Let's talk about QTEs

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#1 Edited by charizard1605 (54541 posts) -

Quick time events, more commonly known as QTEs, are frowned upon by most 'core gamers' today as the very embodiment of all that is wrong with gaming- an eschewing of actual depth or substance, with an emphasis on flashy, cinematic presentation, and the wresting of all control away from the gamer, with only an illusion remaining.

QTEs are often seen as poor stand ins for actual, meaningful, mechanically sound game design, a sort of cop out for game designers from actually having to give any thought to how they are designing their games. And very often, that is what they are- look at Ryse: Son of Rome, for instance.

But are QTEs always bad? Sometimes, they can be used effectively, and add to the tension of a videogame, assuming they are being used to complement game design, instead of replacing it. For instance, let's consider games like Resident Evil 4, or the original God of War- both games used QTEs sparingly, at unexpected moments, to add interactivity to sections that would otherwise have lacked it altogether, and complemented the atmosphere incredibly, heightening the sense of urgency for both the titles.

Do you think that QTEs have a place in modern game design, if they are used properly? And do you have any other examples of good usage of QTEs in video games? What about bad ones?

#2 Posted by PonchoTaco (1906 posts) -

If done right, it can be awesome.

#3 Posted by k2theswiss (16598 posts) -

let's not. most are stupid and no need for it.

#4 Edited by inb4uall (5158 posts) -

I think outside of the games you mentioned QTE's have no place in gaming. 99% of the time they annoy the shit out of me. If I had to pick between no QTE's at all or what we have now, I can safely say I would rather miss out on the 1% of the time they are used correctly to avoid the mess they present elsewhere.

#5 Posted by Desmonic (12811 posts) -

From what I played the GoW series was the only one that pulled them well and also made most of them optional (the non boss/story based ones). Which I suppose is why I don't mind them in that series.

In some games though it gets annoying... Let us not forget that are games out there that are nothing but a huge QTE *coughHeavyRaincoughBeyondTwoSoulscough*....

#6 Posted by AtariKidX (6192 posts) -

I like this......

#7 Posted by LordQuorthon (5247 posts) -

Sort of tolerable on Resident Evil 4 and rail shooters. Besides that, an absolute abomination.

#8 Posted by silversix_ (13666 posts) -

Its one of the things i hate the most since RE4.

#9 Posted by Boddicker (2291 posts) -

I think the "grapple" mechanic where a baddy latches onto you and you have to shake him off is one of the few times a QTE is acceptable.

90% of the rest of the time it's just sloppy game design. "We don't want to waste time figuring out how to do this, so let's just make it a QTE."

Well written and thoughtful OP, Charizard.

#11 Edited by Cyberdot (3510 posts) -

I'm feeling lazy and gonna just respond to the title.

QTEs are a fucking disgrace to games and developers should be punished for implementing this button-mashing nonsense. That's all.

#12 Posted by shadiezz2012 (2445 posts) -

god of war games are the only games that done them right for me

#13 Posted by Gue1 (9178 posts) -

Bad examples:

Vanilla Ninja Gaiden 3 is the perfect example of how not to do them. They are random, inconsistent and always out of place. Like seriously, a QTE mid-through a combo? That completely ruins the dynamism of the gameplay. Without Itagaki Team Ninja are nothing but a sub-par developer.

Asura's Wrath. This game is just a pointless and utterly boring QTE fest with an implementation so bad they are even worse than in David Cage's games. This game is just Capcom trying to copy God of War but failing at it at every conceivable level. It's disgusting.

Resident Evil 4. Failing a QTE kills you instantly....

Good examples:

Yakuza is an example of excellent implementation because they use them to allow you to deal more damage on finishing moves by delivering a second blow or even a 3rd blow depending on your character's stats. So when you're mashing buttons you need to be attentive for when the QTE triggers with the strict timing to complete each one of them successfully. But you know exactly when the QTE will be triggered, what you don't know is what button you'll have to press on that instant to complete the finisher like in Metal gear Rising. Then you have a special bar that when filled you attain a mode called "heat mode" that you activate wherever you want and in this case is not the game who triggers the QTE, it's the player. So these kind of QTE's feel satisfying because they require reflex and in the case of the "heat mode" they are strategic , so you either save it for a boss fight or when surrounded by many difficult enemies, it's your choice. But have in mind that they are not random or intrusive because they are not obligatory. They don't ruin your combos... Although the combos are canned because this ain't a hack & slash like DMC, it's an oldchool brawler like Final Fight. But because they are canned you know exactly when the QTE's will be triggered.

