This Video Articulates Perfectly Everything That Is Wrong With QTEs

Quick time events: Interactive cinematic glue or lazy game design? Whether you call them "quick time" or "quick timer" events, everyone has an opinion about their place in contemporary gaming. If you're on the fence, this video from "TheHowAbsurd" should put you firmly in the "hate it" camp. Warning: The clip contains an insane amount of spoilers — the specific games can be found below.

I've never been a massive fan of QTEs, mainly for the points the video raises. You spend all this time playing a game, it teaches you its mechanics, allows you to practise them until you're as prepared as possible for the final fight and then, well, the preparation is rendered irrelevant as you plod through a series of boring button presses, maybe failing a few times in the process, until... victory!

True, it might be a bit exciting the first time as the game designers are given free reign to orchestrate every aspect of the encounter but, beyond that, it's like watching a cutscene with glorified continue buttons.

Unfortunately, the video itself dispenses entirely with any sort of spoiler warnings, so if you've yet to finish Far Cry 3, Battlefield 3 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, this video will upset you.

Quicktime Events and Terrible Bosses! [YouTube]


    I have to completely agree. Especially on FarCry 3. The fact this guy backs up all his claims, with how to do QTE properly, by showing God of Wars great ones, by showing how Heavy Rain does them well etc, I don't think there's anything to argue or disagree with here at all.

    I think something that should be mentioned about games like Heavy Rain is that when you fail a QTE there, your character has actually failed and the story keeps moving and your actions have made a difference. Games like Battlefield 3, you go back to the start of that cutscene. Quite the difference.

      To be fair, he does point out the major difference between a game like Heavy rain, where the QTE is essential to the game and BF3. The QTE in HR is set up as the game type where in BF3 they're very invasive.

    The better part about Heavy Rain's use of QTE's was in that if you failed them something different happened, which at least made them more interesting. I wouldn't entirely give it praise though; the game's hardest challenge apart from driving on the wrong side of a highway was in opening and drinking orange juice. Anyway, if it wasn't for something different potentially happening based on the success/failure of a QTE, it would be a pretty shoddy game altogether.

    I don't agree in removing them entirely, but rather removing their use as a tack-on where the developers can't be arsed giving us a boss fight with satisfying mechanics, or giving the player control over an event. I think where God of War succeeds in their use is in providing us a satisfying challenge and boss fight until the finisher, which usually does involve a good QTE. It doesn't just throw away all of the game's mechanics for a linear button-prompt fight the whole way through.

    I mean, the guy's point is in the satisfaction of the death of an enemy, particularly a boss, right? Give us a tough, balls-to-the-wall mean fight that has us fighting with every last virtual breath, and I reckon it's perfectly okay to give us a QTE in place of a cutscene that allows us to feel we have some control over the 'overkilling' of the boss we've fought so hard to beat. Only, don't make the QTE the entire experience; the act of defeating the boss to a weakened state should be in a difficult battle beforehand which glorifies the game's strongest mechanics and encourages us to outplay the opponent. Then, if the style's right, I call for a fatality involving furious button-mashing to conclude in the most satisfactory manner possible. It's almost an art to get it right, I guess. :-P

    Over QTE especially because I take my hands off the Kb, mouse or controller thinking I can relax while a cutscene plays to find out "OH GOD QTE" then I miss the prompt and have to go through the scripted scene again.
    So frustrating. It is lazy design... maybe not but it does not make an epic cinematic like all these devs think.
    The ending of Serious Sam 3 is a great example of epic fight where you need all your skill you have earnt through the earlier levels combined with the learned workings of enemies and all the guns that make a great end boss fight.

    I felt exactly the same out space marine. The whole game, the atmosphere every thing was so damned good. and then a final QTE just ruins it.

    Yeah I can't stand these. More often than not you end up just remembering the sequence. It's frustrating as hell. You get to one and they flash up so quick, you're unprepared and die. Then you do it over and over again until you remember and get them. Breaking the flow of the game.

    Nothings more annoying that the action and tension ramping up, you're having gun fights, chasing someone and then you get to a stupid QTE you have to redo several times to finish.

