A cutscene or event scene (sometimes in-game cinematic or in-game movie) is a sequence in a video game that is not interactive, breaking up the gameplay. Such scenes could be used to show conversations between characters, set the mood, reward the player, introduce new gameplay elements, show the effects of a player's actions, create emotional connections, improve pacing or foreshadow future events.[2][3]

Cutscenes often feature "on the fly" rendering, using the gameplay graphics to create scripted events. Cutscenes can also be pre-rendered computer graphics streamed from a video file. Pre-made videos used in video games (either during cutscenes or during the gameplay itself) are referred to as "full motion videos" or "FMVs". Cutscenes can also appear in other forms, such as a series of images or as plain text and audio.

The cutscene in the original Pac-Man game exaggerated the effect of the Energizer power pellet power-up[1]


The term "cutscene" was coined by game designer Ron Gilbert to describe non-interactive plot sequences in the 1987 adventure game Maniac Mansion.[4] Pac-Man (1980) is frequently credited as the first game to feature cutscenes, in the form of brief comical interludes about Pac-Man and Blinky chasing each other,[5] though Space Invaders Part II employed a similar technique in the same year.[6]

In 1983, the laserdisc video game Bega's Battle introduced animated full-motion video (FMV) cutscenes with voice acting to develop a story between the game's shooting stages, which became the standard approach to game storytelling years later.[7] The games Bugaboo (The Flea)[8] (1983) and Karateka (1984) helped introduce the cutscene to home computers. Other early video games known to use cutscenes extensively include Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken in 1983; Valis in 1986; Phantasy Star, Maniac Mansion, and La Abadía del Crimen in 1987; Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter, and Prince of Persia and Zero Wing in 1989. Since then, cutscenes have been part of many video games, especially in action-adventure and role-playing video games.

Cutscenes became much more common with the rise of CD-ROM as the primary storage medium for video games, as its much greater storage space allowed developers to use more cinematically impressive media such as FMV and high-quality voice tracks.[9]


Live-action cutscenes

Live-action cutscenes have many similarities to films. For example, the cutscenes in Wing Commander IV used both fully constructed sets, and well known actors such as Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell for the portrayal of characters.

Some movie tie-in games, such as Electronic Arts' The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars games, have also extensively used film footage and other assets from the film production in their cutscenes. Another movie tie-in, Enter the Matrix, used film footage shot concurrently with The Matrix Reloaded that was also directed by the film's directors, the Wachowskis.

Pre-rendered cutscenes

Pre-rendered cutscenes are animated and rendered by the game's developers, and take advantage of the full array of techniques of CGI, cel animation or graphic novel-style panel art. Like live-action shoots, pre-rendered cutscenes are often presented in full motion video.

War Zone 2100 - Dropship cinematic
Screenshot of a pre-rendered cutscene from Warzone 2100, a free and open-source video game

Real time cutscenes

Real time cutscenes are rendered on-the-fly using the same game engine as the graphics during gameplay. This technique is also known as Machinima.

Real time cutscenes are generally of much lower detail and visual quality than pre-rendered cutscenes, but can adapt to the state of the game. For example, some games allow the player character to wear several different outfits, and appear in cutscenes wearing the outfit the player has chosen. It is also possible to give the player control over camera movement during real time cutscenes, as seen in Dungeon Siege, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Halo: Reach, and Kane & Lynch: Dead Men.

Mixed media cutscenes

Many games use both pre-rendered and real time cutscenes as the developer feels is appropriate for each scene.

