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Video Game / A Way Out

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A Way Out is an action-adventure video game by Hazelight and published by Electronic Arts. It is directed and written by Josef Fares, who was responsible for Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. It was released on March 23, 2018.

The game is set in 1970s America, and revolves around Leo and Vincent, two convicts that wish to escape prison and must stay on the run from the authorities.

Similarly to Brothers, there are two characters to control at the same time... except this time, you have to play with another player that will play the other character, meaning that game cannot be played alone. You can either play with another person right next to you, or play with another person online.


Tropes in this game include:

  • The '70s: While the place the game is set is not specified (other than being inside America with a small resemblance to California), the time period is 70s, with the Vietnam War going on (a few areas in the game results in the player characters commenting on "The War"), everybody having '70s Hair, police with Porn Stache, and a conversation early in the game mentioning that Johnny Carson is hosting the Tonight Show. The year is finally confirmed in the ending where Leo dies: his gravestone marks his death as 1972.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: After several tense fight scenes and prison breaks, there is a short scene where Vincent and Leo bond as they catch fish. There's also two quiet scenes where the men meet their family and children.
  • Acoustic License: Conversations between Vincent and Leo in gameplay happen fluently regardless of how far they are, without either side having to raise their voice and despite neither being equipped with any visible radios. The audience always hears both sides clearly during their conversations.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Knowing that you have a family waiting for you, but you can't go to them because of the crimes you committed, and the only way to get back to your family is breaking out of prison and hence breaking more laws.
    • In a harrowing scene, a heavily pregnant Carol goes into labor while Vincent is away. When Vincent gets the news and Leo finds out, Leo immediately puts aside tracking down Harvey so he could help Vincent see his newborn child. Unfortunately, that's when Harvey's assassin comes in...
    • Being betrayed by the very person they love and trust the most. When Leo finds out that Vincent used him the entire time, his expression is a mix of heartbreak and fury before he decides to take Vincent hostage.
  • All Just a Dream: In the hospital section, whoever is playing as Leo can have him sit on the couch in front of the lobby room TV, where he falls asleep. He wakes up later and finds himself on the moon, but it's all in his head. The achievement for it even lampshades this ("Live the Dream").
  • Anticlimax: After an intense vehicle pursuit, Leo and Vincent manage to escape the police dragnet by taking a rowboat down a river.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Due to the multiplayer focus, if played online, only one of the players needs to own a copy of the game. Player 2 can download a free trial version which allows access to the entire game, as long as it's hosted by someone who owns a copy.
    • During certain high-tension setpieces, Leo and Vincent's character models will clip through each other so players won't be frustrated by colliding with one another and impeding their progress.
  • Appeal to Force: Leo's solution to most of his problems involves violence. Justified, as he grew up without any parental guidance or education, and ended up turning to crime.
  • Arc Words: "Trust me." They become very significant in the game's climax due to a certain reveal.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Happens thrice, which hammers in how much Leo and Vincent need each other in order to survive.
    • In the beginning of the game, one of Harvey's henchman was sent inside the prison, disguised as an inmate, in order to kill Leo. It's foiled by the lucky arrival of Vincent, who is new to the prison. After Vincent is pushed into the fight by some excitement-hungry inmates, he (reluctantly) saves Leo and helps him beat up the henchman and the cronies aiding him until prison guards break it up.
    • Later, the same henchman tries stabbing Leo in the back in the prison cafeteria, which Leo barely avoids (the player has to mash buttons to ensure this). Vincent intervenes again, which leads to a fight in the kitchens and the henchman arming both himself and another inmate with knives. Both Leo and Vincent resort to backing away and throwing things at their attackers until prison guards intervene, after which it gets worse...
    • After Jasmine betrays Leo and Vincent's location to Harvey, Harvey sends a hitman after the two. Leo and Vincent first try to get away, then start attacking him when the opportunity arises. They kill him when they wrap chains around his neck and choke him to death.
  • Badass Baritone: Vincent sounds like he gargles glass, while Leo has a lighter yet huskier voice. Both men are very good at what they do and perform impossible feats when working together.