God of War's QTE's are another great example because while they don't have strict timing that test your reflex they are completely seamless that no other game have ever been able to match. They are mostly used for finishers, so they don't ruin your combos or happen at random and because they have a wide timing gap they can use them on cinematics without ever feeling intrusive or like a hassle like in Ninja Gaiden 3. In fact, I love it. They way Santa Monica Studios mix it up with the actual gameplay it's just so perfect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1ompKbegok And yes, TC is wrong on saying that GOW's QTE's are unexpected. If they were they would suck.

#14 Edited by Gue1 (9178 posts) -

@Cyberdot said:

I'm feeling lazy and gonna just respond to the title.

QTEs are a fucking disgrace to games and developers should be punished for implementing this button-mashing nonsense. That's all.

if you guys keep saying that every new implementation on modern games are a disgrace this industry would never progress. There's a thread of a guy complaining about "cinematic walking", always complaining about QTE's, others complaining about Call of Duty's twitch based gameplay or about how games are becoming more social because of the focus on the online component, etc. And not to mention at how some of you guys diss stories in games... When thanks to "writing" is because we have games like The Last of Us and Uncharted that many of you don't even know how to appreciate.

You guys really don't think about anything deeply. Just let devs do their thing and you guys stay living in the archaic ages playing old games.

#15 Posted by CrownKingArthur (3825 posts) -

if you've ever seen the classic film 'the breakfast club', this QTE might amuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY9NO4GQJRk

credit to freedomfreak for showing me this ages ago.

anyway tc i very much agree that some games do qte quite well. resident evil 4 is a good example, also i liked them in res evil 5. i enjoy them if they are done well, but sometimes they are poorly executed.

#16 Edited by Draign (526 posts) -

RYSE did it the best. No blatant button flashing in your face, and only done when you want it to occur.

#17 Edited by AznbkdX (3117 posts) -

@Gue1 said:

Bad examples:

Vanilla Ninja Gaiden 3 is the perfect example of how not to do them. They are random, inconsistent and always out of place. Like seriously, a QTE mid-through a combo? That completely ruins the dynamism of the gameplay. Without Itagaki Team Ninja are nothing but a sub-par developer.

Asura's Wrath. This game is just a pointless and utterly boring QTE fest with an implementation so bad they are even worse than in David Cage's games. This game is just Capcom trying to copy God of War but failing at it at every conceivable level. It's disgusting.

Resident Evil 4. Failing a QTE kills you instantly....

Good examples:

Yakuza is an example of excellent implementation because they use them to allow you to deal more damage on finishing moves by delivering a second blow or even a 3rd blow depending on your character's stats. So when you're mashing buttons you need to be attentive for when the QTE triggers with the strict timing to complete each one of them successfully. But you know exactly when the QTE will be triggered, what you don't know is what button you'll have to press on that instant to complete the finisher like in Metal gear Rising. Then you have a special bar that when filled you attain a mode called "heat mode" that you activate wherever you want and in this case is not the game who triggers the QTE, it's the player. So these kind of QTE's feel satisfying because they require reflex and in the case of the "heat mode" they are strategic , so you either save it for a boss fight or when surrounded by many difficult enemies, it's your choice. But have in mind that they are not random or intrusive because they are not obligatory. They don't ruin your combos... Although the combos are canned because this ain't a hack & slash like DMC, it's an oldchool brawler like Final Fight. But because they are canned you know exactly when the QTE's will be triggered.

God of War's QTE's are another great example because while they don't have strict timing that test your reflex they are completely seamless that no other game have ever been able to match. They are mostly used for finishers, so they don't ruin your combos or happen at random and because they have a wide timing gap they can use them on cinematics without ever feeling intrusive or like a hassle like in Ninja Gaiden 3. In fact, I love it. They way Santa Monica Studios mix it up with the actual gameplay it's just so perfect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1ompKbegok And yes, TC is wrong on saying that GOW's QTE's are unexpected. If they were they would suck.

This right here, even if I personally think they should be abolished. Sometimes they work pretty well, most times they don't though.

There shouldn't be any kind of harsh punishment for a missed QTE on YOUR part, just an ending to what would have been an awesome combo. There are harder modes where QTE's would be much more necessary (or at least not ending them correctly could end harshly for you) but I'm talking in general. I've always thought QTE's should be optional for the most part and should always be expected so it's less like a QTE but more attuned to the gameplay like said GoW example.

