Aliens: Colonial Marines Has Quick-Time Events

By Alec Meer on March 11th, 2008 at 7:02 pm.

Press X to dodge inner jaw

No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.

Alright, call it a blind, silly prejudice if you like. Unfortunately there are some elements of gaming my petty little mind is going to remain closed to until someone does ‘em well enough to convince me otherwise, and QTEs are right there at the top of the pile o’despicability. They’re just about palatable in the occasional console hack’n'slasher, but I really can’t imagine they’d be appropriate in a first-person-perspective Aliens game. I’m already having nightmare visions of hitting left, right, right, left, space in exactly that order to remove a ravenous Facehugger from my head.

I will stress I have not seen this in action myself. My histrionics may well prove entirely unjustified. However, my undying love for the first AvP game means I’m really very excited about Colonial Marines. That’s why I was so upset to spot this horror lurking within Games Radar’s brief summation of a playable build:

“It has quick-time events. But, fortunately, instead of huge button-icons appearing on screen and destroying the brooding atmosphere, subtle colour-coded tinges to the edges of your view will alert you to a required button press.”

I just have one question. How do I get out of this chickenshit glorified Simon Says minigame?

Okay, the colour-coded tints are a smart approach (though at a guess they’ll be geared towards the hues of an Xbox 360 pad), as they won’t entirely disrupt the tension and, if they really pull it off, could work on an almost subliminal level, but “required button press” makes me want to scream.

Still, it’s the work of Gearbox, and not some rookie studio who simply couldn’t work out a decent way to depict high-action scenes their control set isn’t otherwise capable of, so I’m mostly confident it won’t be as jarring as it sounds. Mostly.*

More positively, the promise of four-player co-op, confirmed as drop in and drop out, rather than static sessions, makes me tremble like an orphaned colonial pre-teen hiding in a ventilation system, as does talk of the Xenos’ acid blood distorting the environment. I’m already planning ludicrously geeky LAN parties.

Press Y to dodge jumping Facehuggers

*Actually, I’m not confident. I just wanted to say the quote. I can’t imagine any way in which Colonial Marines will be a better game for having QTEs, though you may. I’ll see if I can get a comment out of Gearbox on the matter – it’s the only way to be sure. It may be that they’ve genuinely devised a clever, relevant take on QTEs, or it may suggest a misguided desire to be “cinematic” has found its way into the game. I’ll be very happy for my knee-jerk panic to be proven foolish.

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69 Comments »

  1. Nick says:

    Fudge QTEs, fudge them right in the ear.

  2. ChrisL says:

    Yeah, I don’t know what focus group gave a thumbs up to that crap, but it’s really pretty lame.

  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    I didn’t mind QTEs in God Of War. I think they can be done effectively.

  4. Alec Meer says:

    God of War’s a third person action game featuring a dude with superhuman powers. Fair enough that you’d want to actually see him doing his crazy thing.

    Aliens: Colonial Marines is you stepping behind the eyes of a terrified mortal man holding a gun. It just doesn’t fit, for me. I don’t even want to see my character’s face if at all possible.

  5. Stew says:

    Jim and Alec are, of course, both right.

  6. Larington says:

    Hmm, it works in third person games where the perspective itself basically breaks the immersion. But in a first person game. NO

    Just NO.

  7. Chris Evans says:

    NO!

    Didn’t think Gearbox would go down this path….make me a sad chappy :(

  8. DigitalSignalX says:

    Guess she didn’t like the QTE’s either.

  9. Flint says:

    QTEs must be one of the most randomly popularised and seemingly-out-of-nowhere appeared fads in gameplay design for ages.

    I’m very very wary about this, but I won’t be slamming my head on the table in agony until they decide to implement vehicle sections.

  10. FngKestrel says:

    Hah, Dragon’s Lair was all QTEs, and that was big news back in the 80s.

    But come on, let’s bring gameplay into the 2000s.

  11. Seniath says:

    QTEs be dammed, but my goodness it looks nice.

