Tuesday, September 27, 2016

QTE Sound Collection

Ryo is tested at the barbershop
Ryo tries to calm his mind and ignore the insistent beeps

The distinctive sounds that are used in Shenmue whenever a Quick Timer Event (QTE) occurs are not easily forgotten. The rapid beeps signaling the need for an instant decision; the bright chirp that is played if your response has been successful - or the brash sound of the buzzer if not.

It doesn't take many games for the sound of the QTE beeps to cause your pulse to quicken, even outside of the game.

The QTE short beep and the "success" sound were also used elsewhere, most obviously when entering and navigating the main menu screen before play begins.

Shenmue "Notification" Sounds

The Shenmue games contain a large number of sounds effects, many of which would be right at home as notification sounds on your phone.

To this end, there is already a great collection of Shenmue sounds and sound effects up on YouTube that have been posted by the Shenmue Dojo, ready for use as notification sounds on your phone. This collection includes the "waaaaah" sound after picking up an item, the notebook "new entry" ping sound, and even the miaow of the kitten.

One thing the above collection lacks are the QTE sounds, which I have seen people asking for from time to time.

So I've made a second collection below with the main QTE sound effects and a few other miscellaneous sounds as well for good measure.

Sounds list:
  1. Phone ring tone
  2. Phone dial tone
  3. Notebook page turning
  4. Heavy drum
  5. Heavy drum sequence (move mastered)
  6. Watch alarm
  7. Menu "cannot select" beep
  8. Menu "select" beep
  9. QTE beep sequence
  10. QTE success
  11. QTE fail
The individual sounds can be downloaded here.

Design of the QTE Sound Effects

Some people may find the sharp QTE sound effects a bit too in-your-face, but the effect is deliberately chosen for the situation.

Yu Suzuki considered this aspect carefully, as can be seen in footage of a development meeting in the Making Of Shenmue documentary video. Yu Suzuki tells his team that the loud beeps and buzzes of the QTEs detract from the relaxed atmosphere of the Guilin forest scene, and instructs them to make changes.
NHK Making of Shenmue Documentary
Suzuki ensures that the mood is not ruined.

In the release version of Shenmue 2, in the scene when Ryo and Shenhua are running through the forest, the standard QTE sounds are replaced with much calmer tones that blend in with the calm music that is playing.
Guilin forest QTE: Ryo calmly prepares to dodge an obstruction

QTEs in Shenmue III

Yu Suzuki has confirmed that QTEs will be present in the Shenmue II also, but he wants to extend or enhance them compared to the earlier games.

It will be interesting to see how closely will the sound effects be to the originals, or if they change completely.

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