Two years ago at E3 we saw a demo on stage of something called Hazelight. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons director and creator Josef Fares was there and announced that he had started a new studio to create a new game. The teaser was very short and featured two characters sitting in a freight train, presumably having jumped the train. Hazelight was the name of the studio, and the game was revealed as A Way Out, an exclusively co-operative narrative-driven game. "We did that trailer having just worked for three weeks", revealed Josef Fares to us at this year's E3. There's not much about what the game is in that teaser, but according to there's some hint hidden there that's in the game.
At the press conference, we were introduced to Vincent and Leo, the seemingly unlikely duo who find themselves in prison, who have to work together in order to escape. Perhaps having seen this first reveal you'd think it's a game about escaping incarceration, but that's just the beginning of their adventure. A Way Out isn't just about escaping from that prison, it speaks to all manners of situations while the duo are on the run. Exactly what their motivation is to stick together is unknown, and Josef Fares is reluctant to reveal anything about the overarching plot as that would spoil the game in his opinion. It is clear, however, that Vincent and Leo have different backgrounds and motivations, which makes for a dynamic relationship.
Being a co-op only game with a focus on narrative, there's no drop in, drop out, but you can play either online or on the couch, but you'll see the same split-screen regardless as it is important to experience the game from both perspectives. "If you want that sort of experience, play Destiny", says Josef Fares. That's not the vision for this game, and in a way, the limitations of A Way Out are what makes it stand out. It's a singular well-defined vision, not a vision meant to speak to as many players as possible and provide as small a barrier to entry as possible.
In some cases there will even be a third perspective (not a third player, but perhaps something happens that's relevant even if neither Leo nor Vincent is there to see it), and during one scene in a hospital that's early in development (Fares showed it off on his laptop), players took turns making their escape down a building while being chased by cops, enjoying the full screen as they went. Each scene offers unique gameplay and scenarios, nothing is repeated, and so there's no filler here, and the hospital scene ends with what amounted to a side-scrolling beat 'em up scene (with 300 animations) with Leo, something that you'll only do that one time in the game. It's also interesting to note that while one player is locked in a cutscene, the other can move around and interact with things, appearing in the cutscene portion of the scene as he does so.