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Regarding your comment about animation being expensive, I feel that at least some of the audio tapes in the game were probably meant to be cutscenes. Despite the criticisms people lay on this game, it is probably my favorite game of this decade.

That's a good point I never really thought about, guess I had an easy enough time simply imagining the visuals.

But having at least some of these tapes as actual cutscenes would probably have changed a lot about the game feeling "unfinished". A lot of important main story beats are revealed through those tapes, of which there are so many that going through them feels like a chore at times. That's probably why so many people consider the game so light on story: Those tapes are easily skipped by players so they can progress further through the game, but barely anybody would skip a full blown cutscene with said tapes content.

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