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In Video Games, it's quite rare for your character to be limited to one weapon or costume. One of the benefits of using real-time-rendering and textures is that you can swap them out for other things to change the look and feel of a character's costume (although sometimes not so much) or give them different equipment. Often times, however (especially in the early days of CD-based gaming), cutscenes are not rendered in real time. This can create some continuity issues, since there can be only one possible configuration of gear used in the Cutscene unless they have included multiple cutscenes just based on which weapon you had equipped at the time (which would be extremely tedious and largely unnecessary).

In recent years this has been minimized somewhat by the increased prevalence of in-engine cutscenes (made bearable by higher quality in-game assets), which are complex sets of animations rendered in real-time as opposed to a video file that plays.

A Sub-Trope of Story Overwrite, and, by extension, Gameplay and Story Segregation.

Compare Informed Equipment for worn or wielded items not being visible.

Examples of No Cutscene Inventory Inertia include:


  • In Halo you will always be carrying an assault rifle during cutscenes, no matter what weapon you had beforehand. Replaced with battle rifle in Halo 2 and the silenced submachine gun in ODST, though on rare occasions in Halo 2 the Chief actually carried what you had equipped before a cutscene started.
    • This is especially jarring in the start of the level Two Betrayals, where the opening cutscene has Master Chief clearly holding an assault rifle, but when gameplay starts, you're given a shotgun and a plasma pistol.
    • In Halo: Reach your armor is completely customizable, but you will always be wielding either an Assault Rifle, DMR, or Pistol during cutscenes.
  • Resident Evil 4 has Leon always wielding his trusty handgun in the cutscenes, even though you can sell the gun whenever you please. The same goes for Resident Evil 5.
    • In the Play Station 2 version of Resident Evil 4, Leon is always wearing his default costume in cutscenes as well.
    • In the Wii version, Leon retains the RPD uniform in cutscenes, but not the mobster suit.
  • In Gears of War, Marcus is always wielding his Lancer in the cutscenes, regardless of whether or not you have it on you at the time.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater, Snake will usually keep whatever camo or facepaint he was wearing for the cutscene whenever it was triggered. This does not extend to his weaponry, however, as he'll usually just sport the M1911 in cutscenes (though at least whether or not you have a suppressor attached to it is reflected).
    • Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots follows suit, showing whatever Octocamo patterns or Facecamo Snake was wearing for the cutscenes (and even letting you erase them mid-cutscene by shaking the controller). As for the weapons, past the first couple of cutscenes the game will always show Snake wielding either the M4 or the Operator, which he gets early-on in-game. Unfortunately, often when the game transitions from cutscene to gameplay, the game will automatically place either of those weapons into Snake's active inventory if they aren't already there, swapping them out with other guns, which can get really annoying if you suddenly lose a gun you need, and gets even more annoying when it happens immediately before a boss fight. The cutscenes also don't reflect the player's weapon modifications, meaning you won't see a silencer or flashlight on the Operator, nor whatever addons you've stuck on to the M4 Custom.
    • Cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty will nearly always have Raiden using the SOCOM pistol when he's brandishing a weapon. If he fires it in said cutscene, it will make the normal loud gunshot regardless of whether the player found the suppressor. This gets especially silly if the player equips the slide-locked M9 before entering the cutscene, in which case it will also act like it's a SOCOM, complete with firing semi-automatically at and drawing blood from the otherwise-unkillable Vamp on two separate occasions.
  • Final Fantasy VII works around this by making starting weapons unsellable.
  • Final Fantasy VIII's Squall is always shown with his Revolver model gunblade, regardless of your current gunblade model.
  • Final Fantasy XIII. Equipment changes only ever appear in battle.
  • And the same with Final Fantasy X, but for a different reason and for one scene only. The group shot as the team enters Zanarkand has the team put their weapons together. This will show default weapons and the Brotherhood, regardless of what is equipped. Why? The scene is actually the first scene of the game, and everything leading up to it is How We Got Here, so the game literally can't know what you'll have equipped when you catch up. It's otherwise averted; the FMV scenes typically don't show weapons--and one of the few that does, Auron's introduction, takes place before he's a party member, so he can't have anything but his default weapon. Most of the other scenes use the in-game engine, and use what you have equipped.
    • Averted in Auron's final scene, so he can have whichever BFS you gave him, which tragically means the best character gets a low-poly sendoff.
  • In Final Fantasy X-2 different dress-spheres change the characters' outfits and abilities. Despite this being a major plot point, outside of battle the girls are always wearing the same clothes.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2, Roxas always has the Kingdom Key equipped in all scenes. Except for the last mission.
    • Kingdom Hearts II plays this straight only in the cutscene immediately prior to the 1000 Heartless fight, as it was simply impossible for the Play Station 2 to render the scene in real-time.
