Break Out of Prison With Your Best 70s Bro in 'A Way Out'


#1

Hazelight studio's 70s prison-break game looked fresh in a sea of super-budget glitz.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/break-out-of-prison-with-your-best-70s-bro-in-a-way-out

#2

this reminds me of some of the best things about Uncharted 4 but with some real interesting new ideas in the mix I’m excited for it.


#3

\o/ Someone else who didn’t take to Brothers. I thought I might be a real critical outlier. My notes from the time:

The ‘woman as temptation of evil/destroyer of family’ trope really ruined this game for me. As that is the inciting event for the entire of the emotional payload of the game’s peak and diminuendo to the close, I was ripped away from the story just as the game wanted me to lean in to it.

Also I seemed to get the buggiest of playthroughs.


#4

I touched briefly in the big thread about how I can’t really conceptualize this game, but my hope for it is that it feels like a very tightly directed table top RPG, where you and your partner are making weird decisions and exploring something weird while playing. It could totally not go that direction, and be a lot more traditional mechanically, but I’ll try to keep an eye on it.


#5

the idea of using split-screen screenwatching as a co-operative instead of competitive mechanic is so clever and simple that i’m surprised it feels as fresh as it does. genuinely excited for that game to come out! it feels like a perfect thing to play through with my dad


#6

I want to like this game since there seems to be some interesting ideas here, but there’s something about it that’s making me feel uneasy. The main characters being two white men certainly isn’t helping.


#7

yeah i think the whole “70s prison” setting is definitely rife for some bullshit writing but given that there’s a clip or two of the guys in a fucking jungle suddenly i wonder how much of the game actually takes place there or how much the devs play into the setting


#8

For me (and I’m guessing a lot of people) this was the first thing at E3 this year that made me jump out of my seat. I still think Brothers was one of the few truly effective video-game-art pieces of work I’ve seen in the last three years.That moment. When, for the first time in my life, controls were emotional, is something that I’ll never forget. And I just got the sense playing it that given the right budget and freedom those creators could do something really special to move things in a new direction.

The asymmetrical screen size and gameplay in co-op is something that’s like… actually, actually new. Not just a new IP, new set of enemies to shoot, or new set of worlds to explore, a new way of relating to the person next to me as we play a game. I’m beyond excited!! Hope it follows through on its potential.


#9

Could we maybe not jump to judging a games cast of characters based on their gender and race when we know so very little about who these characters actually are?

Nobody wants to be judged in passing based on these things and while they are fictional characters I have to imagine the people who created them would be hurt to read a comment like yours that has already decided to degrade them based on their physical traits.


#10

[quote=“Wazanator, post:9, topic:4620”]
Could we maybe not jump to judging a games cast of characters based on their gender and race when we know so very little about who these characters actually are?

Nobody wants to be judged in passing based on these things and while they are fictional characters I have to imagine the people who created them would be hurt to read a comment like yours that has already decided to degrade them based on their physical traits.
[/quote]I’m explaining my feelings, not passing judgement. I am not degrading the game or the cast at all, just making observations. I may be, perhaps, too cynical, but I don’t believe either the industry at large or the developer in particular inspires much optimism in the subject.

I have my fears about the game, and I hope they don’t come to pass.


#11

At first this seemed like a pretty big jump in production for this team, until I remember Brothers was created by Starbreeze who have plenty of AAA pedigree. Interesting to see something this ambitious under the EA Originals program, though.


#12

You are welcome to your feelings and I think everyone should be able to voice them because it helps to better understand one another but in the future could you please consider how others may feel after reading what you wrote? There are better ways to approach your displeasure with the shown casts lack of diversity then to make the easy cut down that they are white men. And I get it white men are catered to in gaming a lot more then any other race or gender and I hope that going forward we have not only more diverse main characters in gaming but in entertainment as a whole.

I genuinely don’t think you meant it but what you wrote came across as the main problem with the characters is that they are white men and reading that as a white male it feels like you just told me that I should feel bad for being a white male. Look it sounds silly but if I’m being 100% honest the first thing that went through my head after reading your comment was “Oh they wouldn’t like me because I’m a white male”.


