Old Dialogue Cutscenes vs Post-HoT Dialogue Cutscenes — Guild Wars 2 Forums

Old Dialogue Cutscenes vs Post-HoT Dialogue Cutscenes

eyestrain.3056eyestrain.3056 Member ✭✭✭
edited November 2, 2017 in Guild Wars 2 Discussion

While replaying PoF story mode, I can't help but look back to the way dialogue was presented pre-HoT, where you would get a full screen cinematic with your character and who they were speaking to, rather than just having npcs and your character chat in the game. You can still see the old style cutscenes in personal story and dungeons. I find myself missing the old style the more often I replay the story.
guild-wars-2-cutscene.jpg

A few of the pros of the old style:

  • You can see your own character and who you are speaking to more clearly, and you can see their speaking animations more clearly too.
  • (PS- You don't have to change your camera settings or fiddle with your character to try and get a good view of them/make them look natural. I thought of this when talking with someone about how my charr often clips into other charr unless standing the perfect distance away!)
  • Distractions like minis, other players, pets, etc. Don't break the narrative immersion.
  • Most importantly- You can skip either single lines of dialogue, or the entire scene if you have watched it before!

This last one is a huge time saver. I understand why anet might not want players to skip important dialogue and end up lost as to what is happening. But judging by my friends who are not interested in the story, they don't read or pay attention anyway, and for those of us replaying the story, especially for achievements, having to sit through several minutes of npc interaction is an absolute chore. I usually end up alt-tabbing to wait for them to finish which disconnects me from the game even more than if I had been able to just skip the dialogue cinematic.

What do you guys think? What are the pros of the new style vs the old one? Which do you prefer?

Comments

  • Danikat.8537Danikat.8537 Member ✭✭✭✭

    I like both for different reasons. Overall I think the new style is actually better for presenting the story, but for my own, pretty specific reasons I prefer the old style.

    See, I'm slightly dyslexic, meaning I read slowly, and I usually have to play GW2 with the sound turned off so I can't listen to the dialogue. Between the two it means having the dialogue presented in the middle of the screen with no distractions and nothing to do but read it is far, far better for me. With the new system I often have to wait until a conversation is over, the combat/whatever the follows it is over and then go back and re-read it in the chat box because I couldn't keep up while it was happening.

    But on the rare occasions I'm able to play with the sound on I think the new style is much better. For one thing it allows for proper pacing and for a mix of dialogue and actions. There's several places where the old style just looks absurd because someone's saying "Oh no! What's wrong!" or "What was that?" or otherwise reacting to something that happened but all you see is two people calmly standing there having a chat. I also feel like it amplifies occasional issues with the voice acting or writing because it looks like two actors standing in a studio reading dialogue, so it pulls me out of the scene and reminds me that I'm listening to two voice actors reading a script in a sound studio.

    My personal favourite would be a mix of both - basically the new style but with an option to click something to progress to the next line or event and an option to skip the whole thing.

    The problem with skipping the new ones is of course then they'd have to teleport everyone to their new locations - activate any objects that are supposed to move/explode/whatever during the conversation and it could potentially look a mess and give away some of the 'tricks of the trade'. But I doubt people care about how it looks when they're skipping the story anyway.

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  • eyestrain.3056eyestrain.3056 Member ✭✭✭

    I hadn't thought about the accessibility side of it but that's also important, and i'm certain you're not the only player with that issue.
    I agree that a mix would be best. There are times when you are fulfilling several tasks while dialogue pops in and out are just fine with the way things are now. I just keep having flashbacks to some of the early HoT dialogue chains (the first mission in verdant brink for example) which has a heinous amount of waiting on npcs before there is any player interaction at all. For a few of those achievements you have to wait through several minutes of dialogue before you even get the chance to play. Situations like that being skippable would be a blessing. There are a bunch of examples in PoF of standing in front of an npc and waiting while the conversation plays out that would suit the old style as well. As long as the player is actually doing something and interacting with the world in a way that progresses the story, the new style is great. It's just when you're sitting there twiddling your thumbs that I wish we at least had the option of the old style, or to skip dialogue in some other way.

