Earlier today, Electronic Arts revealed “A Way Out” as an ambitious story-telling experience that hopes to reform the traditional cooperative model.
The following is a collection of everything that we have so far learned about the upcoming title, and will be updated as more is revealed.
What is its history?
A Way Out is the product of writer and director Josef Fares, whose creative team at Hazelight previously brought us the critically-acclaimed Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons in 2013.
The newly formed studio confirmed last year that it had received $3.7 million in funding from Electronic Arts for the project. It also noted that the contractual agreement allows Hazelight to have complete control over the development process.
This is not the first time that we are hearing about the game. A Way Out was first revealed at The Game Awards a couple of years back as an unnamed project, where the studio shared how the publisher is pushing it to pursue its vision.
What is it about?
The story of A Way Out revolves around two characters, Leo and Vincent, who must work together to break out of prison into the world beyond. The game is designed to pursue the individual stories of both, while at the same time forming a new bond of trust and friendship between the inmates.
It essentially borrows the “values” from Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, but is a completely different game altogether. According to Fares, the compelling narrative of the upcoming game features memorable action moments as well as emotional junctures that are guaranteed to surprise people.
What makes it unique?
Prepare to continuously hear about the unique and innovative approach of A Way Out in the coming months. The vast majority of the game is played in split-screen. In addition, it is exclusively a cooperative experience. While Hazelight has confirmed that the game can be played online, there will be no matchmaking. This means that players must pair themselves with actual friends, and will not be able to hook up with random online individuals.
Limiting the game in such a way is pretty bold and a decision that the development team stands by. According to Fares, you are more than welcome to “break his legs” if you feel that any other game has something even remotely similar to offer.
What makes the cooperative experience so special?
The story of the game is solely told through the two characters. Due to the split-screen mechanism, Leo and Vincent will always be able to see what the other is doing and be in control all the time. If one of them is in a cut-scene, the other will still be able to move around and even wander into the background. This is important because of how the game is designed to take into account the actions of both players.
A Way Out moves past the traditional cooperative experience by making every interaction unique. Speaking to the same non-playable character will yield different dialogue options and results for Leo and Vincent, depending on their past behaviors. According to the developer, this element will promote discussion and engagement as both players follow their own routes while trying to achieve the same goal.
Is it on rails?
Every situation in A Way Out has multiple outcomes and they depend on the actions of both players. As an example, if one of them forgot to disconnect the phone lines, the other might unknowingly force the non-playable character(s) to call in the police. In the same scenario, failing to keep an eye out for a person of interest might also lead to them rushing for help.
Hazelight noted that A Way Out is an ever-evolving game, and “so much unique content” is being created for a single scene that may last just two minutes. It really forces the players to keep tabs on every single event that takes place inside the prison as it may effect their own escape later on. The narrative itself is partially designed to help the personalities of both characters grow, but also impacts their surroundings in significant manners.
The branching scenarios take center stage when Leo and Vincent must work together. Sure, there might a way for both of them to simply waltz through a situation. However, there might also be a need for distraction and that leaves one of the players to improvise in a number of ways.
Going by what we have seen so far and the claims made by the developer, the replay value of the game should be incredibly high.
What kind of combat does it hold?
A Way Out is primarily a narrative journey but the players will not be just spending time talking with every single character they come across. A few instances will delve in combat mechanics, which are specific and used only a handful of times in the entire game. This includes stealth take-downs, melee fights, shootouts, and while not in the same boat, a few car chases.
Other than that, you can expect several puzzles and tense situations where quick decision-making comes into play.
What are the platforms and release dates?
A Way Out is in development for all three major platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It is currently slated for a release early next year. However, the game will only be available as a digital download. In addition, the release on PC will be exclusive to Origin.