Hazelight Studios’ first game, A Way Out, releases today, and director Josef Fares has been outspoken in his beliefs. From his decision to make the game a cooperative-only experience to making sure players only need one copy of the game for online play, he’s made some risky business moves. While he may seem like a loose cannon, his reasoning behind it is sound.
“It would be good for all publishers to take more risks,” said Fares to GamesIndustry.biz. “I hope this inspires more AAA titles to improve their writing, the gameplay. I hope we show that yes, you can take risks and you can do well. I mean we’ll probably do less well because we give one copy away for free [per player], but that doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, it’s a good way of testing stuff.”
While taking a financial hit is never optimal, Fares says that it’s worth it for his art. “I love taking risks. Like the fact this is co-op only – from the beginning, people were like, ‘Isn’t that risky? Won’t you sell less?’ I don’t care. That’s the vision, so I will follow it.”
For more on the game, check out my A Way Out review. Here’s a snippet of what I said:
From the opening moment to the very end, this is a game designed truly with cooperation in mind. That’s exactly why it’s amazing that Electronic Arts is allowing one of the most progressive consumer-friendly moves ever by a publisher and allowing players to download a “Friends Pass” version of the game. As such, only one person needs to own a copy to play, and that they can play it with any of their friends. It’s an incredible move, and one that is downright revolutionary. To know that so many more players will be able to experience this piece of art due to it is heartwarming, and it’s a reminder that while gaming is a business, it’s also an artistic field where greatness should be shared.
A Way Out is a true achievement in game design. Not only does it manage to take players on a true journey of emotion, it does so in a way that is only possible through the medium of video games. It manages to do something truly special by making two players to cooperate for an extended amount of time, and the discussions that happen on the couch or over voice chat can be just as revealing as the game itself. Josef Fares and Hazelight have undoubtedly raised the bar for co-op gaming.
A Way Out is available now.