With so many games being released in any given year, the calendar can get somewhat chock-ful of games coming out. At all varieties of different budgets and for an array of different formats, there is always something else just off the horizon. Our “One to Watch” series of articles hopes to give the limelight to some of those coming out that seem to stand out for one reason or another, but are unlikely to be getting the attention that it seems to deserve. You’ll find no “Triple A” titles on here, but rather something that seems to have a special something about it that warrants highlighting!
A Way Out
Developer: Hazelight Studios
Release Date: 23rd March 2018
The brain child of Josef Fares, writer and director for the much loved Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, A Way Out looks to be offering a truly ground breaking method of playing a game: this game is a two player game. And only a two player game; no solo play included! Regardless of how the execution ends up, the fact that EA are publishing such a risky venture should be enough to make many a head turn in intrigue.
On its surface, A Way Out advertises itself as a third person, action adventure game with stealth elements, nothing really new there but there appears to be a little something more under the hood; possibly something memorably special. In this co-op prison break game you take the role of one of two inmates, Leo or Vincent, as you look to work together to escape from the confines of the prison and seek out your heart’s desire after. But, much like Brothers before this, A Way Out seems to be a more emotional affair with its narrative outing, looking like it will leave a much bigger impact than it may first appear at first glance. Leo and Vincent are currently just characters in an upcoming video game, but the reason this specific upcoming game gets its own “One to Watch” article is because I think by the end, for most of the players, I think Leo and Vincent will mean so much more to the player after forging ahead together through impossible odds with their buddy, relying on them and them relying on you in a wonderfully knitted game of interdependence. It looks to be an experience like no other, painted with the flawed humanity of our protagonists being worn on their sleeves. Some games, it’s often joked, can end friendships, this looks like a rare one of which can really bind you and a friend through a unforgettable journey.
Last generation saw a slew of games built around the two player cooperative premises. There were those that did it very well, such as Gears of War or the legendary Portal 2. Then there were those that felt a little lacklustre, like Inversion or Army of Two, or barely functioning at all (looking at you here, Dead Rising 2…). None of these games, however, prevented you from playing the game without a partner. A Way Out does do this, while also offering a lot of freedom with how to play with your friend. One of the diminishing number of games that supports splitscreen is an essential boon for it, while the inclusion of online play for it is little more than a bare-expected minimum in today’s market.
There is also a very interesting caveat that anyone looking at picking this up should consider: Download this game, and your friend without the game can accept an invite to play the full game, every pulse pounding moment can be enjoyed together without your friend also having to pay. I’ve never heard of a distribution method like this previously and with more and more games taking justifiable flak for locking content away behind lootbox walls, the fact that a game… an EA, no less, is releasing with options to play in such a manner is heartening for the industry.
Its release is still more than a couple of months away, and you can likely expect a decent level of attention to be garnered for it closer to to March 23rd, this could potentially rewrite the way a lot of people see a two player experience, or it could flounder and fail to captivate upon release, and while I most certain hope it is the former, the refreshing take on what a multiplayer experience can offer makes A Way Out one to watch!