A cutscene or event scene (sometimes in-game cinematic or in-game movie) is a sequence in a video game that is not interactive, interrupting the gameplay. Such scenes are used to show conversations between characters, set the mood, reward the player, introduce newer models and gameplay elements, show the effects of a player's actions, create emotional connections, improve pacing or foreshadow future events.  
Cutscenes often feature "on the fly" rendering, using the gameplay graphics to create scripted events. Cutscenes can also be pre-rendered computer graphics streamed from a video file. Pre-made videos used in video games (either during cutscenes or during the gameplay itself) are referred to as "full motion videos" or "FMVs". Cutscenes can also appear in other forms, such as a series of images or as plain text and audio.
The Sumerian Game (1966), an early mainframe game designed by Mabel Addis, introduced its Sumerian setting with a slideshow synchronized to an audio recording; it was essentially an unskippable introductory cutscene, but not an in-game cutscene.  Taito's arcade video game Space Invaders Part II (1979) introduced the use of brief comical intermission scenes between levels, where the last invader who gets shot limps off screen.   Namco's Pac-Man (1980) similarly featured cutscenes in the form of brief comical interludes, about Pac-Man and Blinky chasing each other. 
Shigeru Miyamoto's Donkey Kong (1981) took the cutscene concept a step further by using cutscenes to visually advance a complete story.  Data East's laserdisc video game Bega's Battle (1983) introduced animated full-motion video (FMV) cutscenes with voice acting to develop a story between the game's shooting stages, which became the standard approach to game storytelling years later.  The games Bugaboo (The Flea)  in 1983 and Karateka (1984) helped introduce the cutscene concept to home computers.
In the point-and-click adventure genre, Ron Gilbert introduced the cutscene concept with non-interactive plot sequences in Maniac Mansion (1987).  Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden for the Famicom in 1988 and NES the following year featured over 20 minutes of anime-like "cinema scenes" that helped tell an elaborate story. In addition to an introduction and ending, the cutscenes were intertwined between stages and gradually revealed the plot to the player. The use of animation or full-screen graphics was limited, consisting mostly of still illustrations with sound effects and dialogue written underneath; however the game employed rather sophisticated shots such as low camera angles and close-ups, as well as widescreen letterboxing, to create a movie-like experience.
Other early video games known to use cutscenes extensively include The Portopia Serial Murder Case in 1983; Valis in 1986; Phantasy Star and La Abadía del Crimen in 1987; Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter , and Prince of Persia and Zero Wing in 1989. Since then, cutscenes have been part of many video games, especially in action-adventure and role-playing video games.
Cutscenes became much more common with the rise of CD-ROM as the primary storage medium for video games, as its much greater storage space allowed developers to use more cinematically impressive media such as FMV and high-quality voice tracks. 
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Live-action cutscenes have many similarities to films. For example, the cutscenes in Wing Commander IV used both fully constructed sets, and well known actors such as Mark Hamill and Malcolm McDowell for the portrayal of characters.
Some movie tie-in games, such as Electronic Arts' The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars games, have also extensively used film footage and other assets from the film production in their cutscenes. Another movie tie-in, Enter the Matrix , used film footage shot concurrently with The Matrix Reloaded that was also directed by the film's directors, the Wachowskis. In the DreamWorks Interactive (now known as Danger Close Games) 1996 point and click title, The Neverhood Chronicles, full motion video cutscenes were made using the animation technique of stop motion and puppets sculpted out of plasticine, much like the game’s actual worlds and characters. The game’s creator, Douglas TenNapel was in charge of filming the cutscenes, as stated in the game’s behind the scenes video.
Pre-rendered cutscenes are animated and rendered by the game's developers, and take advantage of the full array of techniques of CGI, cel animation or graphic novel-style panel art. Like live-action shoots, pre-rendered cutscenes are often presented in full motion video.
Real time cutscenes are rendered on-the-fly using the same game engine as the graphics during gameplay. This technique is also known as Machinima.
Real time cutscenes are generally of much lower detail and visual quality than pre-rendered cutscenes, but can adapt to the state of the game. For example, some games allow the player character to wear several different outfits, and appear in cutscenes wearing the outfit the player has chosen. It is also possible to give the player control over camera movement during real time cutscenes, as seen in Dungeon Siege , Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty , Halo: Reach , and Kane & Lynch: Dead Men .
Many games use both pre-rendered and real time cutscenes as the developer feels is appropriate for each scene.
During the 1990s in particular, it was common for the techniques of live action, pre-rendering, and real time rendering to be combined in a single cutscene. For example, popular games such as Myst , Wing Commander III , and Phantasmagoria use film of live actors superimposed upon pre-rendered animated backgrounds for their cutscenes. Though Final Fantasy VII primarily uses real-time cutscenes, it has several scenes in which real-time graphics are combined with pre-rendered full motion video. Though rarer than the other two possible combinations, the pairing of live action video with real time graphics is seen in games such as Killing Time . 