  12. Sucram says:

    /There’s an alien eating your face

    Left, Left, Up, Right, Down…err

    /oh dear! there goes your brain

  13. Anonymous says:

    About all I could see working as a QTE in an Aliens game would be frantic and inaccurate button-mashing when you’re being attacked by a facehugger. I suppose that wouldn’t really count as a QTE… but it would be a natural reaction, so it wouldn’t take you out of the game and screw up the immersion like a normal QTE, right?

  14. Crispy says:

    Gearbox, what have you done?!!!

  15. Optimaximal says:

    It’s ok guys! Just remember, during any QTE (for any game ever made), just enter…

    ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A

    … to instantly buypass it!

  16. Pete says:

    Shenmue – Very well done, branching, exciting, the first, yes.
    God of War – Boss finishing move, okay, why not.
    Tomb Raider – Eh, it’s a cutscene with button presses, lame.
    Aliens FPS – WTF.

  17. Alex says:

    Oh dear. Quick-Time Events, the great “Hey, What’s That Behind You?” of the gaming world.

    “No, no, it’s not yet another seemingly endless cutscene, you get to frantically hit some buttons!”

  18. KingMob says:

    Count me as another rabid marcher to the anti-QTE rally, bearing my “Jericho Must Go!” sign proudly.

    Meanwhile, can anyone explain why I didn’t have a serious problem with the QTEs in Umbrella Chronicles – I don’t think they enhanced the game for me, but for once they didn’t seem to ‘break’ the game either way.

    Maybe the important part of a QTE is whether it’s forced on the player or whether it’s available as ‘something extra’ – in God of War most monsters could be killed without successfully using a QTE, but once you mastered the special moves they became easier and yielded more orbs, while in some more evil recent games the player was forced to play Simon Says till his (my) eyes bled and brain went numb.
    Well, guess I’ve answered my own question.

  19. Johnny Law says:

    I’m on the same page as KingMob about the QTEs in God of War.

    For your run-of-the-mill monsters that required QTEs, it was always the same kind of QTE for that monster (e.g. cyclops eye-poking or snakewoman neck-snapping), and you didn’t die if you failed the QTE. That’s fine and dandy.

    The unique QTEs that come at you out of nowhere in a do-or-die situation (and GoW had some of these too) are more annoying, although honestly I don’t get as worked up about them as lots of folks do.

  20. Muzman says:

    What is it with these things? I’ve never had to deal with them (no consoles) but they sound awful and they are constantly being railed against (see every other zeropunctuation for starters). It’s like the cutscene hate/debate I guess. Somebody must like them (or is largely indifferent to them). Or is it that game development cycles are long enough and insular enough that the industry hasn’t noticed and are all still busily aping some popular game that succeeded in spite of them?
    They crawl out of their cubicles, smiling as they highlight the feature they’re sure everyone will love, only to get geers and catcalls. Someone says “We’re losing the crowd! Quick, show we’re still hip. Play something”. The crowd’s anger turns to bewilderment as Can’t Touch This fills the auditorium.

  21. Fat Zombie says:

    *QUICK! PRESS A+B TOGETHER TO GET RID OF QTEs FOR EVER*

    …Ahh, too late.

  22. Andrew Wills says:

    I think it’s down to lazyness, and when I hear about something like this I instantly get concerned about the quality of the game.

    Making a QTE is essentially admitting you can’t think of any other way to successfully emulate a “must have” event or story point, without “stepping in” as the developer and controlling it minutely. Same with cutscenes.

    We play games. We watch films. We use Interactive Movies as coasters for our tea.

  23. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    I can see and accept the reasoning behind QTEs. Until we get Matrix-level neural interface, there’s just no way to control the character with enough precision to do the all the kinds of things that devs want the player to do.

    Having said that, they’re stupid and I hate them. Ruined Dark Cloud for me.

