A Way Out Game Director Risks Homelessness For Free Friend Pass

A Way Out construction
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
  • Action
2018-03-23

A Way Out commanded audience attention at The Game Awards 2017 with a new trailer, a release date and one very special announcement: as a co-op game, friends will be able to play for free whether they own a copy or not. Game Director Josef Fares recently chatted with Player.One to remind fans he’s risked it all to make that happen.

To help us understand just how much he’s bet on his vision, he clarified that the so-called Friend Pass feature will have no limits whatsoever. “With Friend Pass you can play with your friend online and then when you're done you can play with another friend online,” he said. “They don't own the game, but you can play with them. You can play with a thousand friends for free if you want.”

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why letting an unlimited amount of people play your game for free might be troublesome for Fares’ indie studio that employs around 40 developers, but this passionate man sees financial concerns as secondary to his larger vision.

“We'll probably lose a lot of money on that because we'll sell less,” he admitted, “but I don't care. Because this is a game you can only play with two people, so why pay for two copies?” With that thought in mind, he’s lifted all restrictions for online play. Although, he did tell us he feels A Way Out plays best during couch co-op sessions.

As if it wasn’t clear just how much Fares is willing to invest to make his co-op dreams a reality, he took things one step further. When asked if there was a version of A Way Out that could work in a safer, single-player framework he said “no, not at all. I would never change it to a single-player game even if someone told me it would make $100 million I wouldn't care.” That commitment to a single vision has also pushed the Hazelight director to put plenty of pressure on his own personal bank account. “Literally I could become homeless when this game is out,” Fares told us.

“Yeah you lose money, but I don't give a fuck. If it was up to me I would give it away for free even. But I can't because people have to pay rent at some point. People may not believe that, but I've never chased money. “

Having the will to bank everything on A Way Outis true to the nature of Fares himself and the studio he runs. It’s a reflection of belief in video games as art and an unrelenting sense of courage.

“People are sometimes afraid to fail,” Fares mused when discussing the larger games industry. “That's the problem, because being afraid of failing is way worse than actually failing.” As a co-op experience that disregards all trepidation, A Way Out has quietly positioned itself as one of 2018’s most interesting game releases.

A Way Out comes to PS4, Xbox One and PC March 23. For more from this interview, read Fares’ thoughts on his Game Awards rant and the larger vision behind A Way Out.

Will you be playing A Way Out using the Friend Pass feature? Are you excited to see Fares risking so much to make it work? Tell us in the comments section!

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