God of War director: there will be no quick time events

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Sony’s new God of War on PS4 will be the first game in the series to ditch quick time events, according to its director Cory Barlog. The franchise is arguably most responsible for popularizing the quick time event design, which allows players to have minimal input into elaborate and cinematic action sequences.

Typically referred to as QTEs, the design requires players to obey an on-screen button prompt with precise timing (e.g., tapping the triangle button as it flashes on screen). Failing a QTE typically triggers a fail state, beginning the sequence all over again.

In typical QTEs for the franchise, which debuted in 2005, Kratos performs extravagant kill moves on humongous creatures as the player hits a lengthy series of prompts. But according to Barlog, this method no longer feels fresh for the series. So quick time events have been scrapped for more intimate combat, something he’d hinted at in interviews last year.

Barlog gave an example of how the game has changed, pointing to last year’s demo (above) in which Kratos leaps onto the back of a towering enemy and went through a set of pre-set attacks. Once attached to the enemy’s shoulders, the player isn’t obeying quick time prompts; instead, they’re tapping the the same attack buttons used throughout the game to deliver attacks as they feel fit.

A variation of the quick time event will still appear in the game. For big, elaborate boss battles, Barlog said, players can expect the “Track and Field” design, referring to the classic NES game in which players quickly spammed buttons to create a feeling of physical exertion. In dramatic sequences, God of War might ask the player to spam “X” or twirl the control sticks to mimic the action happening on screen. But at no point will the game require the player to tape a button at a precise moment.

“[QTE’s] are cool,” said Barlog, “but we’re finding a better way.”

God of War is scheduled for release on PS4 consoles in 2018.
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