4. Always let players skip cut scenes no matter how important they are to the story.
What a predicament cut scenes create. As a designer, you want all your hard work to be acknowledged, even the cut scenes. Sadly, interactive entertainment is the name of the game, and it always comes first. That’s why gamers play these things. So rather than assume every player wants to watch your story-telling chops, allow them to bypass cut scenes, tutorials, and even speed up the showing of logos when a game boots up. Tell your story through engaging gameplay, and you’ll easily be remembered and praised regardless of what you accomplished in a cut scene, tutorial, or start screen branding.
I agree. I generally watch the cut scenes the first time through a game, but I do not need to see them every time. It’s tedious and wastes my time. I have a memory, so the second time through, I know what’s going on.
More specifically, never put the cut scene after a saved checkpoint. Barring that, never make the cut scene mandatory. If my character dies before the next checkpoint, I do not want to watch the same (long) cut scene over. Many games make this mistake, but Blazing Angels has been the biggest offender I’ve played so far. I actually stopped playing the game because I couldn’t get past a mission that made me watch the long cut scene every time I started the mission after dying. My incentive disappeared because it wasted too much of my life.
As intuitive as this opt-out seems, the desire to apply one’s personal preference to everyone extends itself to so many spheres. From the comments at Major Nelson’s entry:
You should always be forced to watch cutscenes, if you’re not watching cutscenes you’re not playing the game as it was intended.
As intended. Someone else’s determination is the only way to play the game. No individual thinking or preference is valid. Really?
Nice list, but I disagree with number 4. I’d like the cutscenes to be unskippable the first time. There’s too many times that I’ve pressed a button just because I want to see if it skips or not…
Because this gamer can’t prevent himself from tasting the forbidden fruit, we must all be subject to his whims. No doubt he’ll run for political office at some point.
A private enterprise creating a video game which does not offer complete freedom for preferences is not the same as the government dictating prohibitions for non-favored choices. I can vote with my dollars. Readily conceded. But the mentality that leads to the latter is what’s exhibited in those statements. The central planner knows best or can’t control his impulses, so it’s supposedly wise to limit everyone. They do not care that a view of liberty for all includes the opportunity for self-imposed restrictions and mechanisms to control impulses. I get what I want, you get what you want. Instead, the solution is always to limit everyone.