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Top 7... Definitive MGS moments

4) Dramatic cutscenes

For as long as people could remember prior to 1998, most games presented story through in-game engines and long dialogue exposition that needed to be cycled through with a button tap. Metal Gear Solid was one of the first games to usher in the “cinematic cutscene” with unprecedented production values, camera angles straight from a high-end blockbuster action film and (!) strong voiceover work that didn’t cause nausea. Plus, it’s totally like playing a movie.

Soon, other games, undoubtedly influenced by MGS and seemingly impotent on how to tell an involving narrative, began employing cinematic cutscenes to an almost disturbing effect. Metal Gear Solid 2 continued the trend with higher quality visuals and even more story for you to watch - not play. This proved troublesome, as it soon distanced fans after the umpteenth time the controller was put down for a twenty minute-plus static Codec conversation. After only a few years, the common model for games grew to be: play from Point A to Point B, put down the controller for the cinematic and then continue playing.

 

Far fewer exposition-centric cutscenes were used in MGS3, either due to fan backlash from MGS2 or because Kojima realized people actually wanted to “play” a game. You can see how in recent years, games like Resident Evil 4 or Gears of War try to give you something to do during a story segment, either through interactive button-presses or exposition while you’re playing the game, something that Half-Life started doing in 1998 (the year MGS debuted). An innovation then has now become one of gaming’s top clichés.

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6 comments

  • crumbdunky - July 14, 2009 9:53 a.m.

    Good read GR. MGS REALLY riles up the haters(or as I call them "those idiors with no style, patience or intellect")but despite that every game has been great-with 1,3 and 4 exceptional. Koj proved last time out with SE that he could do the back to basics thing just as well as the full fat exposition fuelled narratives of MGS1 and 2. With MGS4 he's returned, understandably for a game with so many loose ends to tie up, to the ctscene as a major game componenent-but it's even better than ever! Reliving the MGS history is always good but, fresh from another Guns... playthrough, all I can say is how crap the gaming world would've been without Koj's unique vision. MGS4is, whatever your idiot friends may moan at you, the best game of it's generation(so far at least)and as the culmination of near 20years of one mans work stands testament to his belief that games can be used for more than simple fragging. On so many levels the MGS games have worked and innovated while never being a less than enthralling series. I'm still in awe of MGS4 atm and have serious doubts over the wisdom of the upcoming Rising it a more action orientated approach but what'ss gone so far is peerless. PW looks excellent on PSP, mind. SC my big , hairy 4rse!
  • musashi1596 - July 13, 2009 9:30 p.m.

    I can't understand the incessant moaning about cut scenes either, especially seeing as they are skippable.
  • joebob286 - July 10, 2009 7:06 p.m.

    6 months after the first comment, and somehow i'm still second.! Great article by the way
  • Cwf2008 - December 14, 2008 6:35 a.m.

    First!
  • someonetgsn - July 14, 2009 1:39 a.m.

    Technically joebob is first b/c he was the first to make an actual comment. b/c saying just "first!" doesnt mean anything otherwise. Anyway, the coolest cutscenes are the ones that are skippable and pausable i love those. sweet artical by the way.
  • AnonymouZ - July 13, 2009 6:56 p.m.

    I don't know why everyone hates on the cutscenes. I be loving them. And... you're right, i did notice the lack of them on MGS3, but they said "fuck it, it's our game" on MGS4 uh>? xD glad they went that way. In any case, this be a good read. ;)

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