  24. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    The only time QTEs have ever clicked for me was in Fahrenheit, where the garish flashing buttons meshed well with the gloriously insane plotting (fight the internet! escape from giant dust mites!) and ridiculous melodrama (noes! I’m scared of the dark, also enclosed spaces!), otherwise they’re generally passable and I don’t mind them too much. With regards to Colonial Marines though, I have to echo Larington’s sentiments and say that to my mind they’ll only have a detrimental effect on the atmosphere in what I imagine is shaping up to be a tense and claustrophobic shooter.

  25. Dracko says:

    QTEs is all the evidence I need to know that there is no true dedication or confidence to this game.

    Oh well, I’ll live.

  26. Ed says:

    I agree, although somewhat frustrating, they did work in Fahrenheit. Well, except that stupid scene when the house is falling apart which I had to do about 30 times…

    Need a Fahrenheit 2. Or Max Payne 3.

  27. Cigol says:

    Brothers in Arms was an exercise in taking an established genre and simplifying it into a linear gimmicky experience. Doesn’t bode well if you want a successor to AvP.

  28. MeestaNob! says:

    My interest in this game has become nearly non-existent with this news.

    QTEs Just. Dont. WORK.

    They have never worked. Ever. Every game with something similar to this has sucked. Badly.

    Some may say that here is a chance to prove us wrong, but it isn’t. If Colonial Marines turns out to be good, it would only add weight to the argument that the rest of the game was superb, making up for the fact that the QTE section was an abhorrent scab of an idea that somehow managed to not fuck the entire thing up.

    Please, PLEASE reconsider your choice Gearbox. Please.

    Or at least only foist this shitty sub game novelty on the consoletards.

    Dance!Dance!AcidSplashOMFG-My-Face2008! (TM)

  29. Robin says:

    Weird, I never knew so many people hadn’t played RE4.

  30. Alex says:

    I hated them in Fahrenheit.

    Exactly because it made me replay bits over and over again, which quickly bleeds the fun out of any game for me.

    Weird, I never knew so many people hadn’t played RE4.

    More people haven’t played it than have..

  31. Larington says:

    Resident Evil 4 on the PC lost me right at the first QTE, I basically uninstalled the game at that point. What DIDN’T help was that when I went to the controls menu to check why my button presses weren’t registering, I was presented with a joy pad diagram… On a mouse & keyboard setup. WTF?

    So yeah, QTEs = bad. In a bad way, rather than in a badass way.

  32. Noc says:

    I think they can be made to work.

    I also [can't express myself without insulting people.]

    I find it helps just to think about them as context sensitive controls. When I press a button, it’ll either pick something up, or press a button, or mantle a low wall . . . or, if something’s about to bite my head off, it’ll punch it in the face. Then, if I press the “fire” button, instead of just firing somehow at the crosshairs at the center of my screen even though there’s an alien on top of me and I can’t very well have a gun at my shoulder at all times, the game’ll plant the gun at the alien’s neck and shoot at it with it’s own animation.

    The alternative is that you have the alien standing in front of you and playing some “attacking” animation that does damage to you every second or so – but the fact that you’re being pummeled and grabbed at by a horrid monstrosity in no way inhibits your movement, so you place your crosshairs over it’s head and shoot it.

    There aren’t nearly enough buttons in any sane control scheme to handle every possible eventuality (after all, it would be silly to have a “pick up” button AND a “press” button AND a “flip switch” button), so you use a few controls and make them context sensitive. And when you need to do something more complex, you combine them.

    Resident Evil 4 (problems with the PC port aside) did them well. COD4 did them well, with the dog attacks. (That WAS a quick-time event, you know.) The problem isn’t making things context-sensitive, it’s in making the controls arbitrary, counterintuitive, and making the events themselves obnoxious and interruptive.

    Calling this game one way or the other purely on the basis of the specter of quick-time events is silly. It’s like saying that any FPS that incorporates a sniper rifle will be another twitch-gaming Counterstrike clone.

  33. Arathain says:

    The original AvP worked perfectly well without QTE nonsense.

