Quick time event

In video games, a quick time event (QTE) is a method of context-sensitive gameplay in which the player performs actions on the control device shortly after the appearance of an on-screen instruction/prompt. It allows for limited control of the game character during cut scenes or cinematic sequences in the game. Performing the wrong prompt or not at all results in the character's failure at their task and often in an immediate game over, or a life being lost and being shown a death/failure animation.

The term "quick time event" is attributed to Yu Suzuki, director of the game Shenmue which used the QTE feature (then called "quick timer events") to a great degree. They allow for the game designer to create sequences of actions that cannot be expressed through the game's standard control scheme, or to constrain the player into taking only one specific action at a critical moment. While some uses of QTE have been considered as favorable additions to gameplay, the general use of QTE has been panned by journalists and players alike, as these events can break the flow of the game and force the player to repeat sections until they master the event.

Quick time event mockup
A mock-up of the presentation of a Quick Time Event in a video game. By pressing the controller's "X" button in time, the player, as the character on the right, can avoid being hit by the oncoming ball.


QTEs generally involve the player following onscreen prompts to press buttons or manipulate joysticks within a limited amount of time. More recent games on consoles with motion-sensitive controls feature QTEs requiring specific movements from the player. The prompts are often displayed as a graphical image of the physical controller button; for example, games on the PlayStation consoles may show any of the four colored face buttons (X, square, circle, or triangle) as input for the event. Such actions are either atypical of the normal controls during the game, or in a different context from their assigned functions. Whilst most prompts simply require the player to push the appropriate button in time, some may require different types of actions, such as repeatedly pressing a button a certain number of times within the time limit, or hitting the button with precise timing.


Yu Suzuki - Game Developers Conference 2011 - Day 3
Yu Suzuki is credited with coining the term "Quick Time Event" and popularizing their use in his game Shenmue.

In the 1980s, Dragon's Lair (Cinematronics, June 1983), Cliff Hanger (Stern, December 1983) and Road Blaster (Data East, 1985) were interactive movie laserdisc video games that showed video clips stored on a laserdisc.[1] This gave them graphics on par with an animated cartoon at a time when video games were composed of simple, pixelated characters, but left little room for more advanced gameplay elements. Gameplay consisted of watching an animated video and pressing the correct button every few seconds to avoid seeing a (circumstance-specific) loss scene and losing a life.[2] Compared to modern titles, games like Dragon's Lair would require the player to memorize the proper sequence and timing of their input, effectively making the entire game one continuous QTE.[3] Such uses were also seen as giving the player only the illusion of control, as outside of responding to QTE, there were no other commands the player could enter; effectively, these games were considered the equivalent of watching a movie and responding every few minutes to allow it to continue.[3] An improvement to the QTE mechanic was flashing the buttons that need to be pressed on the screen, which appeared in the laserdisc games Super Don Quix-ote (Universal, 1984),[4] Ninja Hayate (Taito, 1984), Time Gal (Taito, 1985) and Road Blaster.

Die Hard Arcade (Sega, 1996), Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage and most notably Shenmue (Sega, 1999) for the Dreamcast introduced QTEs in the modern form of cut scene interludes in an otherwise more interactive game.[5] Shenmue's director Yu Suzuki is credited with coining the phrase "Quick Time Event",[5] which were included in the game as to provide "a fusion of gameplay and movie" and create cinematic experience to the player.[6] The game's manual called them "quick timer events", but the phrase became popularized as "quick time events" since its release.[7][8] Since this period, several other games on modern console and game systems have included QTEs or similar mechanics.

Quick-time events have also appeared in some sports games, such as the Wii version of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, where they are used to save penalty shots and free kicks aimed towards the goal, or win possession of the ball after it is punted or corner-kicked. Failure to execute the quick-time event in time would result in the opposing team scoring a goal or claiming possession of the ball.