#18 Edited by Heil68 (42736 posts) -

I dont mind them personally, even a game full of them like Heavy Rain or Ninja Blade.

#19 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (8651 posts) -

Lets get rid of cutscenes 1st, then we'l talk QTE's.

#20 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (8651 posts) -

What about Contextual Mechanics ? They're like a middle ground between Core Mechanics and QTE's ?

#21 Posted by freedomfreak (38305 posts) -

The more, the better.

#22 Posted by getyeryayasout (6917 posts) -

The original Shenmue, I think, can be credited with bringing QTE's to modern gaming (respect to Dragon's Lair), and they were tense and fun back then, now they just seem lazy. Like others have mentioned, there are exceptions, but mostly I don't care for them.

#23 Edited by AznbkdX (3117 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

Lets get rid of cutscenes 1st, then we'l talk QTE's.

Nah I like cutscenes. :)

Although I have to admit that I also think the same on cutscenes as I do QTE's; some games do them right, but most do them wrong. There should NEVER be a freaking long ass cutscene before a boss, or at least there shouldn't be one that is not skippable. Cutscenes should be resting points made for major transitions in a game, not long scenes only built to make said boss look cooler.

#24 Posted by PrincessGomez92 (3249 posts) -
#25 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (8651 posts) -

@ AznbkdX

Why should cutscenes be resting points ? Why can't you just press pause and have a cup of tea ?

I hate them because if I didn't want to interact then I would simply watch a movie.

#26 Edited by Joedgabe (5090 posts) -

They're pretty cool during gameplay like on Metal Gear Risin ( latest game i've played with it ) you doing something and it procs so that's completelly fine to me. What's not acceptable is during cut scenes. That right there is just annoying. You sit back and relax and watch the cut scenes all of the sudden you have to press buttons accordingly other wise you repeat them. <- Tomb Raider ( horrible way to use them)

#27 Edited by AznbkdX (3117 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@ AznbkdX

Why should cutscenes be resting points ? Why can't you just press pause and have a cup of tea ?

I hate them because if I didn't want to interact then I would simply watch a movie.

I never said that you couldn't pause the game if you wanted to at points where you can. :P

I'm just saying that they are rather relaxing after a major fight or something big story oriented happens. Of course these should also be skippable as well for gamers that don't want it ie Lulu. :)

#28 Posted by Snugenz (11471 posts) -

If a game must have these cinematic cutscenes i'd rather not miss them because i'm focusing on which button i'll have to press next, so not a fan of QTEs at all..

#29 Posted by FoxbatAlpha (5917 posts) -

They have been around for ages. For some reason they are blown up into this thing everyone hates. I don't mind them. We push buttons to play games, that's what buttons are for.

Remember Mortal Kombat? Weren't they just called finishing moves back then? They work fine.

#30 Posted by Jag85 (4269 posts) -

I initially liked them in Shenmue and Resident Evil 4, but that's about it.

#31 Posted by freedomfreak (38305 posts) -
#32 Posted by turtlethetaffer (16451 posts) -

Most of the time they come off as uneeded but sometimes they can be pretty cool.

#33 Posted by cainetao11 (15979 posts) -

Good topic char. I think they have a place, and aren't necessarily bad. Its how implemented in my opinion. Like god of war uses them well.

#34 Posted by ArisShadows (22615 posts) -

If they aren't intrusive, and they don't instantly end your session of gameplay or kill you, sure they are fine. I really like the few they have in the Saints Row games, they are small but they keep you on your toes.

#35 Posted by Boddicker (2291 posts) -
#36 Posted by PurpleMan5000 (6635 posts) -

I prefer games to not have them at all, but I guess I don't mind them if they are put into a game as sort of a finisher for a boss or something.

#37 Edited by Jebus213 (8707 posts) -

This thread is full of cancer.

That is all.

#38 Posted by jg4xchamp (46712 posts) -

Depends on the game, and it's entirely lazy to go "herpa derp it uses a QTE, ergo must suck".

For instance RE 4 has good uses for them. Bayonetta's QTE finishers are well done. Games that overly rely on qtes however, are kind of poor. QTE is in that "jump scare" category of things. It's not that jump scares are bad. It's that there is an effective to use them, and there is a lazy way to use them. Most modern game developers use them the lazy way.