    The other annoying thing is when you notice the game has removed control. Like you're trying to do something, you're shooting and hitting someone. Nothing happens because you're almost at a QTE.

    With FC3, those 'boss' fights annoyed the fuck out of me. With Vaas, I literally didn't know if he was dead or it was still part of the tripping at the temple.

    Last edited 27/01/13 3:03 pm

    When he mentioned about effective uses of QTE, Metal Gear Solid 4 comes to my mind.


    I'm talking about mashing the action button repeatedly to get Snake through the tunnel of intense heat. Oh the emotions!

      I think Snake keeps crawling even if you don't hit the action button. I'm probably wrong, but that's what I recall, anyway.

        Don't tap fast enough and it's game over. That might just be on higher difficulties maybe.

    The thing I find with these, is I'm not watching the cinematic......I'm watching the screen for the next "press x to not die." It produces a kinda tunnel vision effect.

    Best 'qte'-style section that required a button press to progress was in Metal Gear Solid 3.
    Specifically just after defeating the Boss. Making you pull the trigger :'(

    Last edited 27/01/13 8:08 pm

      And in MGS1 the same thing with Sniper Wolf and the opposite with Gray Fox.

    QTE at their worst (increasingly common) remind me a heck of a lot of the dark days of PC gaming, where everyone and their dog seem to be using Full Motion Video to create a 'cinematic experience'. We know how that turned out.

    Now we have the real time rendered equivalent of this in the form of QTEs and they only seem to be increasing in number and it's bullshit, because most them definitely hark back to semi-interactive FMV sequences. Differing only on the technicality in that they're aren't streaming off your a 4x speed CD drive.

    Guitar Hero would be just about the perfect game if it wasn't for all the damn QTE's

    Resident Evil 6......nuff said

    The guy makes a lot of good valid points. On one hand you have games like Heavy Rain which do QTE's right, on the other hand you have something like BF3 where the QTE is very out of place in the way it was used.

    If anything I would bet it's developers wanting people to enjoy the cinematic experience of a scene, whilst also making them feel like they did something to contribute; problem is that that's not exactly guaranteed to be satisfying for the player.... And that is maybe something that developers wont wake up to for some time, if at all. :(

    My favorite QTE is the train jump in Lost Planet 2. Everything about that QTE sets you up to fail, the button prompt appears after you think it would and (from memory) there is only one other QTE in the entire game. Except failing the QTE is what's brilliant, if you succeed then all four players take a corny hero pose, but anyone who fails is comically ragdolled on the tracks behind the remaining hero posers. Everyone I asked loves to keep it secret to catch out any newcomer, just so they can see a funny scene. of course the best part is that you dont repeat it if you fail.

    QTE's pain in the ass, I quit Mark of the Ninja and Hitman because of the constant pace of the game slowing down, it's like watching 300.

    Worse QTE's are the ones that have only one outcome but force you to tap buttons. It's like I think bad company 2 that you had to fire a rocket but the game just pauses until you fire wow pointless much?

    I first discovered QTE's in Dragon's Lair when I was but a boy. I've been on the hate side of the fence ever since. Granted, Heavy Rain did them well, but I can't call Heavy Rain a game. It's an interactive story. A brilliant interactive story at that.

    Dark Souls has no QTE's so there was really no point in mentioning Dark Souls I felt you mentioned that game to try and make a strong case of your argument not really original none the less. The QTE's in God Of War are the worse they are so repetitive and annoying they happen over and over again and are there to show off the combat and cinematic experiences and have been done in each game and bores me to tears. The QTE's in Resident Evil 4 are done really well because they happen not that often and work because they put the stress on the player character and are not constant like God Of War and it is just really stupid in God of War how he needs to exert so much anger its childish and proves nothing.

    Only games I could stomach with quicktimers were shenmue and resident evil 4- probably because the games were good outside of those annoyances.

    FPS with QT = total failure.

    I disagree with everything this guy said...

      Would you like to elaborate on why?

        I just plain love quick time events. I don't find them lazy when executed correctly. The likes of far cry 3 ment that it really set the boss fights apart. I would have hated it if I used my high powered rifle to kill certain bosses like this guy is aluding to. You disagree?

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