A WAY OUT
A co-operative crime drama from the maker of Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
Here at OXM, we like to think we’re pretty tough customers. Art editor Warren, for instance, once opted for the ‘medium’ peri-peri sauce at Nando’s (they’d run out of mild). Editor Stephen, meanwhile, once drank a beer straight from the can while wearing a leather jacket. The bubbles played havoc with his digestion for days afterwards. And then there’s deputy editor Dani, who was convicted of manslaughter in ‘95.
But all of those antics pale in comparison to the actions of Vincent and Leo, stars of the co-operative criminal caper that is AWayOut. This motley pair start the game in the big house—prison, that is, not Downton Abbey—and set about mounting their daring escape, before fleeing across the country.
It’s an unusual premise that’s made even more interesting by one very simple restriction: AWayOut can only be played by two people co-operating either online or in the same room. This isn’t a single-player romp with a co-op multiplayer mode bolted on the side— it’s a game all about the pleasures and pitfalls of working with a partner.
AWayOut’s narrative concerns what happens when self-sufficient hard nuts have to place their trust entirely in another person.
At a behind-closed-doors demo at E3, AWayOut’s writer and director Josef Fares introduces us to the game with a scene set in a ramshackle gas station. Leo and Vincent are there to rob the place, but both characters have very different ideas about how best to motivate a stubborn clerk or handle a crowd of panicked bystanders. That said, neither of these men are psycho-killers. At one point we try to gun down a fleeing witness, but Leo fires a warning shot into the air instead. “If you want to shoot people in the head, go play Grand
TheftAutoV,” Fares suggests. The great challenge for Hazelight, of course, will be whether the small studio can produce an entire game composed of these unique, bespoke sequences while maintaining a consistently high quality bar. They say that variety is the spice of life, but that’s only a positive if the spice is a fiery spoonful of smoked paprika or a nutty pinch of cumin. No one wants ground coriander to be the spice of life, because that would be terrible. Hazelight’s challenge will be to produce a coriander-free game.
But if there’s one man with the necessary commitment to artistic vision to pull this off, it might just be Josef Fares. “Even if someone told me that I’d sell a lot more copies of the game by adding single-player, I wouldn’t do it,” he explains. “Because that’s simply not the vision.”
“It’s all about the pleasures and pitfalls of working with a partner”
Above Together, Leo and Vincent will engage in stealth escapes, melee fisticuffs, car chases, and shoot-outs.
below Every scene in A Way Out is different, with unique animations and often totally bespoke gameplay mechanics.