During the 1990s in particular, it was common for the techniques of live action, pre-rendering, and real time rendering to be combined in a single cutscene. For example, popular games such as Myst, Wing Commander III, and Phantasmagoria use film of live actors superimposed upon pre-rendered animated backgrounds for their cutscenes. Though Final Fantasy VII primarily uses real-time cutscenes, it has several scenes in which real-time graphics are combined with pre-rendered full motion video. Though rarer than the other two possible combinations, the pairing of live action video with real time graphics is seen in games such as Killing Time.[10]

Interactive cutscenes

Interactive cutscenes involve the computer taking control of the player character while prompts (such as a sequence of button presses) appear onscreen, requiring the player to follow them in order to continue or succeed at the action. This gameplay mechanic, commonly called quick time events, has its origins in interactive movie laserdisc video games such as Dragon's Lair, Road Blaster,[11] and Space Ace.[12]


Director Steven Spielberg, director Guillermo del Toro, and game designer Ken Levine, all of whom are avid video gamers, criticized the use of cutscenes in games, calling them intrusive. Spielberg states that making the story flow naturally into the gameplay is a challenge for future game developers.[13][14] Hollywood writer Danny Bilson called cinematics the "last resort of game storytelling," as a person doesn't want to watch a movie when they are playing a video game.[15][16] Game designer Raph Koster criticized cutscenes as being the part that has "the largest possibility for emotional engagement, for art dare we say," while also being the bit that can be cut with no impact on the actual gameplay. Koster claims that because of this, many of the memorable peak emotional moments in video games are actually not given by the game itself at all.[17] It is a common criticism that cutscenes simply belong to a different medium.[18]

Others see cutscenes as another tool designers can use to make engrossing video games. An article on Gamefront calls upon a number of successful video games that make excessive use of cutscenes for storytelling purposes, referring to cutscenes as a highly effective way to communicate a storyteller's vision.[16] Rune Klevjer states: "A cutscene does not cut off gameplay. It is an integral part of the configurative experience", saying that they will always affect the rhythm of a game, but if they are well implemented, cutscenes can be an excellent tool for building suspense or providing the player with helpful or crucial visual information.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Matteson, Aaron. "Five Things We Learned From Pac-Man". Joystick Division. "This cutscene furthers the plot by depicting a comically large Pac-Man".
  2. ^ Hancock, Hugh (April 2, 2002). "Better Game Design Through Cutscenes". Gamasutra. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  3. ^ Aaron, Marcus (2014). Design, User Experience, and Usability. User Experience Design for Diverse Interaction Platforms and Environments. Springer. p. 662. ISBN 3319076264. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  4. ^ Buecheler, Christopher. "The GameSpy Hall of Fame". GameSpy. Archived from the original on March 11, 2011.
  5. ^ Gaming's Most Important Evolutions Archived June 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, GamesRadar
  6. ^ Space Invaders Deluxe, Accessed on line March 28, 2011.
  7. ^ Fahs, Travis (March 3, 2008). "The Lives and Deaths of the Interactive Movie". IGN. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  8. ^ "Bugaboo, un hito en la historia del software español", Universidad de Extremadura, 2009, p.33. (Spanish).
  9. ^ "The Next Generation 1996 Lexicon A to Z: Cut Scene". Next Generation. No. 15. March 1996. p. 32.
  10. ^ "Killing Time". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 76. Ziff Davis. November 1995. pp. 142–143.
  11. ^ Rodgers, Scott (2010). Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 183–184. ISBN 978-0-470-68867-0.
  12. ^ Mielke, James (May 9, 2006). "Previews: Heavenly Sword". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2007. Some points in key battles (usually with bosses) integrate QTE (quick-time events), which fans of Shenmue and Indigo Prophecy might like, but which we've been doing since Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. Time to move on, gents.
  13. ^ Chick, Tom (December 8, 2008). "A Close Encounter with Steven Spielberg". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved December 11, 2008.
  14. ^ Dutton, Fred (November 17, 2001). "Del Toro, Levine speak out against cutscenes". Eurogamer. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  15. ^ Brown, Nathan (September 3, 2011). "Bilson: Cutscenes Are Gaming's "Failure State"". Edge Online. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  16. ^ a b Sterling, Jim (November 3, 2011). "In Defense of the Videogame Cutscene". Gamefront. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  17. ^ Koster, Raph (December 7, 2005). "The Pixar Lesson". Raph Koster's Website. Raph Koster. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2008. Well, that would leave the part that has the largest possibility for emotional engagement, for art dare we say, in the bit that can be cut with no impact to gameplay whatsoever. This is why I say that many of the peak emotional moments we remember in games are actually "cheating" – they’re not given to us by the game at all, but by cutscenes.
  18. ^ Holmes, Dylan (2012). A Mind Forever Voyaging: A History of Storytelling in Video Games. Dylan Holmes. p. 92. ISBN 1480005754. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  19. ^ Klejver, Rune. "In Defense of Cutscenes". Retrieved November 19, 2014.
Airwaves (gum)

