Quick time event

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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. Quick time event mockup.jpg
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.

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.

Video game electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor

A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a two- or three-dimensional video display device such as a TV screen, virtual reality headset or computer monitor. Since the 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute.

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 with a video player, image files with a photo viewer or running program files themselves, and their shortcuts, when selected.

Gameplay is the specific way in which players interact with a game, and in particular with video games. Gameplay is the pattern defined through the game rules, connection between player and the game, challenges and overcoming them, plot and player's connection with it. Video game gameplay is distinct from graphics and audio elements.


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.

Yu Suzuki Japanese video game designer

Yu Suzuki is a Japanese game designer, producer, programmer, and engineer, who headed Sega's AM2 team for 18 years. He has been responsible for several of Sega's arcade hits, including three-dimensional sprite/texture-scaling games such as Hang-On, Space Harrier, Out Run, and After Burner, and pioneering polygonal 3D games such as Virtua Racing and Virtua Fighter, which are credited with popularizing 3D graphics in video games, as well as the critically acclaimed Shenmue series of open world adventure games. As a hardware engineer, he led the development of various arcade system boards, including the Sega Space Harrier, Model 1, Model 2, and Model 3, and was involved in the development of the Dreamcast console and its corresponding NAOMI arcade hardware.

<i>Shenmue</i> (video game) video game

Shenmue is an action-adventure game developed by Sega AM2 and published by Sega for the Dreamcast in 1999 in Japan and 2000 in other territories. Directed, written and produced by Yu Suzuki, it is the first game in the Shenmue series. The player controls martial artist Ryo Hazuki as he sets out in revenge for the murder of his father in 1980s Yokosuka, Japan. The game combines open worlds, brawler battles and quick time events. Its environmental detail was considered unprecedented, with numerous interactive objects, a day-and-night system, variable weather effects, non-player characters with daily schedules, and various minigames.


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

<i>Dragons Lair</i> (1983 video game) video game

Dragon's Lair is an interactive movie LaserDisc video game developed by Advanced Microcomputer Systems and published by Cinematronics in 1983, as the first game in the Dragon's Lair series. In the game, the protagonist Dirk the Daring is a knight attempting to rescue Princess Daphne from the evil dragon Singe who has locked the princess in the foul wizard Mordroc's castle. It featured animation by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth.


Cinematronics Incorporated was a pioneering arcade game developer that had its heyday in the era of vector display games. While other companies released games based on raster displays, early in their history, Cinematronics and Atari released vector-display games, which offered a distinctive look and a greater graphic capability, at the cost of being only black and white (initially).

<i>Cliff Hanger</i> (video game) 1983 video game

Cliff Hanger is a laserdisc video game that was released by Stern Electronics in 1983. It uses animation from two Lupin III films, most prominently The Castle of Cagliostro, as well as The Mystery of Mamo. Like many laserdisc games, it is a reactive game which requires the player to press a button or move the joystick in a particular direction when prompted by the game to progress the storyline. The segments from The Mystery of Mamo use the original English dub commissioned by Toho, while the segments from The Castle of Cagliostro use a dub created for the game. The voice actors for this game are unknown.

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.

<i>Die Hard Arcade</i> video game

Die Hard Arcade, known in Japan as Dynamite Deka is a beat 'em up video game released by Sega. It was the first beat 'em up to use texture-mapped polygonal graphics, and uses an extremely sophisticated move set by beat 'em up standards, often being likened to a fighting game in this respect. The game was published in cooperation with Fox Interactive and was a licensed product based on the Die Hard movie franchise. Because Sega did not hold the Japanese video game rights for Die Hard, in Japan the game was stripped of the Die Hard license and published as an original property.

Sega Japanese video game developer and publisher and subsidiary of Sega Sammy Holdings

Sega Games Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher headquartered in Tokyo. The company, previously known as Sega Enterprises Ltd. and Sega Corporation, is a subsidiary of Sega Holdings Co., Ltd., which is part of Sega Sammy Holdings. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega of Europe, are respectively headquartered in Irvine, California and London. Sega's arcade division, once part of Sega Corporation, has existed as Sega Interactive Co., Ltd., also a Sega Holdings subsidiary, since 2015.

<i>Sword of the Berserk: Guts Rage</i> video game

Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage, released in Japan as Berserk Millennium Falcon Arc: Chapter of the Flowers of Oblivion, is a hack and slash action video game for the Dreamcast. It is based on the popular Berserk manga by Kentarō Miura and the game is set between volume 22 and 23 of the manga; right after Guts and Puck depart for Elfhelm with Casca, but before Farnese, Serpico, and Isidro catch up with them. The music is composed by Susumu Hirasawa, who also composed the anime series' music.

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.

<i>2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa</i> (video game) 2010 association football video game

2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is the official video game for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, published by EA Sports. The game was announced on 26 January 2010 during a GameSpot interview with Simon Humber, one of the producers of the game, and released April 27, 2010 in North America. 199 of the 204 teams that took part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification are included in the game. British commentary Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend are provided again which previously is UEFA Euro 2008.

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]

Accessibility The design of products or services for people with temporary or permanent impairments

Accessibility is the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design and practice of accessible development ensures both "direct access" and "indirect access" meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology.

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]

Related Research Articles

Ninja Gaiden is a series of video games by Tecmo featuring the ninja Ryu Hayabusa as its protagonist. The series was originally known as Ninja Ryukenden in Japan. The word "gaiden" in the North American Ninja Gaiden title means "side-story" in Japanese, though the Ninja Gaiden series is not a spinoff of a previous series. The original arcade version, first two Nintendo Entertainment System games and Game Boy game were released as Shadow Warriors in PAL regions.

