Steven Spielberg Loves FPS Games, Hates Cutscenes


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great interview

Do you play games on your own?

I play a lot of action games. I go into the store and find a game that looks compelling, or I get one that one of the folks at EA suggests I try, and I take it home and I play it. There have been a lot of games, including all the sequels for Medal of Honor, that I've really admired. I love the direction it's taken. I also like the competitive games. I'm currently playing Call of Duty 4. A lot of these first person shooters are very interesting.

You know the thing that doesn't work for me in these games are the little movies where they attempt to tell a story in between the playable levels. That's where there hasn't been a synergy between storytelling and gaming. They go to a lot of trouble to do these [motion-capture] movies that explain the characters. And then the second the game is returned to you and it's under your control, you forget everything the interstitials are trying to impact you with, and you just go back to shooting things. And that has not found its way into a universal narrative. And I think more has to be done in that arena.

Some games avoid those cutscenes altogether. Are you familiar with Half-Life?

Yeah, I've played Half-Life, of course. But some games will not let you quit out. I think Battlefield: Bad Company, which I played though, doesn't let you escape the interstitials. I do applaud them for trying the storytelling. It's important to try to invest in these characters you don't get to see when you're playing them. You only get to see them during the little movies. But you don't get to see the faces or recognize the foxhole buddies when you're just targeting the enemy. Yet I applaud them for at least attempting to tell a story.

Steven Spielberg

Do you feel that filmmakers can learn anything from videogames? And if so, what?

I think filmmakers are learning things from videogames. Movies are starting to look more and more like videogames, like the digital introductory teasers videogames give you before they turn control over to the player. A lot of movies, like this movie with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy called Wanted. It had a lot of videogame savvy. The Bourne Ultimatum had a lot of videogame savvy in the quick cuts and the audacity of camera angle.

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And then the second the game is returned to you and it's under your control, you forget everything the interstitials are trying to impact you with, and you just go back to shooting things.

I completely disagree, I personally play single-player games strictly for the story. If he is so annoyed by the cutscenes, he should stick to the multiplayer aspect of the game and not bother playing single-player. The story is most of the reason you play single-player.

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I don't think Steven Spielberg knows squat about video gaming nor the audience who enjoys it. But he may be looking for a new business venture with this interview.

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The fact that he forgets what happens in the cut scenes is probably more an indication of his deteriorating mental state. as evidence by everything he's made since and including AI. with an exception of the new Indy movie, cause Indy is awesome, but he had help on that, but everything else he's made since is crap, and more an act of desperation on his part to make what he thinks are interesting and thoughtful movies. But in reality are just shiny crap with sad endings. Sad endings doesn't make it a thoughtful or interesting movie. Some directors shouldn't step outside their comfort zone, and Dramas and whatever are not Spielberg's comfort zone by any margin.

And personally I prefer games with cut scenes, though I like a mi, a bit of cutscenes, as well as story while you play the game, like in GoW, where you have cutscenes, but also personal dialogs during the game. but without the cutscenes, they'd be mostly boring and disconnected. Sometimes you just need awesome cutscenes with good animation and a grander view to tell the story and pull you in a bit more.

and what else should we have in the parts where there's lots of dialogue, instead of showing the bridge of a starship with good camera movement following the characters around, you're supposed to walk around, only seeing form the character viewpoint, locked on the face of the other guy, pressing X to keep the dialogue coming... yeah, that's... better.... or not.

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Wow guys; way to misshape someone's opinion. First of all, it's his opinion. So what if he doesn't enjoy watching a non-interactive movie. A lot of gamers are in this camp. Second of all, he didn't say he didn't like the concept of cutscenes. He said "more work" needs to be done on them to improve the flow of storytelling. "That's where there hasn't been a synergy between storytelling and gaming". Third of all, this is a FPS we're talking about. Cutscenes aren't usually needed. Interactive storytelling sequences, on the other hand, are preferred.

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Gaming is still a "young" medium compared to books or movies... I agree with him that _alot_ more can be done to tell stories in a better way. It's like night and day when I compare games I played 20 years ago to the ones that are released now, but I can't wait to see what it'll be like 20 years in the future :)

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I love cutscenes and FPS is not my favorite genre. :s

I completely disagree, I personally play single-player games strictly for the story. If he is so annoyed by the cutscenes, he should stick to the multiplayer aspect of the game and not bother playing single-player. The story is most of the reason you play single-player.

I agree. I love a game with a great story. One of my main reasons to play single player. I hate Shooters/Action/ RPG games with crappy or no story.

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whats cool is a guy his age is actually playing COD4..not telling us 'young people' to stop playing those gosh darn video games and go outside and kick a football lol

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Great for Steven Spielberg?

I wish messageboard topics would be made for my opinions :p

Games will never = Movies.

