Hazelight and the Return to Co-Op Video Games

Back in Ye Olde Days of video games, it was extremely common for people to play games together. In fact, the very first game ever created was a 2-Player game, Pong. Since then, we have gone through so many different systems of play, between 2-Player Competitive, 2-Player Cooperative, Single Player Story Mode, Single Player Arcade Mode, Local Multiplayer, Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, and now the very popular Battle Royale, which has 100 people playing a game against each other.

Unfortunately, with the rise of online gaming, specifically the MMORPG and the Battle Royale, the 2-Player game has dropped in popularity. Now you don’t need to be in the same room with your friend to play games with them, which in the pandemic is a good thing, no doubt about it. However, that does mean that sometimes you’re going to miss the 2-Player games, especially if you look at the people that you’re in lockdown with, and you don’t know what to do in between episodes of the latest MCU Disney+ show.

Well, have you heard of Hazelight? Or more specifically, have you heard of their games A Way Out and It Takes Two?

If you haven’t, I’d be surprised, because It Takes Two has sold over 2 million copies, and has an average viewership of 1,154 people at any moment in the last month on Twitch (according to twitchmetrics.net).

It is our core belief that games have only yet scratched the surface of what’s possible. The way games are played, how their stories are told and how they are experienced either alone or with others – our mission is to push the boundaries of what’s possible. We’re in this business to challenge old conventions and blow peoples minds away with our games.

Hazelight.se

This Swedish game company was founded by Josef Fares, a comedic film director who made a series of movies from 2000 to 2010, one of which won the Nordic Council Film Prize.

When they made A Way Out, it was the “first ever co-op only third person action- adventure game”. While that has a lot of qualifiers, the important part of this is “co-op only”. Many 2-Player or Multiplayer games are either competitive, or co-op available, which are great. Games like like Mario Kart or the Lego games are fantastic, because they allow you to play with others locally, but these games require you to play with others (albeit online is an option). You cannot enjoy this game unless you have someone to enjoy it with. I love this because it brings us back to how I believe games were meant to be played, with your friends, working together. This is probably also why I love Tabletop Roleplaying Games (like D&D) because there is nothing like being in a room, working together, to accomplish something awesome.

As some context, A Way Out follows to prisoners, as they attempt to break out of prison. They start as strangers, but end up in a shaky alliance, and have to create an elaborate plan to escape, and then stay hidden from the cops as they make their way toward freedom. It Takes Two follows a married couple who are on the path to divorce, until their sad daughter’s magical tears bring them to life in the form of dolls she’s made of them. Now they must find a way to get back to their bodies, while a speaking Book of Love tries to convince them that their marriage is worth fighting for, and shows them the way.

Since It Takes Two only came out this year, we haven’t yet seen what kind of awards it might (definitely will) win. If you haven’t gotten the game yet, I highly encourage you. In fact, both games are a ton of fun, but (light spoiler) It Takes Two made me cry.

The only thing that I don’t love about these games are the lack of replayability. Because they are fairly straightforward, extremely story-focused games, once you’ve played it, you know the whole game. However, I can see myself coming back to the game every year or so, like a movie that I love, wanting to relive the story. Also, with both games, the two different characters have their own special abilities, so when you do come back, you can switch characters from who you played the first time, and get a slightly unique experience there.

Have you played It Takes Two? Let us know in the comments below!

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