In the Pikmin games, some cutscenes play at certain times. While these cutscenes are playing, the player usually has no control over the game, other than to advance the text, or to skip the cutscene. There are several different types of cutscenes, and they can be either played out by the entities in the game world in real time, or pre-rendered like a movie.
In the opening cutscene, Captain Olimar is shown flying in the S.S. Dolphin. The camera changes to show a meteor that shortly after crashes against the ship. It comes flaming down towards the Pikmin Planet, losing bits as it falls. The game then begins at The Impact Site, with Olimar lying down, unconscious. After waking up and looking around, he realizes his ship is wrecked.
This is what Olimar says after the crash.
The player can now take control of Olimar and begin the first day.
If the player has 24 or fewer of the required ship parts by the end of the 30th day, Olimar will attempt to leave the planet in a haste, but the engine explodes and the ship crashes back to the ground. After the game's statistics are shown, the Pikmin are seen carrying Olimar's unconscious body to the Red Onion, and Olimar pops out as a Pikmin hybrid, dubbed "Pikmar" by fans.
If the 30th day ends, and Olimar has enough ship parts, he'll try to take off. Olimar quickly runs towards the ship, turns back to take a last look at the Pikmin, and then takes off in a hurry. A Blue, Yellow, and Red Pikmin, all in the leaf stage, will stay and watch Olimar fly away, a bit confused as to why their leader left so quickly. The screen shows Olimar sailing peacefully, albeit bothered that he had to leave so abruptly.
If the player manages to retrieve every ship part before the 30th day, Olimar can go back home fully prepared. When the Secret Safe is retrieved, a small cutscene shows the ship fixing itself for the final time, complete with several shots of the Dolphin's complicated setup. Olimar takes a closer look and jumps in glee.
Night falls, and Olimar must leave. Before going in, he turns back at the Pikmin, who are all in a straight line looking at him. They then turn their heads to the left in order, forming a little wave. Olimar waves goodbye in the hope that they'll understand. The Pikmin then turn their heads right in order, forming another small wave. With a sigh, Olimar just shakes his head and proceeds to take off. Shortly after, a Red Bulborb appears, and the line of Pikmin, now knowing what to do, thanks to Olimar, are quick to fight it off. The S.S. Dolphin is shown flying in space, and several Onions, even some with previously unseen types, are seen following it.
The background consists of a shot of the Pikmin Planet, half covered in shade. The credits then roll from bottom to top. Occasionally, images of Olimar's adventure on the planet will appear behind the text, and sometimes comets shoot by. If the player collects all 30 ship parts, the Enemy Reel will play after this. The credits are a pre-rendered cinematic.
If the player gets the good ending, a montage of the creatures in the game will play. This montage consists of pre-rendered footage.
This cutscene also plays if the player is idle on the title screen for long enough.
"Hocotate Freight is a long-haul, deep-space shipping company.
Olimar is then shown returning to Hocotate, after which he speaks to the President.
"Olimar! I'm so glad you're safe! Yes, very glad. Quite glad. But...
Horrified, Olimar drops a bottle cap he brought along.
"Olimar! What is that?
Louie's eyes pop out, bewildered. The ship then analyzes the bottle cap.
"Treasure! Treasure! Treasure! Money! Money! Money! Money!
The President gladly exclaims:
"This thing's worth 100 Pokos?! That's more than a year's salary!
The ship is shown taking off in great haste, as they head to the Pikmin Planet.
Debt Repayment Cinema
Once the debt is payed, this cutscene plays. The ship talks to the two leaders about returning to Hocotate.
"Mission complete! You've earned 10,000 Pokos!
Olimar takes off, unhappy that he had to go in such a hurry. He looks behind him to the Pikmin planet. He then remembers about the Pikmin that helped him, imagining their faces on the planet's surface. He faces forward again to resume flying, until he looks back again, only to notice that Louie is not in his cockpit. It's too late to go back, as the ship is already warping. The camera then zooms back to show part of the planet.
In this cutscene, the credits roll from bottom to top. In the background, several clips of Louie are seen, showing him lost and wandering around the landscape, sometimes getting into trouble. The environment has been recorded in real life, and Louie was superimposed on top of it.
Goal Completion Cinema
This cutscene plays when the player continues the game after repaying the debt. It shows Olimar and the President discussing the fact that there are more treasures on the planet. The President starts talking to Olimar:
"Thanks to you, our company has been saved! Hurrah!
The President points at where Louie should be, and the camera pans to show he's not there.
Treasure Completion Cinema
This cutscene plays when all 201 treasures have been collected. It shows Olimar taking off, leaving the Pikmin, which are outside of their Onions. While the President chuckles with glee, Olimar starts getting a bit emotional, until he notices the planet's surface, bewildered. The Pikmin start glowing with colors of their respective types, and soon, the ground is covered with several lights. The camera shows the Pikmin dancing while watching their leader go. After a while, Olimar looks up, to notice that the three main Onions have followed him for one last ride. After a while, the Onions return, and Olimar rides back to his home, rather happy.
After that, a general shot of the Pikmin planet is shown, demonstrating quite a resemblance to Earth. Seven flowers pop up on the screen, and with letters that write "Pikmin 2". Finally, the game shows on the screen the message "The End".
Louie's Dark Secret
Louie's Dark Secret is unlocked once the player gets a "pink flower" rating on every Challenge Mode level, obtained by completing the levels without deaths. It's only present in the Bonuses menu.
