A match made in heaven.
Ahead of It Takes Two‘s release later this month, Stevivor was able to go hands-on with the co-op action rom-com as part of a special preview.
Developed by Hazelight, the title is a further evolution of Brothers A Tale of Two Sons‘ groundbreaking co-op style gameplay and the realism added by A Way Out, the studio’s first collaboration with EA for its EA Originals label.
While Brothers tasked one player to control two on-screen characters with a single controller, A Way Out made a second player mandatory — each player controlled one character and both needed to work together to reach their goals. It Takes Two takes a little something from both titles — Brothers‘ other-worldedness and cartoonish style (though arguably Pixar has been more of an influence this time around) mixed with A Way Out‘s collaborative gameplay loop — to create something magical.
Or, as the ever charismatic head of Hazelight Josef Fares told us, “you will love it, trust me!”
“You have to remember: during A Way Out, most of these developers started as interns,” Fares continued. “Now, they’re kick-ass developers. So you will see… it’s a whole ‘nother level; we’ve learned a lot of stuff and, really, become a stronger, better studio.”
You play as Cody and May, two parents who’ve decided to divorce. When their daughter Rose finds out, she (inadvertently) places a spell upon the pair, placing their souls into two of Rose’s dolls. Guided by Dr Hakim, a literal Book of Love, the pair decide they need to work together to in order to regain their humanity… though Dr Hakim has them teaming up in order to restore their bond. As the book puts it, “this is a story of collaboration!”
To Fares, It Takes Two is one of the first — if not the first — romantic comedy video game, inspired by film and drawing upon his previous work as a film director.
“How many games are actually doing the rom-com genre?” Fares asked. “Pretty much none; some. Not so many. It’s a pretty hard genre to wrap your head around [as a video game].”
A video game It Takes Two. While it starts off as photorealistic, Cody and May soon turn into a blob of clay or wooden doll, respectively, and in doing so gain game-like powers. Each can dash, jump, double jump, ground pound, wall jump and stick and slide down walls. Chaining these powers together — and working with one another, of course — is a must; themed powers that change with each level only build upon this. Co-op can be achieved both locally and online, though Fares suggests playing with a friend or loved one and properly communicating all throughout.
“This is not a game where you ping something,” he said, gesturing in a way that mimicked the functionality of Apex Legends.
To make it easier to do so, It Takes Two offers the Friend’s Pass, meaning two players can take advantage of one purchase. Why not give free access to someone you care about?
It Takes Two‘s first level is all about introducing players to base mechanics like jumping, dashing and working with one another to achieve a common goal. While wholly a tutorial, it’s great fun nonetheless; there’s a sense of speed and fluidity here that hasn’t been seen in the likes of Brothers or A Way Out. The players climb a tower created by a sentient vaccum cleaner and ultimately go head-on with the appliance so they can continue on. The first of many mini-games is offered up before the second chapter starts proper, a take on Whack-a-Mole that seems slanted in the favour of one player… until you find out in the second round that it’s absolutely slanted in the direction of the other. Or maybe it’s not? My husband and I bickered about that for about twenty more minutes.
In a pre-play presentation from Fares, we also saw themed levels set in the snow, another pitting the pair against a wasps nest, one with Cody in literal control or time, and more. Fares confirmed that each level brings new mini-games and mechanics like a sap gun and match gun that need to be used in tandem to create explosions and the like. In the second chapter, Cody and May are armed with either a magical hammer or magical nails that need to be co-operatively hammered into place to create new ways to continue onward.
Check out some It Takes Two gameplay footage below, and apologies for the audio problems in advance.
It Takes Two heads to Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S & X, PS4 and PS5 on 26 March. While it gains a boost from the power of current-gen consoles, Fares also confirmed is won’t provide any specific additional support including that for the DualSense’s haptic feedback or adaptive triggers.
26 March 2021