Monolith Soft released a new interview with two of their event animators talking about the difference between cutscenes and scripted events, continuity between scenes and gameplay in video games, and the ins and outs of their job. Miura is one of the animators in charge of cutscenes, while Katsuta works with scripted events.
While it varies from project to project, Monolith Soft distinguished two types of events in most of the company’s games. The first one of this are cutscenes. These use elaborate camera angles, particular character direction, and motion capture. The second one is scripted events. They are made by using premade stock character animations and movements, and combining them with specialized tools.
Both Monolith Soft creatives also talked about maintaining continuity between cutscenes and gameplay. Katsuta said that if a technique or move is not usable at a certain part of the game, they need to work around that. Or if the clothes get dirty during a cutscene, they also need to communicate that properly so that when players regain control these elements remain consistent.
Katsuta added that they also have to work around the possibility of the player only ever watching a cutscene or event once, so they need to make sure to craft it so that it is as clear as possible. In cases where a cutscene is immediately followed by a scripted event, sometimes they will use a particular animation from the previous cutscene for the beginning of the event, so that the transition from cutscene to scripted event looks natural.
As a reminder, Monolith Soft’s latest title is Xenoblade Chronicles 3, which is available for the Nintendo Switch. Its DLC expansion, Future Redeemed, released on April 25, 2023.