#39 Posted by Sushiglutton (5173 posts) -

Like others have said it's fine when they are used to spice up the end of a tough fight, it's not ok when QTE is the entire system. GOW uses them well. Fighting animals in Assassin's Creed is an example of a poor use of QTEs.

Also they should be easy. It's a silly thing to test the player on. The real challenge should be in proper gameplay, where there is a combination of strategy and reflexes.

#40 Posted by jun_aka_pekto (15847 posts) -

I don't like it. Instead of QTE, use a cutscene and make it skippable.

#41 Posted by finalfantasy94 (26179 posts) -

@Gue1 said:

Bad examples:

Asura's Wrath. This game is just a pointless and utterly boring QTE fest with an implementation so bad they are even worse than in David Cage's games. This game is just Capcom trying to copy God of War but failing at it at every conceivable level. It's disgusting.

It actually has nothing to do with capcom. The developers are known for using the qtes if you played any of the naruto ultimate ninja games you would know this.I actually think they did it well.The qte parts are over the top anime stuff you couldint do by just playing.Thier games are simple but fun.

#42 Posted by finalfantasy94 (26179 posts) -
#43 Posted by foxhound_fox (86989 posts) -

Any game that uses the "interactive cutscene" type of QTE as it's main form of gameplay, is a bad game. Mechanics should be about giving the player the control of the situation to do what they want, not push a "win button" to see the guy on the screen do something "cool".

If you distill what the QTE is down into it's simplest form, it is essentially a button prompt to continue the action. There is nothing organic about it. There is no "control". You either have the sufficient reaction time to hit the prompt, or you don't, and have to repeat it ad nauseum until you successfully complete it.

They are the bane of "gaming". It is essentially like pushing play on your DVD player remote to start a movie.

#44 Posted by PyratRum (557 posts) -

@Gue1 said:

God of War's QTE's are another great example because while they don't have strict timing that test your reflex they are completely seamless that no other game have ever been able to match. They are mostly used for finishers, so they don't ruin your combos or happen at random and because they have a wide timing gap they can use them on cinematics without ever feeling intrusive or like a hassle like in Ninja Gaiden 3. In fact, I love it. They way Santa Monica Studios mix it up with the actual gameplay it's just so perfect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1ompKbegok And yes, TC is wrong on saying that GOW's QTE's are unexpected. If they were they would suck.

I agree that God Of War uses them very well (best actually) and that when used in meaningful way mixed in with the core gameplay, it can actually add to the mechanics.

And that dude in the video link is pretty fucking good. He's pretty skilled when it comes to taking on the mobs in Chaos mode, considering most enemies encounters spawned during a boss are usually more difficult. Love his defensive play style with the Claws of Hades.

#45 Edited by lamprey263 (22460 posts) -

I don't mind a quick QTE in combat, like say someone grapples you and you have to QTE to break it or there's special execution QTEs I also don't mind. Hell, Indigo Prophecy / Fahrenheit is entirely a QTE game and it's very enjoyable. When it gets lame is when there's just an uncontrollable long cutscene with needless QTE queues.

People have a mob mentality with certain words though, simply saying QTE people treat the word like "AIDS" and "cancer" fucked and had a baby and named it "QTE". Not all QTEs are bad.

#46 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (8651 posts) -

@ AznbkdX

Do people actually Replay their games ? I thought people would be busy trying to shaved down their back logs.

#47 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (8171 posts) -

The final boss fight in Warhammer: Space Marine is nothing but a QTE sequence. What a joke, and I'm not kidding.

#48 Edited by Basinboy (10932 posts) -

GoW and Heavy Rain (sorta) come to mind as games that did them well, but generally they're a crutch and shortchange otherwise good design. To put things into perspective though, I'd rather press a button once than hammer O over and over.

#49 Posted by Seabas989 (9967 posts) -

RE4 had the best QTEs.

#50 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (8651 posts) -

Well, on the Topic Of Heavy Rain and Beyond, how could one design proper mechanics for such an unconventional, its not exactly a story about Captain Badass saving the world from Aliens one headshot at a time, and many people don't want it to be.

Now I was hoping 8th gen was going to come out with more innovative hardware to make Heavy Rain and Beyond more Intuitive, but nope, same old controller !

Seriously, who thinks 8th gen is going to be different from gen 7 ?

Atleast Nintendo is trying !