Interactive cutscenes involve the computer taking control of the player character while prompts (such as a sequence of button presses) appear onscreen, requiring the player to follow them in order to continue or succeed at the action. This gameplay mechanic, commonly called quick time events, has its origins in interactive movie laserdisc video games such as Dragon's Lair , Road Blaster ,  and Space Ace . 
Director Steven Spielberg, director Guillermo del Toro, and game designer Ken Levine, all of whom are avid video gamers, criticized the use of cutscenes in games, calling them intrusive. Spielberg states that making the story flow naturally into the gameplay is a challenge for future game developers.   Hollywood writer Danny Bilson called cinematics the "last resort of game storytelling", as a person doesn't want to watch a movie when they are playing a video game.   Game designer Raph Koster criticized cutscenes as being the part that has "the largest possibility for emotional engagement, for art dare we say", while also being the bit that can be cut with no impact on the actual gameplay. Koster claims that because of this, many of the memorable peak emotional moments in video games are actually not given by the game itself at all.  It is a common criticism that cutscenes simply belong to a different medium. 
Others think of cutscenes as another tool designers can use to make engrossing video games. An article on GameFront calls upon a number of successful video games that make excessive use of cutscenes for storytelling purposes, referring to cutscenes as a highly effective way to communicate a storyteller's vision.  Rune Klevjer states: "A cutscene does not cut off gameplay. It is an integral part of the configurative experience", saying that they will always affect the rhythm of a game, but if they are well implemented, cutscenes can be an excellent tool for building suspense or providing the player with helpful or crucial visual information. 
Full-motion video (FMV) is a video game narration technique that relies upon pre-recorded video files to display action in the game. While many games feature FMVs as a way to present information during cutscenes, games that are primarily presented through FMVs are referred to as full-motion video games or interactive movies.
Gameplay is the specific way in which players interact with a game, and in particular with video games. Gameplay is the pattern defined through the game rules, connection between player and the game, challenges and overcoming them, plot and player's connection with it. Video game gameplay is distinct from graphics and audio elements. In card games, the equivalent term is play.
The golden age of arcade video games was the period of rapid growth, technological development and cultural influence of arcade video games, from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. The period began with the release of Space Invaders in 1978, which led to a wave of shoot 'em up games such as Galaxian and the vector graphics-based Asteroids in 1979, made possible by new computing technology that had greater power and lower costs. Arcade video games transitioned from black-and-white to color, with titles such as Frogger and Centipede taking advantage of the visual opportunities of bright palettes.
Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri is a 1996 tactical first-person shooter video game developed and published by LookingGlass Technologies. Set in a science-fictional depiction of the 24th century, the game follows a faction of humans who colonize the Alpha Centauri star system to escape from the Hegemony, a totalitarian Earth government. The player assumes the role of Nikola ap Io, the leader of an Alpha Centauri military unit, and undertakes missions against pirates and the Hegemony.
Brain Dead 13 is an interactive movie video game developed and originally published in North America by ReadySoft on 15 December 1995 and in Europe by Empire Interactive on the same year for MS-DOS. Unlike Dragon's Lair and Space Ace, which began as laserdisc arcade games, it was only released for personal computers and video game consoles. In the game, players assume the role of young computer expert Lance Galahad to defeat Dr. Nero Neurosis at his castle and its residents. Its gameplay is primarily presented through the use of full-motion video (FMV).
An interactive film is a video game or other interactive media that has characteristics of a cinematic film. In the video game industry, the term refers to a movie game, a video game that presents its gameplay in a cinematic, scripted manner, often through the use of full-motion video of either animated or live-action footage.
Real-time computer graphics or real-time rendering is the sub-field of computer graphics focused on producing and analyzing images in real time. The term can refer to anything from rendering an application's graphical user interface (GUI) to real-time image analysis, but is most often used in reference to interactive 3D computer graphics, typically using a graphics processing unit (GPU). One example of this concept is a video game that rapidly renders changing 3D environments to produce an illusion of motion.
Corpse Killer is a horror-themed rail shooter developed and published by Digital Pictures for the Sega CD, Sega CD 32X, 3DO, Sega Saturn, Windows 95 and Macintosh computers. An interactive variation on the zombie film genre, it utilizes live-action full motion video in a format similar to other games developed by Digital Pictures. Reviews for the game were mixed, generally criticizing the repetitive gameplay and low video quality, though many reviewers enjoyed the campy nature of the cutscenes. Corpse Killer was the first CD game released for the Sega 32X. It was later remastered for Steam, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
Command & Conquer is a real-time strategy video game developed by Westwood Studios and published by Virgin Interactive in 1995. Set in an alternate history, the game tells the story of a world war between two globalized factions: the Global Defense Initiative of the United Nations and a cult-like militant organization called the Brotherhood of Nod, led by the mysterious Kane. The groups compete for control of Tiberium, a mysterious substance that slowly spreads across the world.
