Imagine if you could play the early chapters of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (opens in new tab)'s campaign - where Nathan Drake and his brother Sam have to bust out of prison - in two-player co-op. In fact, imagine if you could only play it in co-op. That's the exciting premise of A Way Out, the next game from Josef Fares, the writer and director of 2013's powerful Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. During the EA Play press conference, we got a good look at this promising action adventure, which is being published by EA as part of the same EA Originals program that gave us Unravel (opens in new tab) last year. A Way Out seems to be the Prison Break game you've always wanted, chronicling every tense moment from incarceration to being hunted once you've escaped. Oh, and one of the main characters looks a lot like Nathan Drake at a glance.
To reiterate, A Way Out is designed exclusively for two players: whether you're in split-screen or playing online with a friend, the game can only be experienced by a pair (unlike Brothers, where one controller could guide the two main characters, each one's movements tied to a thumbstick and shoulder button). Our two leads are Vincent, a burly, mustachioed man who's just arriving at prison, and Ian, a dude with some serious mutton chop sideburns who's already in prison and angling for a partner to help him find... a way out. Interestingly, the nature of the split-screen can shift to put more emphasis on one perspective or the other; even more ingenious is the way that one player could be in a cutscene, while the other has control over their character to see the events from a different angle, or handle their part of the plan in another area entirely.
If you played Uncharted 4, then you know how tense and thrilling it can be to plan a prison break, put all your schemes in place, and adapt on the fly (usually by running from a hail of bullets) when things inevitably goes to hell in a handbasket. A Way Out seems like it'll match a lot of the crucial character building that Naughty Dog excels at, too: Vincent and Ian start out as unlikely allies, but eventually build up enough trust to get past guards (which can be accomplished via multiple solutions), escape to the mountainous countryside, and eventually make their way back to their families (some of whom seem happier to see this men than others). There's also a good bit of humor mixed in with the more dramatic, emotional scenes, like when Leo volunteers to hurriedly jump into a dark hatch before realizing it's a much farther fall than he assumed.
A Way Out's reveal might've given a little too much away, as we've already seen snippets of the arrival at prison, the two protagonists sneaking out via a tunnel of pipes (Shawshank Redemption-style), being hunted by guards on the outskirts of the prison, and trying to keep their freedom by holding up a convenience store, playing it cool while driving through a police checkpoint, or fleeing in a large-scale chase on four wheels. But the most fascinating part will be finding out how you and a friend handle these situations together, and the player you choose to partner up with in A Way Out could shape the way you experience the story - unlike the solo, one-sided nature of Uncharted 4's brotherly breakout. You'll be able to play A Way Out - exclusively in split-screen - when it launches in early 2018 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Until then, be sure to check out all the other E3 2017 games (opens in new tab) and E3 2017 trailers (opens in new tab) from the show.