Game developer Quantic Dream has shown the world that it can do exactly one thing extremely well – and that's not a bad thing. They essentially make interactive story games with an emphasis on photo-realistic graphics and quick-time-event-driven gameplay. That's all they do, but they're the best at it.
Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain is often held up as a bastion of last generation, especially when it comes to the PlayStation, and it should be. While Quantic Dream loves QTEs, they also make games that warrant them. The difficulty of Heavy Rain's quick-time-events actually made you mimic the stress of the various in-game characters.
Other games might be difficult, but having to, for example, hold down X, Square and Triangle, while tapping R1 and rotating the joysticks clockwise, and everytime you mess up one of these QTEs, your character suffers greatly. I fondly remember avoiding a dangerous encounter with the junkyard owner in Heavy Rain by completing a difficult QTE such as that example.
Now, Beyond: Two Souls, Quantic Dream's follow-up to Heavy Rain, had a laundry list of problems, including its convoluted plot, lack of inspiration in combat sequences, simply choosing the "good" or "bad" ending and ever-shifting tone, but perhaps the most disappointing was the lack of difficulty in quick-time-events. No longer was I constantly as stressed out as the characters I was playing, because I knew they would only ask me to occasionally tap a button, or hold down another, a task so easy, they none of the characters I played were ever in any real danger.
Of course, this level of stress was aided by the fact that any of your playable characters could simply die at any time with one faulty button press, but that elevated the QTEs even further.
Now, Quantic Dream's new title, Detroit: Become Human is on the horizon, with its release date announced in a new Sony sizzle reel as sometime in 2017. While I hope it has a better plot and a true variety of endings that is earned throughout the game as a performance-based reward, I also hope its quick-time-events will be a benefit and not a distraction, and this starts and ends with their relative difficulty.
QTEs in Detroit: Become Human simply need to be challenging, or else the game is going to be another snoozefest, like Beyond: Two Souls where I can just romp through pressing X with no real stakes. More than anything else, a lack of difficulty will push Detroit to the bottom of 2017 and out of the gamer's consciousness entirely.
While I know the appeal of QTEs is niche at best and controversial at worst, Quantic Dream is a niche and controversial studio. Stick to what you're good at, and no one will hate you for it.