Everyone's Favorite Crutch

Shamus Young

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Everyone's Favorite Crutch

Quick Time Events are an understandable shortcut for developers, but do they really have to suck quite so much?

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The Iron Ninja

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I enjoyed the mention of Ninja Chefs.
I propose getting the Cooking Mama people to team up with the Tenchu people.

I think you've hit the nail on the head here (if the nail in question was quick time events and why they are regarded so poorly by most).
Especially the fact that for these quick time events, instead of looking at what might well be a pretty damn fantastic cut-scene, you end up looking at a button shaped icon floating ominously in front of it. It's like if a game was to have beautiful graphics and wonderful, well designed scenic pieces, but you spent all your time looking at the mini-map rather than the world itself. Quite frankly it's a complete waste of the talents put to use in making such cut scenes.
 

Random Argument Man

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I can think of one serie that loss its appeal: Shenmue. Shenmue 2 ended on a cliffhanger so frustating, I can take a "finish the fight" anytime.

However, with the lack of interest from audiences and the repeated used quick-time event by developers. Shenmue 3's features doesn't look promising. In fact, I'm pretty sure everyone besides fans will dismiss it. (If it comes out one day).

It's a shame. For something that was innovative at the time, now it's the most annoying thing ever besides bad control and crappy camera.
 

GonzoGamer

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Great article.

I've always hated QTEs (one of the reasons I got into Zero Punctuation) and I can only hope that things like the VATS system (Fallout 3) mean that we wont have to deal with (as many of) them for too much longer.

Unfortunately there's always going to be lazy programmers who won't give a crap. And I'm sorry but it is laziness. I didn't like simon says when I was 4 years old and I find it even less amusing now.
 

DaveMc

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My first and only exposure to QTEs was in God of War, which left me with the feeling that this was a clever little idea: fun and mostly harmless. I take it that they've replicated rapidly and metastasized to games all over the place while my attention has been elsewhere? Huh. I can see how it would be fun once (and God of War really did do it very well), but I can see how players would be getting tired of running into this particular trope everywhere they turn.
 

meatloaf231

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Yep, you've certainly got this right. QTEs are a developer being too lazy to actually implement any non-standard gameplay mechanics.

Imagine the terrible time we would be living in if the developers of Shadow of the Colossus had decided to just go with QTEs.
 

The Rogue Wolf

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Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. This is precisely why I quit playing Resident Evil 4- because it went from a rather involving and fast-paced third-person shooter to an aggravating and low-rent Dragon's Lair clone. (Don't bring a controller to a knife fight, lol.) I also reserve the right to use the sentence "Successfully completing a QTE has the same payoff as not pressing the rewind button when you're watching a movie." when describing exactly why I despise QTEs.

There's a few games who get them right (the aforementioned God of War, for one). The rest of them need to take turns dying in a trash fire.
 

Bofus Teefus

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Great article, now would you kindly put it into a petition format or something like that and send it to CAPCOM? You said what I've been thinking since my first QTE!
 

Pseudonym2

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I like it when they're combined with gameplay like most of Marvel:Ultimate Alliance. In Ultimate Alliance, if you grab someone that's holding a weapon, you have to hit the grab button a few more times to yank it out of their hand. In Tomb Raider: Legend, when you garb a ledge with one hand, you have to hit Y before you fall. When it's put into a cut scene, it becomes less fun.
 

Tryss

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What makes Quick time events even MORE messed up is that I have both a ps3 and a 360. the X is not in the same place. So invariably I mess up a few more times than usual because they decided to be annoying. :p

Granted it's a way to make cutscenes interactive, so you don't have a Xenosaga-type-cutscene-heavy-OMG-I'm-falling-asleep-now experience.
 

zoozilla

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Tryss said:
Granted it's a way to make cutscenes interactive, so you don't have a Xenosaga-type-cutscene-heavy-OMG-I'm-falling-asleep-now experience.
Yeah, I can actually see games where the story is more at the forefront of the experience using more QTE's than others, just to keep players interested in the cut-scene and pay attention to what's happening.

It really doesn't work well for that purpose, though, as most players won't be paying any attention to the cut-scene in anticipation of a QTE. A double-edged sword.
 

MooseHowl

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[holy cow, I just previewed this post... how did I just type this much?! cripes]

I'd say I'm not a big fan of QTEs either, based on what you describe. Luckily, my only real exposure to them so far was Prince of Persia: Two Thrones. I liked skipping combat that way, as I wasn't really happy with the way enemies took longer and longer to defeat in a straight-up fight as the series went on. The fact that I got a free rewind with every enemy assassinated made it far more enjoyable. Screwups? What screwups? I didn't make a mistake there, that was perfectly executed! Perfectly!

