A Way Out (video game)

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A Way Out
A Way Out Logo.jpg
Developer(s)Hazelight Studios
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Director(s)Josef Fares
Programmer(s)Anders Olsson
Artist(s)Claes Engdal
Writer(s)Josef Fares
Composer(s)
EngineUnreal Engine 4
Platform(s)
ReleaseMarch 23, 2018
Genre(s)Action-adventure
Mode(s)Multiplayer

A Way Out is an action-adventure game developed by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts under their EA Originals program. It is the second video game to be directed by Josef Fares after Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The game has no single-player option: it is only playable in either online or local split screen co-op between two players. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 23, 2018, selling over a million copies in two weeks.

Gameplay[edit]

A Way Out is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective. It is specifically designed for split-screen cooperative multiplayer, which means that it must be played with another player through either local or online play.[1] In the game, players control Leo and Vincent, two convicted prisoners who must break out of prison and stay on the run from authorities. As the story of both protagonists is told simultaneously, their progress may not be synchronized, which may result in one player being able to control their character, while another is watching a cutscene.[2] Players need to cooperate with each other in order to progress, and each situation can be approached differently, with both characters taking different roles. For instance, during an early segment of the game, the player controlling Vincent needs to distract a nurse and guard, so the player controlling Leo can find a chisel needed to aid their escape. These roles are not fixed, so Leo and Vincent can swap their roles in another playthrough. Players can interact with many non-playable characters, and there are dialogue options for players to choose.[3]

Similar to the PlayStation 4 version of Far Cry 4, players will be able to join online sessions (hosted by the player's friends) whether or not the joining player owns the actual game.[4]

Plot[edit]

In 1972, Vincent Moretti (Eric Krogh) is freshly incarcerated and sent to prison for fraud and murder. In jail, he meets Leo Caruso (Fares Fares), who has now been inside for 6 months for grand theft, assault and armed robbery. While in the cafeteria, a thug sent in by crime boss Harvey tries to murder Leo, but Vincent intervenes, resulting in both of them being sent to the infirmary while the thug is beat to death after stabbing a prison guard. While in the infirmary, Leo requests Vincent's help to steal a chisel from the office. Vincent complies. After the theft, Vincent senses that Leo is planning on a prison break and offers to help so that he can escape too. Leo initially refuses, but begrudgingly agrees to collaborate when Vincent reveals he also has a grudge with Harvey.

Leo and Vincent make progress on their escape plan, stealing sheets to make a rope and smuggling a wrench to open a grating. Using teamwork and gathered tools, the two escape from the jail on a rainy night. After evading the police in the wilderness, the two find an empty camp and fish to make food. Vincent reveals that Harvey had him launder money before murdering his brother as a warning and framing Vincent for the murder. Leo starts telling his story but is interrupted when a police helicopter flies by, causing both to start moving again. They later find an old couple's house, and the two steal new clothes, a shotgun and a truck before evading the pursuing police in the vehicle and, after crashing, a rowboat. After surviving a waterfall, the duo finds civilisation, after which Leo reveals Harvey and him had stolen a valuable gem, a Black Orlov, but that when Leo tried selling it, Harvey betrayed him by killing their buyer and escaping with the gem, leading to Leo's arrest.

At a trailer park in the city, Leo confirms the safety of his wife Linda and his son Alex, before going to a construction site with Vincent. They find Ray, one of Harvey's underlings who works as a construction foreman, and, after a chase, the two capture and interrogate him to find Harvey's location, which they find out is Mexico. Plotting revenge against Harvey, the duo robs a gas station to buy guns from an arms dealer, Jasmine. When the two leave, Jasmine follows them and betrays them by giving their location to Harvey. Later, at a telephone booth, Vincent calls Emily, a pilot, and convinces her to fly them to Mexico. He then learns from her that his wife, Carol, had just gone through childbirth. The due agrees to go to the hospital, but a hitman sent by Harvey arrives, attempting to kill them, but in the end failing. They then go to the hospital and Vincent gets to see his newborn daughter, but quickly needs to leave as police officers surround the building. Leo is captured but manages to escape thanks to a diversion by Vincent.