  • Khisanth.2948Khisanth.2948 Member ✭✭✭✭

    The second most annoying thing about the new format are the pointless pauses where it just stops and you have to go and F an NPC to continue. Some of it just too long. Standing around several minutes for repeated information is neither useful nor fun.

  • eyestrain.3056eyestrain.3056 Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2, 2017

    @ThomasC.1056 said:
    I'm more for the old cinematics version :

    • They bring an opportunity to look at your character from a different perspective, and be self-satisfied by your exquisite taste in designing a suit of armor ;
    • Same goes for NPCs, aside from the exquisite taste part ;
    • You can see more details and things on characters models that you otherwise wouldn't enjoy as much ;

    It's narcissistic but I really like seeing my character up close since I always spend a lot of time fashion wars-ing. ; w ;

  • Mewcifer.5198Mewcifer.5198 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2, 2017

    I am with some other posters. I enjoy both. Each works best for different situations. While the old style didn't really work well for scenes where more than 2 people were talking, it did create more of a sense of being involved in the conversation when it was just me and one other npc.

    And being able to skip through long dialogs that I have heard a million times already is very useful.

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  • Nilson.9865Nilson.9865 Member ✭✭✭

    Old dialogue cutscenes make gw2 different from other mmorpgs. When your character is talking to NPC and "Hey, that's me, Mr. Savior of the World, the Movie Star, The Pact Commander" The More you see them the more you feel that is indeed your story. These "old" dialugue cutscenses are nice and i like them so much, but here's the thing in core story we have cutscene at the beginning of mission, next we have to move to our objective, after success we will watch another cutscene. There was plan of mission, and at the end what we are going to do next. These cutscenes took our attention, also gave us a little break during mission.

    In Living World, HoT, PoF stories we have dialogue and interactions between NPC that can't be shown with that "old" way. We will miss the image of current moment(golem malfunction, dialogues that includes spells/action animation, quick response of environment to the actions of NPCs) Plus characters in these stories rarely have time to stop and talk, they are doing it on the way to mission objective. How can you pause assault/sacrifice/escape moment with cutscene? What will be doing hostile NPC, wait and then attack ? There really was many moments where they could put old dialogue cutscene, but Anet stick up with new way of telling story. I hope that Anet will bring good old dialogue cutscenes for future stories. Will they include more of them or not, anyway i'll be glad to playthrough story :)

  • Coulter.2315Coulter.2315 Member ✭✭✭

    I much prefer the new system, makes it feel more dynamic and adds to immersion.

  • Vyrulisse.1246Vyrulisse.1246 Member ✭✭✭

    I liked the old system because it drew me in more to a conversation. It's hard for me to be immersed in something when there's a million players jumping around while a serious conversation is going on with conversations in the open world.

    Also the old system LET ME SKIP dialogue that I've seen a million times and was very alt friendly in that regard. My god doing Living Story and hearing Taimi especially drone on and on and on and on and on and on is torture.

  • Ashantara.8731Ashantara.8731 Member ✭✭✭✭

    I miss the old cutscenes. They were uniquely done, classy, you could see your characters up close, plus you could skip cutscenes whenever you wanted.

    So yes, preferred those to the current way extensive dialogue is being handled.

  • eyestrain.3056eyestrain.3056 Member ✭✭✭

    @Nilson.9865 said:
    In Living World, HoT, PoF stories we have dialogue and interactions between NPC that can't be shown with that "old" way. We will miss the image of current moment(golem malfunction, dialogues that includes spells/action animation, quick response of environment to the actions of NPCs) Plus characters in these stories rarely have time to stop and talk, they are doing it on the way to mission objective. How can you pause assault/sacrifice/escape moment with cutscene? What will be doing hostile NPC, wait and then attack ?

    I agree, times when the player is taking action the new style works best. As long as I'm not just sitting in place doing nothing!
    A combination of both would be great in my opinion.

