A Plea For Scene Selection In Video Games

You can skip to your favourite scene in a movie, flip to an exciting chapter in a book you've read, but you can't just drop into a video game you've finished at any given point. In today's Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter Smorlock wonders why.

So you're sitting at home, and you've got maybe 20 minutes to kill before you have to go out somewhere. You've got no new movies, but you could pop in an old favourite and skip to your favourite scene. You've got no new books, but you could open up an old standby and flip to the best part. You've got no new games, but you could... well, I guess you'd have to start one from the very beginning. Or load up a save from the very end. You're in the mood to play just that one part from the middle, but that's about 15 hours in.

So why are games so closed? I find it very sad when I finish a 30+ hour video game, because I know it will be a long time, if ever, that I am able to experience a lot of it again. It is very easy to skip around a book or a movie, but except for a few isolated cases, video games are mostly all-or-nothing affairs. In fact until recently, it was even rare to be able to pause during a cut scene, if you needed to.

I understand of course, some games are not well structured for drop-ins. RPGs for instance, have so many variables. How would they satisfy your inventory? But I think as games become more mainstream (and more importantly, as they become denser and longer), it would benefit both the players and the developers if we could revisit our favourite scenes a year later. I am looking at my old copy of Red Dead Redemption and wondering - how do I play just my favourite scenes?

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.


    You can do that with Red Dead. You can select any mission from the main storyline and replay the thing.

    And some games already offer the replay cutscene function. Metal Gear Solid has been doing it since MGS2

      And I believe (from the 3 hours so far that I have played it) you can do it in LA Noire, on the main menu you can go back and play a finished case.

    In the Alone in the Dark reboot you could skip to any scene in the game right from the begginning.

    Unsurprisingly it was awful and was one of the most critically derided features of the game, sucking a lot of the urgency and tension (and plot logic) from the gameplay.

    In terms of other games, they're for the most part opened once you complete them. With most missions and checkpoints available for repeat plays at any time. Just like watching a movie start to finish the first time and then maybe just watching a bit you like at a later stage. It's not the case for every title but definitely for most, what niche genre does the article author play that doesn't allow him to do this?

    Even open world games that don't have conventional stages like Batman Arkham Asylum has the fight and predator mini games for people after a short fix taken from different scenes in the game. RPG's are mentioned in the article but the majority of these remain playable once the games completed and let you drop in and play in the world whenever you like as they're not really divided into scenes.

    AND, many games have their cut scenes featured as unlockable extras that can be played at any time once they've been watched once.

    All up I'm not following the articles plea at all. I think Smorlock needs to explore his menu options the next time he loads up a game.

    Im glad Gay Tony finally added mission replay to GTA. I just wish i could play Four Leaf Clover when I want to.

    A few games do this, but they're clearly in the minority. The only game I think I own that does this properly would be Sonic Adventure 2 (but you can always play the levels again in time trial).

    It's pretty cool, but we gotta remember video games aren't TV shows/movies, and so don't have to follow those conventions.
    It's pretty neat though.

    I'm a very compulsive saver with my games for this very reason. I clocked up dozens of save files for the mass effect games and now I have the freedom to have a slight chapter selection with it.

    But really gets on my case is when games put a limit on the number of saves I can have. These machines have massive hard drives so why should I endure any restrictions with many save files I want to have?

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