Ever since you were able to sit around a TV with your pal, video games have been a universal language. Whether you were passing the controller trying to save a princess, trying to pull out a first place victory, or pull off the perfect fatality, Co-Op gaming has touched all of us. Hazelight Studios looks to take Co-Op gaming to the next level with A Way Out. If you’ve played Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons, then you already know why A Way Out is one of our most anticipated games of 2018.
Title: A Way Out
Publisher: EA Originals
Developer: Hazelight Studios
Release Date: 3/23/2018
A Way Out is a 2 Player Action Adventure game. The lead characters, Leo and Vincent, start the game in prison. It is the player’s job to help them escape and avoid the authorities. Players work together solving puzzles and covering each other’s back.
A Way Out is the passion project of award-winning film director Josef Fares. Josef released his first video game, Brothers, in 2013 on the Xbox 360. Brothers focused on two brothers on a fantastical journey to save their father. The hook of Brothers was that players had to control both siblings simultaneously, with one brother linked to the right analog stick and the other to the left. It was unique and innovative a way that most games are these days.
Fares’s follow up, A Way Out, looks to continue that tradition. The game is only playable in 2 Player (local or online) split-screen. There is no single player mode at all. Each player will have their own experience while they play. One player might be wandering around while the other might be watching a cutscene. While the game looks to focus on Co-Op gameplay, Fares did confirm that A Way Out is an emotional adventure. Brother’s, in similar fashion, was a puzzle game with an emotional core that moved me. If A Way Out can capture that in a split-screen game it will be something very special.
Everything that A Way Out has going for it could also work against it. The game requires you to play with someone else. I imagine that couch co-op would probably be the ideal way to play. However not everyone has a player 2 in their life. The fact that game has online Co-Op helps, but finding a good partner online that doesn’t ruin the experience might prove to be an issue. Then, even finding the right partner, it’s still hard to imagine being emotionally invested in a game that you are sharing with someone else. I think of games like Gone Home or Firewatch, and I know those games wouldn’t have had near the impact they had if I was talking to my friend the whole time. If the game can’t balance the shared experience it could come off the rails.
A Way Out is launching with something called “Friend Pass”. Friend Pass allows you to buy the game and then invite any of your Xbox Live friends to play. That friend can then download a trial version which will allow them to play the entirety of A Way Out with you. The hope here is that your friend will want to buy the game to share the experience with their friends and so on. If A Way Out can nail the Co-Op experience, I think it has the chance to be one of the breakout games of 2018. Keep your eye on this one.