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Has the chase for the "cinematic" experience taken away from what make games a unique medium?

Topher

Gold Member
You ever played a COD story...also cinematic isn't only about the good ones either. GAAS are a genre of gaming, but the majority of story based AAA games chase after the cinematic experience.

Simply having a story doesn't make a game "cinematic". Regardless, you were talking about money and COD's money isn't because of the campaign.
 

Fbh

Gold Member
Not really. To me variety is king and right now there's a good amount of variety (unless you only stick to AAA releases). I love cinematic games like Uncharted but I also love games with very few cutscenes like Bloodbone or Sifu.

On a personal note though I tend to enjoy stories in games more when they are told in a way that takes advantage of the medium instead of a linear progression through static cutscenes.
It can be something like Outer Wild where it's all based on exploration and fitting the pieces together yourself, something like Nier Automata which incorporates the concept of playing through the game multiple times, or something like Mass Effect or The Witcher 3 where you get a higher degree of interaction with characters as well as some degree of decision making.
 

Modrot

Member
Yes, pretty much.

There is space for a lot of different types of games of course, but I know what games to avoid when the only things that people mention about them are : graphics, how realistic it is, how "cinematic" it is.

Video games are an interactive medium, and the best games I've played have tried SOMETHING or another in order to utilize this interactivity in their stories/experiences.
 
As I said the cinematic experience isnt a bad thing...but its been the main form of story telling the past three generations and now that we enter a new one do you think games should distance itself a bit from that experience, or are you content with how the medium currently is? I'd like to see more games utilize gameplay elements to push the story as opposed for being a buffer between cutscene exposition dumps.

The bolded is I think a result of gamer myopia. It's simply not true.

It is true that there are more cinematic games than any time in history, but there are more games overall. For every Uncharted or TLOU there has ALWAYS been a BloodBorne, Zelda: BoTW or Elden Ring.

We don't need to frame the discussion as a "this thing versus that thing" when in reality we actually have more of everything.

Why can't we just celebrate that we have more games now for more people to enjoy, instead of trying to argue that everything needs to be like this new favourite toy that I'm playing and enjoying.

N.B.: I'm not saying you're arguing this, OP. I'm intentionally using hyperbole to make the point that there are simply more games serving a wider variety of gamer tastes. And if you're feeling within your own gamer microcosm that games have become overwhelmingly any one thing, it's more likely that the problem is your own individual selection of games you chose to buy and play.
 
What most people consider "cinematic" games aren't my cup of tea. What makes video games (and all mediums of expression, really, as the internet has grown) so great is that there are more games that are my cup of tea than I could ever reasonably play.

I'm glad the cinematic games exist as people clearly like them. It's a big tent, all are welcome.
 

spawn

Member
In most souls games I have no idea what the fuck is going on. I usually have to find out from reading lore on the internet. Playing Uncharted I can tell you exactly what happened in those games
 

BigBooper

Member
The big budget games have absolutely been destroyed by that.

Slow walking walk and talk, partial cutscenes where it's mostly a walk and talk until you come upon the one button prompt you have to press, hold stick forward for the cutscene to proceed. I hate all that junk. Just give me a regular cutscene so I can get back to the gameplay.

I don't play many of those types of games anymore.
 

KXVXII9X

Member
Not really. To me variety is king and right now there's a good amount of variety (unless you only stick to AAA releases). I love cinematic games like Uncharted but I also love games with very few cutscenes like Bloodbone or Sifu.

On a personal note though I tend to enjoy stories in games more when they are told in a way that takes advantage of the medium instead of a linear progression through static cutscenes.
It can be something like Outer Wild where it's all based on exploration and fitting the pieces together yourself, something like Nier Automata which incorporates the concept of playing through the game multiple times, or something like Mass Effect or The Witcher 3 where you get a higher degree of interaction with characters as well as some degree of decision making.
I would even say Sifu is pretty cinematic. Everything from the intro sequence, to the camera work, to the references to martial arts movies to the immersive minimal hud.
 

