Quick time event

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.

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.


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.

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