  • Battle in the Rain: The final scene of the game takes place on a rooftop in the rain. Between Vincent and Leo, fighting and culminating with one killing the other.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: When he found out Vincent is a cop and has been deceiving him all this time, Leo repeatedly rants that he's "a dead man" for it. If the player lets him kill Vincent, Leo got his wish, but as shown in his ending, he looks regretful for it.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Leo grows one in his ending after he fatally shoots Vincent.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Harvey is dead, killed by the two people he screwed over. But Vincent and Leo's friendship crumbles when Leo learns that Vincent used him and wants to put him back in jail again, which later leads to a fight to the death on the rooftops. It also leads to one of two endings:
    • If Vincent kills Leo, he'll inform the now widowed Linda, and get a verbal thrashing from her for killing her husband. Out of guilt, he resigns from the police force, and dedicates himself to raising his infant daughter with Carol. The only ones who pay respects to Leo's grave are Linda and their son, Alex.
    • If Leo kills Vincent, he'll secretly give Vincent's letter to Carol (which Vincent wrote on Leo's suggestion) and then flee with his own wife and son out of state, so he can start over and hide from the police that will eventually come after him for killing one of their own. While this is happening, Carol attends Vincent's funeral with her infant daughter, and is completely inconsolable.
  • But Thou Must!: See above. No matter how hard you try, there is no third option for getting either ending. Either Vincent or Leo MUST die. There is NO way for both to live. You cannot make Leo surrender, nor can you make Vincent let Leo escape. One way or the other, the game forces both players into a fight to the death and one of you will lose.
  • Chase Scene: One scene in the game is a chase scene between Leo and Vincent after Ray, Harvey's associate, in Ray's construction site. The chase scene is uniquely choreographed so that at any point in the chase only one side has a direct view and a direct path to Ray, but both sides have to give chase since the chase switches between the side where Ray is visible (the side that was chasing will find themselves facing an obstacle that forces them to take a detour, while the other side's detour conveniently leads them to a path behind Ray where they can continue their chase). If either side doesn't run, the chase scene fails.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: An Enforced Trope, as you must play with a second person.
  • Death by Falling Over: Ray. Should the player choose to have Leo stew in his angernote , it will result in a cutscene where Leo furiously kicks Ray off from up high in the construction site while the latter's tied up. The screen whites out before Ray hits the ground, but we do hear a 'thud' sound Going this route will earn the achievement "Managed Anger".
  • Delinquent Hair: Leo has a small pompadour.
  • Developers' Foresight: Almost all situations in the game have two versions to account for whether Leo or Vincent interacts with it first.
  • Disappeared Dad: Either Leo or Vincent become this for their kids in the end, if you choose to kill off one of them. More tellingly, if Vincent dies, his daughter, Julie, will grow up never knowing her father.
  • Dramatic Irony: Leo doesn't know that Jasmine was the one who tipped Harvey about his location, resulting in a hitman getting sent after them.
  • Dueling Player Characters: The ending of the game pits Leo and Vincent (and by extension, the players controlling them) in a shootout against one another.
  • Et Tu, Brute?:
    • Leo experienced this in the past thanks to Harvey, who betrayed him and got him thrown in prison to save his own skin. If the player chooses to confront him as Leo, Leo will point his shotgun at Harvey and angrily demand why he betrayed him.
    • Later on, Leo discovers Vincent was not a fellow convict, but an undercover cop who was using him to get to Harvey. What makes the "betrayal" more profound is that like Harvey, Vincent also used Leo, albeit for different reasons. To return the favor, Leo takes Vincent hostage to escape the police.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Through the course of their adventures, Leo and Vincent develop from uneasy allies to friends who will do anything for each other. That is until the finale, which reveals that Vincent was just using Leo the whole time.
  • Foil: Leo and Vincent, to each other.
    • Vincent came from a stable background and was well on his way to a normal life, earning a degree, marrying his high school sweetheart, and becoming a banker, but he was lured into crime by promises of easy money. Leo was an orphan who, without proper guidance, turned to crime at an early age.
    • Leo was already serving 6 months in his 8-year sentence, and thus is familiar with the prison facility he lives in. Vincent is a new arrival who learns the ropes of the place from Leo in order to execute their escape.
