Conference Comments Cause Cutscene Controversy

Gamasutra reports that Alexis Nolent, Editorial Story Design Director for Ubisoft, delivered remarks at the Austin Games Conference on the integration of stories into games. Nolent seems to favor the Half-Life 2 brand of "scripted events" versus the more traditional, cinematic sort of Halo-style "cutscenes":

First, he saw a trend toward fewer cinematics, and more scripted events. Nolent says Ubisoft is trying to get rid of cinematics entirely, but they do sometimes sneak back in when a map has to be scrapped or there's some other unexpected problem. Nolent expects to see more "playable cut scenes" or scripted events where the story moves ahead, but players still have opportunities for interaction.

Over at Kotaku, commenters have weighed in on both sides; some don't want the game to wrest control of the camera away from them and force them to watch a cutscene, reminding them that they're consuming a pre-set story in a medium that is supposed to be interactive, and others dislike having "down-time" in an area when they can't leave and a set of predetermined NPC actions takes place, except without dramatic camera angles or stirring musical score.

What do you think? Are games better off with cutscenes, or scripted events? Vote in our poll!