Josef Fares, a Lebanese filmmaker who's been living in Sweden since he was ten years old, made its debut in the games industry with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, an acclaimed adventure game launched in 2013.
Now he's working on A Way Out, a game to be published under EA's Originals label that will follow in the footsteps of Brothers with an additional twist: it must be played by two people, either via local or online play. Even in the latter case, there will always be split screen active.
Given the cinematic flair of his titles, Fares' work has been often compared to the creative output of Telltale Games and Quantic Dream. However, in an interview published in the latest EDGE magazine (March 2018, issue 316), Fares didn't seem to agree.
Those games are too passive for me. I would like to have more control. One could say that you control the story, but while you're doing it and affecting it, in a sense you're not, you know?
A Way Out is not about that. I think the comparison is fine from a cinematic perspective, but not the way you choose your story. This is a hand-tailored story all the way.
When asked by the interviewer whether he also wanted to elicit feelings and emotions with his games (like Quantic Dream's David Cage), he replied:
That's not important for me. I just want to make people feel the game. If they cry or they laugh or they smile or they get angry, it doesn't really matter.
Hazelight being a rather small team of roughly thirty developers, Fares revealed that making this game was challenging, even more so when comparing it to his previous effort as a filmmaker.
From the perspective of the small team we are, it's been challenging for us. I made six feature films before A Way Out and Brothers, and they're nothing compared to making a game. It's way harder. It's way harder because of many things.
When you make a movie, you pretty much have a solid idea of how the product should go; you can plan it better. In a game, you can't really plan that out, especially if you're doing something that hasn't really been done before.
Finally, he noted that this is the kind of games he enjoys making and overall, playing a story together as required by A Way Out is underrated.
I'm making the game I want to play with my friends. I think playing a story together is an underestimated genre. It doesn't all have to be run-and-gun, you know?
A Way Out is due to release on March 23th, 2018 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.