The next day, Emily flies Leo and Vincent to Mexico, and the two find their way to Harvey's mansion. After a firefight with Harvey's guards and Harvey himself, the two overpower Harvey, force him to return the Black Orlov and, after he attempts to take Leo hostage, kill him. Escaping with the Black Orlov, Vincent and Leo return to the United States on Emily's plane, but are immediately surrounded by police upon landing. An officer takes the Black Orlov from Leo and hands Vincent a gun, revealing that both him and Emily had been undercover police officers. Leo and Harvey's Black Orlov deal had actually been arranged by the police, and the dealer killed was Vincent's brother, Gary.

Feeling betrayed, Leo subdues Vincent, takes him hostage and hijacks a police car to escape. While trying to avoid a police roadblock, he crashes the car into water. Both escape the submerged vehicle, Leo stealing a boat while Vincent is picked up by Emily in a police helicopter. After a chase where Vincent tries to destroy the engine of the boat, Leo jumps off before it crashes into explosive tanks and runs into a portside warehouse. Emily lands the helicopter and both her and Vincent chase him inside. Leo manages to ambush Emily, taking her gun away and ordering her to leave as this fight is between him and Vincent. The gunfight ends with both sides injured, unarmed, and exhausted on the top of the roof. Seeing that one of their guns is dropped nearby, both try to reach it, but only one is able to and shoots the other. The two share a final moment of friendship before the person shot dies from their injuries.

If Leo survives, he takes Vincent's apology letter and delivers it to Carol, then proceeds to leave town with his family while Vincent's funeral is taking place.

If Vincent survives, he informs Linda of Leo's death before returning to Carol, making amends to save their marriage and raise their daughter by revealing he resigned from the police and proclaiming that it's over.

Development[edit]

A Way Out was developed by Hazelight Studios, a small team of developers in Sweden led by film director Josef Fares. Both Fares and several members of his team previously worked on the acclaimed title, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons from Starbreeze Studios.[5] Production of the game began in the second half of 2014.[6] The design philosophy for the game is that the team wanted to create a cooperative game that is unique and different. As a result, the team opted not use the traditional drop-in and drop-out cooperative format featured dominantly in mainstream cooperative games, and instead, the team decided to create a full game that must be played cooperatively with another player.[7] According to Fares, the game was his passion project and he cancelled an upcoming feature film in order to devote more time to working on the game.[6] The game uses Unreal Engine 4.[8]

Despite the game's heavy focus on multiplayer, the game was described as an "emotional adventure".[9] As a result, cutscenes will play out even during online play to ensure that players can understand the story of the other character.[3] The game features a wide variety of gameplay sequences from stealth to driving to ensure that players are often presented with different gameplay situations and generally make the game and its characters more interesting.[7] To make the two protagonists more realistic, the team ensured that Leo and Vincent have distinct personalities and that they have different opinions and responses while interacting with the game's world.[10] Fares Fares, a Swedish-Lebanese actor and Josef Fares' older brother, plays Leo.[11]

The title will be part of publisher Electronic Arts' EA Originals program, dedicated to funding small independent games. The partnership came to fruition when Patrick Söderlund, the Executive Vice President of Electronic Arts, approached Fares personally for collaboration after being impressed by Brothers.[12] EA offered $3.7 million for the development of the game and gave Fares and his team complete creative control over the game's development.[7] According to Fares, all revenue from sales of the game will go back to Hazelight.[13] The formation of Hazelight Studios and the partnership between Hazelight and EA was officially unveiled at The Game Awards 2014.[14] The game's title and gameplay was revealed at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017 during EA's press conference. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 23, 2018.[15]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic(PC) 78/100[16]
(PS4) 78/100[17]
(XONE) 79/100[18]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Edge6/10[19]
EGM8/10[20]
Game Informer7/10[21]
Game Revolution3.5/5 stars[22]
GameSpot6/10[23]
GamesRadar+4.5/5 stars[24]
IGN8.3/10[25]
PC Gamer (US)64/100[26]
Polygon7.5/10[27]

