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THQ's Bilson: cutscenes are a cop-out

"The last resort of game storytelling."

Using cut-scenes in a videogame is lazy storytelling and should be avoided at all costs, according to THQ core games chief Danny Bilson.

"Doing a cinematic is the failure state, that is the last resort of game storytelling," he insisted during an interview with Edge.

"Someone at EA once said to me: 'I want to watch a movie while I'm playing a game about as much as I want to play a game while I'm watching a movie.'

"It's really not what the artform is about," he continued. "As soon as you put a controller in someone's hand they want to interact."

It should be noted that Bilson knows his stuff in this regard. Before pulling on a suit and tie for THQ, he was a Hollywood screenwriter, responsible for cult 1991 superhero flick The Rocketeer and daft 1985 sci-fi horror Trancers among others.

Bilson went on to claim that he's never played a videogame that has featured a satisfying narrative.

"I can't think of one. That's a place we have not cracked yet, as an industry. We should be able to tell great stories, fresh original stories, in this industry, just like in books, movies or anything else.

"There are fantastic story moments in games, there are stories that I think are better than others," he continued. "Games aren't about story first – the story is there to make you care about the mechanics, to make it more emotional. But if I separate the story from the experience it doesn't blow my mind."

THQ's next core offering is apocalyptic shooter Homefront which features a story by revered scribe John Milius, who penned Apocalypse Now, Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn. You can find out how its tale of a lone freedom fighter trying to kick an invading North Korean army out of the USA stacks up when it launches on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 next week.

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Fred Dutton avatar

Fred Dutton


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


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