Ah, the EA press conference: 90 minutes of dazzling eye-candy that looks about as memorable as the packet of Cheetos you ate with your cheese and pickle sandwiches earlier this afternoon. When the publisher wasn’t pulling YouTubers out of their comfort zone, it was airing screen sugar: millions of dollars pouring out of the livestream and onto your laptop's display. Or tablet. Or phone. Or whatever you decided to watch on.
But isn’t it strange how, in a show with a project that’s being billed as BioWare’s next big blockbuster and Star Wars (freakin’) Battlefront 2, the most exciting game was a weird co-operative prison break title from the guy who made indie hit Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons? Well, no actually – this has happened before. Remember Yarny? We certainly do: Unravel may not have been the best game in the world, but it’s the only thing we remember from EA’s 2015 press conference. Bet it's the same for you, too.
Here’s the thing: a good original idea will always leapfrog everything else. Need for Speed: Payback looks glitzy, but its gameplay demo consisted of a car driving in a line to get to the next cut-scene. Sports games will never truly send anyone wild – even if Troopz is in the trailer, fam. Star Wars (freakin') Battlefront 2: it looks beautiful with all the right improvements – but it’s Star Wars (freakin') Battlefront 2. And ANTHEM – well, the jury’s still out on that.
A Way Out, though – wow! Even if we ignore the passion its creator showed on stage, it easily presented a unique and original idea. The concept’s easy to grasp: two players assume different characters in local split-screen, and work together to escape from a prison. Great! It looks a bit like the presentational technique often employed in Quantic Dream games – but actually utilised as a gameplay mechanic.
And it may yet end up being poop, who knows? But look at the reactions to that game compared to all else: hope, promise, and enthusiasm. EA’s got an impressive lineup that’s going to make it a lot of money, but it’s also safe and not especially exciting. A Way Out bucks that trend, and not necessarily because it’s got a lower budget or is being helmed by an award-winning director – no, it bucks that trend because it’s a good, original idea.
Do you agree with Sammy that A Way Out was the highlight of EA's press conference? Did anything else take your fancy? Are original ideas always the best ones? Stage a prison break in the comments section below.