Steven Spielberg Doesn't Like Cutscenes

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Steven Spielberg Doesn't Like Cutscenes

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The legendary director comments on what's wrong with videogame storytelling and how filmmakers are learning from games.

As far as gaming goes, it seems Steven Spielberg's no slouch. In an interview with Yahoo! Games, the director responsible for "E.T." and this year's Boom Blox remarked on his affinity for Rock Band drums and expressed admiration for the Medal of Honor series. He's also currently playing Call of Duty 4. The one thing he can't stand about videogames, though? The cutscenes.

"You know the thing that doesn't work for me in these games are the little movies where they attempt to tell a story in between the playable levels," Spielberg said. "That's where there hasn't been a synergy between storytelling and gaming."

Spielberg suggested that while the amount of work put into cutscenes was admirable, they're ultimately a wasted effort. "The second the game is returned to you and it's under your control, you forget everything the interstitials are trying to impact you with, and you just go back to shooting things. And that has not found its way into a universal narrative. And I think more has to be done in that arena."

He, did, however applaud developers' efforts to tell stories and establish characters. "It's important to try to invest in these characters you don't get to see when you're playing them," Spielberg said. "But you don't get to see the faces or recognize the foxhole buddies when you're just targeting the enemy. Yet I applaud them for at least attempting to tell a story."

Spielberg also remarked on the growing influence of games on filmmaking, citing examples like "Wanted" and "The Bourne Ultimatum" as having "a lot of videogame savvy". "I think filmmakers are learning things from videogames," Spielberg said. "Movies are starting to look more and more like videogames, like the digital introductory teasers videogames give you before they turn control over to the player."

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He should just start making games.

Spielberg + Spector = gaming revolution

c'mon guys.

Cutscenes are okay, provided you're given the option to skip them.

Unskippable cutscenes are the Devil's work.

TomNook:
He should just start making games.

He has. Boom Blox. Great fun.

Hankage:
Cutscenes are okay, provided you're given the option to skip them.

Unskippable cutscenes are the Devil's work.

The problem with skippable cutscenes is that the game has then failed to put the story across. I don't personally mind cutscenes, as long as there not the main way of story telling.

What have been some the greatest game storys? Bioshock, a game told mostly though radio chatter. Prince of Persia SoT, where the main thrust has been in game dialogue. Half-Life, with its scripted events. Portal, with the writing on the walls, ect ect ect. Metal Gear Solid is not the way to tell a game story.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Hankage:
Cutscenes are okay, provided you're given the option to skip them.

Unskippable cutscenes are the Devil's work.

But if you want to skip them, they havent done their job:P cutscenes you dont want to skip is okay.

Kind of off topic, but I just love that picture of him. He looks like he's trying to seduce someone while at the same time trying not to throw up.

Haha^^

Gormers1:

Hankage:
Cutscenes are okay, provided you're given the option to skip them.

Unskippable cutscenes are the Devil's work.

But if you want to skip them, they havent done their job:P cutscenes you dont want to skip is okay.

Not if you are on another playthough of a game. Regardless of how much you like a game, the cutscenes get old after awhile.

Yeah of course.

Nothing wrong with cut scenes. Take the new Quantum of Solace game that uses cut scenes to make litteraly zero load times and during game play to add more immersion. I mean I know some games are litteraly just cut scene after cut scene but even then the games that often do that are extremely popular for there story anyway.

incal11:
Spielberg + Spector = gaming revolution

c'mon guys.

Agreed.
Well we need someone who really has a good head to start making games.
Lets not mention my theory on George Lucas haha.

I'm impressed. I'll be a lot more impressed if he makes a compelling video game with a non-linear story.

That is the undiscovered country.

It's funny how it's news that Steven Spielberg praises Medal of Honor...he helped write the first game. Other notable gaming credits to his name: The Dig and Boom Blox. It's not like the man is staying away from games.

SirSchmoopy:
Nothing wrong with cut scenes. Take the new Quantum of Solace game that uses cut scenes to make litteraly zero load times and during game play to add more immersion. I mean I know some games are litteraly just cut scene after cut scene but even then the games that often do that are extremely popular for there story anyway.

This I like. I like games that keep you 'entertained' while loading levels and such. Playing a video takes virtually no CPU power, so use the rest to do something useful!

I also agree that cut scenes are almost useless.
Almost.

Look at Half-Life 2. Great game...no cut scenes...per se. Sure, it was a scripted event that you didn't control, but you could still turn your head to look around, and it was blended seamlessly into the game. That was great.

Then you get a game like Eternal Sonata with CRAZY long and BORING cut scenes that made me want to gouge out my eyes. I've heard (Though never played) that MGS:4 is the same way. To me, that defeats the purpose of a game. I'm playing the game...to PLAY the game. Not kick back for 20 minutes while the game throws some long winded, pretentious (In the case of Eternal Sonata) story in my face.

Zerbye:
It's funny how it's news that Steven Spielberg praises Medal of Honor...he helped write the first game.

