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Spoilers for Detroit: Become Human


I got nothing. I could use the fact that I was busy putting the finishing touches on holiday plans, but really, the reason I got nothing is yet another reason to be ashamed of the way I’m playing this game: I didn’t want to do a whole mess of QTEs.

To remind: I’m at the chapter where Kara and Alice are waking up in a car.

I may be wrong. This might not be a QTE riddled chapter. But a) we haven’t had one in a while, b) those kind of scenes always start with calm, and peace and quiet and c) this is David Cage, who puts women through shit, so it makes sense.

And I don’t want to do QTEs.

But I’ll throw this out there: Why not? Sitting down to raid a few forts? Sure, it got boring, but it’s still trying to accomplish shit by hitting the right buttons at the right time. Every action scene in every video game going back to pong is basically sticks and knobs and buttons and timing. We don’t have a problem with that when we’re not doing QTEs, but we hate QTEs. But, if you think about it, all QTEs are are knobs and sticks and buttons and timing.

They’re not even that hard! It’s not like this scene, if it is the QTE fest I imagine it will be, will be like some giant robot reaper Minotaur deal.

And yet, here I sit, thinking “Man…..not this shit…..”

Why is that?


Ah yes, that chapter…actually not that many QTEs if I remember correctly. Some timing stuff in the sense of “quick, do you do x or y?” but not a lot of “hit this button right now”.

As for why we object to QTEs but not to other reflex-dependent mechanics…I don’t know. Because you’re right, if a dude wanders over and I have a limited opportunity to hit X and assassinate him from the bushes before he sees me, and if I miss that I’ll have to fight him…is that significantly different from having a limited opportunity to hit X to avoid an attack, or whatever?

Not really…but you’re right, it does feel different. The MOOD of QTEs is different, somehow. They’re always set up as success/failure, and they’re always in the middle of tense situations (not when you’re calmly lurking in the bushes waiting to backstab someone), and they’re always mixing it up so you never know which button to hover your finger over…I mean, that’s clearly all intentional to recreate the tension and uncertainty of a dangerous situation, and I appreciate how it works and why it’s done. Maybe it just works a little too well?

I mean, maybe we just don’t want quite that much tension and uncertainty?

I don’t know, I don’t hate QTEs as much as I used to, to be honest. It’s doubtful my reflexes are any better with age, so perhaps I’ve just mellowed and become tolerant of the mechanic.


I’ve been pondering since I sent the first email, and I think it just comes down to graphics.

I realized that I do like some of the mechanics in the game. When I was crawling out of the junkyard, I got a little confused as to whether I should hold the buttons, so the first time I tried it, I failed. Seeing Markus slump and have to try again was cool. That sort of thing, that slow, hold on hold on keep at it QTE is really good, and puts you in the mood quite well.

Action, less so, and I think it’s the fact that graphics pop up that take you out of the scene. Here’s all this dramatic, exciting shit happening and all of a sudden there’s a bigassed circle and triangle over the character’s face. You don’t get that in sword fights or gun fights or whatever.

It’s funny you mention assassinating dudes, because one thing I found very unnecessary and very distracting was that every single fucking time you could assassinate a dude that whole “triangle to assassinate, hold for critical” prompt popped up. Game, I’ve been doing this countless hours. Do not take me out of immersion each time.

There had to be a better “you are in range” indicator than that.

It was just more proof that in-combat prompts are distracting. Maybe that’s it.


That’s true, it does break immersion to have the button prompt pop up right in the middle of the action. “I’m trying to fight here, keep that triangle out of my face!”

And yet, it has to be right in the middle of the action, or you might miss it, and we’d HATE to lose a fight because we didn’t see the prompts because they were off in the corner or something. So there’s not really a better way to present QTEs, than having the prompt be right in your face.

And there’s not, maybe, a better way than QTEs to convey the tension and uncertainty and very real risk of failure that he’s trying to convey here. I don’t know, maybe there is, but I admit I can’t think of it.

One thing I’ve noticed, speaking of mechanics, there are a lot fewer of those “hold X…then simultaneously hold square…then simultaneously hold R1…then L2…” that were all over Heavy Rain. Sometimes in that game I felt like I needed three hands to press all the buttons we needed to press at once. (Again, no doubt intentional and to serve the atmosphere or whatever.) Here there are a few times where you have to hold multiple buttons, but not more than three at a time that I’ve seen, and not that often.


There was one, and it was really hard, and I forget where it was. The interrogation? But it was both R1 and R2, THEN square, THEN X.

Shit, game. These hands ain’t what they used to be.


Ha–maybe I failed it and that’s why I couldn’t get the android to talk. And then I blocked it from my memory, because who needs that shame taking up neurons?


I have enough shame for the both of us.

HA! I just booted the game and something came up and left blonde on, and after a while she’s all “are you familiar with schroedingers cat? Until you make a choice, everything is happening at once.”

Then, later, “are you all right? Things can be hard. I’m here for you.”

Now she’s giving me facts about the city of Detroit.


She said that to me about the cat, but I guess I never left her long enough to ask me if I was OK, or tell me anything about Detroit.

Are these facts about Now Detroit, or 2038 Detroit?


She told me it was a stop on the Underground Railroad.


How thematically relevant!


Indeed. As I escaped the cops and found Jericho for good measure.

Computer is scanning itself. More later.


Did you escape neatly? I got spotted and had to flee from Connor across a busy highway. I got away, but I feel like it could have been more discreet.


I escaped neatly. And sporting a very cute hairdo.

What was interesting was that flow chart. A whole lot of it was way after “escaped to the train.” One whole branch, which had a different starting point, was such you couldn’t get my ending at all.

Which is weird. “Nice easy escape” seems good, but the trophy in the other chapter was for getting into the hotel or squat. The only way to “win” this chapter was to “lose” that one? Odd.


Man, my escape was such a mess! Although I do still have a cute hairdo. I picked black hair so I’d look more like Alice.

And you asked at one point why they don’t all take off their LEDs if it’s so easy. Why indeed? Because it certainly looks easy!

I guess the answer is probably the same as the answer to “why don’t they all make choices for themselves and perhaps turn on their owners?” — They’re programmed not to.

But apparently once deviant, it’s no big thing.

There are a few cases like that, where whole branches of the story have completely different endings. I guess he would really like you to play the game several times!

I do think it’s quite interesting to see the story laid out that way, because basically every game that has choices and different outcomes could be presented on a similar chart: we’re just used to having that all behind the scenes. Seeing it broken down into a flowchart is a different perspective. Less immersive, but then, he really doesn’t seem to be going for pure immersion: he really wants you to be thinking about the possible repercussions of different choices.

And maybe to play it a few more times.