Since we announced A Way Out at EA Play earlier this year, we’ve been thrilled and humbled by the community response to the idea of this unique new experience. Hazelight’s sophomore title made waves at The Game Awards earlier tonight, when it was revealed that players can play through the entire game with a friend online — even if that friend doesn’t own a copy of the game.
We took this opportunity to sit down with Josef Fares, the writer and director of A Way Out, to learn more about what players can expect when the game launches on March 23, 2018.
Q: Tell us about yourself and how a movie producer decides to create his own Videogame Studio (Hazelight)?
Josef Fares: Well, I arrived in Sweden when I was a young boy, and I spent my teen years playing video games and filming a large amount of short films on a borrowed camcorder. I even was the youngest student in a prestigious Swedish film school! I’ve always been passionate about creation and telling stories to people. While working as a movie director, I have done that how I wanted. One day a friend who was in charge of a game development education asked me if I was interested in making a game in six weeks with a couple of students. I got super excited and came up with the idea for Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons the same day. After the release of Brothers, me and the team were overwhelmed by the positive reception from industry critics and were all very excited and very proud to see the enthusiasm of the players as well. I knew I wanted to keep making games, so I started Hazelight and brought with me the core team behind Brothers. We started at around 12 people, and now we are 40!
Q: We discovered A Way Out at EA PLAY this year, what is so special about it?
JF: A Way Out is very special indeed. I wanted to create a game with not only a great emotional cinematic narrative, but also never-seen before ways to play co-op.
It all begins in prison with two separate inmates, Leo and Vincent, who don’t know each other. They have different personalities, Vincent is calm and sort of the wise one, whereas Leo is rash and likes to make a scene. While their stories progress, you and your friend will have to build a relationship based on trust as they break out of prison and into the world.
Concerning co-op, I think we undervalue the power of experiencing interactive stories together, like watching a movie as a family, for instance. It was always important for me to enable two friends to form a bond with their characters and through that relationship also form a new bond with each other.
Q: Why did you chose to create a co-op only game?
JF: A friend and I were looking for a co-op game that wasn’t just a drop-in/drop-out experience. We wanted a game with a strong story where the characters have unique personalities and goals. After searching and searching, we couldn’t find a game where players can seamlessly experience full screen to cinematic split-screen. So we decided to make one!
JF: Yes! We are super excited to allow friends to enjoy the game together, and only one of them has to buy the game. Basically, if you buy the game, your friend downloads the friends pass free trial, and then you invite him to play the full game with you for free. And yes, I mean for free for real.
Q: Anything else you would like to tell your fans?
JF: You have to play this game! It is out on March 23rd, 2018.