To improve game accessibility, action games increasingly contain options to individually disable quick-time events and other design elements that contribute to a game's difficulty.[9]

Use and critical reaction

QTEs have received mixed reactions from players and journalists. They can be used effectively to enhance cutscenes and other actions. The use of QTEs within Shenmue is often praised, as "they seamlessly flow from cinema to the QTE sequence without any loading pauses at all",[10] and sections which utilized the QTE were considered "some of the most thrilling in the whole game".[11] At the same time, they also are considered to be a weak addition to gameplay, and often force the player to repeat such sections until they complete the QTE perfectly to move on. They are often considered a "bane of action games", as their presence breaks the standard flow of the game and reduce the control of the game for the player to a few buttons, distracting, and turning interactivity into a job.[12][13] Also, QTEs may frustrate the player due to the fact that they might not have any sign that they are about to happen.

QTEs are often used during dramatic cutscenes. Resident Evil 4 uses QTEs (described by cinematics lead Yoshiaki Hirabayashi as an "action button system") to "facilitate a seamless transition between gameplay and the in-game movies" and prevent players from losing interest during cutscenes.[14] One example in Resident Evil 4 is a knife fight. The fight occurs during a late-game cutscene where the protagonist meets a major villain, who explains missing links in the game's story while periodically slashing at the protagonist and requiring the player to quickly press a button to parry him.[5][13] As the action takes place during the major revelation of the game, the QTE serves to prevent the player from skipping over the cutscene. While this example is considered to use QTEs effectively, punctuating the heating discussion between the characters with rapid player reactions, it also demonstrates a common failing with the mechanism, in that if the player should miss a QTE, the protagonist will be killed, and the player must restart the cutscene and the fight from the start.[5] Because of the likelihood of player death, the phrase "Press X to not die" has become synonymous with the use of QTEs in game.[15] Furthermore, when a QTE is used during such a scene, the player's attention is drawn away from the animation and instead to the area of the screen where the button control indicator would appear, rendering the effort put into animating the scene meaningless.[16]

Another problem with the use of QTE during cutscenes is that it can dilute the emotion and importance of the scene to a single button press, trivializing the nature of the scene. This issue was raised from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, in which during an early scene where the player character attends the funeral of a fallen fellow soldier, the player is given the option to press a button to mourn for the soldier. Forcing this type of interaction has been considered a poor form of storytelling, as some have argued the scene could have been played out without requiring player action to make the same form of emotional connection to the protagonist, or with the player give more control of the character.[17][18]

QTEs may be used to provide a limited control scheme for a scene within the game that would be otherwise difficult or impossible to perform with the game's standard controls.[5] A second example from Shenmue II requires the player to navigate several narrow planks across a void in a disused building, every so often responding to a QTE to regain the character's balance, with each successive plank requiring more and quicker responses to QTEs. Failing to respond to the QTE leads to the character's death and requiring the player to restart the sequence. This sequence has been strongly criticized, as when the plank sequence is finished, the player is rejoined by another character who had used the elevator to bypass the floors, an option not given to the player.[5]

More recent games have used QTEs that occur more directly in gameplay and, when failed, do not end the game for the player. The God of War series uses QTEs as finishing moves: by completing the maneuver successfully, the player can defeat larger beasts or bosses, but failure to complete only leads to being tossed away, upon which the player can move back into battle to continue to fight.[5] Often these are progressive QTE systems where the player is only partially penalized for missing the necessary commands; these often take place in boss battles. An example of this usage is from the game Ninja Blade; during a special attack by the boss, the player can attempt a series of QTEs to minimize the distance that the protagonist is pushed back down a long hallway from the boss, reducing the amount of time and damage that the character would then take in rushing the boss at the conclusion of the attack.[5] Other positive means of incorporating the QTE is for manipulating the environment to gain a tactical edge; Gears of War 2, for example, includes one area where the player character and his non-player character squad are on a circular elevator, fending off hordes of monsters engaging them on all sides. By temporarily abandoning the battle, the player can engage the elevator through a QTE at its control panel to gain the high ground, though this gain can be nullified if the monsters engage a second control panel.[5]

A more recent use of QTEs have been within cutscenes themselves where failing to perform the QTE may alter or provide more details about the game's story and affect the character later in the game. In Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, certain cutscenes contain dramatic moments where a QTE will appear for a short moment, indicating an action that will drive the character towards either extreme of a morality scale. In one case, the player is given the opportunity to stop ruffians from firing upon a weaker character, with the QTE provided helping to boost the player towards higher moral standing.[19] Telltale Games' The Walking Dead includes QTEs intermittently, creating tension throughout the game. Furthermore, during conversation trees with non-player characters, failure to select the next choice of topic in a limited time may affect later events in the game.[20]

