Video Game Tuesday: Quick Time Events

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.
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This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about a thing that I’ve seen done way too much in games. It’s all about Quick Time Events!

Quick Time Events?: “A quick time event (QTE) is a method of context-sensitive gameplay in which the player performs actions on the control device shortly after the appearance of an on-screen instruction/prompt. It allows for limited control of the game character during cut scenes or cinematic sequences in the game.” That’s the Wikipedia page on QTEs, and while that is generally how things are done that isn’t always the case.

Really?: Yeah some games like an older Spider-man game (Spiderman 2 I think) had them included in boss fights and you’d fail a fight or something equally unforgiving if you didn’t perform the QTE properly. That hasn’t happened in most AAA games for the last couple years, but it used to be so overused that there are still memes about some really dumb QTEs. The Press F (or X) to Pay Respects for example is from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Was it really necessary to have that occur? I’d say no, although it might have seemed like an awesome idea at the time.

What are some good QTEs?: There’s a few, but generally I find QTEs that aren’t anything more than a single button press to be generally decent. I still hate QTEs and having them appear in boss fights in Final Fantasy XIV definitely caused more than a wipe or two, but those were pretty easy to deal with compared to some of the worse examples (like that Spiderman game).

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday, are there any really bad or good QTEs that you can remember? Post examples in the comments below.

One thought on “Video Game Tuesday: Quick Time Events”

  1. I too hate QTEs for sure, however, I found I enjoyed them in Resident Evil 3 for some reason. They were not overdone I guess, and dying from a QTE did not require you to replay an entire level, generally you only went back a few seconds, to the point before the QTE started. That begs the question of why bother with them at all, but I guess they were a minor addition to the action, so I was fine with it, at least for that game.

    Telltale Games are famous for QTEs, and I find them rather annoying there, though I love most of their series like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Again, a QTE death normally just means going back a few seconds and trying again, but they are so frequent there that it eventually becomes a game of memorization there, which I suppose helps anyone to eventually get through them. And how else could you create tension in a story-based narrative game?

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