My, aren’t you a QT…E

1 03 2010

Quick time events. It’s become something of a four-letter-word in the past years, and for good reason. Many gamers cry out how they tend to hog all the fun, how a cinema turns what would otherwise be a prime spot of gameplay into little more than a game of Simon Says.

But why is there such backlash for something like this? With the recent release of Heavy Rain, QTE’s are seeing a return to the forefront of gaming news. Since this game was announced, people were crying how it was nothing more than one long quick time event, how gameplay would be boiled down to just pressing buttons and watching what happens on the screen.

What makes Heavy Rain special is it changes the way QTE’s work. Because the entire game is composed of pressing button prompts as they appear on screen, the developers were free to be creative with the way they did it. In the gameplay, the player follows the prompts, but these prompts change according to the action on screen. In a heated fight, input needs to come fast, buttons may need to be mashed. When the scene isn’t as tense, prompts come slower and are more relaxed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch#v=LL_ddcUp2jY

Above: Gameplay! (Also, apologies for the ugly link. It wouldn’t embed for some reason. Oh technology, you lovable rapscallion!)

Heavy Rain is a great example of how QTE’s are changing with the times. In a game like God of War, you often see QTE’s when taking down a boss or doing some incredibly complex and crazy maneuver (most games tend to follow this pattern). I tend to see these as treats for doing well in the game. You complete your fight or whatever and get rewarded with an awesome scene that you interact with. Cineractivity at its finest.

The official Web site of the internet recently did a list of times when QTE’s do exactly what they should do- expand on the action and put you into the steering wheel. A good QTE makes a cutscene or scene that would otherwise be difficult to play with a normal layout playable.  It goes back to what makes a good QTE work. When they make the player feel like they have some impact on what’s happening on screen. Cutscenes are well and good, but I know I personally enjoy at least having some idea of interactivity when something awesome happens, and it seems games understand that as well.

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3 responses

19 04 2010
Wigglebeans

Is it a bad thing that I knew what a QTE was before I started reading? Also, a bad pun is not endearing — it’s just bad. Cut it out, lol.

In a way, quick time events are just extending the actions that would normally be made when you hit a button. It makes it so more thought and care is put into everything you do, and I appreciate that. As long as they don’t drag you into things like flipping every switch or squeezing a fat guy buy a dumpster just because he doesn’t eat as many Lean Pockets as our David Duchovny spawnchild FBI agent. I may be ripping on Heavy Rain because it’s as fun as poking at a pro wrestler’s sexuality, but I do think it’s incredibly innovative in how it’s expanding the genre (adventure, I guess?) and storytelling in games.

19 04 2010
tormesser

But if I cut out the puns, where shall I draw my power from!? The children locked in my basement? You know they aren’t enough to fuel me, I need the puns too!

19 04 2010
Wigglebeans

Then maybe you can make your puns in the privacy of your own bedroom in front of your compu–GAWWWW that’s how you did it in the first place!

You have a basement??

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