  • Used in Ninja Gaiden, though your costume will change, Ryu is always shown holding the Dragon Sword.
  • In Okami, Ammy usually has Divine Retribution, the first weapon received in the game equipped in cutscenes, even when you've found far better weapons.
    • And when you get the best weapons, that's all she's ever shown using.
  • Oddly inverted in Tales of Vesperia. During the game, there are cutscene flashbacks to previous in-game events. However, the characters in the cutscene will always be wearing their current costumes, rather than the outfits they were wearing at the time of the event. (Considering some of the costume titles, it can end up looking like the characters' memories are rather. . . flawed, to say the least.)
  • Similarly to the Tales of Vesperia example above, in Sonic Adventure, characters in cutscenes always have all of the Level-Up Items that you've collected for them, even if they didn't (or couldn't) have them at that point.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, your party will never wear headgear during cutscenes or conversations. While it is possible that a heavy steel face-covering helmet would be removed for ease of communication, it does not make sense for a mage's or a priest's headwear to be removed. The game never shows the characters taking off or putting on the headgear. All the other apparel and weapons are the same as during gameplay, though.
    • Though, in most cutscenes that involved attacking/killing someone, the character would use a generic dagger- nicknamed the "Murder Knife"- instead of their equiped weapon, regardless of their class or standard Weapon of Choice. The two exceptions are if you choose to execute Loghain and when you kill the Archdemon, which both show you using a generic greatsword--in the latter case, it's at least shown that the character picks it up right then and there on the battlefield, but in the former, there's no explanation given for why, say, a low-Strength rogue or mage is suddenly wielding this huge blade.
  • In Mass Effect 2 the characters can only carry weapons that they are trained to use. Yet characters will still pull out a pre-scripted gun during cutscenes, even if they don't carry that type. Most noticeably, everyone will use assault rifles in the final mission cutscenes.
    • After the release of Mass Effect 2, many players complained that helmets weren't removed for dialogue like they were in Dragon Age, in particular because all the DLC armours come with a helmet which completely obscures your face and cannot be removed. Similar gripes have also been expressed about other RPGs; some players feel that being a faceless tin can makes it difficult to show emotion and undermines the feeling of playing a unique character, especially if the armour itself is generic (as in Oblivion, for instance).
    • And in the first Mass Effect, on Virmire, the moment party members go out of your control, they change into their default equipment -- including the ones you just arrived to the salarian base with.
  • Star Ocean Till the End of Time had multiple costumes, yet only the defaults were used for in-game cutscenes. Made more egregious by how screenshots on the case and in advertisements made it appear that the game averted this trope, by using shots from a bonus dungeon where the party fights copies of themselves wearing the alternate costumes.
  • From Mega Man X 4 onward, any animated cutscene with X shows him in his base form, with whatever armor powerups you have being absent. In game scenes keep the armor on though, leading to continuity problems in X7 and X8 which go from in game to animated during the final boss fights.
  • In Mega Man ZX Advent, you always turn back to Model A before a cutscene, even if it is before a boss battle and being in that form wold help you, you always start the fight in model A.
  • Mega Man Zero games always have Zero with his default red coloration in hand-drawn cutscene images. In the first game this is justified as there's no way to change his appearance, but in the second game and beyond there are a number of different possible colors for Zero to be, due to Forms or Body Chips.
  • In the original Marvel Ultimate Alliance, this happens with entire characters; whilst the player can theoretically choose any combination of characters to play during the game, the cutscenes pretty much all feature the original (and seemingly default) combination of Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor and Wolverine throughout the entire game.
  • In the Call of Juarez sequel, Bound in Blood, characters revert to the same "quick shooter revolver" during cut scenes. This actually makes even less sense for the character Juarez, a character who carries two valuable, powerful pistols on his person at all times, yet will leave them untouched in their holsters whilst using a far inferior gun throughout the game.
  • Happens in STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl with Strelok carrying an AKS-74U in every cutscene. While it's justified for flashbacks that occur before the game begins, it doesn't make much sense that the player would be using one at the end of the game, as the player would most likely have a more powerful weapon by then.
    • The final cutscenes are even more egregious as he is seen wearing armor that the player likely sold a long time ago after upgrading to better suits, especially if you went for the true ending where you get a powered exoskeleton for free (and would have had a hard time surviving the final level without it.)
  • In Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros Wii, Mario and Luigi (and the Toads in the latter game) are always Super Mario/Luigi/whoever in the ending cut scenes after beating Bowser (and in the latter, always Super Mario/Luigi/whoever in the credits mini game), despite whatever power up you're using at the time. You also begin the latter game's gameplay without the Super form, even though the player characters all don't actually lose it in the opening unlike the original New Super Mario Bros.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 actively shows Mario turning to Super Mario between beating Bowser and entering the Princess' room. Also, in Super Mario Advance 4, when you continue playing after beating Bowser, Mario will start as Super Mario.
