A Quick Time Event By Any Other Name

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A Quick Time Event By Any Other Name

Quick time events may not be as common anymore, but game developers are replacing them with something equally annoying.

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Curious what Yahtzee thinks about the Renegade/Paragon interrupts in Mass Effect since they're a quicktime events that don't lose you the game if you miss them. I definitely agree with hatred of Quicktime Events in any form though. If the game wants to show me something cool I'm fine with sitting there and watching it, but either give me full control or don't force me to press buttons. Compromise is really just annoying.

The ecape sequences are something of a catch 22, the solution isn't easily apparent, no-linear versions tend to lack any sense of excitement or peril, rarely do I feel like there's any need to leave the building (ME games and many RPGs also suffer from this lack of urgency, there's rarely any in game reason to ignore side quests for the supposedly time critical main quest) and when they do they've generally put in lashings of mechanics that in practice make them little different from a more scripted sequence, the scripted ones at least leave the illusion of control and are better at giving the urgency and excitement.

There are even examples of QTEs done well, a few of those in mass effects cutscenes that gave you the option to have a paragon/renagde action fitted the sequences quite well.

The escape sequences in Tomb Raider could have been fixed by allowing a few extra routes, some of which are gained through a mistake in the main route. In short their biggest crime is being a hard pass or fail, at very least critical success, success and fail options need to be had.

One thing that I find funny is that games like the souls series do everything Yahtzee preaches, but he doesn't like to play them.

Petromir:
The ecape sequences are something of a catch 22, the solution isn't easily apparent, no-linear versions tend to lack any sense of excitement or peril, rarely do I feel like there's any need to leave the building (ME games and many RPGs also suffer from this lack of urgency, there's rarely any in game reason to ignore side quests for the supposedly time critical main quest) and when they do they've generally put in lashings of mechanics that in practice make them little different from a more scripted sequence, the scripted ones at least leave the illusion of control and are better at giving the urgency and excitement.

There are even examples of QTEs done well, a few of those in mass effects cutscenes that gave you the option to have a paragon/renagde action fitted the sequences quite well.

The escape sequences in Tomb Raider could have been fixed by allowing a few extra routes, some of which are gained through a mistake in the main route. In short their biggest crime is being a hard pass or fail, at very least critical success, success and fail options need to be had.

kicking mouthy security guards through sky scraper windows when you are saviour of the galaxy is one fitting renegade interupt

all these years we mocked you and dismissed you and now you have returned stronger and mighter than ever, to wow with graphics and destroy with no gameplay as you enthrall publishers around the world. begone dragons lair !

I actually liked Tomb Raider, but I agree the QTEs and linear escape sequences were the worst part of the game. On PC, they were so frustrating I had to plug in a gamepad just to get past some of them. And if the whole idea is to showcase fancy cinematic cutscenes, well I'm not really paying attention to the artists' hard work if I'm busy staring at button prompts, am I? A pox on all of them.

It's not as bad with optional QTEs during combat, like God of War or Tomb Raider's dodge counters, where getting the timing right takes down the enemy faster but you're not required to use it. But the mandatory QTEs in boss fights are still horrible.

Falterfire:
Curious what Yahtzee thinks about the Renegade/Paragon interrupts in Mass Effect since they're a quicktime events that don't lose you the game if you miss them. I definitely agree with hatred of Quicktime Events in any form though. If the game wants to show me something cool I'm fine with sitting there and watching it, but either give me full control or don't force me to press buttons. Compromise is really just annoying.

Yeah, I agree: either show me a pretty movie and let me relax for a minute, or give me control. No half-assing.

As for Mass Effects interrupts: they're pretty cool, if only they'd incorporated them in some way other than their stupid moral choice system. At least interrupts come up during interactive conversations.

Wow, that's actually a good point with regard to the Share button. Yahtzee might have actually sold me on the idea if it does prove to force developers out of their comfort zones.

Falterfire:
Curious what Yahtzee thinks about the Renegade/Paragon interrupts in Mass Effect since they're a quicktime events that don't lose you the game if you miss them. I definitely agree with hatred of Quicktime Events in any form though. If the game wants to show me something cool I'm fine with sitting there and watching it, but either give me full control or don't force me to press buttons. Compromise is really just annoying.

I wouldn't quit lump those in the same boat as your standard QTEs. Mostly because they don't cause a game over if you fuck up and also because they usually pop up during dialogue options that the player initiated so there is, unlike with most games, so degree of choice in deciding whether or not to participate in the QTE.