Airwaves is a brand of sugarfree chewing gum produced by the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, and sold primarily in Europe and East Asia. The brand is marketed for its intense flavor similar to the effect one would get from the consumption of cough drops (which are also sold by Wrigley's). This intensity of flavor is obtained by including Eucalyptus and Menthol in the candy coating of the tablets of gum.

This menthol and eucalyptus combination is widely used in medicated sweets to clear the head and nasal passages and to reduce the symptoms of nasal congestions and colds.

Airwaves comes in six flavors: Eucalyptus and Menthol (the blue packets), Blackcurrant and Vitamin C (the purple packets), Cherry (the red packets), Grapefruit and Menthol (the pink packets), Herbal (the light green packets) and the newly added Black Mint (Black Packet). The honey and lemon flavor has been discontinued (but is still sold in many Asian countries such as Hong Kong) along with the spicy cocktail flavor. One time, Airwaves Active was produced, containing guaraná.

Airwaves has often been seen to rapidly relieve cold symptoms (By clearing the nasal and throat passages) for short periods of time. Most people consume two pieces of gum every 30 to 60 minutes in order to maintain the relief. However excessive consumption can lead to a laxative effect.

All your base are belong to us

"All your base are belong to us" was a popular Internet meme based on a broken English ("Engrish") phrase found in the opening cutscene of the 1992 Mega Drive port of the 1989 arcade video game Zero Wing. The quote comes from the European release of the game, featuring poor English translations of the original Japanese version.

The meme developed from this in the early 2000s, as the result of a GIF animation depicting the opening text, which was initially popularized on the Something Awful message forums.

Bauhaus Entertainment

Imagica DigitalScape Bauhaus Entertainment (株式会社イマジカデジタルスケープ・バウハウスエンタテインメント) is a Japanese video game developer.

Created in 2006 by the human resource agency Imagica DigitalScape (part of Imagica Robot Holdings Inc.), both merged in 2009 in order to be able to diversify its services spectrum.

Bauhaus Entertainment has helped with the creation of over a dozen videogames from well known franchises.

The company usually takes part in the creation of character modelling, background modelling, real-time animation and cutscene animation of large games. Bauhaus specializes in keyframe animation and motion capture of triple-A games.

2012 marked the first time the company developed a game internally for mobile devices. The company also released a book detailing how to create 3D models and animate them using Autodesk Maya and Unity, called "Autodesk Maya Learning Book". The third revision of this book was published on 2011. Every year the company attends the Game Developers Conference and in 2012 attended the Tokyo Game Show as well.

Daxter (video game)

Daxter is a platform video game developed by Ready at Dawn and published by Sony Computer Entertainment on the PlayStation Portable on March 14, 2006. A spin-off of the Jak and Daxter series, Daxter takes place during the 2-year time-skip occurring during the opening cutscene of Jak II; unlike the other instalments of the franchise focusing primarily on Jak, the game focuses on the adventures of his sidekick Daxter while Jak is imprisoned.

As of June 11, 2008, the game has sold 2,300,000 copies, and received critical acclaim.

Driver 2

Driver 2: Back on the Streets (named Driver 2: The Wheelman Is Back in North America) is the second installment of the Driver video game series. It was developed by Reflections Interactive and published by Infogrames. A port to the Game Boy Advance, titled Driver 2 Advance, was released in 2002, being developed by Sennari Interactive and was released under Infogrames' Atari range of products.

Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator

Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator (often abbreviated to FFPS and otherwise known as Five Nights at Freddy’s 6) is a point-and-click business simulation survival horror video game created by Scott Cawthon. It is the sixth official main installment of the Five Nights at Freddy's game series. The game was released on December 4, 2017 for free on Steam and Gamejolt.


Indeo Video (commonly known now simply as "Indeo") is a video codec developed by Intel in 1992. It was sold to Ligos Corporation in 2000. While its original version was related to Intel's DVI video stream format, a hardware-only codec for the compression of television-quality video onto compact discs, Indeo was distinguished by being one of the first codecs allowing full-speed video playback without using hardware acceleration. Also unlike Cinepak and TrueMotion S, the compression used the same Y'CbCr 4:2:0 colorspace as the ITU's H.261 and ISO's MPEG-1.

Lego Chess

Lego Chess is a Lego-themed, chess-based strategy video game developed by Krisalis Software, published by Lego Media, and released for Microsoft Windows in November 1998.

Neal Acree

Neal Acree (born July 11, 1974) is an American composer of film, television, and video game music. He has scored 30 feature films, contributed music to the popular Blizzard Entertainment video game franchises StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Overwatch, as well as the Chinese MMO Revelation Online. His television work includes the series Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Witchblade and the first season of Sanctuary.


The PCGamingWiki is a collaboratively edited, free Internet encyclopedia focused on collecting game behavior data (such as save locations and startup parameters) to optimizing gameplay and fixing issues found in PC video games. Intended fixes and optimizations range from simple cutscene removals to modifications that allow for wide-screen resolutions and more. The wiki runs on MediaWiki software and was created by Andrew Tsai. The site was founded on February 9, 2012. As of March 2017, the PCGamingWiki has more than 13,000 registered users and 15,000 content pages. Since its inception, the PCGamingWiki has been featured on numerous gaming focused websites including Kotaku, Destructoid, and Rock Paper Shotgun. It regularly receives more than 10,000 unique page views a day.

Andrew was motivated to create the site due to his experiences seeing countless people on forums asking for help with the computer games LA Noire and Titan Quest.

Quick time event

In video games, a quick time event (QTE) is a method of context-sensitive gameplay in which the player performs actions on the control device shortly after the appearance of an on-screen instruction/prompt. It allows for limited control of the game character during cut scenes or cinematic sequences in the game. Performing the wrong prompt or not at all results in the character's failure at their task and often in an immediate game over, or a life being lost and being shown a death/failure animation.

The term "quick time event" is attributed to Yu Suzuki, director of the game Shenmue which used the QTE feature (then called "quick timer events") to a great degree. They allow for the game designer to create sequences of actions that cannot be expressed through the game's standard control scheme, or to constrain the player into taking only one specific action at a critical moment. While some uses of QTE have been considered as favorable additions to gameplay, the general use of QTE has been panned by journalists and players alike, as these events can break the flow of the game and force the player to repeat sections until they master the event.

Sim RPG Maker

Sim RPG Maker (シミューレーションRPGツクール, Shimyūrēshon RPG Tsukūru) is a series of tactical role-playing game software and spinoff of the long-running RPG Maker series, although the name is not a direct translation of the original name which would be "Simulation RPG Maker".

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy is an independent video game designed by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes and developed by Team Meat. It is the successor to McMillen and Jonathan McEntee's 2008 flash game Meat Boy. Super Meat Boy was released on the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade in October 2010, on Microsoft Windows in November 2010, on OS X a year later in November 2011, on Linux in December 2011 as a part of the Humble Indie Bundle #4, in May 2012 as a part of the Humble Indie Bundle V, on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in October 2015, on Wii U in May 2016, and for the Nintendo Switch in January 2018.In the game the player controls Meat Boy, a red, cube-shaped character, as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the game's antagonist Dr. Fetus. The gameplay is characterized by fine control and split-second timing as the player runs and jumps through over 300 hazardous levels while avoiding obstacles. Additional player-created levels are available for free download.