  • I prefer the new way as it keeps you in the world and to me dosnt feel disconnected. Also gives more opportunities for nocs yo preform actions seamlessly with out jumping in and out of the old style cutsceans

  • For the first play-through I do like the new way the dialog works ... however, I really liked the old cut scenes for taking my alts through. Please give us an option to skip the dialogue on multiple play throughs!! I really just want to get to the action-parts to knock out achievements, not listen to characters whine and/or monologue at me for the dozenth time.

  • starlinvf.1358starlinvf.1358 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 3, 2017

    The old system was kind of clunky in that it only works for exposition... which is why you never noticed its short comings, because those moments were always 100% exposition. The live style allows for visual context, and fixes an issue typical with the Visual Novel format..... having more then 3 people in a conversation. Its not apparent unless know a little about scene framing; but the VN format only really supports 3 speakers without getting confusing. But because the cut scenes have you as an outside observer, it only has 2 speakers, and has to cut back and forth between the pairings to know who they are addressing. This mistake happens in several dense conversations in the Personal story, where one side is talking to the other, but is talking to someone else off screen who only fades in to make the response.
    But it gets really noticeable when someone is reacting to an event off screen before it happens, and then the cut scene drops out to show you that event..... "Oh no, whats that?" or "Where did you come from?". The live format allows the reactions to occur in real time, and rewards astute players for noticing the build up before the NPCs do. The only major challenge with that is making sure the player is facing the right way when it happens.... but careful placement of NPC elements, can wrangle most if them into certain view angles. If you look at the final battle of POF, there is no way that sequence of events would had been doable with the cutscene format.

    The only significant issue I have with the live cut scenes is players not knowing about RP walk (and the story sections not informing the players of it). Its a more an issue with escort movement in general, but a lot of "let take a walk" conversations benefit from the speed matching; yet players will commonly default to sporadic movement to keep relative position with the NPCs, because they're always in Run mode. I've been wanting to suggest a formation mode feature during these types of events, but there are a number of challenges with control transition that are hard to make work right on the technical side. Ideally I'd like to see a setup where a player approaches their conversation target (if its walking), and starts scaling the movement speed automatically to drift the player into a certain position ideal for the conversation to take place. Once on the rail, the character can just auto pilot while the conversation plays out (even enables use of scripted emotes as desired). If the player wants to deviate, they hold down a movement key, and the system scales them out of it, and back into full control. This has the potential to make use of better scene arrangement, and soft camera controls to guide the view point, giving a live shot some of the qualities of an FMV cut scene ,without all the hard shot transitions or fully robbing the player of controls. Gears of War uses a rough version of this for its exposition scenes, but that game also had the advantage of tighter level design that might not be afforded with GW2's typical level design.

  • Jinroh.4251Jinroh.4251 Member ✭✭✭

    I remember in all of Season 1 and 2 where we were the 'silent protagonist'. Hearing my character start talking again in HOT was jarring since I hadn't heard their voice aside from a few lines during combat and getting buffed.

  • The old cutscenes feel awkward to me. They literally stop the game like a old-style news broadcast ("we interrupt this program to bring you a special news report: you can give the medicine to your friends' dad!" They have an odd focus on just two characters. And it forces us to remember that this is a game, because it's literally: he talks, pause, she talks, pause, etc.

    The new dialogue has its own issues, but I think that is more of an implementation issue. On the whole, I remain immersed in the game.

    My main concern is that there's just too much talking generally, with no way to shortcut it. In PoF story, Kormir literally tells a story for 10 minutes. 10 minutes! In the old system, we could click through (awkward but effective); in the current system, I brush my teeth, brush the cat's teeth, clean the litter box, and when I come back, Kormir is still talking. (I exaggerate for effect, but just a little.)

    As @Jinroh.4251 reminds us, our character is also more involved now, than during LS1-2. That works great when the voice actor is up to the job. It's less great with those who... aren't. (And I'm not mentioning which I love or hate, because surprisingly, it turns out some people love the VA I think is just "phoning in" a performance and others hate the ones that I think are stellar.)


    Separately, big thumbs up to the OP: you asked a very open-ended question that is leading to some interesting insights, while at the same time, offering your own strong opinion without imposing it on those to follow. It's nice to see a discussion start off on the right foot.