    • Personality-wise, they are complete opposites - Vincent is calmer and more rational, and prefers to use tricks and subtlety to get the job done. Leo on the other hand, is confident and aggressive, and often uses violence to solve his problems.
    • Leo is a convict who wants to get out of prison, and is honest about his desire to get even with Harvey, the man who landed him there after a diamond heist went wrong, and to set things right with his wife and son. Vincent is an undercover cop who gets into prison using a fabricated criminal alias and backstory, lies to Leo to gain his trust, and suffers from a deteriorating marriage because of his job.
    • When the truth of Vincent's background gets out, Leo is (understandably) furious and refuses to listen to reason, to the point of wanting to murder Vincent for using him. Vincent tries resolving the situation peacefully by pleading with Leo and offering placating bargains such as a reduced prison sentence; it's only when things get truly dire that he is willing to turn the gun on Leo and shoot him.
    • In their respective endings where one of them survives while the other dies, Leo grows a beard which represents his regret for killing Vincent and moves out with his family for a fresh start, while Vincent shaves his beard but leaves the mustache when he regretted killing Leo and makes up with his wife for neglecting her.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Vincent makes a phone call to his wife at the beginning, it sounds like she's upset with him for being a criminal. She's upset that he might get hurt or worse while being undercover.
    • The arm wrestling minigame requires both players to mash a button as quick as possible in order to beat the other. Later in the game, both players will be having to smash the same button as quickly as possible in order to get a gun and shoot the other.
    • The game's theme song, "No Sugar in My Coffee", has the lyrics "Don't want no sugar in my coffee / It makes me mean, Lord, it makes me mean". It refers to how Vincent befriended Leo by lying to him and essentially used him to get Harvey, hence putting "sugar" in the "coffee. Learning the truth in the climax made Leo "mean" - he explodes, and proceeds to take out Vincent (if the player decides to shoot him) as well as several police officers.
    • Both Vincent and Leo are out for revenge on Harvey because It's Personal, as Harvey has screwed both of them over big time. If you choose to have Vincent confront Harvey after he's subdued however, Harvey seemingly doesn't know who Vincent is and is immediately silenced right as he asks. It's a clue that something's not quite right with Vincent's backstory.
    • One might think it's strange that Leo's backstory gets a full cutscene whereas Vincent's just gets an explanation. It's because Vincent's backstory is fabricated. You do get the cutscene for Vincent near the end of the game which flips the whole plot on its head.
    • Vincent's talents - hand-to-hand combat, car-jacking, shooting, randomly knowing a pilot - are pretty weird for a banker involved in white-collar crime. An undercover cop, however...
    • As much as Vincent wanted to be there for the birth of his daughter, he still refused to open up to Leo about it despite how much they bonded until a near-death experience changed his mind. It makes sense that an undercover cop wouldn't want to get any more personal than he needs to, especially when his wife's involved.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Leo is afraid of heights. Anytime he is near any heights or climbing anything, Leo's view will be shaking because of his vertigo.
    • Leo is hotblooded and a former criminal, Vincent is reserved and an undercover cop. No matter whose way you choose when given a choice of whose plan to follow, Leo will always cause more damage even when trying to keep it under control and Vincent will always keep his disruption to a minimum no matter how much chaos ensues.
  • Gameplay Roulette: The game switches between many different game types. Co-op puzzling, stealth sections, driving and shooting sections, a chase sequence, a boat sequence, third-person shooting, and minigame areas. Developer interviews remarks that he tried to keep things fresh and different between areas. A stealth section in the game is the only place where stealth is used, for instance.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Either Vincent or Leo, depending on who dies. In Leo's ending, Vincent dies smiling after Leo agrees to fulfill his dying request to give an apology letter to Vincent's wife. In Vincent's ending, Leo dies smiling after Vincent decides to stay by his side and hold his hand during his last moments to alleviate the pain from being shot in the stomach.
  • Graceful Loser: No matter who loses the duel between Vincent and Leo, neither side seems to hold it against the other. Vincent asks Leo to give his wife the apology letter as he's dying, while Leo just calmly and wordlessly accepts his fate and passes away quietly.