More recently, the games Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy in North America) and Heavy Rain from Quantic Dream are primarily presented as sequences of QTEs, integrating the mechanic as part of the core gameplay, and present controller actions that correlate directly with the character actions on the screen;[12][21] this was emphasized further in Heavy Rain by a game patch to support the use of the PlayStation Move motion controls where the player could actually physically perform the moves that corresponded with character actions.[22] In both games, players may miss certain QTEs, or may be given a choice of multiple QTEs they could perform; opting of which QTEs to perform would alter the story, with the possibility of character death at some later point. In Heavy Rain, for example, the player controls the fates of the game's four playable characters, leading to numerous different endings if the characters remained alive and if they had discovered critical information. Even prior to Heavy Rain's release, the game's director David Cage had to defend his vision of the game from critics that were skeptical of the reliance on QTEs within Heavy Rain and created an early stigma on the game's reception.[23] Despite the integration, Heavy Rain was often criticized for use of QTEs in otherwise non-dramatic situations. In an early sequence in the game, the player has to control the lead character to find his son Jason in the mall, with the only available action of pressing the "X" button to shout "Jason" with no apparent effect.[22][24]

With the onset of newer technology to improve graphics, controls, in-game physics, and artificial intelligences, gameplay elements previously simulated through QTEs can potentially be re-implemented as core game mechanics. Road Blaster used QTEs to steer the car and ram other vehicles off the road in pre-rendered animated scenes, while a modern game like Burnout Paradise gives the player full control of the vehicle and uses its game engine to create real-time crashes with other vehicles.[5] Similarly, Dragon's Lair 3D: Return to the Lair recreates the experience of the pre-animated scenes from Dragon's Lair as a platform game, allowing the player to react freely to the environmental traps and monsters.[25]


  1. ^ Rodgers, Scott (2010). Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 183–184. ISBN 978-0-470-68867-0.
  2. ^ Mielke, James (2006-05-09). "Previews: Heavenly Sword". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-12-19. Some points in key battles (usually with bosses) integrate QTE (quick-time events), which fans of Shenmue and Indigo Prophecy might like, but which we've been doing since Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. Time to move on, gents.
  3. ^ a b Main, Brendan (2010-06-08). "Year of the Dragon's Lair". Escapist. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  4. ^ Super Don Quix-ote at the Killer List of Videogames
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Waters, Tim (2011-02-08). "Full Reactive Eyes Entertainment: Incorporating Quick Time Events into Gameplay". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
  6. ^ Graft, Kris (2014-03-19). "Yu Suzuki recounts the making of Shenmue". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  7. ^ Provo, Frank (2000-01-11). "Shenmue Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on December 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-05.
  8. ^ Hamilton, Kirk (2012-11-07). "What Do You Know, All This Time And We've Got 'QTE' Wrong". Kotaku. Retrieved 2014-12-05.
  9. ^ McAloon, Alissa. "In the name of accessibility, Spider-Man offers toggleable puzzles and QTEs". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  10. ^ "Shenmue". IGN. 2000-11-03. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  11. ^ "Shenmue Review". Computer and Video Games. 2001-08-08. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  12. ^ a b Hoggins, Tom (2009-05-22). "Heavy Rain preview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  13. ^ a b Reparaz, Mikel (2010-02-10). "The Top 7... Least-irritating quick time events". Games Radar. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  14. ^ Hirabayshi, Yoshiaki (October 2005). "Postmortem: Resident Evil 4". Game Developer Magazine. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  15. ^ Martin, Joe (2010-03-12). "Heavy Rain Review". Bit-tech. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  16. ^ Kuchera, Ben (2008-09-19). "Quick time events: tap "A" if you're tired of them". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  17. ^ Durnbush, Jonathan (2014-11-04). "Press square to feel: The problems with 'Call of Duty's' funeral scene". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-11-04.
  18. ^ Fahey, Mike (2014-11-04). "Nothing Says Funeral Like a Quick Time Event". Kotaku. Retrieved 2014-11-04.
  19. ^ Mastrapa, Gus (2010-01-26). "Review: Spin Your Own Space Opera in Mass Effect 2". Wired. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
  20. ^ Franich, Darren (2012-05-10). "'The Walking Dead' videogame review: A benign addiction". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-09-10.
  21. ^ Pearce, Celia (2010). Davidson, Drew, ed. Well Played 2.0: Video Games, Value and Meaning. ETC Press. pp. 170–173. ISBN 978-0-557-84451-7.
  22. ^ a b Vinson, Dana (2010-09-01). "The Verdict: Heavy Rain PlayStation Move Edition". G4 TV. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  23. ^ Bramwell, Tom (2009-08-09). "David Cage rants about quick-time events". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  24. ^ McElroy, Justin (2010-03-17). "'Press X to Jason' distills Heavy Rain". Joystiq. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
  25. ^ Goldstein, Hilary (2002-11-12). "Dragon's Lair 3D". IGN. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
Action game