    "Face the facts. Then act on them. It's ...the only doctrine I have to offer you, & it's harder than you'd think, because I swear humans seem hardwired to do anything but. Face the facts. Don't pray, don't wish, ...FACE THE FACTS. THEN act." — Quellcrist Falconer

  • eyestrain.3056eyestrain.3056 Member ✭✭✭

    @Illconceived Was Na.9781 said:
    Separately, big thumbs up to the OP: you asked a very open-ended question that is leading to some interesting insights, while at the same time, offering your own strong opinion without imposing it on those to follow. It's nice to see a discussion start off on the right foot.

    Thanks so much :3
    The old style cutscenes being jarring and how dialogue heavy the story often is are really good points. I wonder what a more "show, don't tell" approach would look like in gw2? I think the open world exploration actually does a nice job of this, since each area has its own story and history, and the interaction of npcs with each other often fleshes that out if you slow down to listen to them talk. But for a grand "hero's journey" type narrative I don't know how else anet could guide the player and contextualize what they are doing when we have to quickly move from one problem to another. Sometimes I feel like we breeze TOO quickly from beat to beat, but that's a different topic.

    @starlinvf.1358 said:
    ... This has the potential to make use of better scene arrangement, and soft camera controls to guide the view point, giving a live shot some of the qualities of an FMV cut scene ,without all the hard shot transitions or fully robbing the player of controls.

    Having the camera and controls automatically become more cinematic (with the option to break free) would be a cool solution imo. Like I mentioned in first post, maneuvering my character and adjusting my camera settings back and forth just to see the characters well is a real pain, but missing out on the nice visuals and details is a shame.

  • Celldrax.2849Celldrax.2849 Member ✭✭✭

    I much prefer the original style since I enjoy cinematics.

    Oh yeah, and of course you can skip the dialogue.

    Please anet, add some sort of keybind to skip non-cinematic dialogue we've heard 20 times before. It's such a waste of time.

  • Zenith.7301Zenith.7301 Member ✭✭✭✭

    I just find it really irritating when both interesting ambient dialogue and story dialogue clash and I miss out on both. It's really stupid that ambient dialogue isn't even on chat history.

  • Leo G.4501Leo G.4501 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Another thing I was wondering, do the old-style cutscenes use enhanced texture settings? I usually have my setting overall at medium-high because I run lots of stuff in the background and it helps keep frames stable but during cutscenes, my character looks a bit better than when I just zoom in.

    Another thing that is obvious is, with the new-style dialog, if you zoom in, the lip-sync is off a lot. Doing dungeons and watching the dialog cutscenes, I realized just how much better the lip-sync is. Maybe this is a particular issue with my setup and frames slowing down is causing the desync in the new-style.

    I prefer the old-style and to this day don't understand why people were so against them and arguing for them to be changed. The old-style is a lot more stylized than the new but just like any stylized means of conveying something, it's usually at the cost of something to emphasize a particular feature. I feel the new-style isn't stylized at all, very much non-stylized and also sacrifices more for it making it ulimately worse than the old more stylized format.

    If ever they tried re-implementing them, I'd just suggest they put more emotes on the characters (the one speaking and the one not speaking) and it'd be perfect.

  • TheQuickFox.3826TheQuickFox.3826 Member ✭✭✭✭

    I prefer the in-engine realtime cinematics over the pre-recorded ones. I play Guild Wars 2 at 3440x1440 and it is quite disappointing to see an upscaled, relatively low-res video instead of a true, in-game rendering using your character and the NPC's.

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  • eyestrain.3056eyestrain.3056 Member ✭✭✭

    I hadn't even thought about resolution. If you have an amazing computer setup, the pre rendered cinematic probably doesnt look as nice. But for those of us on potatoes it actually looks a lot nicer. More pros and cons :')

    @Zenith.7301 I agree. I really love the ambient dialogue and how it tells its own story. Even after thousands of hours and five years playing the game I still find new snippets sometimes. I imagine it is hard to avoid overlaps and I know anet fixed one in a recent patch (in elon riverlands). But I definitely want to hear everything- and not all at the same time.