The short cutscene explains what really happened to the golden Pikpik carrot cargo.
"The President entrusted Louie with the golden Pikpik carrots.
This explains Koppai's expedition to find a planet with edible matter. The voice actor Julian Macfarlane narrates the cutscene. In this cutscene, many minor planets can be seen, that all have no known food supply.
"Galactic date: 20XX.
Screen is no longer black and Koppai appears.
The planets name: Koppai.
A small bar graph appears near the planet with unreadable text, presumably representing the amount of food on the planet.
Koppai's inhabitants have all but exhausted their food supply.
Bars in the graph shorten to nearly nothing.
Their only hope is to find another planet with edible matter.
Many SPEROs venture out to other planets.
To their dismay, the search is proving fruitless.
All the SPEROs report back as negative and X's appear on each planet seen.
Just as they're about to give up...
PNF-404, the most far out planet, gets discovered by a SPERO.
The final vessel reports back with news of a miraculous discovery.
SPERO reads the planet as "positive."
They mobilize to investigate the planet, which they name PNF-404.
Alph, Brittany, and Charlie are shown.
Koppai's last hope rests on three intrepid explorers.
The Drake and its crew initiate the hyper drive sequence, flying it very close to the planet.
At last the explorers' 279,000-light-year voyage nears its end.
Various warning messages appear around the ship, which then explodes, hurling the leaders away from it.
Something goes horribly wrong."
A now "real" scene of the leaders hurdling towards PNF-404 appears, as well as the words "Pikmin 3", as its theme briefly plays.
Yellow Pikmin look at Charlie while the camera is viewing from his perspective. After he comes to, they flee, and the camera then zooms out, revealing him and the Distant Tundra.
After Alph falls in his crash site in Tropical Wilds. It is a little more sophisticated than Charlie's.
After the cutscene showing the Koppaites leaving PNF-404, there is a brief intermission by the narrator, in which he gives a summary of the adventure's results and the consequences it will have back at Koppai. There are four possible narrations, detailed here.
“Though not entirely satisfied, the explorers managed to secure a modest supply of edible matter for their home planet. Yet still they wondered, can this handful of seeds really bring salvation to the people of Koppai? Even if they carefully cultivate the seeds they've harvested, it may not be enough to support the entire population. This thought hovers over the explorers as they embark on their journey. Along with their cargo they carry with them a sense of unease.”
“And so the intrepid explorers succeed in securing a reasonable supply of edible matter for their home planet. If they carefully cultivate the seeds they've harvested, they just may bring salvation to the people of Koppai. However if they once again squander their resources, salvation may only be temporary. But fate will decide whether history repeats itself.”
“And so the intrepid explorers succeed in securing a healthy supply of edible matter for their home planet. If they carefully cultivate the seeds they've harvested, it will surely bring an end to Koppai's food-supply crisis. And, while brief, the explorers' time working together with the Pikmin has taught them the wisdom of "planning." That wisdom will be the key to harnessing these newfound resources. Simply put, their fate is in their own hands.”
“And so the intrepid explorers successfully complete their mission. After securing a bountiful supply of edible matter and learning the valuable lessons of planning and teamwork, the explorers are set to become the saviors of their home planet. Under their guidance, the seeds they've recovered will be used to kick off a sustainable cycle of cultivation and harvesting, thus bringing new life to Koppai. However, one question remains: what was the cause of the accident that sent the S.S. Drake hurtling to PNF-404's surface? Perhaps, it wasn't an accident after all.”
A few tutorials play at key points in the game, which force the player to do certain actions in a semi-cinematic way.
For Pikmin and Pikmin 2, as well as the New Play Control! releases, if the player is idle on the title screen for long enough, the game will start showing a bit of gameplay, to show new players how the game works. Because of the different controls, these vary between game and between the GameCube originals and New Play Control! remakes. These pre-rendered cutscenes appear in the following order, and loop over to the first one after the last one plays.
Pikmin 3 does not have any attraction mode cutscene, but the player can rewatch the prologue cutscene by staying about 4 minutes on the title screen. This cutscene can also be watched by starting a new game. If the player watches it by staying on the title screen, they will have to restart the game (once the cutscene finishes) to watch it again: waiting again will not trigger the cutscene a second time.
At the end of each day, a cutscene takes place showing the leaders gathering their Pikmin, and getting on their ship. Another cutscene after that shows the ship taking off, and wild creatures roaming below. If any Pikmin were left behind, they'll be shown getting eaten. After these cutscenes, the player is presented with the day's statistics.
Other, smaller cutscenes play at certain times during the gameplay.
In Pikmin 2, minor explanation cutscenes will make it impossible for the player to press a button for a few seconds after the cutscene is over. The player can still move the leader about, however.
There are some ways to speed up or outright skip certain cutscenes.
In Pikmin 2, holding / will make any text that is being written out show up faster. Pressing / however will write out all of the text in the box at once. When all of the text is written down in the box, the game prompts the player to press / to continue. Upon pressing it, the text currently in the box scrolls up, before the next bit of text starts. If / is held down, this vertical scroll is also sped up. So, the fastest way to go through conversation boxes is to press and hold / when the text begins to write, press / right after to continue – while keeping the first button held down – and then to let go and re-hold / for the next block.
In Pikmin 3, simply tapping (or for Deluxe) twice will skip the cutscene completely.