A Way Out received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[16][17][18] It sold over a million copies in two weeks.[28]

The game was nominated for Best Co-operative Game at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards,[29][30] and for Best Game Direction at The Game Awards 2018.[31][32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lemon, Marshall (June 11, 2017). "A Way Out is a fully co-operative prison breakdown adventure". VG 247. Archived from the original on June 10, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  2. ^ "E3 2017: EA Reveals A Way Out, New Co-Op Action Game From Brothers Dev". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 19, 2017. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  3. ^ a b McCaffery, Ryan (June 10, 2017). "A Way Out May Be the Gutsiest Game of E3". IGN. Archived from the original on June 11, 2017. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  5. ^ Makuch, Eddie (December 9, 2014). "EA to Publish Brothers Director's "Very Special" Next Game". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 19, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Vlades, Giancarlo (June 11, 2016). "Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons' creator canceled his next movie to work on a new game (exclusive)". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on August 19, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Grubb, Jeff (June 10, 2017). "EA debuts A Way Out from the creator of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on June 10, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  8. ^ Cowley, Dana (December 18, 2014). "Hazelight Studios Builds New Game With UE4". Unreal Engine. Archived from the original on December 9, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  9. ^ Falvis, Elise (June 10, 2017). "EA Reveals A Way Out, A Co-Op Game From The Makers Of Brothers". Game Informer. Archived from the original on June 13, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  10. ^ Phillips, Tom (June 11, 2017). "A Way Out crafts a cocky new forced co-op concept". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on June 11, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  11. ^ @josef_fares (June 10, 2017). "My big brother Fares Fares plays Leo..." (Tweet). Retrieved June 14, 2017 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ Batchelor, James (June 10, 2017). "EA Originals program continues with A Way Out". Gameindustry.biz. Archived from the original on June 10, 2017. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  13. ^ McLeand, Kirk (March 14, 2018). ""EA is not making a single dollar," says A Way Out dev". VG247. Archived from the original on March 14, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  14. ^ Campbell, Colin (June 11, 2017). "Hazelight game to be published by Electronic Arts". Polygon. Archived from the original on August 19, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  15. ^ Sarkar, Samit (December 7, 2017). "A Way Out's co-op trial lets one partner play for free (update)". Polygon. Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  16. ^ a b "A Way Out for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "A Way Out for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "A Way Out for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  19. ^ "A Way Out". Edge. No. 319. Future plc. June 2018. pp. 114–5.
  20. ^ EGM staff (March 22, 2018). "A Way Out DoubleTake review". EGMNow. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  21. ^ Kato, Matthew (March 22, 2018). "A Not-Always-Dynamic Duo - A Way Out - PlayStation 4". Game Informer. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  22. ^ Tamburro, Paul (March 22, 2018). "A Way Out Review – An Easy Escape". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  23. ^ Dayus, Oscar (March 22, 2018). "A Way Out Review: A Tale Of Two Prisoners". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  24. ^ Loveridge, Sam (March 22, 2018). "A Way Out review: "Elevates co-op gaming in a way nothing has before"". GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  25. ^ McCaffrey, Ryan (March 22, 2018). "A Way Out Review". IGN. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  26. ^ Schilling, Chris (March 23, 2018). "A Way Out Review". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  27. ^ Campbell, Colin (March 22, 2018). "A Way Out has a lot of flaws and a lot of heart". Polygon. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  28. ^ Sirani, Jordan (April 13, 2018). "A Way Out Passes 1 Million Copies Sold". IGN. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  29. ^ Hoggins, Tom (September 24, 2018). "Golden Joysticks 2018 nominees announced, voting open now". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  30. ^ Sheridan, Connor (November 16, 2018). "Golden Joystick Awards 2018 winners: God of War wins big but Fortnite gets Victory Royale". GamesRadar+. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  31. ^ McWhertor, Michael (November 13, 2018). "The Game Awards 2018 nominees led by God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2". Polygon. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  32. ^ Grant, Christopher (December 6, 2018). "The Game Awards 2018: Here are all the winners". Polygon. Retrieved December 7, 2018.

External links[edit]