  • Ohoni.6057Ohoni.6057 Member ✭✭✭✭

    I didn't mind the old style, but it didn't allow them to incorporate action or surprise into the dialog, it was all "dialog. . . thing happens. . . dialog." It would be nice if they had some sort of prompt to speed up or skip in-game cutscenes, but I can deal with it.

  • I have ALWAYS considered game engine "cut scenes" to be a blatant insult. It's a fiscal thing. It's lazy. It's offensive.

    Please do not call in-game engine dialogue "cut-scenes/ cinenatics"

    There are a few exceptions.

    In this game, I personally prefer the season1 way it was done. And the normal dungeon/ PS

  • I want to add that even though the side views from dungeons and PS are in-game graphics it is okay because it is done artistically enough to satisfy me. It is simple, and nice to look at.

    But for big things I expect full rendered niceness

  • kharmin.7683kharmin.7683 Member ✭✭✭✭

    I'm guessing that the new way is cheaper to produce.

    I am a very casual player.
    Very.
    Casual.

  • kurfu.5623kurfu.5623 Member ✭✭✭

    The old style can be skipped, which was nice after you had already heard the dialogue once or twice.

    This is my signature. It is not very exciting.

  • eyestrain.3056eyestrain.3056 Member ✭✭✭

    @kharmin.7683 said:
    I'm guessing that the new way is cheaper to produce.

    I would be really interested in knowing how time/resource intensive they are in comparison to each other.

  • Lyger.5429Lyger.5429 Member ✭✭✭

    @starlinvf.1358 said:
    Ideally I'd like to see a setup where a player approaches their conversation target (if its walking), and starts scaling the movement speed automatically to drift the player into a certain position ideal for the conversation to take place. Once on the rail, the character can just auto pilot while the conversation plays out (even enables use of scripted emotes as desired). If the player wants to deviate, they hold down a movement key, and the system scales them out of it, and back into full control. This has the potential to make use of better scene arrangement, and soft camera controls to guide the view point, giving a live shot some of the qualities of an FMV cut scene ,without all the hard shot transitions or fully robbing the player of controls. Gears of War uses a rough version of this for its exposition scenes, but that game also had the advantage of tighter level design that might not be afforded with GW2's typical level design.

    This would actually be a really good idea, nothing more annoying than having cut-off or overlapping dialogue, due to the PC unknowingly triggering the next set of lines by a random NPC

  • notebene.3190notebene.3190 Member ✭✭✭✭

    My problem with the newer(ish) cut scenes just being 'in the game' is how they handle (or, completely mishandle) dealing with sound.

    I have a 5.1 DTS system, and the dialog will only be loud if I'm the proper distance from a character, and facing the character that is speaking. That's the only time it will come out the center channel. When you watch a movie, you might have all sorts of special effects happening in all the speakers, or 'ambient dialog' happening off in the other speakers, based on where they want to give you the illusion that the people mumbling are, relative to the action, but when people are talking, like, important people, who have their name in the credits, and at least one line of dialog. That dialog is sent to the center channel.

    In this game, even when important dialog is happening, they don't bother sending that to the center channel. They let it adhere (lazily) to this rule where there is one imaginary, directional microphone hanging a few feet in front of my head...and that's it.

    So on the one hand, the new way they do cut scenes provides some interesting depth that they don't get with the "two people side by side dialog" method. And largely, I guess I like it. I suppose I get why some people would like some of that skippable.

    But it would be 'really' nice to actually 'hear' what everyone is saying when they are talking to me. Without having to play a little mini game of "point your imaginary directional microphone in the right direction".

    In the event I don't get a chance, thank you all for the company and help when I needed it from time to time.

  • Zaklex.6308Zaklex.6308 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @eyestrain.3056 said:

    @kharmin.7683 said:
    I'm guessing that the new way is cheaper to produce.

    I would be really interested in knowing how time/resource intensive they are in comparison to each other.

