantasy VII part of the joy was getting to the next cutscene.


American role-playing games don't do pre-rendered cutscene. Bethesda specifically has a clause that Jorundr will come to your house and be ugly towards you if you even think about a cutscene in their contract. BioWare thinks their graphics are good enough that they don't have to pre-render anything and they'd sort of be right, but, there's just something. Something about getting to a scene and just sitting back and being blown away by the visuals. It's a reward, one of the few that I feel are missing from American RPGs...even The Witcher (ed: a Polish RPG) had that badass opening scene.

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.

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"but I remember when I played Final Fantasy VII part of the joy was getting to the next cutscene."

That only tells me that the game itself was bad. Judging by how crappy those cutscenes are, I have to assume that the gameplay was even worse. :\

Seriously, though, cutscenes are nice, and pre-rendered tend to look better than in-game. Unfortunately, they're frequently implemented improperly, with developers making them unskippable (part of the reason Bioware doesn't use pre-rendered scenes for their conversations—something JRPGs don't really have—is because it would be a bitch to actually do from a budget perspective; I suspect making them unskippable might have something to do with "we spent all this time making it so you HAVE to watch!) or putting save points before the cutscenes. Some guys even doing loading screens between cutscenes and levels, so it's possible to find a tough boss, not know how to fight him, die to a cheap attack, load to a save point located an entire loading zone away, load, do some running, load more, watch an unskippable cutscene, load more, fight the boss again, and hope his cheap attacks don't kill me.

Can you tell that I also hate poorly designed bosses and the idiocy that is a lack of quicksaving?