A full motion video (FMV) is a game narration technique, which relies on pre-recorded videos rather than sprites, vectors or 3D models to display action in the game. Although many games in the modern times relied on FMV only for cutscenes, games that are primarily presented through FMVs are referred to as full-motion video games or interactive movies.
Although the FMV was practiced first on arcades in the early 1980s, with disc-based games rising into popularity and between the early-to-mid 1990s, many game companies started to use FMV with real actors in an attempt to enhance the gameplay experience of games and focus on story elements more. There were also some consoles and add-ons, like the Sega CD and the Panasonic 3DO, that had FMV games as their main gimmicks.
However, FMV games were actually a huge flop, as many of them had lots of problems, both gameplay-wise and technical-wise.
A category on this wiki listing all articles about FMV games can be seen here.
Why Most of Them Suck
- Since they had real actors and dialogue, many of the games lacked any real interactivity as they were mostly just movies. Most of the gameplay parts were very basic and could get repetitive fast. For example, in Ground Zero Texas, you just point your crosshair and shoot at people, and in Night Trap, you are simply trapping the augers (The main enemy in the game) by pressing a button.
- The video quality tended to be very low. This is mostly because of to the underpowered hardware those games were ported on, such as the Sega CD, which is an add-on for the Genesis that could only display 16-bit graphics without the 32X that can display 32-bit graphics (and is compatible with CD 32X games, which require both add-ons).
- Some of them are based on the point-and-click genre with a cursor, but most platforms they were ported on were incompatible with mouses that can move the cursor around freely and instead use the D-pad to move. Without the mouse, this means that the cursor controls in those games are very sluggish, especially for games that require fast reaction times.
- They were often very short.
- They often had pretty bad acting.
- Many of the adventure games didn't have a whole lot of instruction in the game.
- There were some good FMV games like the Wing Commander series, Dragon's Lair, Her Story, Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within, and Late Shift.
- FMV games have helped disc-based consoles rise into fame, since they were based on discs that were vastly superior to cartridges in terms of difficulty to make games for, production price, storage, and sounds and music. The PlayStation and Sega Saturn came along, changing the video game industry drastically from the fifth generation of game consoles by using CD-ROMs as their main game format.
- In the modern days, FMV in games has been made more commonly for cutscenes without having to use the game's engine to animate 3D models after the FMV genre failed. Instead, cutscenes mostly use FMVs that have better visuals than the gameplay.