Yeah... strange that eh?
Coincidence? ? ?

Thing I dont like about cut scenes, especially in war FPS', is they tend to do all the drama, emotion & meaningfull dialogue in a cutscene with you watching as a somewhat disembodied mute; then handing you your gun so you can go mow down a batallion of enemy grunts to get to the next cutscene.

I totally agree. I think cutscenes are a waist of time and space, I've never liked them (even back in the nes Ninja Gaiden days) because I feel that they disrupt the flow of the game itself (I know, I know; this has been said millions of time before). But there are plenty of games out there that tell the story without those cutscenes. Good examples are Bioshock, Metroid Prime, Mass Effect, Half Life 2, hell even Oblivion and Fallout 3 get there stories accross without them.

Hankage:
Cutscenes are okay, provided you're given the option to skip them.

Unskippable cutscenes are the Devil's work.

Except when they're masking loading screens. Hitting the "skip" button only to stare at at "Loading..." doesn't sound terribly rewarding either.

I'm of two minds regarding cutscenes. I often enjoy them when I see good ones, but I do know that sometimes they do yank me out of the game. To be completely honest, though, I think I'd miss cinematics if they were gone entirely. Sometimes you need that little bit of a deliberate pull-back to get you to focus on the important parts of the game.

-- Steve

He forgets the cutscenes when the game starts him back in action? I think he needs to cut down if it's starting to affect his short-term memory :P

I haven't played CoD4, but of what I hear the storytelling in that game was dynamic and powerful.

I have always liked intro movies though, like dawn of war's.

Are we going to listen to the guy who assisted in killing Indy?

But seriously, he makes a good point, I've always appreciated the lack of cut-scenes in the Half-life series, makes me feel more attached to the action.

Killed? I though he and George Lucas raped him.

Somebody give this man an introduction to Valves games.

I'm surprised that no one have mentioned this, but...

+1 to Yahtzee

Hankage:
Killed? I though he and George Lucas raped him.

Got I love that episode. This is what South Park is good at. Making you cring and laugh.

I would like to know what he would have to say about MGS4, sadly i havent played it but ive heard it has cutscenes more than a half hour long.

Who cares? Why does Spielberg's opinion matter? He should be considered as irrelevent as Lucas is.

broadband:
I would like to know what he would have to say about MGS4, sadly i havent played it but ive heard it has cutscenes more than a half hour long.

MGS4 has more than HOUR long cutscenes, It's kind of ridiculous.

CoverYourHead:
Are we going to listen to the guy who assisted in killing Indy?

But seriously, he makes a good point, I've always appreciated the lack of cut-scenes in the Half-life series, makes me feel more attached to the action.

How was that a lack of cut-scenes? If anything those were worse, as you still had to sit there listening, but you didn't have any decent cinematography.

Indigo_Dingo:
How was that a lack of cut-scenes? If anything those were worse, as you still had to sit there listening, but you didn't have any decent cinematography.

I also think they ar actually a bit worse than normal cutscenes - everybody else is playing a set role, so you twiddle your thumbs or mess around with whatever junk is lying around and sometimes end up missing some of what they put into those moments because you didn't have the best camera angle.

"Prepare for unforeseen consequences"

In my first playthrough I didn't even realise the G-Man was all over the screens when Alyx said that in Episode 2...

Now if Spielberg ever made a single good movie... his opinion might have a bit more weight to it.

Sadly, the only movie Spielberg ever made that even came close was yet another heavy-handed, poorly directed snore-fest Schindler's List.

Seriously, name me one Spielberg movie that comes even somewhat close to Mulholland Drive, The Mirror (Tarkovsky... any of his movies, really), 2001, or even In The Mood For Love.

SomeBritishDude:

TomNook:
He should just start making games.

He has. Boom Blox. Great fun.

I'm sorry, but I have a personal reason for hating Boom Blox. Look up a game called Toblo. Eerily similar.

OuroborosChoked:
Now if Spielberg ever made a single good movie... his opinion might have a bit more weight to it.

Sadly, the only movie Spielberg ever made that even came close was yet another heavy-handed, poorly directed snore-fest Schindler's List.

Seriously, name me one Spielberg movie that comes even somewhat close to Mulholland Drive, The Mirror (Tarkovsky... any of his movies, really), 2001, or even In The Mood For Love.

Jaws? Duel? Indys I,II, and III?

thebobmaster:

OuroborosChoked:
Now if Spielberg ever made a single good movie... his opinion might have a bit more weight to it.

Sadly, the only movie Spielberg ever made that even came close was yet another heavy-handed, poorly directed snore-fest Schindler's List.

Seriously, name me one Spielberg movie that comes even somewhat close to Mulholland Drive, The Mirror (Tarkovsky... any of his movies, really), 2001, or even In The Mood For Love.

Jaws? Duel? Indys I,II, and III?

Saving Private Ryan? Munich? Close Encounters?

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