  • Guile Hero: Vincent prefers to use tricks or subtlety to get what he wants.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Vincent wears a leather jacket when he first enters the prison. After he and Leo break into an old couple's farmhouse to change clothes, he dons a brown leather flight jacket.
  • Heroic Ambidexterity: Both Leo and Vincent are ambidexterous, and switch between their left and right hands as dominant hands when doing different things or when interacting with different objects. This is partially out of pragmatism for animation recycling and also useful when the scene needs symmetry so their dominant hands need to be opposites.
  • Hidden Depths: Vincent discovers at some point that Leo can play a mean banjo, to his surprise.
    Vincent:: Nice! Didn't know you had it in ya!
    Leo: What can I say? I'm full of surprises. And mostly good ones.
    Vincent: Okay, now you're getting cocky.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Because of his lonely childhood, Leo finds himself trusting people way too easily, and it ends up being his tragic flaw. First Harvey betrays him during a diamond heist that would've put Linda and Alex out of poverty for good; then Jasmine, an arms dealer who owed Leo a favor, betrays his location to Harvey's assassin. Then Vincent, who gradually became Leo's best friend turned out to be using him and planned to put him back in jail once Harvey was dead. No wonder Leo blew up at the end of the game.
  • Hot-Blooded: Leo's profile in the character selection describes him as short-tempered. Playing as Leo, when shown by the trailers, presents more aggressive options. This plays into the ending; Once Leo finds out about Vincent's deceit in the climax, he explodes, and becomes set on killing him. This results in a rooftop battle that either results in Leo's death (if the player chooses to shoot him) or Leo actually killing Vincent and deeply regretting his actions afterwards (if the player decides to shoot Vincent).
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns:
    • The sideburned Leo in both trailers has been shown to display more aggressive actions than Vincent.
    • Harvey, who has similarly sized sideburns, has a Hair-Trigger Temper that makes him a Bad Boss to his subordinates. It's a wonder they don't end up leaving him.
  • In a Single Bound: Leo is seen attempting to do this both in the reveal trailer and the gameplay trailer. Later gameplay footage reveals that this can be done either by Vincent or Leo: It will be done by whoever arrives second at the cliffside.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: The boat section in the rapids ends with a cliffhanging waterfall escape.
  • In Medias Res: The story starts with Vincent and Leo in a plane, and the story is then told through flashback about their time in the prison.
  • Irony:
    • Vincent's (fabricated) backstory of being screwed over by Harvey after getting into crime for him was what happened to Leo in the past.
    • Despite hating Harvey (for killing his brother), Vincent essentially ends up doing the exact same thing that Harvey did to Leo. No wonder Leo felt so betrayed during The Reveal.
  • It's Personal:
    • Leo wants to escape prison because someone else got him thrown into it in the first place. Vincent is also connected with this man, Harvey, who killed Vincent's brother, and is a key reason why they teamed up.
    • Later, Leo makes it personal when he learns that Vincent essentially used him in the same manner as Harvey, desiring to murder him for his betrayal. However, when he actually does the deed (if the player chooses to shoot Vincent), Leo ends up deeply regretting it. In fact, Leo catches and disarms Emily during the whole event and tells her to leave because it's simply between him and Vincent, he doesn't want to kill her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Leo's in prison for grand theft and other criminal behavior and is described as the more aggressive of the duo, but he really does care for Linda and Alex and warms up to Vincent until the climax, where he explodes at Vincent for lying to him. Even then, his final actions in his ending are to promise Vincent to deliver a letter to his widow and his leaving the state is to make a fresh start and take better care of his family.
    • Vincent is an undercover cop using Leo to go after Harvey and will put him back in prison at the end of the game, and his backstory and reasons for coming to prison are entirely a lie to get Leo to work with him. But he does warm up to Leo and makes his amends with him, and his ending is him following on Leo's advice to spend more time with his family.