Tg89

Member
Games that regularly take control away from you generally suck.

One of the most underrated aspect of games like Elden Ring and BOTW is that you basically start in control of your character and very rarely have that taken away.

I don’t wanna spend time watching or listening to your shitty video game story.
 

NikuNashi

Member
No.

Stop trying to bash games that approach storytelling in a way you don't like with excuses and catchwords, and play those that do it in the way you like. There's plenty for everyone.

But the OP is correct, the unique aspect of games is the interactivity not storytelling, you can see and read story telling in movies, books, comics. Games are fundamentally about interaction and play, they are more akin to sports than movies.
 

Azurro

Member
Remembers all the BS walking while someone gives exposition, radios in open world games delivering exposition, BS quasi cinematics in FPS games delivering story in the most uncinematic way possible. No, no thanks, give me more well produced, well directed cutscenes with great camera angles.

Elden Ring, as much of a masterpiece it is, is not a story heavy game, there's barely any in it. Lore isn't story.
 

SlimeGooGoo

Party Gooper
When done in moderation it's fine.

The problem is when developers take it too far and the game becomes 50% gameplay and 50% non interactive scenes, or worse.

Ideally it should be 90% gameplay and 10% non interactive stuff, but for RPGs it can go for 80/20.
 
It’s funny that Elden Ring had to come out to make people consider this.

The answer is resoundingly YES.

If I wanted to watch a movie, I’d fucking watch one.

Games with legitimately good stories barely exist. The ratio is fucking terrible.

Wow, someone made a new game with old ideas, mostly used from old PC games and everyone’s mind is blown. It’s really sad it’s taken this long.

Is it one of the best games of all time? Yea it is, but only because of the stark contrast of constant hand holding and boring ass shit pushed down our throats for years.

You tired of Aloy talking yet? It’s embarrassing.

A medium shaped by player agency, decision making and surprising exciting new things happening.

All things which AAA developers forgot about. Because it’s a product now, not an experience.

Remember loading up Zelda 2 and being surprised? Castlevania 2? Mario 64 when you’d jump through the paintings to new exciting worlds? MGS2 and guess what it’s Raiden? Remember Wizardry, Might and Magic, Baldur’s Gate?

The experience was the surprise at new and unexpected, exciting and fun things.

Is it refreshing in Elden Ring? Fuck yeah it is, finally someone based a game on old, tried and true development philosophies.

Shines a light on the whole industry in my opinion. It’s these ideas that get a game with poor performance and graphics a 10/10.

I blame developers but mostly these stupid ass reviewers who only know the games they grew up on instead of actually putting in the homework, playing games and really understanding the legacy of the media they are professionally paid to work with.

People in the media, not fans, should have been rejecting modern game design for about the last decade.

But hey, dollars speak and focus testing exists. Ubisoft (the easy target) continues to make money.

Overall, I find it incredibly sad and depressing.

Elden Ring shouldn’t have been a 10/10, we should have bored of this type of thing by now.
 

Brofist

Member
I don’t mind that there are cinematic games. What annoys me is that somewhere along the line a game being a “cinematic experience” became the standard for what makes it a very good game.

Elden Ring just happened to come along at the right time. People are getting fatigued on shallow cinematic experiences and Elden Ring hits it just right.
 

Abriael_GN

Member
But the OP is correct, the unique aspect of games is the interactivity not storytelling, you can see and read story telling in movies, books, comics. Games are fundamentally about interaction and play, they are more akin to sports than movies.

That's silly. Games are what their creators want them to be. Just because you like more interactivity and less storytelling, that doesn't make games that are the opposite less valid. There's a reason why there's an enormous amount of diversity in the industry, from visual novels with nearly zero interactivity to Super Mario with nearly zero story.
 

