Storytelling and Cinematic Gaming

Based on discussions about games and cinema, I wanted to talk about storytelling in ‘cinematic’ videogames, and whether they actually can be considered ‘cinematic’ at all.


Steven Kim says:

Disagree at least with Metal Gear Solid. Too often it forced us to hear a cliche story while depriving us with gameplay. That is not a game was supposed to be. Kojima is a boring long winded storyteller who does not know when to shut up. He does not understand there are situations when less is more.

clutch350 says:

Surprised you didnt mention or even include gameplay from any Telltale Game. Those games are a strong example of being mostly cutscene based and still being good games

ramūnas strakauskas says:

Can I suggest something – do not show video of the end of the video game unless you’re speaking about it. In this video you spoiled RDR and Last of Us endings, well and showed clip from U4 without any reason, could’ve just showed any video from beggining of the game. Just because these games are more than a couple years old doesn’t mean you have to spoil it. There is always someone who hasn’t played it yet. I just found your channel today and ready to browse through, but this kind of stuff is a common thing for anyone making uTube material about movies/games.

Now, regarding the video – good stuff. Games can be great in both story and gameplay department and there are various ways to do that. One thing I really think games need to move away from – are texts in games like messages, notes, diaries and so on. Good example of this made in a bad manner are Tomb Raider reboots. It’s just breaks an immersion when there is an abundance of notes/records and you are kind of forced to read/listen to them in order to get details of the story. Bioshock menaged to play records during gameplay and that was great, yet after years games like TB cannot do that. Audio logs is def. preferable choise of mine in this case.

LawsAndPhysics says:

What game is it from where Dog by Wavves is playing? its at the 1:55 mark

Zombies Ruin Everything says:

Glad you included MGSV. People dump on it for various reasons but the cutscenes that are there, can’t be beat.

Uncharted 4 however, I started skipping cutscenes. The gameplay/graphics were 10/10 but the characters and dialogue aggravated me.

RatFacedJasper says:

I honestly expected to find plenty of SOTC mentions in the comments.

Peter says:

I have never enjoyed a game more than I enjoyed The Last of Us (my previous favorite being Resident Evil IV). Cinematic story based gaming is what I enjoy most.

Haitch Kay says:

What’s your opinion of Metro: 2033?

skatoOrg says:

so much talking….so little to say.

Jan P. says:

I respectfully disagree with almost everything you said in this video 😀

Sed1er says:

I disagree. Cutscenes need to die.

Far-No says:

Story telling is an important part of a game for me. I can even, in some instances, over look bad gameplay if I love the story.

IsolatedIntellectual says:

I hoped you would say something substantial about The Witcher 3 as well, because I think that game managed to strike a very good balance between a fixed narrative and player choice. I have never played a game that renders its world and the consequences of your actions in such painstaking detail like The Witcher 3 did. You cared about the characters in the game not just because they were written well, but because ultimately the game left it up to you to determine their fate. And to top it off, rarely did the game give you an obvious good or bad choice, and that left you agonizing over what you missed or could have done to achieve a better outcome, or put you in deep reflection about what was best for the greater good or the lesser evil. Do you let the Baron and his wife die or help him the drunk wife-beating asshole along the path of repentance? Do you serve the malicious witches of the woods or do you go against their wishes and let loose a terrifying evil spirit out into the world to wreak havoc? Do you want to save the soul of Olgierd, a man who fell as low as to sell his soul to the devil to fulfill his desires, or do you serve the devil yourself in collecting his dues?

I believe that The Witcher and (to a slightly lesser degree) Mass Effect and Dragon Age series managed to blend both the cinematic and the player-driven approaches to storytelling in a way that achieves the best of both worlds.

SirTwitchBitch says:

I disagree with you. Storytelling to me is done in two ways:
1. Exploration of the world to build a world narrative.
2. Your interaction with the world & your objectives says something about your character.

This is an immersive medium. If you wanted cutscenes watch a movie. I do agree with you to an extent that cutscenes can elevate the story (For me it was Halo & also Final Fantasy) but I feel it’s not very video game.

