NGai Croal: I am not an anti-cutscene advocate, though I know several people who are. There are some things – certain types of exposition, bits of information, epic sequences of destruction or complicated scenes of emotion – that are delivered more efficiently, more spectacularly, more cost effectively, more touchingly, through cutscenes.
I am a fan of the Half-Life-style opening sequence, where the player's steady, semi-interactive movement through a series of spaces slowly seduces him or her into the game's fictional reality. Yet I'm not convinced of the inherent superiority of Valve staging mini-plays for the benefit of the person puppeteering the world's most famous mute over kicking back and watching one of Hideo Kojima's History Channel-fuelled debates between two weary soldiers before or after a boss fight.
There's more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes, and the medium is still too young to be overly doctrinal on this subject.