Misuse of Quick Time Events | Throwing the player of the flow of the game

Games differ from movies in that the player can interact with the created world. You have small choices in what you choose to do. For example in Super Mario Bros: Jump on or over enemy. For each choice there is a consequence, and the player feels responsible for this.

Quick Time Events or QTE is a very simple mechanic. An animated sequence will play for the player. A picture of a button will show up during the sequence. Player must push button, or else the player gets punished with death or damage. This mechanic is often used in crucial storytelling moments in the game, where the creator doesn't feel like normal game play can deliver the emotion or action of the scene. The idea behind it is that the scene will deliver the same emotion as a normal movie scene, but the player will feel part of it since he / she has to press buttons for the scene to continue.

This has sometimes been done well, but has mostly gotten the reputation of breaking the flow of the game. Two of the main reasons it can break flow is the choice of scene and the moment the creators uses it. They are often used to mark a ending of a combat sequence. It is like a reward. You get to see your character perform all this cool stunts which you cannot do with normal game play. If the scene chosen for QTE is not anything out of the ordinary of what you as a play could do, it will only feel like you suddenly got put back in the passenger seat to watch someone else play. Also, if QTEs are used extensively during a combat sequence, the combat can feel chopped up. Timing and meaning is key.

Another thing that can throw the player out of the game is the use of wrong button presses. Having the button presses responding with the scene, like press right arrow key to go to the right in the scene, makes the immersion better. When they are all put in random to challenge your respond time, it will feel disconnected from the game and you are pulled out of the flow.

Examples Edit

Spider man 3 Edit

Throughout the game there is spread small QTE. There is two types. One type that is web-swinging and another is combat. Especially the web-swinging sequences are breaking up the game badly. Spider Man has one of the most intuitive web swinging mechanics and it feels really good to move around. There is no reason to make this into button presses.

In one of the QTE sequences spider man is swinging through a corridor to rescuing a woman. All actions done in this scene is later done by game play mechanics. Side quests in the game is rescuing people and using your web to grab them. Also, the buttons doesn't respond to your actions. Which just makes the sequence worse. Here is a picture of the scene. On a side note: huge mouse picture is ugly and distracting from the action.

Spider man 3 button press

Battlefield 3 Edit


In the sequence in question, players must avoid detection by the enemy force by quietly creeping through an exposed water pipe. During this moment, a rat scampers into the player’s field of view launching a QTE with a graphic and a tiny text. Failing to respond to the QTE causes the rat to nibble off at your fingers which creates enough noise to alert the enemy and fail the mission.