  34. Drakkheim says:

    The biggest problem with most QTEs is that they interrupt the game you were playing. When the PLAYER chooses to initiate them (ala most of God of War) they can fit into the game play and actually be enjoyable and make the player feel like they have greater control.

    Unfortunatly most of the time they’re triggered by things out of the control of the player and might or might not be relevant to what the player was actually focused on at the time and disrupt the fun instead of enhance it.

    Lets just hope they dont screw it up.

    ps- is rock band just a QTE with good music?

  35. NegativeZero says:

    I don’t personally have anything against the concept, but I think they really could be used more creatively. For example, a sequence where failing the event causes a plot branch of some description rather than an out-and-out failure / death. Or branching QTEs, where you might have two or three potential presses at any one time.

  36. Jesse says:

    I’m colorblind. I think I’m missing out on the worst part of the game.

    .. however, that causes me to miss out on the whole game. And what was wrong with AVP and AVP2 (the games, I mean)? They were simple, fun, and very rock-paper-bigger-rock (human, alien, predator).

  37. Dinger says:

    Okay, you want QTEs, cool.

    Just explain to me how it’s more than a “are you paying attention?” gimmick. If your explanation includes “The last save point was on the other side of some huge pain-in-the-ass”, then I would recommend profit-minded American insurance companies exclude any game-related retribution from coverage.

    Personally, I don’t care, because there’s no chance I’ll consider playing such a game. But, come on, folks, franchises don’t just mean ‘We can make more money, regardless of what we make.’ They also mean, ‘there’s a ton of dedicated people who will buy this and will not appreciate a lazy-ass crappy console experience.’

    (Yeah, okay, so they don’t remember the original Alien videogame.)

    But, geezus, nobody likes to feel like a button-monkey. I can empathize with the rank-and-file who dream of Darwinia and have to code this, but damn, QTEs hurt.

  38. Noc says:

    It’s an attention gimmick if it comes in the middle of a cutscene. But what about during gameplay? God ‘o War, style?

    What they do, if properly executed, is extend the range of actions available to the player beyond your rather stiffled “move around, shoot, and jump” set. And having you perform a series of timing exercises to pull off the feat takes you out of the action less then pressing the “kill” button and then sitting back and watching your character spend the next ten seconds performing a pre-animated routine that’s entirely out of your control.

    Performed properly, they’re akin to the Vaguely-Interactive Cutscene, where you still feel like you’re in control, even if it’s just of the camera, while the game takes you along.

  39. Dracko says:

    If you can’t do it with your own set-up, don’t fucking bother. There is no excuse other than outright laziness for having QTEs. Make your game work.

    Calling this game one way or the other purely on the basis of the specter of quick-time events is silly. It’s like saying that any FPS that incorporates a sniper rifle will be another twitch-gaming Counterstrike clone.

    No, it bloody well isn’t.

  40. malkav11 says:

    To be honest, I’d rather have the honking huge buttons. At least then I’d be sure what I needed to press and when. “Subtle” sounds to me like code for “you won’t notice and will get your face eaten off.”

  41. Noc says:

    @Dracko: So what exactly is “your own setup?”

    Do you need to have a unique command for every possible action, and allow them to be performed at all times, even when the context that would make them useful isn’t present?

    Look at it this way. You see a button on the wall, and you walk up to it and press the “use” button on your keyboard. And you press it.

    You see a lightswitch, you also press the “use” button, and you flip it upward.

    Now, should I need to have a system wherein I can poke my index finger out at any time I want, so that when there’s a button there I can use it? Do I need a separate command to stick that same finger out and flick it upward in a way that would activate a lightswitch?

    No, I don’t. I use the “activate” button, and if there’s nothing relevant to do, the button does nothing. But if there’s a switch or a terminal or a door there, then it flips/activates/opens it.

    So if I want to, say, snap someone’s neck, do I need a neck-snapping command that I can execute whenever I need to to do a little neck-snapping pantomime that evokes a physics effect on any ragdoll’s head that happens to be between my hands at the moment? Or should I just be able to walk up behind someone and press the “melee” button, and have the game do something context sensitive?

