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Video Game Cutscenes that Deserve a Standing Ovation | CodeChangers

  • Sydney
  • January 13, 2020
  • News

I will be totally honest, whenever I play a video game, I do it for the cutscenes. I know, I know… That’s really not the meat and potatoes of the gaming experience, but as a huge movie buff, I am fascinated with the cinematography and often awesome stories that serve as the motivating carrot for me to beat a level. Some of these picks were chosen from the list “The Best Video Game Cutscenes Ever” written by Adam Dorsey, from consulting with my video game master brother, and from some personal choices. These were very difficult decisions as there are so many incredible video game cutscenes to choose from. (Let me tell you…) Let us begin!

(Please note that these opinions do not reflect CodeChangers, but are the personal thoughts of the writer. The writer is not an expert in animation, cinematography or video gaming fields, but provides her opinion as the average viewer.)

1. Super Smash Brothers Brawl: Opening

If you want to get pumped, watch this classic. I really think this cutscene’s music is really what carries the footage forward. I like that the choice of music in a more classical genre as it has a much more legendary or god-like feel. This choice of using a choir, solo vocalists and a full orchestra brings the feeling of finality and divine choice as the players anticipate who really is the ultimate video game character in battles to come. In other words, you get totally pumped after watching this.

2. Fallout Intro: “War Never Changes”

Fallout has amazing cutscenes, and is an incredibly impressive game. The opening feels more like a movie than a video game. The scenes play on factors that are all too terribly familiar to humanity—nuclear threats, overpopulation and (of course) war. The 1940’s and 1950’s style in the imagery is incredibly well done. Its music and voice acting are also just as stellar. Although only Fallout 4 is posted above, you will have to watch the other Fallout intros—and you will swear that you are watching one of the most engaging documentaries of the century!

3. Portal 2 Opening

This opening demonstrates the magical difference between movies and video games—that you are the main character. Providing a cinematic opening in which you can interact with the environment is incredibly cool. However, what I think is even more neat is the fact that you, as the player, are being trained how to play the game during the opening. No instruction booklet, no exclusive training segment—the tutorial is all part of the cutscene, making the player become even more immersed in the gameplay. Now that’s what I call a video game.

4. Sonic Mania Opening

I would dare say that this opening stands out as one of the best Sonic video game openings ever made—if not, the best. With its gorgeous 2-D animation, beautiful color scheme, and fun music, viewers are sucked into the game and left only wanting more. Not only that, this opening is deeper than what the average viewer would realize. Just as its game play, this opening is a throwback for many 90’s kids who grew up with Sonic. With its nod to the animated opening for the game, Sonic CD, and to the Blue Blur’s original Japanese design, Sonic fans (and myself) went rabid with nostalgic joy. This opening was so successful, a mini animated series in this style was produced as promotional cartoons for upcoming games—and there was no doubt that there was much rejoicing among the Sonic Fandom.

5. Hitman Briefing Scenes

Briefing cutscenes from Hitman are a dream to watch. These scenes focus less on CGI but utilize the elements of typography, icons and motion graphics to keep the viewer engaged. Some advantages of using these elements instead of straight CGI is that the cutscenes age better than when compared to other CGI competitors. The briefing also breaks down the back-story of a mission through visuals and incredibly, well-performed voice overs— making everything said/demonstrated in the video crystal clear. There is no question what the player needs to do, there is no doubt on who the target is and all the many details of the mission that could have been cluttered up are instead laid out neatly. Instead of watching characters interact with each other, the player is thrust into the game as the character. Once you watch these briefing videos, you feel like you are James Bond, or Ethan Hunt. Yeah. It’s that good.

Cutscenes are becoming more and more of a must in video games. The incredible craft that goes into each video game is mind-blowing (That’s what made this list so difficult to decide on!). With this influx of cinematic and video game goodness, you can’t help sitting back and enjoying the show.

Works Cited

Dorsey, A. (n.d.). The best video game cutscenes ever . In Ranker. Retrieved from