They're two different story telling mediums. One allows control over the experience, the other one is completely passive, forcing your journey down one path only from start to finish.

It's the advantage of gaming as a medium to tell stories, but also the flaw in one sense, as there's no standard and you're dealing with an interactive experience, not a passive. Therefore there's the task of balancing cut-scenes, use them or don't?

When you want to tell a story in a game, you can find yourself trying to force the players hand like a movie does, through non-interactive cutscenes, or try to tell the story through being completely interactive.

Both are viable options for the gaming medium, both will be used, and there's room in the market for them both, why not? If you hate cutscenes, avoid the game, but they're going to be continued to be used in the gaming scene.

The advantage of them is they force your attention down a specific path which has the same successful affect a movie has, the disadvantage is you lose interactivity. If your scripts up to par [a whole other pandoras box for games], the experience can rival that of a movie, if it's not up to par you'll more than often lose touch with gamers in the same way a poor movie loses touch with it's audience.

The advantage of no cutscenes is you keep interactivity high from start to finish, but your story telling can be a lot more "loose", as you can't force players to listen to things, to watch things or to even pay much attention. You may also lose many staged and/or dramatic scenes as the player naturally may not choose to walk/run/jump/move/interact in the most relevant way that enhances the scene - Where as in a cut-scene, YOU, the developer, force the action to act in the way it best enhances the story.

You then have the task of assigning your genre of game to the best fitting method. Due to the amount of genres of games we have, some fit great with cut-scenes, others not so much. It's up to the story writer/creator to decide what's best for their game, as it's their vision they're bringing to life.

Edited by Audioboxer
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The fact that he forgets what happens in the cut scenes is probably more an indication of his deteriorating mental state. as evidence by everything he's made since and including AI. with an exception of the new Indy movie, cause Indy is awesome, but he had help on that, but everything else he's made since is crap, and more an act of desperation on his part to make what he thinks are interesting and thoughtful movies. But in reality are just shiny crap with sad endings. Sad endings doesn't make it a thoughtful or interesting movie. Some directors shouldn't step outside their comfort zone, and Dramas and whatever are not Spielberg's comfort zone by any margin.

You thought Munich and Catch Me If You Can were horrible movies?

And the new Indy movie was horrible.

And personally I prefer games with cut scenes, though I like a mi, a bit of cutscenes, as well as story while you play the game, like in GoW, where you have cutscenes, but also personal dialogs during the game. but without the cutscenes, they'd be mostly boring and disconnected. Sometimes you just need awesome cutscenes with good animation and a grander view to tell the story and pull you in a bit more.

You're taking him out of context. Spielberg was talking about cutscenes in First Person Shooter games. And he acknowledged Half Life, and said not enough games did what they did.

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I think most of the people in this topic read the title and not the story... come on, people.

I don't think Steven Spielberg knows squat about video gaming nor the audience who enjoys it. But he may be looking for a new business venture with this interview.

He came up with the ideas for Medal of Honor and Boom Blox. I'd say he knows what the audience wants.

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You thought Munich and Catch Me If You Can were horrible movies?

And the new Indy movie was horrible.

Catch me if you can s one of the few if not the only movie he's doen after AI where he didn't try to be somethign he wasn't. he just made a simple action comedy.

and no the new indy movie wasn't horrible. But then I watched it without any expectatons other than it being an indy movie, nor did I decide beforehand that it was goign to suck because it was a new indy movie.

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the concept of Nuking the Fridge is horrible no matter what expectations you have

Also, after AI, he made Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, War of the Worlds, and Munich. Even if one or 2 of those movies are bad doesn't mean he turned into a ****ty and disillusioned director.

Also, @ everyone, he is talking about cut-scenes in First Person Shooters. He's not talking about cut scenes in RPG's, Metal Gear Solids, Prince of Persia's, puzzle games, etc

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Im ok if they cut out cutscenes and make you play the game non-stop like Half Life 2. If they want to do a scene why cut to a third person view? Let it play out from your view (unless its a scene without your character).

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Im ok if they cut out cutscenes and make you play the game non-stop like Half Life 2. If they want to do a scene why cut to a third person view? Let it play out from your view (unless its a scene without your character).

that was his whole point

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Im ok if they cut out cutscenes and make you play the game non-stop like Half Life 2. If they want to do a scene why cut to a third person view? Let it play out from your view (unless its a scene without your character).

It depends on what each individual player wants, I couldn't finish half-life 2 because I thought it was too boring without cutscenes, don't get me wrong though it's an awesome game. I just like that sense of achievement I get when I reach the next cutscene.

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I truly wonder what Speilberg thinks of the Metal Gear Solid Series. I man, Kojima produced these games like they were movies. Every installment is fairly complex in its storytelling and characters are deeply fleshed out. Speilberg helming a MGS movie = win. But arent' they currently doing MGS the movie at the moment?

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