NARRATIVE RANT

If there are things that I loathe seeing in games, one of them is the strange and annoying design to steer the narrative by using a cutscene, then allowing the player to regain control of their character, take a couple of steps, and then play another cutscene.

I never understood this design decision. Why pace the narrative and gameplay that way? If you are going to give the player control for only the next several feet, then take it away to show another cutscene: then just remove the walking segment and have both cutscenes play back-to-back.

Another trope that falls almost hand-in-hand with a stop ‘n’ go narrative is removing some controls while allowing some controls. I know that sounds odd, but take a look at the first segment of Dead Rising 4 as an example.

In one of the opening segments of the game when the characters trespass onto a military facility, the game prevents you from running. You can run in the game, but for chosen segments, you MUST walk. Or take The Order 1886, where the player is allowed to stealth, but only when the game permits it.

I understand from their perspective that they want to tell their story, but how about not having it get in the way of the game! People “teleport” all the time in stories. One character can be in one location, then in the next chapter, that character is at another location.

If you have the controls to walk and run, don’t force the player to walk a segment to make it more dramatic. The players that want to play into the dramatization will control their characters to walk themselves.

Sure, that brief 5 seconds of gameplay to have the player to walk down a hallway to the next scene shows the character moving from one place to another, but we don’t need to see everything.

Imagine every movie where James Bond was shown on every boat, car, and plane he took to all of his destinations. Do we really need to read in books all of the times a character got in and out of their vehicle when they drove to meet with someone? No.

So, dear developers. Sincerely, stop with these narrative design decisions. Just play all your cutscenes together, or remove the latter cutscenes and give the players the option to discover more of the world and lore rather than force-feed it down our throats.

It only urges the player to skip cutscenes and dialogue rather than experience it. Cheers, and may “skip cutscene” prompts forever exist.

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