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.

      That Final Fantasy IX looks amazing too. :O Never played it though.

        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

    A bit dissapointed there was no Digimon World from the PS1.

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

    No love for Oddworld: Abe's Oddysey?

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

    How is the Longest Journey or Dreamfall not in here????

    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.

    Grim Fandango! WOO!

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

    WHAT!! No Fear Effect?

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

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