Let's Talk About Quicktime Events

No, RE4 had them in cutscenes where failure meant having to rewatch the first part of the cutscene, waiting and hoping you could hit whatever button sequence it was to dodge McToughguy’s knife attacks. OVERANDOVERANDOVERANDOVER.

Honestly I like the optional ones. Like Mario RPG or FF8 or Gears of War where if you get the timing right you got a bonus but it wasn’t required.

I hated God of War because of these. Not only were there a lot of them, but THE FUCKING BUTTON ORDER WOULD CHANGE IF YOU FAILED. Jesus.

When they’re successfully integrated they’re called combos.

Count me in the don’t like them wish they would die off camp. That being said if you do include QTEs in games please include a positional indicator for the buttons. I, and a bunch of other people I’m sure, think of buttons by their position and not by whatever letter you’ve given it.

The only place where I tolerated them was Mass Effect, where you could buy your way out of them. It was more of a “well, if you want, you can save the cash with a 2-second reflex game”, and yeah, sometimes I wanted to save the nanogoo (or whatever it was). It also kinda fit, since it was always a lock of some sort you were opening or decoding.

Towards the latter part of the game I skipped them every single time though so I’m not sure if it counts.

Haven’t played any other game where they wouldn’t be hideously annoying and stupid, though. I’m looking at you, Mercs 2. seethe

The mario RPG stuff isn’t QTE. It’s actually a cool mechanic that I think every RPG should implement.

Works extremely well in God of War. In that case it added to the visceral feel.
In RE4 I felt it worked fine as well.
But it most cases it feels lazy. Don’t make me feel like I’m just hitting buttons.

Or color. I eventually start to remember B and X - but can never remember the damned colors.

Only Shenmue is the wrong game to blame for the rise of QTEs as others have pointed out: God of War.

Same thing happened with JRPGs after FFVII with the rise of long/frequent cutscenes.

Spooky, I was just thinking about starting a thread on this very subject. Well hell, since I already have some thoughts queued up…

I have in the past snarkily referred to QTEs as “DLEs”… Dragon’s Lair Events. It’s a sad, limp kind of snark though, because it’s too reflective of the truth to be funny. Dragon’s Lair (and the laserdisc genre it spawned) was necessarily limited in its control scheme-- occasional branching decisions, but for the most part a relentless march forward through the video stream, halted only by failure to provide the expected inputs. It was interactive only in the loosest sense. And yet, people were okay with this. After all, Dragon’s Lair put Disney-quality animation up against the tiny 16-color sprites of the day.

Fast-forward to the present…

Modern consoles can now generate Dragon’s Lair-quality visuals in realtime. Yet mysteriously, the same old laserdisc gameplay mechanics are rising from the grave. But wait! Even more mysteriously, this gameplay mechanic under its new “QTE” guise is actually WORSE than its old incarnation. Two critical differences–

  1. In Dragon’s Lair, your sword or some part of the screen actually flashes to indicate what you should do. Thus you remain fully engaged in the gameworld at all times. By contrast, QTEs usually slap overlays on top of the action that explicitly tell you what to push.

  2. Related to the above, Dragon’s Lair usually provides a direct correlation between your input and your action. Press your sword button, and you chop at something. Press left, and you dodge left. Now granted, some QTEs preserve this correlation. But not most. After all, if they could match your controller inputs to what happens on screen, it wouldn’t be a QTE anymore, it would just be regular gameplay. Instead, these games present the player with a rapid succession of random required inputs that bear little to no resemblence to your onscreen character’s reaction (not that you’d notice anyway, since you have to focus on the overlays to survive).

So in conclusion–


This question of QTEs and the reactions I’m seeing reminds me of a host of crazy video game conventions that everyone seems to hate but wind up in games anyway.

Quick Time Events
Escort Missions
Timed FedEx Missions
FPS Jumping Puzzle Levels
Lady and the Tiger Insta-Death Choices
Taking Everything Away

I’m sure there are more. Why do they keep showing up in games if everyone expresses their anger and frustration at their inclusion?

To be uncharitable, laziness. To be charitable, lack of time and/or imagination.

My wild guess is that developers want to include cool little bits which are not just passive cutscenes, but they don’t want to have to develop entirely new game mechanics for what are essentially one-off moments. Voila, QTEs - the Button-Mashing Powered Cutscene!

The thing that really fucks with me is the controller disconnect these create:

Here I am 30 minutes, or an hour, or a day into your videogame, having learned through trial-by-fire what buttons mean shoot, jump, reload, etc. Then, you suddenly make me remember these button’s original names.

Typically, my body knows which buttons these are, and if I don’t think, a quicktime queue pushes me to autonomously comply. But the second my brain enters the decision process (usually happens if I screw it up once or twice), it’s like dancing-- you can’t think about it or you’ll mess up.

My brain goes “X? fuck, xxxxxx, uhm… looks down at controller

When I’m shooting at someone, I’m not thinking “xxxxxx” I’m thinking, “Shoot shoot shoot shoot.”

I dunno, am I making sense?


Yeah, makes sense, and it nicely addresses why a QTE in, say RE4 is different from Parappa the Rapper, even though both are just saying “Press X exactly when I say”

Quite liked em in Jericho. Think a recent Tomb Raider had them - less well done.

As someone was saying, they can be done well or badly.

Also unskippable cutscenes.

I blame cargo cult designing.