QTE, which also stands for Quick Time Event refers to an event in video games best described as a method developers use to carry out a context-sensitive action that may happen after the show of an on-screen prompt.
A QTE allows the player to control the main character during a cinematic sequence in a game. If a player is to perform a wrong input, or not act at all, it will result in the game character’s failure, which can create a game over scenario. The player might get a screen that represents a life lost, or death animation that indicates a failure to carry out the task.
Depending on the console game development team a QTE might force the player to follow on-screen inputs and either press the appropriate buttons or move joysticks in a limited amount of time. More recently developed games that feature motion-sensitive inputs feature a quick time event which requires specific movements to be carried out by the player.
Depending on the console, the inputs are most of the time graphical representations of the physical controllers. If a player is using a Playstation, for example, then he or she may be shown four buttons that are on the controller. These buttons are X, circle, square, and triangle. The cutscene may force the player to press the mentioned buttons in a set amount of times, or even be sequential button combinations that need to be followed. Depending on the game, besides pushing the right button on time, some QTE may require the need to carry out different actions, like pressing a button specific amount of times, or just repeatedly pressing the button until the scene is over.