A co-op­er­a­tive crime drama from the maker of Broth­ers: A Tale Of Two Sons

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - START - James Nouch

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.

Bet­ter to­gether

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.

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