I agree.

Tomb Raider is one of my favourite games in the last couple of years, but the amount of events such as the ones mentioned in the article, started to get too much nearer the end. It got to the point where I was rolling my eyes in a "Here we go again" kind of way.

Used sparingly, I think they work fairly well, but to excess, as is normally the case, it takes away from the experience. It actually makes it feel more like an interactive video than games such as The Walking Dead do.

Yea, the "new" QTEs are just as annoying as the old. It was one thing in the 80's (Dragons Lair, Space Ace, Cliffhanger) but they can do so much more now (like the VATS system from Fallout 3: cinematic & fun)...they just don't.
But there are plenty of gamers who like Heavy Rain so I'm guessing that it doesn't matter to some. It also means that some gamers are actually looking for their games to be movies. Really pretentious boring movies apparently but as long as theres a market for that, there's going to be "games" for it.
Every medium gets dumbed down by trends that catch on. I'm just glad I rent now; at least I'm not buying games that look good but are the gaming equivalent of cliffs notes. What bothers me now is when a game that would otherwise be good has QTEs interlaced through it.

Obviously, this is about God of War's QTE's. And as a big fan of the series, I completely fucking agree. I know I'm going to get passed the QTE, why do you put that shit in there? To babysit my attention span? In Ascension, I felt it was more grating than the other games. Probably because they put them in every fucking thing. Like in the "platforming". I know you want Kratos to get around your most detailed set piece in the most camera awesome manner, Santa Monica, but why must you interrupt my state of awe with a fucking button press?

I think the best way to do the QTE's would be the ability to press any button when the game slow mo pauses, and each button does a different action. As in alternative endings to a boss battle. And alternative ways to appreciate the set pieces. Then maybe QTE's can be justified. But for now, fuck you Santa Monica for interrupting my game.

you know, your mention of the "running away" sequence reminds me of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. The scenes where the Dahaka would find the prince forcing him to flee down a relatively linear hallway to a save room are very similar in base description. However in POP2 despite the linear nature of these chase sequences at the very least the controls all remain the same and you STILL have to figure out how to get past the various obstacles, there's more to it than "push forward." So if the sequences from Tomb Raider were more like those Dahaka chase sequences would it have been an improvement or would it not have made much difference?

I feel the same way. That is one reason why I hated Max Payne 3 for example. It's more like a movie than a game...

I want games like Half Life 2 again in which you practically never or barely lose control over your character. You can watch certain sequences in a game, ignore them or approach them from different angles. I like freedom as a player. I like to have multiple options to reach my goals and I like to brag when I solved something in a pretty unusual way...

Pandering of superficial "action porn" or graphical bling is nothing new in gaming.
The logical predecessor to QTEs and actions sequences were the old FMV games.

If you just felt a shudder of disgust from reading "FMV", good. You understand my feelings on QTEs implicitly.

I have to admit that the Walking Dead quick time events completely made me rethink my position on QTEs in general (right as the game was sucking my emotional soul out through my eyeballs).

Granted WD may get a pass because as a traditional-style point-and-click adventure game. QTEs were the only way that action was expressed. That said, in a game that has more robust action controls available to it (such as the new Tomb Raider), it's ABSOLUTELY a cop-out for TR to resort to QTEs.

Also the Walking Dead convention of using QQQQQQQQQQQ... for exertion of strength did a great job of establishing the points in the game where extreme effort was necessary to succeed, or more poignantly, when even extreme efforts fail.

We may be getting to the point where Full Motion Video is what is wearing out its welcome. Sure if you need a cut-scene that the game engine really cannot handle due to spectacular special effects or (preferably) Serkis-level acting, then yeah, engage the FMV, but make it a cut-scene that we can watch or skip and otherwise doesn't require teenage reflexes.

But if you want the player involved, give her full access to regular game-motion, and let her hail-Mary her way out by meticulous effort...or not. (This is where Sands of Time really shined.) I think I'm with Yahtzee regarding the Max Payne shoot-dodges: if you can fail for reals, success is all that much sweeter.

238U

When I think of how good gameplay can look like a cutscene I tend to think of Bayonetta, the combat gives you a lot of freedom (with those stupid "boss bash" QTEs sadly, but they were pretty sparse during the actual fights) and as a result a player can find fights looking very stylish. A friend of mine that usually doesn't like watching others play would always sit and watch me play Bayonetta saying "It's like watching a dynamic cutscene that changes every time."