    • In the Super Mario All-Stars version of Super Mario Bros., a Super Mushroom will drop out of the sky if you beat Bowser while small to ensure that Mario (or Luigi) is Super for the end cutscene. However, the cutscene will not reflect it if you had a Fire Flower.
  • Rather annoying in Onimusha and its sequel: Your character uses the basic katana blade in all cutscenes presumably because it can't be leveled up and thus remains visually static... But you get a much better sword, even in its level 1 state, about ten minutes in.
  • Saints Row 2 your character mostly wields a single low level hand gun - or dual wields basic uzis - in cut scenes even if you have access to the Dual Cobras and the Gal 43. On the other hand, it's completely averted with your clothes. It really puts a whole new spin on the game when you're gangbanging in a Santa Claus outfit, chains, and sunglasses.
    • However, the loading screens (shown only when loading for the first time in a session) show scenes from the most recently played mission, using a default character instead of the player's custom character.
  • Bayonetta is somewhat inconsistent on this, acknowledging any change in costume, including the variants that result from equipping a certain weapon and Umbran Elegance item, but the only weapons which Bayonetta ever uses in any cutscene are the starting pair of hand guns and the quartet of custom made pistols named Scarborough Fair given to her by Rodin following the prologue. No Pillow Talk or Bazillions to go along with that snazzy nun costume outside of gameplay for you! One will have to leave that look (in the cutscenes, anyway) up to the Star Wars games!
  • In Tales of Symphonia the characters will typically wield their basic starting weapons in cutscenes. However, Lloyd will switch to a generic steel sword instead of his starting wooden swords when you get to the first town where you can buy a set, even if you didn't actually buy one much less equip it[1]. And after he receives them, he will use his Sword of Plot Advancement, the Material Blades. Again, regardless of what he's actually got equipped.
  • When the Ratchet and Clank games started using prerendered cutscenes starting in Tools of Destruction, Ratchet always switched to some generic armor for cutscenes. In A Crack in Time, the developers worked around this by giving Ratchet an upgradeable Hard Light armor suit that was simply turned off during cutscenes.
    • Another example occurs in Going Commando: Ratchet always uses the Heavy Lancer in cutscenes, even if you haven't upgraded the regular Lancer yet. (Though since it's your go-to Boring but Practical weapon throughout the game, you basically have to try to not have it upgraded by that point, but still...)
  • In Dragon Quest IX you choose your hero's gender and looks, and so everyone's character will look different. Late in the story there is an animated cutscene involving your hero riding a dragon. To reconcile this, the game forces you to wear a certain armour and helmet before riding a dragon, and this armour completely covers your hero's/heroine's face and body.
    • What's more, the game forces you to leave all of your (also-custom) teammates behind for this scene, apparently just to avoid having to avoid explaining why they're not on the dragon too.
    • Also the first such scene shows bits of the hero's default outfit and the people in the series of events following the event make a big deal of the hero's outfit. Not normally an issue (you can't get anything else by then), except you can unequip it. One earlier scene (in-engine) refuses to progress until you get dressed, so it isn't clear why they didn't do it for this one as well.
  • No matter which weapons you bring with you on missions in Devil May Cry 3, Dante will always be using Rebellion and his pistols in cutscenes. The only other weapon to be seen was Cerberus, and only so he could use it to pull himself up.
  • In Gothic, no matter which armor/robe you wear, you are always shown wearing Ore Armor during cut-scenes.
    • Similarly, in Gothic II, your equipment in ending cutscenes is only determined by your faction.
  • Happens to the point of liver failure in Front Mission Evolved; while your Wanzer will always match whatever parts/paint scheme you've chosen, your weapons will always switch to what the game assumes you should be carrying at the time despite the fact that all game cutscenes are rendered fully in-engine and on-stage and the fact that your Wanzer rarely fires a shot in such scenes.
  • Many endings of Fallout: New Vegas will show a final shot of The Courier walking off into the sunset wearing an Armored Vault 21 Suit, even though it's impossible to obtain without mods or cheats and you have likely obtained much better armor by the end of the game. The Courier in the picture is also seen from the back and using a default Male/Female hairstyle, so he/she may not even resemble the character you had designed.
  • In the GBA port of Donkey Kong Country 3, if you defeat the final boss with just Kiddy Kong, Dixie will speak whether she's present or not. She will also get all the praise.
  • Happens in Uncharted. In cutscenes Drake will always be carrying his trusty pistol except for maybe one or two scenes where he steals/uses/finds a weapon within the cutscene. Though when you exit the cutscene you still retain your current inventory with only one or two exceptions again.