    I’m assuming you’re still with me here. Since games have been using context sensitive buttons for a long time now, and no one’s complained.

    Now all a quick-time event is is a more complex action. If I want to do something elaborate, like walk up behind someone then kick out their knee, slap their gun away, then karate-chop them in the back of the neck, I’ve got several things to do. Now, while it WOULD be interesting to have knee-kick, gun-slap and karate-chop functionality in a game . . . suppose the game in question’s an FPS and not a damn fighting game.

    Thus, there’s no reason to add complex hand-to-hand combat elements to this FPS. Especially considering that in the frantic pace of most shooters, all you’d ever use is your rifle-slap.

    Omitting this isn’t laziness, it’s good game design – BAD game design involves overloading the player with a huge variety of controls they don’t know how to use or make sense of that are only useful in maddeningly specific situations.

    So they make it context sensitive.

    And since it’s a more complex action, they make it context sensitive involving more than one button used in succession. Thus giving the player an option to perform an action that doesn’t need it’s own control set. Putting another tool in his box of possible things to do (ways to kill?) without bombarding him with a dozen unnecessary close combat maneuvers based around a complex combo and grappling system.

    Oh, and about sniper rifles?
    “I fucking hate sniper rifles in games. It’s jarring, and obnoxious – all it is is twitching, and if you don’t have the reflexes of someone who plays Counterstrike (Stepmania) seven hours a day you get shot in the head within milliseconds of being seen by anyone. (of a flashing light appearing on the screen.) The minute I saw a sniper rifle, I uninstalled the game, since I DON’T feel like spending my evening watching my respawn counter tick down (rewatching cutscenes) because I can’t react instantly with twitch reflexes to something that appears on my screen.”

    That’s . . . the same argument we have against QTEs, right there. They’re jarring, take you out of the action, involve laziness by developers (Hitscanning instakill weapons? Couldn’t you have put more time into it and made something interesting?) and are frustrating to people who don’t specifically develop the skills to deal with them. We can even point to the Half-Life series conspicuously refusing to give the player one as evidence of their inferiority.

    But no one is going to entirely discount an otherwise solid FPS because they’ve got one. It’s silly.

    Dismissing a game at the first hint of QTEs is the same thing. I’m NOT saying that they haven’t been badly, badly used in the past. And that they can’t be used as a cop-out, or as a feeble attempt to bring interest to an otherwise long and unnecessary cutscene.

    But there’s nothing wrong with the idea of them as a pure mechanic. They just need to be used properly, and they’re new enough to enough developers that the implementation has been getting off to a clumsy start.

  42. Dracko says:

    You lost me the moment you somehow assumed that I was against an activation key and then proceeded to enter a screed against stuff no-one brought up.

    Oh and hey:

    “I fucking hate walking in games. It’s jarring, and obnoxious – all it is is twitching, and if you don’t have the reflexes of someone who plays Super Mario Bros. (DDR) seven hours a day you get killed within milliseconds of being seen by anyone. (of a flashing light appearing on the screen.) The minute I saw the directional keys, I uninstalled the game, since I DON’T feel like spending my evening watching my respawn counter tick down (rewatching cutscenes) because I can’t react instantly with twitch reflexes to something that appears on my screen.”

    Just as irrelevant.

    QTEs are against genuine framework, and are not strictly “context sensitive” by your own terms, just as much as cutscenes are the antithesis of interaction.

    QTEs are the gaming equivalent of flicking the lights on and off until something interesting happens. Usually the bulbs busting.

    P.S. The Half-Life games featured long range, scoped weaponry.

    P.P.S. Just get a Sega CD if you’re into them.

  43. Stromko says:

    QTE’s are somewhat lazy game design, but I think its evil was already over-exaggerated about twenty comments ago.

    If I had to choose between watching a cinematic, and determing how the cinematic ends, I’d pick the latter. That’s really what a QTE is. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have the cinematic at all, but a lot of the time there just isn’t the funds or time or technical capability to let you meet an unnusual challenge in a logical(e: intuitive) way.