  • Knife Nut: Harvey's henchman in the beginning of the game tries stabbing Leo in the back with a knife during the prison cafeteria fight. When that fails thanks to Vincent's intervention, he and a fellow inmate arm themselves with kitchen knives, forcing Leo and Vincent to back away while throwing stuff at their attackers. Prison guards rush in to try break up the fight, but the henchman refuses to go down and even stabs one of the guards, which gets him beaten to death.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Harvey ends up shot up and killed by the people he screwed over. One of them had a brother whom Harvey shot years before.
    • Ray, during his chase scene, tries to make either Vincent or Leo fall a several stories-high drop. He ends up being kicked over the edge by Leo when the interrogation fails, should Leo's player fulfill certain conditions for it (See Death by Falling Over above)
    • Vincent lied to Leo about being a prison convict and used him to get to Harvey so he could avenge his dead brother, Gary. When Leo finds out at the worst possible moment, he is furious, and reacts by first taking Vincent hostage so he could escape, then stealing a gun from Emily so he could kill Vincent himself.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Happens in the climax though what happens depends on whether Vincent or Leo is shot.
    • If Vincent is shot, he requests that Leo give his apology letter to his wife, Carol. Despite the anger and hatred he had towards Vincent's previous actions, Leo still agrees to do it, allowing Vincent to die happy.
    • If Leo is shot, Vincent sees him suffering from the bullet wound in his stomach and, out of pity and respect towards their former friendship, decides to stay by Leo's side and hold his hand. Leo passes away with a smile on his face.
  • Lonely Funeral:
    • Justified in Leo's case. Leo was a criminal on the run from prison and had killed many officers during one of the pursuit scenes. Naturally only Linda and Alex visit his tomb.
    • Inverted for Vincent. As an officer of the law, Vincent's burial service was attended to by the entire Police force, including Emily, had a three-volley salute, and a larger headstone on top of that.
  • MacGuffin: An incredibly rare diamond known as the Black Orlov is the motivation factor for multiple characters, including the police and Harvey. Its background is entirely unknown and one can at most infer that it is valuable, but it serves no other purpose other than being a motivation factor. Both Vincent and Leo manage to retrieve it from Harvey's mansion during the siege in Mexico.
  • Mêlée à Trois: How Leo and Vincent first met; the first time, shortly after Vincent arrives at the prison, it was Leo vs. one of Harvey's goons with his two cronies vs. poor Vincent (who got pushed into the fight by inmates eager for action). The second time, Vincent and Leo end up participating in a prison cafeteria brawl after the same goon tries to kill Leo and later pulls a knife. It's after the second fight that Vincent and Leo's partnership starts, while recovering from their injuries in the prison hospital together.
  • Mini-Game: The world is populated with small mini-games Vincent and Leo can play, such as baseball, darts, horseshoes, and Connect Four, for starters.
  • Minigame Zone: The farm is an area with lots of minigames, as a down time between the action before and after. The trailer park and the hospital also have a lot of minigames, both to break up the pacing and also to serve as time killer for the non-active player since both areas are story-intensive and character-specific, meaning that one player is left out of the other character's story and can kill time by playing minigames.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Both Leo and Vincent suffer this if they kill the other.
    • If Vincent dies, Leo brings Carol Vincent's letter, but couldn't bring himself to tell her in person, so he rings her doorbell and leaves before she could spot him. He tries to take comfort in the fact that he can now be there for Linda and Alex, and moves the family away presumably out of state to start fresh, but it's clear that he deeply regrets his actions.
    • If Leo dies, Vincent goes to inform Linda what happened, which results in Linda attacking him and throwing him out of the trailer home. Vincent leaves, and his face afterwards says it all. It's implied that part of the reason he resigns from the force, other than wanting to be with his wife and infant daughter, was out of guilt over killing Leo.
  • Not So Different: Part of why Leo understands Vincent on some level is because they're both married men. When Vincent learns that Carol went into labor in his absence, Leo decides to help Vincent see his wife and newborn child. And after hearing how Vincent's marriage is deteriorating, Leo suggests writing an apology letter to set things straight, because that's what he did with Linda when they went through a similar problem.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Spoken verbatim by Leo, who volunteers to jump down a pitch-black hole first. Turns out it's a long way down.
    • During their escape in the woods, they find that cops were already swarming the area looking for them.