Astron Belt (アストロンベルト) is a LaserDisc video game in the form of a third-person, space combat rail shooter, released in arcades in 1983 by Sega in Japan, and licensed to Bally Midway for release in North America. Developed in 1982, it was the first major arcade laserdisc video game. The game combines full-motion video (FMV) footage from the laserdisc with real-time 2D graphics. The arcade game was available in both upright and cockpit arcade cabinets, with the latter having illuminated buttons on the control panel, a larger 25" monitor, and a force feedback vibrating seat.
D is a horror-themed interactive movie and adventure game developed by Warp and directed by Kenji Eno. It was first published by Panasonic for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer in 1995, later being ported to the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and MS-DOS. The story follows Laura Harris as she goes to investigate a hospital after learning her father went on a mass murdering spree and barricaded himself inside. The hospital morphs into a castle upon her arrival, which she must explore to find her father. The player controls Laura through computer generated full-motion video (FMV) sequences, and must complete the game within two hours without a save or pause function.
Pre-rendering is the process in which video footage is not rendered in real-time by the hardware that is outputting or playing back the video. Instead, the video is a recording of footage that was previously rendered on different equipment. Pre-rendered assets may also be outsourced by the developer to an outside production company. Such assets usually have a level of complexity that is too great for the target platform to render in real-time.
MegaRace is a racing video game developed by Cryo. It features pre-rendered 3-D graphics and over twenty minutes of full-motion video of fictional game show host Lance Boyle. It was released for DOS in 1993. It was then released for the Sega CD and the 3DO the following year. It spawned two sequels, MegaRace 2 and MegaRace 3.
Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger is the third main game in Chris Roberts' Wing Commander science fiction space combat simulation video game series, developed and released by Origin Systems in December 1994. It was a departure from previous games in the series in that it uses extensive live action full-motion video to add an interactive movie-style presentation to the space combat gameplay, emphasized by its advertising slogan, "Don't watch the game, play the movie!". The game's more than two hours of video featured a number of prominent movie stars including Mark Hamill as Colonel Christopher "Maverick" Blair, Malcolm McDowell as Admiral Tolwyn, John Rhys-Davies as James "Paladin" Taggart and Thrakhath nar Kiranka, and Tom Wilson as Todd "Maniac" Marshall.
Creature Shock is a 1994 sci-fi first-person shooter game released for MS-DOS and 3DO. It was developed by Argonaut Games and published by Virgin Interactive. The game was later ported to the CD-i, Sega Saturn and PlayStation video game systems.
In video games, a quick time event (QTE) is a method of context-sensitive gameplay in which the player performs actions on the control device shortly after the appearance of an on-screen instruction/prompt. It allows for limited control of the game character during cut scenes or cinematic sequences in the game. Performing the wrong prompt, mistiming the action, or not performing any action at all results in the character's failure at their task, resulting in a death/failure animation and often an immediate game over or the loss of a life, with some games providing a lesser but significant penalty of sorts instead.
A variety of computer graphic techniques have been used to display video game content throughout the history of video games. The predominance of individual techniques have evolved over time, primarily due to hardware advances and restrictions such as the processing power of central or graphics processing units.
An adventure game is a video game genre in which the player assumes the role of a protagonist in an interactive story, driven by exploration and/or puzzle-solving. The genre's focus on story allows it to draw heavily from other narrative-based media, such as literature and film, encompassing a wide variety of genres. Most adventure games are designed for a single player, since the emphasis on story and character makes multiplayer design difficult. Colossal Cave Adventure is identified as the first such adventure game, first released in 1976, while other notable adventure game series include Zork, King's Quest, Monkey Island, Syberia, and Myst.
Ultraman Powered is a fighting game developed by Tose and published by Bandai for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer. The player takes on the role of the extraterrestrial superhero Ultraman Powered, tasked with protecting the Earth from destructive aliens and monsters. Gameplay primarily consists of one-on-one battles where the player must deplete an adversary's health meter using both basic and special fighting techniques. The game also contains 3D rail shooter sections and a two-player versus option.
Gundam 0079: The War for Earth is a video game developed by Presto Studios and published by Bandai Digital Entertainment for Macintosh, Windows, PlayStation, and Apple Bandai Pippin.
Deluxe Space Invaders landed in 1979. Titled Space Invaders Part II in Japan, the game replicated the frenzy of the original but didn't bring much novelty to the arcade. Kudos, however, to Taito for one innovation: The sequel featured funny little intermission scenes between levels (a precursor to the breaks in Pac-Man), in which the last invader you shot would limp off screen.
Some points in key battles (usually with bosses) integrate QTE (quick-time events), which fans of Shenmue and Indigo Prophecy might like, but which we've been doing since Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. Time to move on, gents.
Well, that would leave the part that has the largest possibility for emotional engagement, for art dare we say, in the bit that can be cut with no impact to gameplay whatsoever. This is why I say that many of the peak emotional moments we remember in games are actually "cheating" – they're not given to us by the game at all, but by cutscenes.