It would depend on the game, but I think an "Attitude" setting would be more interesting than quicktime events. I mostly got the idea from the various behaviors you could choose in Twinsen's Odyssey/Little Big Adventure. Basically the mood you're in when you trigger the event would be how the split-second outcome plays out.

For example, Reckless vs. Cautious.

You're in Reckless Mode moving down a hallway, when you trigger a pit trap. You fall in. If you were in Cautious Mode, you'd see the trap ahead of time, or stop just before falling in. That's kinda unfair to the Reckless person however, so you could also have an opportunity to grab the pit's edge if you hit "grab" quick enough, or maybe to wedge your weapon in something if you hit "attack". Hitting "jump" is a fail - there's no ground beneath you, bonehead. Being Reckless gets you across the pit faster (if done right); being Cautious means you have to figure something else out or make a running jump. But not all traps are pits, obviously...

Say another example - you Cautiously open a door, checking what's through it. It's a few enemy guards, who immediately attack, though they have some trouble getting through the door to get you. Or you could Recklessly just slam the door open, whereupon the screen blurs, and you automatically have your sword at a shocked guard's neck. Click attack to stab him. 1 guard down, but now you're surrounded! Funfunfun!

(For added hilarity, this could happen anytime you open doors in Reckless - like, say, entering a tavern. Or an outhouse. As long as you have no weapon drawn, you'd slug people in the face instead of stabbing them! Sure, you don't HAVE to click attack at the end of your blur, but NPCs will still be like WTF?!)

(Ok, maybe not.)

I don't think dialogue options should be limited by what Attitude you're in, as a writer just can't plan on what personalities people will ascribe to their chosen characters. But perhaps NPCs could read body language, so they might react differently - the High King isn't so pleased when a seemingly uncouth Reckless hero saunters into his throne room. The Barbarian King, on the other hand, respects you! Being ready to attack everyone around you is just sensible, unlike mousy Cautious people, who look like they're ready to run away. Pah! Naturally, he challenges the Reckless hero to a duel, on grounds of Fighting is Good. Cautious hero gets that option too if he wants a fight, but has to insult the king in some way to unlock it... or something...

Or perhaps not - just keeping it as a replacement for QTEs should presumably work just fine, even if it didn't carry over into other portions of the game like that.

I don't know how I'd organize all that, much less how it would fit into a game (I couldn't program stuff to save my life). It's all just some scattered ideas. I'm pretty sure I wandered off the topic of QTEs somewhere in there as well... eh whatever.
 

Al_

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Tryss said:
Granted it's a way to make cutscenes interactive, so you don't have a Xenosaga-type-cutscene-heavy-OMG-I'm-falling-asleep-now experience.
there are other ways to get round this though, with creativity, imagination, and understanding that you're making a game, not a feature film...
 

Warlordship

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Can't believe I registered on this site to inform you.

Your math is wrong somewhere there...

"Consider that if a player can hit a quick time button with 90% accuracy, he has an 85% chance of beating an eight-event sequence. (0.98^8 = 0.85) But if another player is just a little slower and can only hit the buttons 88% of the time, then he's only got a 35% chance of success. (0.88^8 = 0.35)"

Ok, not math, but... that 90% in the first sentence should be corrected to 98%.

Just a little help. I hate quicktimes too. Cheers!
-NickB from your site
 

PirateKing

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So...only quick time events that are in cutscenes. That's what people don't like? Cuz I'm not really sure what the hate is about.
 

Avatar Roku

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I don't dislike QTEs all that much. In fact, they can be good if they're a core part of gameplay. I point to one of my favorite games for this: Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit). The game is basically one giant QTE, and you know what? It's still amazing.
 

Shamus Young

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Warlordship said:
Can't believe I registered on this site to inform you.

Your math is wrong somewhere there...

"Consider that if a player can hit a quick time button with 90% accuracy, he has an 85% chance of beating an eight-event sequence. (0.98^8 = 0.85) But if another player is just a little slower and can only hit the buttons 88% of the time, then he's only got a 35% chance of success. (0.88^8 = 0.35)"

Ok, not math, but... that 90% in the first sentence should be corrected to 98%.
Yup. The first 90% should read 98%. The sort of mistake spell checkers can't spot. :) I'll see if I can get it changed.