  • The Oner: One section of the game where Leo and Vincent escapes from a hospital eschews the normal side-by-side viewpoints and instead has the camera seamlessly switch between Leo and Vincent, giving off this effect as the camera moves through the space around them to catch up to the two, who are separated.
  • Optional Stealth: In Mexico, some of the battle scenes start with the enemies unaware of the players' presence, allowing for some stealth kills.
  • Parental Abandonment: Leo's profile mentions that he was raised in an orphanage. It's implied that the lack of proper guidance led him to crime at an early age.
  • Police Brutality: Prison variant. When Harvey's inside henchman tries attacking Leo and Vincent with kitchen knives, the prison guards rush in to try break it up, causing the henchman to go psycho and fatally stabs one of the guards. Leo catches sight of the other guards beating the man to death in retaliation before he and Vincent are both taken to the infirmary for their injuries.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Vincent not telling Leo that he and his brother were undercover cops leads to Leo freaking out and taking Vincent hostage to escape. It also leads to their climatic battle on the rooftops where one of them dies.
  • Porn Stache: The game's set in the 70s, so a number of police officers sport these. Vincent has one during the flashback that reveals he's a cop. He goes back to having one if he lives from his fight with Leo.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Leo's ending moreso than Vincent's. Vincent at least has the promise of getting back together with his wife and rekindling the relationship. Leo goes after Harvey, kills him for his backstabbing, and survives to the end. He almost immediately gets caught by the police again, his revenge-fueled rampage against Vincent for lying to him is unfulfilling and he just lost his best friend because of it, and he's a fugitive on the run fleeing to another state with immense guilt on his shoulders because of what he did.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Leo and Vincent's personalities are described in the game's character selection; Leo is confident and short-tempered, with a sense of humor, while Vincent is calm, rational, and disciplined.
  • Sadistic Choice: In the climax, it's the player who goes through this after Leo and Vincent engage in a brutal rooftop fight, only to see a gun and head for it. It's either Vincent or Leo, no third options available.
  • Scenery Porn: The setting the game takes place in is very detailed. A shining example would be the forest area after Leo and Vincent make their escape; if they sit on a rock bench in a secret place, the camera would pan out for a beautiful shot of the woods, coupled by the distant voices of two boys.
  • Scripted Battle: The final confrontation between Vincent and Leo is concluded by a button-mashing prompt as they both try to reach a nearby gun. Whoever wins here "wins" the game regardless of the preceding segments. Note that following this trope, the preceding segments do matter slightly — whoever has more health at the end has a slightly easier time button-mashing than the other player.
  • Shameful Strip: The prison warden makes Vincent and a couple of other prisoners do this. The second player, as Leo, has the option to watch this occur from afar.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The jail section makes many references to the The Shawshank Redemption.
      • A key item to the duo's escape is hidden in a book given to Leo by a prisoner pushing a trolley full of books.
      • There is an area where the prisoners are shown tarring the roof, and Leo can request the guard watching for some beer (only to get rejected), much like the events of the film.
      • The final escape happens in a storm, and one section involves the duo having to bash through a door and timing up the the bashing noise with lightning strikes, much like how Andy has to time the rock strikes to the sewage pipe with the lightning sounds.
      • If Leo examines the globe in the warden's office he'll comment that the Pacific Ocean sounds nice.
    • When Leo and Vincent are chased by Harvey's hitman and barricade themselves in a room, the hitman initially tries to bash through the door but then finds a fire axe nearby and starts hacking at the door.
    • During the chase at the hospital, there is a brief fight between Leo and police officers in a narrow hallway that is directly inspired by the famous one shot fight scene from Oldboy, with the camera directly mimicking the cinematography.
    • In the final fight, an unhinged Harvey introduces himself on the top of a grand staircase wearing a suit and brandishing a grenade launcher. This is very similar to Tony Montana and his "Little Friend" in Scarface (1983).
      • Harvey dies by falling over a railing and into a pool, exactly the same way Tony died.