The action game is a video game genre that emphasizes physical challenges, including hand–eye coordination and reaction-time. The genre includes a large variety of sub-genres, such as fighting games, beat 'em ups, shooter games and platform games. Some multiplayer online battle arena and real-time strategy games are also considered action games.

In an action game, the player typically controls a character often in the form of a protagonist or avatar. This player character must navigate a level, collecting objects, avoiding obstacles, and battling enemies with their natural skills as well as weapons and other tools at their disposal. At the end of a level or group of levels, the player must often defeat a boss enemy that is more challenging and often a major antagonist in the game's story. Enemy attacks and obstacles deplete the player character's health and lives, and the player receives a Game over when they run out of lives. Alternatively, the player gets to the end of the game by finishing a sequence of levels and seeing the credits. But some action games, such as early arcade games, are unbeatable and have an indefinite number of levels; with the player's only goal being to get as far as they can to maximize their score.

Asura's Wrath

Asura's Wrath (アスラズ ラース, Asurazu Rāsu) is a beat 'em up video game developed by CyberConnect2 and published by Capcom. Asura's Wrath was first announced at the Tokyo Game Show in 2010, and was released worldwide in February 2012.The game follows the title character, the demigod Asura as he seeks revenge on the pantheon of other demigods who betrayed him. The story is presented in the style and format of an episodic series of cinematic scenes, including opening and closing credits, with the gameplay being integrated into the cinematic where players switch between third-person combat and interactive sequences with player input in the form of quick-time event button prompts. Because of its unique style, the game has been described in the media as an "interactive anime". According to the game's producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya, Asura's Wrath takes elements from Hindu and Buddhist mythologies and blends them with science fiction.

Brain Dead 13

Brain Dead 13 is an Interactive movie game produced by Canadian studio ReadySoft that was released for MS-DOS in 1995 and later ported to consoles in 1996. Unlike Dragon's Lair and Space Ace, which began as laserdiscs, it was released for PCs and game consoles only.

On October 8, 2010, Brain Dead 13 was ported to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch via the App Store, and later upgraded to Version 1.1 on December 1, which added support for iOS 3.0 and 4.2 and fixed various bugs.

Capture the flag

Capture the flag (CTF) is a traditional outdoor game where two teams each have a flag (or other marker) and the objective is to capture the other team's flag, located at the team's "base," and bring it safely back to their own base. Enemy players can be "tagged" by players in their home territory and, depending on the rules, they may be out of the game, become members of the opposite team, sent back to their own territory, or frozen in place ("in jail") until freed by a member of their own team.

Context-sensitive user interface

A context-sensitive user interface is one which can automatically choose from a multiplicity of options based on the current or previous state(s) of the program operation. Context sensitivity is almost ubiquitous in current graphical user interfaces, usually in the form of context menus. Context sensitivity, when operating correctly, should be practically transparent to the user. This can be experienced in computer operating systems which call a compatible program to run files based upon their filename extension, e.g. opening text files with a word processor, video files (.mpg, .mov and .avi, etc.) with a video player, image files (.jpg and .png etc.) with a photo viewer or running program files themselves, and their shortcuts, (i.e. .exe files) when selected.

The user-interface may also provide Context sensitive feedback, such as changing the appearance of the mouse pointer or cursor, changing the menu color, or with applicable auditory or tactile feedback.

