THE PCG Q&A
Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
– Have you tried to make your own game or mod?
– What's something about games you didn't mind as a kid but can't stand now?
– What was the best game on your school computers?
It's OK, you can admit it. Sometimes you're enjoying every part of a game except for the story and you just want to keep playing without having to watch several minutes of a bad movie between every level.
Just kidding! People worked their fingers to the bone crafting those scenes, sculpting them from the hard stone of pure imagination. We owe it to them to watch every indulgent minute of the story of that guy and the two ladies who are into him for some reason and that other guy who is his friend or rival or possibly father.
Do you ever skip cutscenes? Here are our answers, plus a few from our forum.
Lauren Morton: I would never. I've always been here for the stories in games. Cutscenes are the reward. Why on earth would I grind through nigh endless fights with nameless bandits and spend twenty minutes sweating through a boss fight if not to hear a condescending monologue from the villain followed by a heartwarming scene in which my protagonists pledge their undying loyalty to one another?
Andy Kelly: Never. I like to have context for what I'm doing in a game. Even if the story sucks, I will still watch every cinematic. It's just the way I'm wired. Of course, there have been moments of weakness. I ended up skipping most of the cutscenes towards the end of the original Mirror's Edge because the story was so terrible. And the cutscenes between missions in the recent Hitman games, despite the fact they're among my favourite games of all time, are immensely skippable. But in general, no. If I'm playing a multiplayer/co-op game where players can vote to skip cutscenes, I get really annoyed when everyone presses the skip button. One of many reasons I just like playing games on my own now.
Robin Valentine: Yeah I'm just like Andy—even if the story is absolutely dreadful, I just can't bring myself to skip them. I hate feeling like I'm missing anything in a game. It's the same impulse that makes me want to have all the DLC, and to find every sidequest. God knows how many pointless hours I've spent sitting through awful storytelling – and how much rubbish lore I've then retained in my brain, taking up space that could be used for actually useful memories.
Alan Dexter: It depends on the game. Multiplayer shooters will have me bouncing off the skip key faster than you can type something derogatory about my mum. For single player games I tend to try and sit through them. Yes, even if the story is awful. Things get a little sketchier when I'm playing WoW. Sometimes I skip, particularly if I'm in a new raid, but then I tend to go back and watch them at my own pace later. For the last expansion a group of us tried levelling together, which meant skipping all the cutscenes. I just couldn't do it. After roughly an hour of intense levelling, I dropped out and returned to playing at my own speed so I can soak up those cutscenes. It made the boar killing that little bit more manageable.
James Davenport: "The poet must not avert his eyes."
Dave James: No. Never. Well, not unless it's a Kojima Special. I even sat through a whole lot of rambling David Cage, but I had to hit the ultimate skip button on MGS V and uninstalled when it all got too much.
Phil Savage: Usually no, but…
Those intro montages of cutscenes and action that sometimes play when you launch some games, usually at the wrong resolution because you haven't even been given the option to adjust the settings yet? Yeah, those are getting skipped.
Andy Chalk: Never—at least, not until I've seen the cutscene in question at least twice. If there's a story, I want to know what it is, no matter how thin or perfunctory it might be. I sat through every cutscene in Painkiller because I wanted to know what was going on, and then I did it all over again with Painkiller Black. No regrets. (And people put a lot of effort into making those things for us—the least we can do is watch them!)
Jody Macgregor: I don't skip cutscenes unless I'm replaying, then get mad if I'm not allowed to. Some games only let you skip after you've seen something once, which seems sensible until you get a crash right after a long one then have to sit through it again because the game thinks this is your first time. I don't like skipping but it should always be an option.
Pausing too. For god's sake, let me pause a cutscene so I don't have to YouTube it because my dog wanted to go outside or our weekly ramen order arrived while I was in the middle of finding out how Grahuul the Wise was betrayed by Slimefinger the Weaselly after the Council of Rivermeadowhill in the Year of the Suspicious Councillor.
From our forum
Sarafan: I like to skip cut-scenes only if they're very repeatable. For example Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag lacks this option and that's why I never finished it. It was annoying to watch the same animation dozens or maybe even hundreds of times after every sea battle. If the cut-scenes give important information regarding the story of the game I never skip them. Even when the story isn't very important I just need to watch it. It happens sometimes that I accidentally skip such a cut-scene by pressing the wrong button. In this case I always load the game (if there's an option to do so).
drunkpunk: I usually watch them the first playthrough of a game, unless like Sarafan said they are repeating cutscenes that don't really add much. If I'm going for full immersion I'll usually let them play out even in a subsequent playthrough. Or if I'm not really invested in the story of the game, just the gameplay, I'll skip right through them. I tend to avoid cutscene-heavy games, though, since gameplay is a bigger draw to me than story a lot of the time. RPGs are a bit different, but if I've played it many times I'll usually skip the cutscenes, as well.
Johnway: I don't skip them the first time. But during repeated playthroughs or attempts (say before a boss fight) i skip the cutscenes.
End game credits are a different story. If they don't have anything other then a wall of text, i don't hesitate to skip it if i'm bored. Yes, i appreciate all the staff's efforts but frankly i'm exhausted with playing your game and you're now boring me. Let me move on so that i can play something else!
badman: It depends. If we're talking about cutscene heavy games with a lot of story, length and character development/twists (in general: story that gets hard to follow after some time), I usually skip the storyline after a while. Games like the Witcher 3 or Deus Ex HR are a perfect example. Great games, but I'm the guy that usually just wants to jump in and play. A short but decent (Max Payne) , exciting (Jedi Knight games) or 'interesting' (Stupid Invaders/Normality), storyline is my type of game. Don't make it too lengthy or complicated.
Zloth: Only if I had already seen it that same day and had it play again because I had to re-load. Even if it was the next morning, I would probably watch it! I've only skipped them in one game: Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. After watching BJ crying into his mamma's skirts (literally) then going to his boyhood farm where we were clearly going to see how troubled his childhood was, I was done.
ZedClampet: I have a tendency to relax my hand when I'm watching something and accidentally do a right click, so I've skipped cutscenes in every game that uses a right click to skip, like Darksiders.
Other than that, I skip cutscenes if I've already seen them, as in games where I'm grinding and doing the same levels/missions over and over. And, of course, there's always the tragic failed boss fights that let you watch the same cutscene as many times as you can fail. I've actually rage quit before when a game wouldn't let me skip a cutscene tied to a boss fight.
Mazer: I've been skipping Mr Kojima's cut scenes for close to two decades, ever since MGS2 wore out my patience, and not felt bad about it once. I made an effort to engage with the plot of MGS5 but not even Snake himself seemed entirely invested so I found myself slamming skip every time it told me this was a Hideo Kojima game.
For me it's about lack of time, unless I've already invested in prequels to the plot (Witcher 3) or it's something particularly compelling/lightweight (Prey) then I'm usually there for the gameplay.
I must confess though that Death Stranding has me regretting this state of affairs, it seems like exactly my brand of bunny-boiling insanity and I wish I had a hundred hours to spare.
Frindis: Well, I would never, ever do such a thing! That would be just… [Skips]