A Quick Time Event By Any Other Name

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I don't know why everyone seems to hate QTE so much, I mean the latest tomb raider they were done right, they had a prompt come up before hand to tell you one was coming to give you some decent time to react, I mean if the writer wants a certain cinematic element to be imposed in a scene, there's only so many ways they can do it through game play, otherwise things become too bloated and you end up with elements introduced that are then thrown away instantly.

Sometimes games ain't /just/ about making your own experience, sometimes they're the writer wanting you to experience a story, if the writer wants a specific thing to happen there, and the best way to display that is a cinematic with QTEs then so be it, so long as they're implemented well or give you some sort of warning that they're coming, I shall continue to have no beef with them. Sometimes I want to experience a rigid story, sometimes I want free for all exploration, is that so bad?

Uncharted 2 had the worst scripted-escape-sequence thing at the end. You run across a bridge and halfway across it the camera flips to the other side to better show you the bridge collapsing behind you, except when you get to the end you have no idea where it wants you to jump. If you don't jump towards the right-hand side of the bridge towards something that is completely off-screen you die.

It had a similar sequence earlier in the game where the building you are in is falling over and if you're not in the right 5 square foot area of floor at the right time you die.

To be honest I don't mind these sequences, they are both exciting and cinematic in their way, but they lose that quality after the first attempt. They could make them piss-easy to avoid that, but then they might as well make them non-interactive sequences and quit acting like they're fooling anybody.

It's funny (and also sad and depressing) but when I originally played Shenmue (the game that basically reinvented the concept for the modern gaming age) QTEs were fresh, creative and exciting. Of course, Shenmue was meant from the beginning to be the first REALLY cinematic game (which still had real gameplay, unlike Dragon's Lair and the like) so yeah, Seinfeld Is Unfunny I guess. Mind you, I DID get really frustrated with the introduction of QTE combos in Shenmue 2 because it took me ages to get used to the timing on them- I fluffed the first one in the game, which is OK because you can continue on after missing it with no real penalty, but the next one resulted in me failing an important cutscene which I had to replay... and replay... and replay... and replay until I FINALLY got it right.

Damn I miss Shenmue...

Yuuki:
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.

Actually, I'd bring up Spec Ops as a prime example of how to handle these set-piece moments.

Multiple forced decisions by the game are semi-hidden, and fully controlled by existing game mechanics.

These are examples of Spec Ops' decision to have its cake, and eat it anyway. It are rather rigid events where player input is reduced to a bare minimum, but it compensates for this removal of depth in some other way. (well-built story/ morality implications, non-obvious additional choices)
And in the end, the main problem with QTE's and scripted events pretty much comes down to that: they take away the depth of the experience by reducing possible player input to the bare minimum.

Scrustle:
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.

Vanquish actually did them pretty well. Usually something happened in combat, and suddenly Sam would go into "time to kick some ass" mode: a short cutscene at the end of which you would do the QTE. It felt like a bonus "super-move" the game would toss you in certain situations, and was never hard to distinguish from a story cutscene. Plus, they weren't -too- easy to miss/fail, and didn't usually kill you, anyway.

It did have a QTE sequence at the end that was annoying, though.

Iv been playing devil may cry 1, 2 and three. All those games are prety hard and none of them have QTE. It gose to prove that you dont need them in a game. And to be perfictly honest I recon QTE momments actualy make games far to eyasy.

Pardon my bad spelling.

I feel like every time Yahtzee complains about this garbage an angel gets his wings (gets his own set of wings, not Yahtzee's, I don't think Yahtzee has wings anyways). At least there are some people in this world who have a public voice and genuinely get it.

Hmm, why does my nose feel wet?

But seriously, these kinds of QTE's do nothing but constrict control in a medium specifically designed to give you control. Why is that a good idea?

I had some thoughts on Tomb Raider trying to hard to emulate movies and wrote about them here; http://www.hbhud.com/2013/03/27/tomb-raider-where-are-the-tombs/ . There is some similar complaints to Yatzhee's. It's a great game that's unfortunately bogged down in too many sections that seem to forget that Tomb Raider is, in fact, a game.

For one, movie-like games are fine. Not everyone out there is a hardcore player who likes pressing combinations of 6 different buttons in quick succession to make something happen on screen. Some people like it when at the press of a single button the coolest stuff ever happens on screen, and they're just watching/enjoying it for the most part. Those are more casual players, the kind that likes Uncharted, but wouldn't touch XCOM. People coming to games from a movie angle.

That's why we have QTEs. To let something amazing happen, that you wouldn't be able to with the normal game mechanics, because the event is too specialized. It also serves the purpose of making it more - yes - cinematic. If that's the kind of game you're making, i don't see how fully interactive cut-scenes would make it any better. Remember HL2, where you could look around? What would it help, if you could move around freely during cut-scenes? IMHO it would more likely ruin it for yourself, because you'd be goofing around, destroying the atmosphere the game tried to build up.