    We actually got that answer quite a while ago, I believe it was not to much after the new style scenes started to be used. I hate to paraphrase the answer because I'm a little fuzzy on it, but I do seem to remember it something along the lines as being less arduous to make them the new way then the original cut scene format...and in case everyone doesn't remember; your character wasn't always in the cutscene with the npc they were talking to, I can remember at least two scenes that had someone else in the scene with your character for what ever reason(not sure if it was because the off screen character was only saying a line or two or some other reason). I also don't find myself having to deal with a "million" other players being in the way with mini's, usually it's just my character...or if it's brand new content and everyone is doing it once the only voices I hear are my own characters and the npc's, but then I've always been good at just ignoring extraneous items(i.e. other non-essential characters and players).

    Yes...no...maybe...what do you want, can't you see I'm busy saving the world...AGAIN!

  • Leo G.4501Leo G.4501 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 6, 2017

    @kharmin.7683 said:
    I'm guessing that the new way is cheaper to produce.

    I would be really interested in knowing how time/resource intensive they are in comparison to each other.

    If we're making a direct comparison to the old set of staged dialog and the new, the new has a lot more player dialog thus more cost since all the player voice actors have to voice it. The old style was likely a setup that was coded with the initial game and the chunk of code had a monetary value.

    If we're making a hypothetical compariosn (likely what you mean), I'm curious myself. I'd assume when the game was in development, a "program" or set of code was made so that so that it was more a dynamic programmed instanced that mainly required variables like the background image, the NPCs'/players' model data, and emotes those NPCs/players performed. The bulk of the effort woud likely be lip syncing those NPCs'/players' models which likely was another set of code. Overall, I'm going to make the assumption that there really isn't any significant cost difference. It's mainly just some coding with a bit of polish on the lip-sync.

  • @ThomasC.1056 said:
    I'm more for the old cinematics version :

    • They bring an opportunity to look at your character from a different perspective, and be self-satisfied by your exquisite taste in designing a suit of armor ;
    • Same goes for NPCs, aside from the exquisite taste part ;
    • You can see more details and things on characters models that you otherwise wouldn't enjoy as much ;
    • It provides an invulnerable pause in an instance. And sometimes, it's nice to have a little rest to take your breath.
    • As you're invulnerable, you don't need to worry about your surroundings. It happened frequently in HoT LWS3 and PoF that a huge dialogs part rolls up while finishing a fight, and you just can't focus on it.
    • Skippable for whoever doesn't care about the 2 previous points.

    This plus I love some of the art in the old cutscenes.

    I wish they would bring that style back, I really enjoyed it.

  • Chadramar.8156Chadramar.8156 Member ✭✭✭

    I like both. The old style had a certain unique charm and you got to see the characters involved more clearly, but the new style doesn't "take you out of the world" and allows for better conversations between 3+ characters. Though as others have said, the old style also has the advantage of providing combat immunity and not being accidentally skippable if you move too fast, while also being skippable if you want it to be (and still outputting everything into the chat for a quick-glance overview).

  • Cantatus.4065Cantatus.4065 Member ✭✭✭

    @Nifer.6324 said:
    For the first play-through I do like the new way the dialog works ... however, I really liked the old cut scenes for taking my alts through. Please give us an option to skip the dialogue on multiple play throughs!! I really just want to get to the action-parts to knock out achievements, not listen to characters whine and/or monologue at me for the dozenth time.

    This is my issue with the new version. I honestly don't have a preference when it comes to the aesthetics, but I've been working on getting the LWS2 achievements for the Illuminated Armor collection, and it's quickly become clear to me how much I miss having the ability to skip dialogue. It gets a little old redoing these chapters and having to sit through the same discussion every time I have to reset or do another run for a different achievement. If subsequent replays let you skip dialogue or just cut it out entirely if you wanted, I'd be perfectly fine with the new version. As it is, it's just inconvenient compared to the old cut scenes.

  • eyestrain.3056eyestrain.3056 Member ✭✭✭

    Issues with positional audio and accidentally moving too far from the npcs and skipping dialogue are two other issues I didn't even think of. I don't think the old cutscenes were perfect but the more I think about both styles, the more I would like to see both used rather than just one or the other since they both have strengths and weaknesses.

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