    There just wasn’t a better way to let Shenmue pull off cool context-sensitive combat moves, or for a character in Farenheit to hold onto a counter top so he didn’t fall into the abyss.

    Actually I’m kind of baffled with how much hate its getting. Its a very simple mechanism, and the more you do it the easier it gets. I had a very difficult time early on in Farenheit, but I survived the crumbling apartment on the first try, just because by that point in the playthrough I was pretty much in the zone and it’s not like it demanded CS-addict reflexes or anything.

    It did kind of depreciate the fun of the cinematic though. I couldn’t pay attention to it at all really, all I could do was watch what it was telling me to press or I’d be toast. Anything that kills you because you tapped the wrong button or were a second too late is unduly frustrating. I know I cuss myself out every time I fail to open a loot container in Mass Effect, it’s even worse when you’re just plain forced to replay the whole sequence.

    The real weakness of QTE is that it comes in the form of a cinematic, and if you mess up you have to watch the same damn thing over and over and over again. That grates very quickly, especially if you weren’t impressed with the cinematic to begin with.

  44. Noc says:

    @Dracko:

    Okay. Let me explain a bit more.

    1) I’m not assuming that you’re set against a context-sensitive activation key. I assumed that you were FOR this, because being against it would be silly.

    2) I’m saying that QTEs are simply more complex version of the context-sensitive controls we’re used to and accept.

    Now for a slightly more complex argument.
    3) “QTEs are against genuine framework.” This sentence doesn’t actually mean anything. “Against genuine framework?” I mean, seriously.
    3a)They aren’t strictly context sensitive when used in cutscenes . . . but:
    3b) What the OPM and OXM people saw was gameplay. Meaning that the QTEs are a gameplay element. Meaning that they’re not encountered in the middle of cutscenes that are entirely divorced from gameplay.
    3c) Consequentially, the only reason you’d use QTEs outside of a cutscene is if something context sensitive is happening. Like if an alien has pinned you against the wall and is about to bite your head off.

    4) No one has ever complained about walking in video games.
    4a) People HAVE complained about the presence of purely reflex-based weaponry in games.
    4b) People have the same complaints against them as they do against QTEs.

    P.S.
    5)HL2 had long-ranged scoped weaponry. But the crossbow has a significant travel time, thus entirely eliminating the twitch aspect, and the Combine snipers were conspicuously always hidden in windows and their weapons were nonrecoverable.

  45. mister slim says:

    If you deconstruct the God of War QTEs that work, you’ll find they generally mimic the action of the button that activates that section. It’s basically a more constrained version of the normal mechanics with a flashier presentation. Some could have been better designed, but the basic idea works. Some designers don’t seem to understand that detail though. I wish we had more details on what Gearbox is planning.

  46. O.G.N says:

    Quick Time Events, because we would all rather play A Fork In the Tail than yet another boring shooter.

  47. Crispy says:

    @Noc

    So if I want to, say, snap someone’s neck, do I need a neck-snapping command that I can execute whenever I need to to do a little neck-snapping pantomime that evokes a physics effect on any ragdoll’s head that happens to be between my hands at the moment? Or should I just be able to walk up behind someone and press the “melee” button, and have the game do something context sensitive?

    Now all a quick-time event is is a more complex action. If I want to do something elaborate, like walk up behind someone then kick out their knee, slap their gun away, then karate-chop them in the back of the neck, I’ve got several things to do. Now, while it WOULD be interesting to have knee-kick, gun-slap and karate-chop functionality in a game . . . suppose the game in question’s an FPS and not a damn fighting game.

    QTE’s automate the game experience, that’s why they’re not that great. They dictate to the player that something must be done a certain way. Now, while all games dictate to the player a set of rules that must be followed to progress in a game, in order to achieve more immersion in games, you need to try to mask this fact.