  • In Lost Planet 2, the loadout you currently have equipped is usually replaced with the default machine gun in cutscenes. The exception is one cutscene which shows your team entering a corridor, pointing their weapons around while looking for hostiles. This can be amusing if a team member has a supporting weapon (like a shield) equipped prior to starting the cutscene.
  • Generally averted in World of Warcraft; the Cataclysm expansion released in December 2010 contains many cutscenes, and those that depict your character show you dressed exactly as you are. However, it's still worth mentioning because of one time they averted this trope but shouldn't have. In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, a couple quests involved time traveling and teaming up with yourself from other time periods. In the first quest, available at level 75, you teamed up with your "future self" - a friendly NPC is created that looks identical to you right then, but is level 80. In the second quest, available at level 80, you teamed up with your "past self" - a friendly NPC is created that looks identical to you but was level 75. This is bizarre because it would have made far more sense for the NPC in the first quest to look like you in certain epic armor sets, and the NPC in the second quest to look like you did when you did the first quest (especially if you have since acquired armor a Level 75 character cannot equip), but for some reason they didn't bother with that level of complexity.
    • This was also a missed opportunity to sneak-preview some of the uncommon items that Cataclysm would introduce. Given that these items have higher stats than the level-80 epics and are easier to obtain, this would probably have been a more accurate prediction for anyone doing the quest during, or shortly before, the new expansion.
  • In Silent Hill: Homecoming, Alex will always be shown using the Mk. 23 handgun in cutscenes, even if you have the Chrome Hammer, the improved replacement for the Mk. 23.
  • In the other Silent Hill games, your characters will be wearing whatever unlockable costumes they have on. This can turn Silent Hill Origins into Travis' fursuit adventures.
  • Played straight in the first two God of War games: Special costumes aren't shown in cutscenes and the Blades of Chaos/Athena, despite changing their appearence with each power up, are always shown to be at level 2/1/3 (in the first game) and 4 in the second. However, the third game subvert all of this, with all the special costumes displayed in the game mode. Also, Kratos' new weapon (the Blades of Exile) never change their appearence.
  • While Jade Empire doesn't have any changeable clothing (and with the player character being a Bare-Fisted Monk, weapons are a non-issue), each of it's several pre-rendered cutscenes will show whichever of the several character models the player is using.
  • Parasite Eve does this for both in game cut scenes and the FMV scenes. No matter what weapon you have equipped, Aya is always shown with a handgun outside of battles.
    • The sequel mostly avoid the trope. In game cut scenes that show Aya pointing her weapon at someone or something will have her use whatever weapon she has equipped, which can lead to a hilarious moment in the start of the tower mall section where Aya steps out of the elevator and aims her billy club or Gunblade around, even though the scene treats this as Aya using her handgun. In an FMV, she will always use her handgun, regardless if you have it on you or not.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, in the last cutscene before Bastila is captured by Malak, she wields her starting double-bladed yellow lightsaber rather than whatever she had equipped when you controlled her.
  • A peculiar variant occurs in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. After one particular sub-quest, a statue is made of the player character. However, due to certain quirks in the procedure the game uses to create the statue, it will often not actually be wearing the same equipment the player used.
  • Perfect Dark Zero has an odd variation of this: your standard weapon is a pistol with an attached scope, Laser Sight, and suppressor. While in gameplay only the suppressor can be removed, in cutscenes, none of these are on the pistol when it appears.
  • God of War II is an example of this; regardless of how far you have upgraded the Blades of Athena, in cutscenes, they almost always appear as dull and gray (as if you never upgraded them at all) and sometimes even blue (as if Kratos is still the god of war).
  • In Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Starkiller will always use a pre-scripted lightsaber in cutscenes (red in the beginning, blue later), regardless of what color the player has equipped.
  • Warhammer 40k Space Marine will use the Plasma Pistol in cut-scenes instead of the Bolt Pistol if you swapped the two weapons. However you will often end up with a Chainsword instead of the Thunder Hammer or Power Axe.
  • In Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2, story mission cutscenes always use that pilot's default mobile suit. This is fine in Official Mode where you're playing through the anime storylines and required to use specific mobile suits, but Mission Mode will play the cutscene even if you're piloting something else.
  • Dead Island actually does this with the entire cast. You can play solo, or play with 4 friends with identical characters, but during cutscenes all four canon characters appear regardless of who's actually present in the game.
  • Inverted in Dark Cloud 2. Your characters will be wearing whatever items you've given them just prior to the cutscene. Even if it makes no logical sense whatsoever to have Max dressed as a clown or Monica dressed as a Catgirl if that's what you're wearing then by god it'll be in the cutscene.

Notes

  1. And since you get a title for keeping the wooden swords equipped until a certain boss battle well after this point, you're pretty likely to see this in action.
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