I'm honestly not sure if this effect is more attributed to Bayonetta being made that way or to the fact I play games in whatever way seems more cinematic and flashy instead of going for the 'win' however.

I believe I remember when the QTE's yahtzee mentioned in the column were new and fresh. I think the old Tomb Raider games had sequences where you slide down steep hills a lot, with the "go-there-before-something-offscreen-kills-you" mechanic in place. Now, with game technology more complex, programming them is more complicated, so they're just sticking with what worked before.
Wait, Resident Evil 4 had a bunch of QTE's, and Yahtzee claimed that game as the best of the series.

Darth_Payn:
I believe I remember when the QTE's yahtzee mentioned in the column were new and fresh. I think the old Tomb Raider games had sequences where you slide down steep hills a lot, with the "go-there-before-something-offscreen-kills-you" mechanic in place. Now, with game technology more complex, programming them is more complicated, so they're just sticking with what worked before.
Wait, Resident Evil 4 had a bunch of QTE's, and Yahtzee claimed that game as the best of the series.

Does anyone actually listen to yahtzee's opinion as fact anymore?

I thought what he said wasn't suppose to be taken seriously?

Since y'know, he gives off more holes in his theories and is usually incorrect on some bases.

So I was playing Bioshock Infinite. There was a lock that needed 5 lockpicks in order to be picked, but sadly I had only 4. Disappointed, I was just about to click the "Show Big Glowing Arrow Thing" button when suddenly Elizabeth pointed me a lockpick that I missed while looting the area, I picked up the lockpick and unlocked the door full with all sorts of goodies like cotton candy, apple pies and fuel for my hand inplanted flametrower. There were a lot of "Hey there's a lockpick over there" moment after that, but the first one was great, that was the first moment that made Elizabeth feel like a parthner to me.
Cool moments like that make the characters feel alive, Lara Croft's girlfriend,Sam(I had to really think hard to remember her name) never felt likable in the same way, not even after all her audio diaries and lenghty cutscenes.

The last game I played with a lot of quicktime events was Resident Evil 6. I didn't really mind the "regular" quicktime events. What I really hated however were the "escape sequences". Bad camera, bad controls and an at times unforgiving difficulty makes for a pretty frustrating gaming experience.

"Well, if triple-A games stay the way they are now, Youtube is going to be absolutely flooded with videos of people all doing the exact same fucking thing, aren't they? More so than it usually is, I mean"

Youtube BETTER get a filter option you can permanently enable to get rid off all footage which has "PS4 Share button" as the video source!

Agreed so much on when they don't do anything to let you know that a cutscene has ended and gameplay has resumed except for killing you character's dopey ass for standing there too long. I also hate when you can't tell that gameplay has stopped and flowed right into a cutscene, and I don't notice until I try to do one thing and the character does something else.

That was at least the one (and only one) positive thing that using prerendered video instead of the game engine for cutscenes had: you could tell when you were playing and when you were watching due to the change in graphics quality. It is nice that we've gotten away from the need for prerendered bullshit, but now it's time for developers to learn to use their game engine made cutscenes responsibly. We need to know when we're playing and when we're watching, and "oops you stood there too long and died" isn't the way to go about it.

I used to be really against QTEs, for many of the same reasons that Yahtzee and others have pointed out, but recently I've been noticing myself playing them... and not really having any problem with them. Even enjoying them, to at least a certain extent.

I've been playing Metal Gear Rising, Bayonetta, and Vanquish and they have a hell of a lot of QTEs. They haven't at any moment had me feeling like the game is being cheap or arbitrary. I can't think of any way how plenty of these QTEs are different from the usual "press X to not die" thing, but I haven't had a problem with them. I've even had the same thing with KoA: Reckoning wit its much less spectacular use of them.

But when I try to think of games which have had QTEs which I didn't enjoy, I can't think of anything that's recent at all. Dante's Inferno is a big one, but that game was crap in general. I didn't enjoy them in the Ninja Blade demo, despite somewhat enjoying the normal gameplay. Did Enslaved have QTEs? I can't remember, but I feel like it did and that they were bad in that. That game felt very restrictive with the amount of freedom you had in general.

But regardless, I haven't really had a problem with them recently, and it's been a while since I've even played games which featured them prominently. Even then, it's hard to think of many examples.

That said, when I see footage of games with QTEs like in Tomb Raider and such, they do look pretty bad. Like the one where Lara is scrambling up out of a cave and you have to mash the shoulder buttons. That just seems really silly.