Dragon Quest Swords

Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors is a role-playing video game developed by Genius Sonority and 8ing and published by Square Enix for the Wii game console. The game is a spin-off from the Dragon Quest series, and was first released in Japan in July 2007, and worldwide the following year.

Dynasty Warriors Next

Dynasty Warriors Next (真・三國無双 NEXT, Shin Sangokumusō NEXT, known in Japan as Shin Sangokumusou NEXT) is a Beat 'em up video game and a spin-off title of the Dynasty Warriors series of video games. It is exclusively for the PlayStation Vita. It was developed by Omega Force and published by Koei. Similar to other games in the series, the game's plot follows that of the book Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong. The game was developed as a Vita launch title, and was released along with the console in all regions.

Infinity Blade III

Infinity Blade III is an action role-playing video game for iOS, developed by Chair Entertainment and Epic Games. It is the third game in the Infinity Blade series. It was released on the App Store on September 18, 2013. The main characters of the game are Siris and Isa, and it is intended to be the final game of the Infinity Blade trilogy.

The game was removed from the App Store on December 10, 2018, alongside Infinity Blade and Infinity Blade II due to difficulties in updating the game for newer hardware.

Interactive film

An interactive movie, also known as a movie game, is a video game that presents its gameplay in a cinematic, scripted manner, often through the use of full-motion video of either animated or live-action footage. In modern times, the term also refers to games that have a larger emphasis on story/presentation than on gameplay.


Metroidvania is a subgenre of action-adventure video games. The term is a portmanteau of the game series Metroid and Castlevania. Metroidvania games use game design and mechanics that are similar to games from these two series. Specifically, the term derives from the Castlevania title Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and many of the games in that franchise which come after it, which are generally considered to contain certain aspects of gameplay comparable to that of the Metroid series of games. As such, the term is used to invoke gameplay concepts and mechanics similar to that of these two series.

Metroidvania games generally feature a large interconnected world map the player can explore, though access to parts of the world is often limited by doors or other obstacles that can only be passed once the player has acquired special items, tools, weapons or abilities within the game. Acquiring such improvements can also aid the player in defeating more difficult enemies and locating shortcuts and secret areas, and often includes retracing one's steps across the map. Through this, Metroidvania games include tighter integration of story and level design, careful design of levels and character controls to encourage exploration and experimentation, and a means for the player to become more invested in their player character. Metroidvania games typically are sidescrolling platformers, but can also include other genre types. Though popularized during the early console generations, the genre saw a resurgence starting in the 2000s due to a number of critically praised, independently developed games.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (video game)

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is the title of five different video games based on the television series of the same name, one for each of the following game platforms: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Game Gear, and Sega CD. The Nintendo versions of the game were released by Bandai, while the Sega versions were published by Sega themselves.

Rose Guns Days

Rose Guns Days (ローズガンズデイズ, Rōzu Ganzu Deizu) is a four-part Japanese dōjin visual novel series produced by 07th Expansion and playable on Windows PCs. The first game in the series, Season 1, was released on August 11, 2012, and the fourth game, Last Season, was released on December 31, 2013. There have been six manga adaptations based on Rose Guns Days published by Kodansha and Square Enix.

Scripted sequence

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Shooter game

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Survival game

Survival games are a subgenre of action video games set in a hostile, intense, open-world environment, where players generally begin with minimal equipment and are required to collect resources, craft tools, weapons, and shelter, and survive as long as possible. Many survival games are based on randomly or procedurally generated persistent environments; more-recently created games are often playable online, allowing multiple players to interact in a single persistent world. Survival games are generally open-ended with no set goals and are often closely related to the survival horror genre, in which the player must survive within a supernatural setting, such as a zombie apocalypse.

Tactical shooter

A tactical shooter is a subgenre of shooter game that covers both first-person shooters and third-person shooters genres. These games simulate realistic combat, thus making tactics and caution more important than quick reflexes in other action games. Tactical shooters involving military combat are sometimes known as "soldier sims".

Third-person shooter

Third-person shooter (TPS) is a subgenre of 3D shooter games in which the player character is visible on-screen during gaming, and the gameplay consists primarily of shooting.

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