That said, i wouldn't mind even more cut-scenes, but shorter ones. Like, instead of having 15 minute ones for every hour of gameplay that are meant to build a bridge from one mission to the other, have the game intersected with short (think 10s) ones that advance the story seamlessly while you're playing and thus fill the NPCs with life, and make stuff happen that may not be possible otherwise (again, due to controls) that way.

proghead:
For one, movie-like games are fine. Not everyone out there is a hardcore player who likes pressing combinations of 6 different buttons in quick succession to make something happen on screen. Some people like it when at the press of a single button the coolest stuff ever happens on screen, and they're just watching/enjoying it for the most part. Those are more casual players, the kind that likes Uncharted, but wouldn't touch XCOM. People coming to games from a movie angle.

That's why we have QTEs. To let something amazing happen, that you wouldn't be able to with the normal game mechanics, because the event is too specialized. It also serves the purpose of making it more - yes - cinematic. If that's the kind of game you're making, i don't see how fully interactive cut-scenes would make it any better. Remember HL2, where you could look around? What would it help, if you could move around freely during cut-scenes? IMHO it would more likely ruin it for yourself, because you'd be goofing around, destroying the atmosphere the game tried to build up.

That said, i wouldn't mind even more cut-scenes, but shorter ones. Like, instead of having 15 minute ones for every hour of gameplay that are meant to build a bridge from one mission to the other, have the game intersected with short (think 10s) ones that advance the story seamlessly while you're playing and thus fill the NPCs with life, and make stuff happen that may not be possible otherwise (again, due to controls) that way.

The thing is that they marketed this game as a non-linear sandbox experience, and having QTES like that kind of undermines it.

Also

"Remember HL2, where you could look around? What would it help, if you could move around freely during cut-scenes? IMHO it would more likely ruin it for yourself, because you'd be goofing around, destroying the atmosphere the game tried to build up."

First off, ruining it for myself? Not everyone has the same ideas of what makes gameplay fun as you do.

Second, okay, maybe it's destroying the atmosphere, but at least the player is consciously deciding to do that, and if his experience is being ruined, then it's his own fault. I don't see how it's fair to punish other players for that by taking away gameplay. Many people have fun goofing around. Who are you to decide that that's bad?

No. The truth is that every QTE is the sad remnant of the seed of an idea, stifled by an excessively easy but ultimately poisonous solution that prevents that seed from getting a chance to grow and develop, and likewise stifling the development of game designers who feel compelled to employ the dread QTE by the oppressive limitations placed on their time, resources, and creativity. Unless it seems plausible somehow that a spoonful of button prompt interruptions helps the trailer fodder cutscenes go down?

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

And not to mention it's a shitload of work for the developers, because we have to rush something out for the players to get their hands on many, many months before the game is tuned or polished, make sure that it's a bug-free as possible even at that early stage. It's a massive distraction for the entire team and the end result is not usually representative of the final game quality (in other words it can feel a bit rushed and crap, because that's exactly what it is).

I also don't think most gamers realize how far in advance we have to have the demos submitted and approved by first parties - just because a demo is released a few weeks before the game ships, the demo will have been complete for 3, 4, sometimes even 5 months prior to that.

Balkan:
... Bioshock Infinite. ... [needed another pick] ... when suddenly Elizabeth pointed me a lockpick that I missed while looting the area... that was the first moment that made Elizabeth feel like a parthner to me.

Valve did that first in a more subtle way. The crates in HL2 were context-sensitive. They dropped what you needed when you broke them open. If you didn't need anything then they reverted to some common health or ammo stuff. If you were hurting and a kind of boss was coming up, then its health, shield power, power packs for the Combine Carbine, etc. Elizabeth might as well be wearing a trenchcoat with thousands of pockets inside. Hey buddy? Need anything?

I do give props to Bioshock for doing it that way though. I'm playing System Shock 2, and its nice that dropped items persist in the world, but scampering across 5 decks of a spacecraft to go find another Psi hypo just sucks.

- and -

Yahtzee's metric of unique player experience is a bit disturbing. For one thing, it validates my opinion that Batman:AA is effectively a very large quick time event. To be sure, you do have a lot of freedom (despite the small spaces) in the take-out-the-room-fulla-baddies minigames. But the group fights were all QTE's. Strike. Block. Move.
"Hey, why did you leap over that guy instead of rolling under him?"
"Uh... I didn't control how he moves, just the general direction that he moves in."

I'll freely admit that it is great fun, despite how deceptive it is. Yet at some point, we have to realize that press Square-Triangle-Circle to not die is the same as press X to not die.

For another thing, it means that many restrictive rail shooters might as well be movie rentals. To me it felt like frustrating combat, followed by press X to make a bad decision. Spec Ops:the Line could have benefited from a more open environment. It is my opinion that the confined spaces made the gunplay much more difficult than it had to be. And some of those sequences could have been much more fun. Like the "survive" segment after falling out of the building.

Speaking of which. SpecOps fans should go rent an old Lee Marvin film called "Point Blank". Konrad isn't the only name of significance.

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