Cyberpunkd

Gold Member
Cut-scenes are boring. Let me play already.
This. Too many games feel like interactive movies, but with way more padding.
Wasn’t it Nintendo that said they really care how quickly from the start screen you can start playing?

I like ER because I can jump immediately into the world and progress, even if only for 15-30 minutes.
 

Rayderism

Member
It makes gaming more unique, not less. All the same other forms of games still exist....maybe they're not all AAA games, but they are there.
 
Agree with OP but still cinematic games do look amazing graphics wise though

 

Raonak

Member
Personally, I'd prefer if all movies were just told through videogames,
I like it better as a storytelling medium because I am more engaged with the content.

Videogames are the ultimate art form, they're the combination of interactivity, visuals, audio, narrative, etc.
Rather than leaving storytelling to movies, I think everything can be expressed as a game.
 
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NikuNashi

Member
That's silly. Games are what their creators want them to be. Just because you like more interactivity and less storytelling, that doesn't make games that are the opposite less valid. There's a reason why there's an enormous amount of diversity in the industry, from visual novels with nearly zero interactivity to Super Mario with nearly zero story.

I never said my preference, just explaining what is unique to gaming that other entertainment media cannot do, that is interaction, not storytelling.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
No, plenty of games out there.

Not everyone wants to look at vaativydia recap for every game they play, there is room for everything.
 

kyussman

Member
This is a very timely question for me as I've been on a break from gaming since last summer.....during this time I've been watching and collecting movies a lot more and the one thing I've noticed is just how shitty the cinematic parts of most games are when compared to the real thing.You can get more emotional punch from one line of dialogue from a real person than from a thousand video game cut scenes.
 

PanzerAzel

Member
It’s why STALKER is my favorite game franchise of all time……it is antithetical to what cinematic games are, and is better for it. And this is coming from someone who loves me a good cinematic game…..but don’t attempt to convince me it’s a better “game”.
 

lh032

I cry about Xbox and hate PlayStation.
Majority of the games out there is not cinematic.

The only difference is that Sony exclusive games were top notch and superior in terms of cinematic moments.
 
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rolandss

Member
It’s a great point OP and I’d love to play Elden Ring to see what it’s like but I just can’t do souls style games. I suck at them and don’t have the time to get good. For me, my go to “game game” that isn’t a heavy story or killing stuff is the Gran Turismo series and I am loving GT7. The cars, racing, graphics but also the love and attention to detail in menus, music and other really GT quirks are a really different experience to the vast majority of games.
 
No, plenty of games out there.

Not everyone wants to look at vaativydia recap for every game they play, there is room for everything.
There is room for everything, but we also can't pretend major publishers dont chase trends. My argument is if the chase for whats popular now lead developers mostly focusing on one kind of game... this is primarily talking about the AAA space...I don't think creativity should only be relegated to indies.
 
This is a very timely question for me as I've been on a break from gaming since last summer.....during this time I've been watching and collecting movies a lot more and the one thing I've noticed is just how shitty the cinematic parts of most games are when compared to the real thing.You can get more emotional punch from one line of dialogue from a real person than from a thousand video game cut scenes.
Most of the best cinematic games would be B films in actuality. As good as the last of us is, it would be on par with the book of eli and not the godfather. I think a game like Hades which utilizes something that movies cant recreate due to the barriers of the medium show what games do that no other medium can. Not saying cinematic games are bad. I love many of them...but theres an over saturation of them at the top.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
There is room for everything, but we also can't pretend major publishers dont chase trends. My argument is if the chase for whats popular now lead developers mostly focusing on one kind of game... this is primarily talking about the AAA space...I don't think creativity should only be relegated to indies.
Last AAA i played i was fucking up robo dinobot with rudimentary tribe weapons and saving the world from malevolent IAs, i think creativity should be fine.

Sorry if this is not what some people want to hear but not everyone is an old grudged AAA hater in this forum.
 
