Hollering all the team players out there! For those of you who don’t end up ripping each other’s hair out at the end of a game; announced at E3 2017 was ‘A Way Out’. It’s a co-op only split screen narrative game from the Swedish company Hazelight Studios, led by the film director Joseph Fares. Fares’ repertoire consists of the critically acclaimed and commercially well received game called Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, a game, that although can be played individually, compels the player to control both brothers at once.
‘A Way Out’ on the flipside, is a game that must be played with another player, either online or in the comfort of your own home. It’s an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective, where the players get to control the life-like characters of Leo and Vincent, two convicts, who are on a quest to break free from prison.
The game is interactive, and features multiple non-playable characters, whom Leo and Vincent can engage in dialogue with. The players have the ability to choose from a selection of dialogues, and also have the ability to withdraw from a conversation if they wish to do so. Fares says, you’ll be doing new things all the time, as “everything you do in the game is unique for that scene.” Each situation that the player encounters is molded by the choices he previously made which makes for a unique gaming experience. For instance, if you chose not to threaten a bystander who watched you commit a robbery, he may be bold enough to call the cops on you. But if you’re smart enough to spot him and intimidate him, you may be able to carry out your operation without any roadblocks. The game is all about working in collaboration, to make the best and most effective decisions.
The game is replete with environmental prompts making the storyline immersive and engaging, while also adding colour to the characters. The characters are well rounded and you can see their distinctive personalities emerge in the game as you watch them interact with different objects. While Vincent appears to be the calm, smooth talker, Leo’s more of the beer-drinking, hot headed guy who’s almost always ready for a duel. The characterization of the two has been done astutely and makes the storyline all the more gripping.
One of the most significant features of ‘A Way Out’ is the split screen system which by default splits the screen in half, but that ratio may alter depending upon the contribution of the player in a particular scene.
Moreover the players have autonomous control over the characters. While one player may be witnessing a cut scene, the other has the complete freedom to walk around and engage with his surroundings.“It’s super important to us to keep you interacting at all times,” says Fares. The additional benefit of a split screen system is that-what your team mate might miss in his screen, you may see. This once again creates the equation of interdependency which is the foundation upon which the game was built. Ultimately, the game is about the symbiotic relationship shared between the Leo and Vincent who throughout the game make choices that impact the other. The game is about liaising with your teammate and working your way through the hardships with mutual understanding and compromise. “I wanted this to be a game in which me and my friend can embark on an emotional journey together” said Fares at the E3. Fares seems to have taken the phrase ‘partners in crime’ and provided a literal translation of it in the form of ‘A way out’, and we can’t wait to see the results of Fares’ hard work and passion. The game which will be coming to PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One is set to release in early 2018 and it definitely looks promising!