Development of the game began in January 2009. McMillen worked on level design and artwork, while Refenes coded the game; it was tested primarily by the pair and their families. Initially intended for release in early 2010 for personal computers and the WiiWare download service, the release date was pushed back as the design was changed to include more levels and exclude multiplayer modes. The WiiWare version was canceled due to the service's technical limitations. The music for the game was created by Danny Baranowsky, who had also composed the music for Meat Boy. The soundtrack was released as an album, and music from it was released as downloadable content for Rock Band 3.

The game was critically acclaimed. In 2010, it received awards for Most Challenging Game from IGN, and for Best Downloadable Game from GameSpot and GameTrailers. Critics lauded the game's precise control, retro artwork, and soundtrack. Reviewers generally praised the game's challenge, although some warned that not all players would appreciate the level of difficulty. The game was a commercial success, and sold more than one million copies as of January 2012. A sequel, Super Meat Boy Forever, is in development for release in April 2019.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 video game)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a beat 'em up video game released in 2003 by Konami. The game is based on the 2003 TV series. The main gameplay loosely adapts the following season one episodes: Things Change, A Better Mouse Trap, Attack of the Mousers, Meet Casey Jones, Nano, Darkness on the Edge of Town, The Way of Invisibility, Notes From the Underground (Parts 1-3), and Return to New York (Parts 1-3), as well as a level that is not derived from the animated series at all. Some cutscene was used anime animation.


Tekken (Japanese: 鉄拳, "Iron Fist") is a fighting video game franchise created, developed, and published by Namco (later Bandai Namco Entertainment). Beginning with the original Tekken released in December 1994, the series has received several sequels as well as updates and spin-off titles. Tekken was one of the first fighting games at the time to use 3D animation. The series has been adapted into three films and other media. There are seven main installments to the series, one installment having an updated version that also made a home release, two non-canonical installments, and a seventh mainline game released on Japanese arcades on 2015 and PC and console on June 2, 2017.

The premise of each game in the main series documents the events of the King of Iron Fist Tournament, hosted by the Mishima Zaibatsu. The prize is typically control of the company, which allows the winner to host the following tournament. After beating the game with each character, an ending cutscene is unlocked and usually one of the endings from each game becomes the continuation of the story into the following installment. The story has largely revolved around the Mishima clan curse, which began narratively with Heihachi Mishima throwing his son Kazuya Mishima from a cliff when he was five years old. Kazuya was nearly killed from the fall, but through the influence of the "Devil Gene" he survived and swore revenge to his father by the time of the King of Iron Fist Tournament.

Tekken 2 and Tekken 3 are considered breakthrough titles and among the greatest games of all time, the latter also being the second best-selling fighting game to date. Tekken is the second best selling fighting game franchise in history.

Virtual Chess 64

Virtual Chess 64 is a chess simulation game for the Nintendo 64. It was released in 1998. The game features no true "completion" in the form of a goal or a score, so one could theoretically play an endless number of matches. When a piece is captured, a short animated cutscene plays back depicting the battle, as in 1988's Battle Chess.

Yuki Kajiura

Yuki Kajiura (梶浦 由記, Kajiura Yuki, born August 6, 1965 in Tokyo, Japan) is a Japanese musician, composer and record producer. She has provided the music for several popular anime series, such as the final Kimagure Orange Road movie, Noir, .hack//Sign, Aquarian Age, Madlax, My-HiME, My-Otome, Pandora Hearts, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero, Sword Art Online, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle and the Kara no Kyoukai movies (amongst others). She also assisted Toshihiko Sahashi with Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. Kajiura has also composed for video games, including the cutscene music for Xenosaga II and the entire Xenosaga III game soundtrack. She composed the music for NHK's April 2014 morning drama (asadora) Hanako to Anne.

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