<i>Space Ace</i> video game

Space Ace is a laserdisc video game produced by Bluth Group, Cinematronics and Advanced Microcomputer Systems. It was unveiled in October 1983, just four months after the Dragon's Lair game, then released in Spring 1984, and like its predecessor featured film-quality animation played back from a laserdisc.

<i>Shenmue II</i> video game

Shenmue II is an action-adventure game developed by Sega AM2 and published by Sega for the Dreamcast in 2001. It was directed, produced and written by Yu Suzuki. Like the original Shenmue, Shenmue II consists of open-world environments interspersed with brawler battles and quick time events. It features a day-and-night system, variable weather effects, non-player characters with daily schedules, and various minigames. The player controls teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki as he arrives in Hong Kong in 1987 in pursuit of his father's killer. His journey takes him to Kowloon and the mountains of Guilin, where he meets a girl who is part of his destiny.

<i>Dragons Lair II: Time Warp</i> 1991 video game

Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp is a 1991 laserdisc video game by the Leland Corporation. It is regarded as the first "true" sequel to Dragon's Lair. As with the original, Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp consists of an animated short film that requires the player to move the joystick or press a fire button at certain times in order to continue. It takes place years after the original Dragon's Lair. Dirk has married Daphne, and the marriage has produced many children. When Daphne is kidnapped by the evil wizard Mordroc in order to be forced into marriage, Dirk's children and his mother-in-law are clearly upset by the abduction of Daphne, and Dirk must once again save her.

<i>Brain Dead 13</i> video game

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.

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.

<i>Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero</i> video game

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (MKM:SZ) is a 1997 action-adventure game of the fighting game series Mortal Kombat. It is the first Mortal Kombat game to feature side-scrolling gameplay. It was released for the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. Mythologies is a prequel set prior to the events of the tournament in the original Mortal Kombat. The storyline centers on the warrior, Sub-Zero. He is asked to find an amulet by the sorcerer Quan Chi. The player controls Sub-Zero in multiple stages as he faces multiple enemies trying to eliminate him.

Time Traveler or Hologram Time Traveler is a laserdisc interactive movie arcade game released in 1991 by Sega and designed by Dragon's Lair creator Rick Dyer. It is called the "World's First Holographic Video Game" because it uses a special arcade cabinet that projects the game's characters. The "holographic" effect is an optical illusion using a large curved mirror and a CRT television set.

<i>Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix</i> 2001 video game

Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix is an action-adventure game developed by Kronos Digital Entertainment and published by Eidos Interactive for the PlayStation. It is the prequel to Fear Effect.

Twitch gameplay

Twitch gameplay is a type of video gameplay scenario that tests a player's response time. Action games such as shooters, sports and fighting games often contain elements of twitch gameplay. For example, Dr Wonder's Workshops such as Unikitty! as well as Owlegories shooters require quick reaction times for the players to shoot enemies, and fighting games such as Street Fighter require quick reaction times to attack or counter an opponent. Other video game genres may also involve twitch gameplay. For example, the puzzle video game Tetris gradually speeds up as the player makes progress.

<i>Strahl</i> (video game) 1993 video game

Strahl is an interactive movie, in the style of Dragon's Lair but with anime-style graphics. It was originally released as Triad Stone on Sega's Mega-LD Module for the Pioneer LaserActive.

An adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of a protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle-solving. The genre's focus on story allows it to draw heavily from other narrative-based media, literature and film, encompassing a wide variety of literary genres. Many adventure games are designed for a single player, since this emphasis on story and character makes multi-player design difficult. Colossal Cave Adventure is identified as the first such adventure game, first released in 1976, while other notable adventure game series include Zork, King's Quest, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Myst.

<i>Beyond: Two Souls</i> video game

Beyond: Two Souls is an interactive drama and action-adventure game for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 home video game consoles, developed by Quantic Dream and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released in October 2013. The game features Jodie Holmes, one of two player characters. The other is an incorporeal entity named Aiden: a separate soul linked to Jodie since birth. Jodie, who is portrayed by actress Ellen Page, possesses supernatural powers through her psychic link to Aiden, growing from adolescence to adulthood while learning to control Aiden and the powers they share. Willem Dafoe co-stars as Nathan Dawkins, a researcher in the Department of Paranormal Activity and Jodie's surrogate-father-figure. The actors in the game worked during the year-long project in Quantic Dream's Paris studio to perform on-set voice acting and motion-capture acting.

<i>The Order: 1886</i> 2015 video game

The Order: 1886 is a third-person action-adventure video game developed by Ready at Dawn and SCE Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 4 on February 20, 2015. Set in an 1886 alternate history steampunk London, the game follows the legendary Knights of the Round Table as they battle to keep the world safe from half-breeds, such as werewolves and vampires, as well as fringe organizations rebelling against the government.

This is a glossary of video game terms which lists the general terms as commonly used in Wikipedia articles related to video games and its industry.

Without Memory is a single-player third person interactive psychological thriller video game, being developed by Russian studio Dino Games for the video game console PlayStation 4.


A cutscene or event scene is a sequence in a video game that is not interactive, breaking up the gameplay. Such scenes could be used to show conversations between characters, set the mood, reward the player, introduce new gameplay elements, show the effects of a player's actions, create emotional connections, improve pacing or foreshadow future events.


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