#13


#14

I can’t speak for @Meophist, but I personally think there is more to the issue of the protagonists’ race and gender than just the general lack of diversity in video games. This game is dealing with police, there are brief flashes, hints in the trailer of brutality and prison humiliation. That subject is pretty closely tied to racism in the United States, and while a game certainly could touch on it in the context of white leads, something that looks like it might lean into the 70s pastiche may not be the game to do it in.

Also, the two glimpses we had at female characters in the trailer were… not great. Perhaps there’s a lot of nuance to the writing, a twist and cut into the rose-tinted glasses we look back at the era’s TV and film, but as they were presented it certainly seems rife with potential for them to be bland, sexist stereotypes. I had issues with that in Brothers as well, so I’m admittedly not optimistic.

Like, I’d also agree that the lack of diversity is bad and I hope we see some more female leads and characters of colour, but in the context of A Way Out, I think there’s red flags with the subject matter in particular with these protagonists. It might be a game I watch an LP of before I buy.


#15

Yeah, I remember that being an early impression, the game making two prisoners seemingly able white men, one of whom appears to be straight, as opposed to the number of minority groups that are disproportionally imprisoned, especially in the context of the US’s history of mass incarceration of minority populations, particularly black ones.

…That was quite a run-on sentence.

I’m not really sure how I forgot about that, but nothing I saw since really removed the ill feeling I’ve gotten from it. This isn’t to say that this is going to be a problem in the final game, but it is a point of worry for me, especially hearing about some of the issues in the developer’s previous game. To their credit, there does seem to be a bunch NPCs of colour in the background.

Okay, I’ve been spending a bunch of time trying to figure out how to write this paragraph, so instead, just read @ricotta’s last paragraph again and imagine I said that. It was basically that, a white male protagonist in most games is just another white male protagonist in a sea of white male protagonists, which I could see as a lost opportunity for diversity, but is something I can mostly ignore. This game has particular context that makes it stand out and has gotten me to feel odd about this game.

As for my initial writing, maybe what I wrote was a little too brief. I haven’t quite had the time to formulate my thoughts too much so I wrote down my initial impressions. That said, thinking about it more, I suppose this is what I could’ve said:

The game starring prisoners is an interesting decision since the history of US prisons is rife with a lot of very interesting politics. That said, I am unsure if the developers can approach the topic with the proper care and nuance it deserves. Unfortunately, the current footage doesn’t inspire much confidence and the main characters being two white men certainly isn’t helping.


#16

Since we’re on the subject, I think it might be worth keeping in mind that the game is written by Josef Fares who is not a white dude.


#17

BTW on the topic of the protagonists being white dudes, the character named Leo (atleast i think he was) looks very much like the game directors brother named Fares Fares (who is very much not white) who has been in Josef Fares movies and recently had a role in Rouge One. Just a little fun trivia.


#18

I’m afraid to say I can’t contribute much to these discussions about potential representation of the tricky topic of the U.S. prison system and other closely associated concepts; I’ll probably need to see more of the game before I’d even feel an iota comfortable touching the topic.

I did find Brothers gripping on a lot of levels, though, so I am optimistic about Way Out!

Josef Fares’ sketches conceptualizing Way Out are pretty legit, too:


#19

My fingers are crossed it is handled well, or at least leans so heavily into the pastiche that the problems aren’t as glaring, because - and I feel bad for my primarily negative post earlier - I adore split screen co-op and think some of the gameplay shots in this are very exciting. The one where the two are shimmying, back to back, through a vent or tunnel of some sort looks like a lot of fun to play.

Oh! And I liked Fares Fares in Zero Dark Thirty, I’ll have to keep my eyes open for him in Rogue One next time I watch it. Is he also voicing Leo? I wasn’t paying attention to the voices in the trailer.


#20

Are we absolutely sure that the game is set in a U.S. prison and not somewhere else?