It's not uncommon to find praise for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves that cites its impressive melding of cinema and gameplay. You truly feel like you're playing an Indiana Jones movie, albeit swapping Harrison Ford for Nathan Drake. Paramount to executing that are the game's detailed cut-scenes. Ironically, however, Naughty Dog creative director Bruce Straley told an audience at the Game Developers Conference this afternoon that cut-scenes are "counter to our medium [games]."
"There is a cost for taking away a player's control," cautioned Straley. "In other words, removing control is counter to our medium. If we all wanted to watch a movie, we'd be in a theater."
That's not to say developers shouldn't be incorporating cut-scenes into their game. It's actually a necessity to drive a cinematic narrative, he argued. What's needed is careful balance between cut-scenes, gameplay and finding ways to have the two seamlessly transition from one another.
"If we have a cut-scene," he continued, "we have to weigh whether the moment is dramatic enough to justify a cut-scene, consider how long the cut-scene's going to go on for and how frequently we're going to cut into the gameplay."
Straley was critical of Naughty Dog's execution of his own proposal, walking through instances where the team struggled to meld cut-scenes and gameplay (i.e. Chloe blowing up the truck).