    • A reference to Josef's earlier game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons: players can find a stone bench for both just after escaping from the police just after the prison break. Having both players sit on it zooms out the view giving a good look of the view around, a nod to the benches in Brothers which do the same thing, and distant shouts of the two brothers Speaking Simlish quotes in Brothers can be heard after sitting down. It's lampshaded by Leo and Vincent, who speak of hearing two boys who "sound like brothers".
    • A secret room in the old couples' house hides a chest and a wooden sword inside it. Opening it results in the player character doing an Item Get! animation before Lampshading it, a reference to The Legend of Zelda series.
    • In the "Leo Dies" ending, Vincent holds Leo's hand after mortally wounding him, mirroring the final scene of Heat.
    • In the farm section, Leo and/or Vincent could go inside an old couple's house and choose to either play the banjo or piano, activating a Guitar Hero-esque minigame. Doing it together will result in a cutscene where they play a country song beautifully.
    • A possible shout out to the "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" photo in the construction site chase scene just before Leo and Vincent find Ray.
  • Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer: At several points, the two protagonists can take a break from their quest for revenge to engage in simple minigames like horseshoe-throwing, baseball, darts, or Connect Four. It's not unusual for the players to get engrossed in these minigames and momentarily forget the main plot.
  • Sniping Mission: One section of Mexico has one player manning a sniper rifle to cover the other player moving through an area as enemies attack the other player.
  • Split Screen: A central gameplay mechanic. The game is co-op only and for the vast majority of the time shows the view of both players side-by-side, simultaneously. The split screen is manipulated further in special sequences for other effects, such as expanding to highlight the importance of the events on one side, creating a third screen to show some other important things, or moving the screen to top and bottom split screen for a traditional third person shooter co-op layout.
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: If the player chooses to shoot Leo, Vincent decides to stay by Leo's side during his last moments out of respect towards the bond they once shared, holding Leo's hand until he dies.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: After escaping from the jail, Leo and Vincent are hunted down by the police. Because they are unarmed, they need to use stealth and move through a forest, evading or taking out the cops along the way.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Vincent and Leo barely know each other, and aren't even that fond of each other, but they must work together. Eventually, this gradually becomes subverted as they start connecting on a personal level.
  • That One Case: In his ending, Vincent completed his mission successfully, but his guilt over being unable to be there for his wife and newborn daughter due to his job and his guilt over killing Leo lead him to resign.
  • That Poor Cat: In the character trailer, Josef Fares himself shows off two copies of ''A Way Out while explaining you have to play with a friend since it's a co-op game... before he says "F- that" and tosses the first one aside, after which a crashing sound and a cat screech can be heard. Then he reveals that only one copy is required to play.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Harvey's inside henchman in the prison section had the bright idea to stab a guard with a kitchen knife when they break out his fight with Leo. He isn't seen afterward and Harvey is informed he got beat up to death by the guards for it.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: Vincent is an undercover police working with Leo to get to Harvey.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The game is advertised as a co-op experience and most of the game is indeed co-op, but the final levels involve two players fighting each other.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: It is clear that killing Vincent for deceiving him all this time did not bring Leo any satisfaction at all.
    • Played with, as well. Vincent's mission to take down Harvey and take back the Black Orlov to avenge his brother was a success. It's not the case or the vengeance itself that goes wrong, but the fallout with Leo that makes the whole thing feel empty and causes Vincent to resign in his ending.
  • We Used to Be Friends: All of the bonding and trust Vincent and Leo displayed after they escaped from prison? Everything crumbles when Leo finds out, while they're both surrounded by police in the climax, that Vincent was actually an undercover cop who lied to him, used him, then turned the gun on him to make his arrest. This leads to Leo using Vincent as a hostage to escape, stealing a gun from Emily so he could kill Vincent, then fleeing to the rooftops where he and Vincent proceed to fight to the death. It's deconstructed in the end - despite the conflict and emotions involved, once the gun is turned and shot, they still respect each other enough to comfort each other in their dying moments (though it depends on whether the player chooses to shoot Vincent or Leo), and they proceed to carry the guilt of killing the person who was once their best friend for the rest of their lives.
  • You Killed My Father: Vincent hates Harvey because Harvey killed Vincent's brother. What Vincent neglects to tell Leo is that both Vincent and his brother were police.


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