How To Seed Your Story With Cutscenes (Acagamic Tip Tuesday #13)

the acagamic tip tuesday May 10, 2022
Dragon spitting fire from Demon's souls.

Welcome back to The Acagamic Tip Tuesday.

Each Tuesday, I will send you a tip from the world of UX Research & Design for games. At my website The Acagamic, I focus on training people to become better researchers and designers for games and beyond.

Each tip will only take a few minutes to read.

Game UX Tip of the Week

Cutscene Story Seeding: Seed basic story information to motivate gameplay from the start so that even before players begin playing the game, they understand what's coming.

At the beginning of the game or the level, you seed some subtle information about the background story, game map, or interactions players will experience. Because skipping cutscenes is a player-empowering design practice, consider providing this information only on the first playthrough (alternatively, as a recap if players have been out of the game for a while). This lends itself well to role-playing and adventure games that feature a rich story.

A cinematic intro video of the game God of War showing the son and father in their first discussion.

In the game God of War, the relationship between Kratos and his son is introduced right from the beginning. Later in the game, the player controls both of them, reinforcing the narrative unit of the two main characters.

In Demon's Souls (remake), opening cutscenes provide a panoramic overview of in-game places and introduce enemies the player will later encounter.

Three Game UX Tweets

Two Links

UX Games Research Tip of the Week

The researchers in this study (my team) used semi-structured interviews and the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (MFQ30) to collect data from 19 participants who played Detroit: Become Human. They wanted to investigate whether people apply their real-life morals toward in-game decisions. In-game decisions in cinematic choice-based adventure games (CCAG) often have a moral component to provide the right amount of interestingness for the player, often by putting the player in an ethical dilemma. The team used thematic analysis to explore factors of morality-driven choices and how players experience them.

The study findings suggest that players translate real-life morality to in-game decisions at least for the first playthrough whereas subsequent playthroughs might be driven by experimentation. Other factors affect their moral choices, too. For example, they make choices that are beneficial for their characters to avoid experiencing guilt.

Read the full study:

Karina Arrambide, John Yoon, Cayley MacArthur, Katja Rogers, Alessandra Luz, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2022. “I Don’t Want To Shoot The Android”: Players Translate Real-Life Moral Intuitions to In-Game Decisions in Detroit: Become Human. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 469, 1–15.

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