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|There is more information available on this subject at Cutscene on the English Wikipedia.|
In the Halo series, a cutscene, often spelled cut scene, is an in-game cinematic movie in which the player(s) temporarily loses control over their character(s). Cutscenes, often used to show storyline events, are usually played between campaign missions. They are sometimes played during a mission.
Cutscenes in the Halo shooter games are not always pre-rendered movies; instead, they are usually rendered in real time, using in-game assets. Because of this, cutscenes can sometimes be altered by moving objects into the locations where the cutscenes are about to take place. In several cases, cutscenes are rendered in hidden areas that are (usually) totally inaccessible to players; the Secret Room On The Ark is an example of this. The Pan Cam in Halo 3's Theater mode can be used to "break into" some of these areas. In Halo 3: ODST, the first cutscene, "Prepare to Drop", is accessible through the Firefight lobby by means of a glitch. This will allow players to free roam around the entire area where the cutscene takes place. In Halo 3's theater mode when watching your pre-made campaign game when a cutscene plays you will not be able to watch it but simply will experience a flash and will continue from the view of the player.
In all Halo: Combat Evolved cutscenes, John-117 is always holding an Assault rifle, even in the level Two Betrayals, where the player starts with an M90 Shotgun and a Plasma Pistol. In Halo 2, the cutscene shows the player's primary weapon or, if the primary isn't available, the secondary weapon. This also applies in Halo 3, but certain levels such as The Ark has a wide variety of weapons, creating difficulty for Bungie Studios to create multiple cutscene variants, so the cutscenes in these levels usually depict John-117 wielding the MA5C Assault rifle and the Arbiter the Covenant Carbine. Also, levels like The Covenant, in which weapons held by the character play a major role in the cutscene, cause the cutscene to ignore what weapon the player is wielding. In Halo 3: ODST, the main characters are always holding their preferred "signature weapon", no matter what weapon the player has traded with them:
- Lance Corporal The Rookie: M7S Caseless Submachine Gun
- Private First Class Michael "Mickey" Crespo: M90 Close Assault Weapon System or M7S Caseless Submachine Gun
While most cutscenes in the Halo series are not pre-rendered, there is one cutscene in the trilogy that is pre-rendered. This cutscene, which appears after the credits in Halo: Combat Evolved, shows 343 Guilty Spark flying around in space. This cutscene is part of the Halo credits video file which is entirely pre-rendered using Bink Video.
- In Halo: Reach, none of the cutscenes show the player's or Noble Team's Combat Knives.
- If you place an object, such as a deployable shield, right where a character will walk during a cutscene, that character will walk through the object when the cutscene plays.
- In Halo 3, certain cutscenes can be altered by other things, one example being the Time Travel Glitch.
- If you skip certain cutscenes early during a campaign mission, the events in the cutscene will still continue in-game. This can be observed in Halo 3's level The Covenant when you are deactivating the towers. If you skip the cutscene right away, you can still see the towers deactivating when gameplay resumes.
- Sometimes the music in a cutscene may not load or may become out of sync with the video. This is usually caused by lag.
- In Theater Mode, if you fast forward during a cutscene, the dialogue will be cut short or overlapped with other lines, and nearly all non-dialogue sounds will not play.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, it is possible to manipulate enemies and relocate them in the areas where cutscenes play; they can also be modded into such positions. When this happens, the enemies will frequently interfere with the playback of the cutscene, performing such actions as pushing characters out of their scripted paths, blocking their scripted paths, or even killing the characters. Sometimes, this interference will pause the cutscene, as the actors involved wait for an action to be performed; other times, the cutscene will continue as if no error ever happened. Examples of such anomalies can be seen here; the Shafted Cinematic Glitch also involves this phenomenon. In some cases, if you get killed immediately after the cutscene begins, the game engine may still try to animate the dead body causing the body to stand up in a strange position but not move completely.
- On Halo 3's campaign level Halo, Auto-Turrets can be deployed right before activating the Control Room cutscene. The Auto-Turrets actually turn on John before the fight with Guilty Spark; during the cutscene, they will fire on John, Arbiter, and Johnson. (They will only manage to drain the Arbiter's shield and damage John's.) As such, it seems deployed equipment is not removed before a cutscene.
- If Halo 3: ODST's "Prepare To Drop" cutscene is accessed in Firefight over Xbox Live, your status will show that you are playing Firefight on an unknown map.
- In Halo 3, in single player, it is possible to duplicate the co-op cutscene that plays when the Flood arrive, and retain the Arbiter in the cutscene and level. On the Halo 3 level The Covenant, when the Arbiter and his Elite reinforcements arrive at the third tower, after you have killed all the enemies in the tower, melee the Arbiter onto the elevator and activate the elevator. When you get upstairs, kill the Brute Stalkers and the War Chieftain or let the Arbiter do it for you; you can help him if you want. After you have killed all the enemies, melee the Arbiter to the window and deactivate the third tower. Surprisingly, the Arbiter will not be removed from the cutscene or the level.