While there was a lot of predictability to the EA event, there were a few genuine surprises. One of which is a project by the same mind behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Josef Fares. A Way Out looks to take the co-operative mechanics learned from his prior project and adapted to a much larger experience. A Way Out actually can only be played with two players, either through split-screen or via an online connection. This seems to be a unique approach to story-telling as well as a different way to play.
Shown at the event was a reveal trailer and some gameplay footage, both of which painted a solid picture of what players can expect. Starting out in a prison, Leo and Vincent will have to work together to reach their goals. The game does eventually leave the realm of a prison drama though, as we were shown footage of towns, countryside, and more at play. Gameplay includes multiple ways to solve problems, as well as intense action moments like shootouts and chases.
This project shows the best of what EA Orginals, an initiative to empower smaller teams, has to offer. While we mostly know EA as the company that continues to pump out sports titles for better or worse, its awesome to see such an interesting project getting backed by the large company.
“Josef and his team at Hazelight represent everything that EA Originals stands for. They are a small and very talented group with a vision and passion for a game that is truly unique in the video game industry. A Way Out is going to surprise people with its innovative co-op gameplay and the way it tells an emotional story solely through these two characters.” – Patrick Soderlund, Executive Vice President of EA Worldwide Studios
Clearly there is a lot of confidence from EA for Hazelight and its developers.
Judging from what was shown at the event, this is a game to keep an eye on. Brothers was a excellent title and to see that idea of co-operative play expanded upon is super exciting to see. Not only that, but if Brothers‘ emotional tale is any indication, A Way Out could have a phenomenal, gripping story behind it. There is just so much potential here!
“This game is going to bring a co-op experience unlike anything you have ever seen before. The idea for A Way Out came when me and a friend tried to find a story driven co-op game that wasn’t a drop-in/drop-out experience. We simply could not find a game like that. We’re also bringing an innovative look into how to tell the story of both these characters. Players will be immersed in the game with the way we change the display from a full screen experience seamlessly to different cinematic split-screen formats. By focusing on the two characters in different ways, it opens up a huge variety of gameplay, as we really wanted to avoid repetitions so they will get to know the characters through very different situations.” – Josef Fares, Writer and Director at Hazelight
Personally, I’m getting hints of Prison Break and Orange is the New Black from the prison scenes, which is exciting considering just how well-received those stories were. Both had really detailed, rich characters that grew over the course of the story. It will be interesting to see how Vincent and Leo develop during the course of the game as characters. That’s just the tip of the iceberg too, as the story seems to take its players to many different environments and situations. Forcing players to do play cooperatively is a little strange, but the way the story is portrayed with the dynamically shifting screens could be powerful.
I anticipate tears and I’m not afraid to shed a few for A Way Out.
A Way Out is slated for an early 2018 release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC through Origin. More information can be found on the official website.