Although some games’ stories are heightened by taking choice away from the player, others are successful for the opposite reason. Narrative adventures, like the hugely popular Telltale The Walking Dead and Supermassive Games’ The quarry, thrives by passing almost complete control to the player, allowing them to make decisions that will have huge consequences for the games’ respective stories. These titles have become incredibly popular, and as a result, other studios have tried to emulate this style of interactive storytelling.
One of the best novelties of the genre is INTERIOR/NIGHT’s as dusk falls. The game, which launched in July for PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series XS, comes highly recommended for fans of Quantic Dream and Telltale. The game’s tense and brilliantly gripping story really tests players’ values, and while its gameplay is naturally limited, it uses Quick Time Events effectively to promote immersion. Although they are often highly criticized, as dusk falls it shows that there is still a place for them when implemented correctly.
QTEs tend to get a bad rap among game fans. They are often criticized for breaking the flow of a game, being repetitive, and even trivializing certain moments. Since they often replace something that could have been totally controllable, they can feel disappointing as a result. Despite these setbacks, as dusk falls uses them in a nice and useful way.
The QTEs in as dusk falls adds a new level of immersion to the game’s story. Button prompts always feel relevant to the action, meaning players feel in control of the outcome. For example, the player can hit or dodge in a certain direction by swiping in that way. Alternatively, they’ll be prompted to twist the left stick to unlock something, or quickly press a button to repeatedly attack. By making controller movements relevant to the action, gamers feel more immersed in the action of the game.
The variety of button prompts also helps keep QTEs from feeling repetitive. It also adds to the challenge, as players must react quickly and cannot jump ahead of the prompt. The game also occasionally provides multiple prompts in a row to keep players engaged and on their toes. These factors combined add to the pressure players feel, making them weigh their actions, which adds to the narrative as a whole.
It is not only the relevance and variety of actions that make as dusk fallsHowever, the use of QTE is just as effective. The game’s story has players on tenterhooks as they try to navigate and survive a very tense hostage situation and their QTEs are designed to reflect this tension. For example, players have a lot of time to react to a prompt asking them to do some dishes, but much less time to disarm one of their captors or escape from their bonds. By offering notices with different time limitations, as dusk falls cleverly uses QTEs to make the player experience the panic and pressure the characters are under.
General, as dusk falls is a brilliantly written and gripping story that makes players reflect on their own values. Its effective use of QTE enhances the experience by immersing the player in the suspenseful story. Of course, it’s arguably much easier to implement QTEs with this style of narrative adventure, as they won’t disrupt the flow of the game since there aren’t fully controlled cutscenes. Although they may be unnecessary in other game genres, as dusk falls shows that there is still a home between the narrative adventures of the games for QTE.