    Secondly, they take control away from the player, brining them out of the game experience. For some game styles that’s not such a sin because the art style is very ‘gamey’. But in anything with a realism element, and especially in a thriller where fear and suspense hinge on immersiveness, QTEs are totally out of place. If anything, by showing the player complex actions that the player cannot possibly achieve through the default game interface, QTEs only serve to remind the player that 1. they are at the beck and call to the game and 2. the game is hideously removed from reality – they are not a Colonial Marine, they are a geek in their bedroom tapping mechanically at clicking bits of plastic.

    I’m trying to imagine how the QTEs might be included in the game, and all I can come up with is the facehugger-removal procedure already mentioned, door keypad minigames, and a Left4Dead-style fallen-comrade-helping-hand thing for the co-op mode.

    That’s about all I can come up with. To be honest I’d prefer minigames for all of those. E.g. a facehugger-removal minigame could be a simple ‘grab the tail’ game, not too dissimilar to the annoying ‘flyswatter’ internet banners, but less annoying and done in 3D to make it a bit more immersive. While you’re facehugged you stumble about randomly, unable to fire and your life slowly drains, perhaps your vision darkens too. You see this all playing out from your POV and have to wait for the facehugger’s tail to come into view, at which point you click on it and your arm will grab it and tug furiously (this bit in both first and 3rd-person mode for your teammates to watch as you free yourself). If your vision goes completely black your stumbling becomes less frantic and more drunken, at which points your teammates will see you weren’t able to free yourself and have the fallback option of punching the facehugger off you with a meaty health/time penalty.

    For keypad minigames, see Bioshock hacking (or, even better but perhaps too involved for a co-op shooter, Dystopia mod for Half-Life 2).

    As for rescuing comrades, I’d think a simple minigame would work better than a QTE. It’d be like a stealth QTE without announcing the buttons you need to press. E.g. you click ‘use’ on a fallen comrade… (at a random moment) they throw out their arm and lean forward, at which point you need to press ‘use’ again to successfully grab them, then walk backwards to completely pull them up. This could be done to work well from both the first and 3rd-person POVs, and you shouldn’t need any button hints (perhaps the first time only, or even just a one-off hint in the single-player game).

    Opposing Force replaced the crossbow in HL1 with the M40A1 sniper rifle (although ironically this expansion pack was made by Gearbox!).

  48. Alec Meer says:

    Context-sensitive controls for e.g. pressing the use key to flick a light switch when you choose to flick that light switch are a world apart from having to follow an exact on-screen prompt within a second and a half or you perish. (And the sniping comparison is just flat-out irrelevant, as there you’ve signed up in the first place for a game that’s about shooting men in the head. That said, I’m broadly in favour of online FPSes loosening their reliance on sniping.)

    The QTE rub is an invisible force doling out mandatory orders and temporarily snatching away your usual range of actions. To go through the looking glass, it’s like Guitar Hero suddenly dropping in a sniping mini-game. I remain surprised that it’s so lauded in RE4 – I found the game was strong despite its QTEs, not because of them.

    The COD4 dog example is indeed an interesting one though, in that QTEs were briefly used specifically to add a sense of threat to an enemy that seemed otherwise puny, rather than to mask limited interactivity or pretend the player has anything to do with the character’s ultra-stunts. It kept QTEs as minor gimmick with a specific purpose rather than the all-purpose crutch they’ve become in so many other games. But writ large, throughout the course of the game, it would have been infuriating. And if that’s what it’s going to be like every time an Alien knocks me on my back, I’m going to have a hellish time.

    But while I’m worried about their inclusion in Colonial Marines a) it’s absolutely ludicrous for anyone to say they’re giving up on the game for it and b) as I’ve said, we don’t know what form it’ll take. I’ve put out a request for a Gearbox interview – hopefully we can get more details.

  49. Alarik says:

    Would be nice for those facehuggers (since it is instant death otherwise anyway).

    Still, speaking about AvP – I cannot even imagine playing AvP with gamepad. I mean – consistent headshots and short-bursts (for maximum accurancy) were kinda tough even with mouse… So this one will be either some auto-aim console event or unplayable with gamepad?

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