Video Games With The Most Memorable Pre-Rendered Backgrounds

Video Games With The Most Memorable Pre-Rendered Backgrounds

Pre-rendered graphics weren’t only used in complex cinematic cutscenes back in the day when a game’s own 3D engine couldn’t do the job. Developers also used them as in-game backgrounds to bypass graphical limitations. And some of the games had really well-made, atmospheric pre-rendered backgrounds.

Squaresoft and Capcom preferred these a lot in their PS1 games in the late 90s, but it wasn’t just them. With minor differences — some games had a combat screen in full 3D, for instance — other developers also took advantage of this method.

And it had a good run, until video game engines started to become much more powerful and were able to handle camera angle changes and real-time rendering.

Blade Runner

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy IX

Resident Evil

Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis

Parasite Eve

Onimusha: Warlords

Odium / Gorky 17

Dino Crisis 2

Grim Fandango


The Legend of Dragoon

Chrono Cross

Project Eternity

Sources: The Lost Art of FFIX, imgur via Reddit, Resident Evil Database, NeoGAF, The Department of Death, Chrono Wiki, FantasyAnime, Gorky


  • Oh man, Blade Runner was beautiful. So was The Longest Journey. Syberia too, not a huge fan of the game, but can’t say it wasn’t pretty.

      • All the FFs and Resi Evils on PSone had great BGs, weird choices on here, some of them are quite boring especially that FF VIII one :-/

        • agreed, I would have gone with Tears Point or the top of Galbadia Garden when Seifer is sending in the motorcycle troops for 8 and pretty much anything from Treno or Bran Bul for 9

    • I absolutely loved the art in Digimon World 3, with the isometric 2D sprites over the per-rendered BG

    • Seconded! The backgrounds in the Abe games oozed atmosphere, especially in the tribal-inspired areas outside of Rapture Farms.

  • My biggest concern with any FFVII remake is that they would ditch pre rendered backdrops. The provide the game with so much of its cinematic flair.

  • I remember seeing Hyrule Castle Town in Oot for the first time. I KNEW something was funny about the graphics there.

  • very interesting, never thought about those scenes being pre-rendered when I was a kid.

  • None of the Myst games? Or Baldur’s Gate and other games on that engine?

  • what? no Baldur’s Gate, Arcanum, Fallout, Planescape Torment etc etc? This list is a crock

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!