I grew up playing LAN games of Age of Empires and Diablo 1, and designing trench warfare levels on Quake 2 at a mate’s place on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Through those games I fell in love with cut scenes. No matter was going on, if there was a cut scene playing, the world ending would not have broken my concentration from the screen. As I got older, and the technology available to animators improved, the world of cut scenes exploded thanks to franchises like Diablo and Starcraft. Now, they are a key part of the gaming experience, and if you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about you are in for a deadset treat. However, if you are a fellow cut scene fanatic, then I’m relatively sure it’s time to have an argument.
Let’s get stuck in! I bring you the top five video game cut scenes.
Battle for the Amerigo (Starcraft)
Hands down my favourite cut scene of all time. Battle for the Amerigo channels a little bit of the Aliens colonial soldiers and a little bit of the Tyranids from Warhammer 40,000 to create short-form cinematic brilliance. With a brooding environment and the overt cockiness of the marines at the start offset against the immediate fear and panic as they are attacked, Battle for the Amerigo is just pure chef’s kiss.
Inarius versus Lilith (Diable IV)
Having just finished a review of Diablo IV, I have to say that top-to-bottom this game is just pure dark beauty. Part of that beauty is its cut scenes–gothic horror gorgeousness. And Inarius vs. Lilith is the pinnacle of them. For me, the moment Inarius calls to the heavens and hears nothing is one of the greatest pieces of video storytelling in any video game, ever.
Dawn of War game intro
Fellow fans of Warhammer 40,000 were likely just as excited as I was when we found out Dawn of War was in the making. But when that intro scene was first played on screen, I imagine they joined me in absolutely frothing with excitement. This video captured tabletop wargaming perfectly with the Blood Ravens manning their defences while the crazy orks charged down the hill with an almighty waaaaggggghhhhhh. Pure fun.
Giving the Covenant back their Bomb (Halo 2)
Badarse. No other word sums up this video any better. Smoosh together all of the most epic action heroes into one suit of armour and you have the Master Chief. Then, strap him to a bomb capable of destroying a capital ship, fling him out into space, cut through some of the coolest space battle animations of the time to showcase the scope of the battle, and see what happens. This is pure awesomeness.
Intro for Quake 2
The cut scene that made me fall in love with cut scenes. This is back where–as best as this aging memory serves–it all started for me. This isn’t going to blow you away with explosions and action, but what this cut scene did was set the mood for the game like few have before, or after it. The scene set through news reports followed by growing panic of the drop troops as things start to go wrong is just magnificent audio storytelling.