So I don't know what to think. Is there really anything different about the QTEs in the games I've been playing recently? Or is it that I only disliked them because I thought I was supposed to, or because I was playing games that were bad in general? And what if I'm only put off QTEs I see in games now because I'm not actually playing it? I don't know, but either way I think there's something missing. It's not really as simple as "QTEs = bad", and the reasons why some people say that some QTEs are okay and others aren't don't seem to be holding much water in reference to my actual experience.

Yahtzee seems to think that video games should capitalise on this 'interactivity' nonsense at the expense of exquisitely crafted movie action sequences.

I find his stance rather odd.

QTEs are fine, as long as they aren't done that often. He picks on Tomb Raider, but it was all but lifted from the Uncharted series, and that series was smart enough to tone down QTEs almost completely by the third game. God of War and the Naruto games are much more guilty of this than any other series. Then you have TellTale's Jurassic Park game which did everything wrong, and then there's the game Asura's Wrath... which was one giant QTE but was so over-the-top cheese I've come to enjoy it as the illogical extreme of the QTE.

It still has its place, but devs can't just shove it in to make scenes interesting. Players are over them today, and most find them to be the cheap tactic they are now.

Actually, demos aren't used very often because they cut down your sales, often by about 50%. The reason is quite simple; After playing the demo many people are satisfied, as in they had their cut of the game. They know what it's like. And sometimes players think the demo sucked, so they won't buy the game. At other times, they just kinda forget about it. It's not interesting (enough) anymore. A trailer keeps people in the dark, you don't really know what to expect yet when you'd actually play. This creates curiosity and to satisfy that curiosity people will buy the game... Unless they played a demo.

I guess I could have phrased that a little better, but that's the basic idea.

But I have a question - what about games like Spec Ops, which are more about telling a story than anything and the interactivity is boils down to nothing more than shooting people? Anyone discussing Spec Ops around a watercooler is going to describe the same action sequences where the only difference is which part of the enemy's bodies they tended to shoot at the most.

See I too agree that Tomb Raider could almost be considered in the same category as Heavy Rain with the amount of directed sequences where you just press buttons. But I also see what the game is aiming to do, it's not trying to be a sandbox and it's not trying to be a Skyrim-style game either. It's just trying to tell Lara's story of survival as directed by the writer, and at least it's got a decent length (10-12 hours).

The above mentioned QTE's have managed to be in games I like and games that I despised. RE6 had these issues and I thought that it ruined the game. But really, it's just a lousy game. I enjoyed Tomb Raider, but did feel the overall amount of these things detracted from the game, but it wasn't ruined by them. They can be an OK tool, but I'm inclined to agree that they result from the overall laziness of the developers. As others have mentioned, they are actually fine when the context is player choice or to tell a story. We'll go with The Walking Dead on this one. All the action was expressed through QTE's, but it was more about making choices and living with them.

To me, the worst example of QTE are the Resident Evil 4 (onward). They come without a clue, are easy to miss, are an instant game over and force me to replay entire sections of the game. And the absolutely worst part is that they are totally uncalled for... standard cutscenes will sometimes trigger a button prompt that has nothing in relation to the action and forces me to play it fast or die. To me, cutscenes are moments where I can rest the controller and enjoy the show, which I can't do if the game forces me to be suspicious that a sudden button prompt will swiftly reset my advance. Its the equivalent of a MK game having random prompt during fatalities, and failure means the other person wins the fight.

At least games like God of War has QTE that are (for the most part) triggered by the player. We have a huge red button on top of an enemy and we know it means an interactive, short movie is about to be triggered.

I don't think trailers are the reason for more QTE... Designers just want certain parts of the game to look cool, and it is difficult when the chances of the hero making a somersault over a stunned enemy followed by a shotgun to the face are a lot slimmer of him walking on the spot in front of a wall; but they often use professional level gameplay or segments of proper cutscenes to make trailers, not QTE.

Doctor:
Actually, demos aren't used very often because they cut down your sales, often by about 50%. The reason is quite simple; After playing the demo many people are satisfied, as in they had their cut of the game. They know what it's like. And sometimes players think the demo sucked, so they won't buy the game. At other times, they just kinda forget about it. It's not interesting (enough) anymore. A trailer keeps people in the dark, you don't really know what to expect yet when you'd actually play. This creates curiosity and to satisfy that curiosity people will buy the game... Unless they played a demo.

