I had the fortune of being invited to a preview event for Hazelight Studios’ upcoming co-op prison escape game A Way Out. We were shown a few sections of the full game on PS4 and were able to get hands on with it before we were locked in a prison ourselves - check out our video of the day here.
A Way Out tells the story of two convicted criminals’ escape from prison and their lives on the run. We weren’t shown any of the prison sections, but the first section we got to play was mid-escape. We had to stealth through a forest, hiding in the long grass to avoid police flashlights. The stealth isn’t especially difficult - the police can’t see more than about three feet in front of them - but the addition of needing to get two players through undetected steps up the difficulty.
The screen is permanently split, which allows for some interesting perspectives on the game. We lost each other at one point, and had to use each others views to find a way to rejoin each other. This use of perspective was exceptionally useful at various points of what we played. At one point, when stealthily driving a stolen vehicle, being able to see in two directions was incredibly useful. Later on, while in a hospital, we were able to simultaneously be in a cutscene and explore the level.
The game very clearly focuses less on the actual act of escaping and more on the two characters working together to stay out of prison. From the brief flickthrough of the chapters, it’s clear that the main bulk of the game is set outside the prison, and the few sections of dialogue between the two characters in the bit we played hinted that their relationship would develop across the game.
We played the game entirely in local play, but the menu had an option for online play which we were told would work exactly the same way. My only worry about that mode will be any lag, particularly in the quick-time events and faster paced sequences, but I think in general it should be fine. The mandatory co-op also worried me at first, until they announced that only one player would need to own the game for two people to play - similar to how Far Cry 4 worked on PlayStation 4.
I’m really looking forward to playing the full version of A Way Out - I very much enjoyed the glimpse of the game I saw at the event, and there aren’t many co-op games with the level of polish demonstrated by the Hazelight team. Add to that the director of one of my favourite games - Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - Josef Fares, and I’m very excited for the full release on the 23rd of March, on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.