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Del Toro, Levine speak out against cutscenes

Don't expect hours of cinematics in Insane.

Anyone expecting cult movie director Guillermo Del Toro's forthcoming survival horror game Insane to be crammed full of lengthy cinematics might come away disappointed - turns out the first-time video game developer hates cutscenes.

Speaking in a predictably fascinating interview with BioShock creator Ken Levine hosted on Irrational Games' website, Del Toro revealed that he always skips them when he's playing games.

"I'm a gamer, my daughters are gamers, we spend countless hours in the game universe," he explained.

"You know what kind of gamer I am? When we come to a cinematic, I jump it. I go 'I'm not watching a movie, f*** you'. I want a game.

"You can selectively take control away from the gamer for a few seconds but don't render him inactive. Give him something to do, but don't f****** say, 'And now a word from our sponsor'."

Levine immediately agreed with the Pan's Labyrinth/Hellboy director.

"People know me as creating story-driven video games so assume that I must love story video games," said Levine. "Generally I'm not a huge fan of story video games as that's the problem I have with them - I want to play. I don't want to sit down and be told the story. I want to interact with the story."

Levine then offered up recent narrated indie action RPG Bastion as an example of a game that strikes the balance just right.

"Have you played a game called Bastion?" he asked Del Toro.

"Check it out, it just came out on XBLA. It uses very minimalistic story-telling techniques but very effective story-telling techniques that never take you out of the game. It's [written by] a journalist named Greg Kasavin. You have a journalist coming over to write a video game - you'd go 'Oh yeah, you think you know how to do it - why don't you try to write a video game'. And of course he did. He wrote this great video game.

"One of the reasons I think it works so well is that the narrative is so non-intrusive, it never makes you stop."

As reported earlier today, Del Toro's first game - Volition-developed survival horror Insane - is still a few years away from completion.

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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