I have seen that reasoning a hundred times and I guess its statistically correct, but I guess I just don't belong to that segment.

To me, trailers are nice, but I would never buy a new game (especially not a new IP) unless I had a clear idea of how good the gameplay is, which I only get from demos. I understand making demos is hard, in many ways, but I could count several games this generation alone that I wouldn't have considered until I played their demos... trailer (especially non gameplay trailers) tell me very, very little about a game.

Games are really expensive around here (like 3 times the price of USA), and actually being able to get the feel of a new game is almost required to getting my interest.

hermes200:
I have seen that reasoning a hundred times and I guess its statistically correct, but I guess I just don't belong to that segment.

To me, trailers are nice, but I would never buy a new game (especially not a new IP) unless I had a clear idea of how good the gameplay is, which I only get from demos. I understand making demos is hard, in many ways, but I could count several games this generation alone that I wouldn't have considered until I played their demos... trailer (especially non gameplay trailers) tell me very, very little about a game.

Games are really expensive around here (like 3 times the price of USA), and actually being able to get the feel of a new game is almost required to getting my interest.

I understand your statement as well, especially when games are that expensive. And of course, demos and trailers have different effects on different people, that makes sense. I also get tired of trailers that show little to no game play, as Yahtzee once said, it feels like there's something the developers want to hide from me. All I tried to explain is why there might not be so many demos as before. It sucks for the players, but it's a win for the developers.

hermes200:
I don't think trailers are the reason for more QTE... Designers just want certain parts of the game to look cool, and it is difficult when the chances of the hero making a somersault over a stunned enemy followed by a shotgun to the face are a lot slimmer of him walking on the spot in front of a wall; but they often use professional level gameplay or segments of proper cutscenes to make trailers, not QTE.

Maybe, but when a game has to resort to QTEs simply for the sake of "looking cool," that's indicative of a serious problem on the behalf of both the game itself and the mindset of its developers. Much as Yahtzee cited Just Cause 2 as an example of a game with the confidence to sell itself mostly on direct footage of its gameplay in action, I'd point to the Portal trailer as an example of a game whose trailer quality is dependent upon the game's quality (imagine that) and succeeds wildly for it. The second half of the trailer is nothing more than clips of the player either completing required in-game tasks or simply messing about with the gameplay, and both parts of the experience remain engaging, even for one watching the trailer instead of playing the game itself, because the gameplay is good enough that anyone playing it will be even more engaged. That's the one quality above all else that any game should possess, because if a developer needs to crowbar in a QTE, scripted setpiece, or restrictive cutscene purely for the chance to make itself seem impressive, it's a good indication that the actual gameplay is failing to do its job.

What makes this even worse is that many developers aren't doing this out of any conscious effort to address their games' shortcomings; they do it because they want the games to be cinematic, out of a misguided impression that this is automatically a good thing for a game to be. They're too blinded by their aspirations to "equal" an entirely disparate artistic medium - which is no better inherently than their own medium to begin with - to play to video games' strengths. If they instead concentrated on the right things, the existing obsession with "looking cool" wouldn't be an issue in the first place.

Totally agree about "click X to not die"-QTEs, but I'm kind of conflicted about the Mass Effect cutscenes. I kind of like how they are an optional way of either being cold or compasionate, or just being passive, but on the other hand.. I usually like to grab a drink or a snack during cutscenes, so..

Darth_Payn:
I believe I remember when the QTE's yahtzee mentioned in the column were new and fresh. I think the old Tomb Raider games had sequences where you slide down steep hills a lot, with the "go-there-before-something-offscreen-kills-you" mechanic in place. Now, with game technology more complex, programming them is more complicated, so they're just sticking with what worked before.
Wait, Resident Evil 4 had a bunch of QTE's, and Yahtzee claimed that game as the best of the series.

I think he's railing mostly against scripted events that force you down a path and restrict your control for the sake of the cinematic experience.

The QTE's in Resident Evil 4 and God of War were generally finisher moves and dodges. And while RE4 did a have a good deal of "press X to not die" cutscenes, it was one of the first games to try this. And looking back at it this was a bit annoying. But the gameplay itself never felt restricted by QTE's or scripted events.

Triple-A single player games seem to becoming more and more like themepark rides, where your only purpose as the player is to shut up and keep your arms inside the vehicle while awesome stuff happens around you.

According to the Shenmue manual it's called a Quick Timer Event.

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