Crabm38 says:

people really shit on them but some call of duty games have insanely nice action plots. black ops 1 for example had insanely beautiful plot for a FPS/action game. call of duty mw1-2 also had so beautiful plots as well albeit they became a bit weak at the 3rd one.

even black ops 2 had a really nice plot, the way they combined it with black ops 1 was really nice as well.

EvilMonkeyJoe says:

I loath game cinematics. Uncharted 4 was painful to watch/play.

“Why am I shooting a nerf gun in my attic?”
“Why am I playing crash bandicoot?”

The Portal series and Half Life 2 approached game-wise storytelling the best way. Learning about Cave Johnson as I explore the forgotten depths of Aperture Science was amazing.

The point of a game experience is to INTERACT with the story, not just have it spoon-fed to you like a movie.

LesLangues11 says:

That FF7 music slays me every time,

Shaun Gibson says:

My views truly align with yours. When I listen to or look at a debate like should stop being like movies, should Dark Souls have an easy mode, or should Final Fantasy do away with real time and stay turn based, I just want to yell at them to shut up. Sure Uncharted *could* be pure gameplay, Dark Souls *could* have an easy mode, or Final Fantasy *could* stay turn based, but the real questions we should ask is whether the creators vision would benefit from this. Uncharted without cutscenes would give you no real reason to care about the story and characters, you would have no reason to feel accomplished for overcoming tough challenges if Dark Souls had an easy mode, and Square would have little room to experiment and play with the mechanics if Final Fantasy stayed turn based.

Cha4k says:

Metal Gear Solid V. What a disappointment.
I don’t even remember the plot. All I remember was being made to travel to the same places over and over and attach balloons to people again and again and again and again for 70+ hours.
What a waste.

Graphite Forest says:

Well said, man. Well said. I love to watch good stories online in video games, but I love to play fun gameplay-heavy/exclusive titles. I do love it when there’s a game where both are well fused together. I think the future of video games is bright. Thanks for making this video.

TheRedHoody says:

You would hate LateNightGaming Rossatron

Mouse Aquelarre says:

Great video! I recently found your channel and wanted to ask you a question: is there a book on storytelling that you recommend? One or more that have helped you understand everything? Thank you.

Tad Load says:

I believe the perfect balance is to develop the story around the gameplay, not the other way around. A game that did it perfectly was Metal Gear Solid 3, the gameplay and story blend perfectly, your actions in the game feels like Snake actual struggle to pull through the various challenges that are thrown at him, instead of being this gigantic story full of cinematic cutscenes with playable sections in the between.

Epic Fail Gaming! says:

I’ve always felt that video games can tell an emotional story as well as cinema. I think games like The Last of Us prove it, but it’s been going on for some time with games like Final Fantasy III and Knights of the Old Republic, which are masterpieces of storytelling I think.

Ilnath says:

Michael Biehn would make a great Joel if they made The Last of us film

rowan dax says:

I’ve been gaming since owning the Pong console (yup I’m old) and just how far gaming has come staggers the mind. The Last of Us made me cry within 10 minutes of pressing start. A freaking video game! With CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077 on the horizon and other amazing looking titles coming soon, it’s a good time to be a gamer. I can’t even imagine where gaming will be in 10 or 20 years. Hopefully someone will dump billions into R&D for Brain Machine Interface (BMI) research for some Matrix level gaming or so someone born blind can experience a sunset for the first time.

8un3zz says:

Uncharted is a dumbed down game for casuals, which is why youtubers love it. Just like Battlefront, BF1, MGS5, FFXV, God of War 4, RE7, and pretty much two thirds of this generation’s games.
Critics love it, people buy it, and they dumb things down even more in the next project.
I regret buying a PS4 in a country where the basic version of games cost 82USD$ and the monthly minimal wage is 300USD$.
Fuck me..

Edward Green says:

the last of us is such a well writen story with what seem like real characters all down to the perfect voice acting i found my self thinking about my choices long after i finished playing the game

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