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Modrot

Member
It’s why STALKER is my favorite game franchise of all time……it is antithetical to what cinematic games are, and is better for it. And this is coming from someone who loves me a good cinematic game…..but don’t attempt to convince me it’s a better “game”.
STALKER is a great example.

It's based on a movie that was an adaptation of a book.

Instead of trying to be cinematic or "literary", it focused on recreating a similar atmospheric tone through the use of game mechanics and systems.

Other devs would have just tacked on hours of cutscenes, gave you a corridor to run through (or an open world not worth exploring) and called it a day.
 
Last AAA i played i was fucking up robo dinobot with rudimentary tribe weapons and saving the world from malevolent IAs, i think creativity should be fine.

Sorry if this is not what some people want to hear but not everyone is an old grudged AAA hater in this forum.
A complaint about HFW is that there is too much dialogue and exposition dumps. That stuff can be told in a more creative manner imo for some games.
 

OmegaSupreme

advanced basic bitch
Gears of War has gone steadily downhill with every entry because of their increasing reliance on cutscenes. The original had the annoying walk and talks of course but the cutscenes themselves were pretty light.
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
honestly i feel like there's a good way to do cinematic and a shit way to do cinematic
take max payne for example. it's visually made to look like a film noir 50s movie, but there's more than enough gameplay to suffice. not to mention, the bullet time mechanic basically being ripped out of action movies. You feel like you're playing a movie, like you're the star and you're performing all of these acts by yourself.
in last of us, there's far too much walking and talking, and when there's gameplay it's extremely scripted to serve the story. you feel like you're WATCHING a movie, but with extra steps
Metal gear solid: the cutscenes employ actual cinematography to feel like you're watching a movie, but there's a shitton of gameplay inbetween and the stealth mechanics were novel for the time (although if i'm being honest, splinter cell is better in that department)
GTAV: the game's missions are overwhelmingly chock full of cutscenes and scripted gameplay. there's no open gameplay like in the classics. just like in last of us, you feel like you're watching a movie with extra steps
when a game's cinematic experience starts seeping into the gameplay in a way that's detrimental or boring, that's when you know you've started overreaching with the cinematics, and you should probably lay off that. (GTAV, Last of us, uncharted, GOW 2018, gears of war) games taking cues from movies to assist stuff like the aesthetic, story, music/ games taking elements from movies to actually make the gameplay more fun and dynamic etc are all A-ok in my book (bioshock, max payne, metal gear solid, prince of persia trilogy, Devil may cry, Resident evil)
 
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Big Joe

Neo Member
It’s why STALKER is my favorite game franchise of all time……it is antithetical to what cinematic games are, and is better for it. And this is coming from someone who loves me a good cinematic game…..but don’t attempt to convince me it’s a better “game”.
Ironically STALKER is one of the best cinematic games I've played precisely because of how non-cinematic it is, if you get what I mean. Playing though it I encountered tons of interesting and wild non scripted situations that felt more like being in a movie than any game with massive hollywood type cutscenes. It's called the A-Life system or something that they made for their AI. It's great.
 

GymWolf

Gold Member
A complaint about HFW is that there is too much dialogue and exposition dumps. That stuff can be told in a more creative manner imo for some games.
People who loved the lore in the first game loves all the info dump because it fill every plot hole\mistery from the first game.

No way to tell all of that scifi jargon in another way imo, it is straight forward and optional, it's there if you wanna listen to it but the game doesn't force it on you in an unskippable cutscene.

People getting mad at info dumps in games with a vaste lore\complicated plot are the strangest thing to me, play another fucking genre then, rpgs are not for you, do people get mad at skyrim having books with lore or withcer for having optional questions for npcs (and a lot of lore to read in the internal bestiary etc.)?

You don't wanna listen all the details? you are not forced to do so, they are there for people who want every bit of info.

FW has many flaws and info dump is not one of them at all.
 
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