There’s quite simply nothing like A Way Out in the video game market right now. The same could have been said for creator Josef Fares’ last game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, as well.
This is a game that hasn’t just been designed for co-operative play, it demands it. The entire game is played with another person, as two people each take on the role of a prisoner looking to escape for their own reasons.
You’ll never play the game alone. You can’t. Whether you’re playing the game with someone online or with a friend on the couch (or in the couch), it will always be splitscreen. It’s a core part of A Way Out’s storytelling and it’s being driven by the passion and vision of its creator:
“After I finished making Brothers I wanted to make another game that pushed the boundaries on how to tell stories, but without compromising on gameplay, I love [the interactivity in games]. It started out with me and a friend trying to find a co-op game that was not just drop-in, drop-out. I wanted to do an emotional story for two characters.
The game was designed from day one as co-op in design. Even is someone gave me $20 million to do a single-player I would say no. This is part of the design, part of the vision.”
A Way Out requires that you buddy up, but it starts out almost like two separate single-player games. At the beginning of the story, the two characters barely know each other, only slowly coming together during the game’s first act. They’re separate and their first meeting and the formation of their relationship all takes place inside the game.
There’s a lot more to the game than just a prison break, of course. Once you and your friend have escaped you’re on the run you’ll need to stay one step ahead of the cops that want to throw you back in jail. A Way Out features a huge variety of gameplay mechanics, some of which you’ll only use once:
“The variation is insane. We do one thing and then it’s over. You’ll have a scene where one player does it for a minute, over three animations, and you only do it there. We have a full third-person shooting mechanic but we only use it when it makes sense in the story. That’s it. And that’s important to get the players emotionally connected.”
Josef Fares is aiming to do something completely new with A Way Out. It’s an emotional story that you’ll get to experience with a friend by your side. Unlike in every other co-op mode in every other game, player 2 is just as critically important to the experience as player 1.
A Way Out is due for launch in early 2018 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.