— This is so unreal. I’m shaking, this is a big big moment for me! said Josef Fares, owner and creative director at game developer Hazelight Studios after having been awarded the prize on Friday.
Hate it or love it, but the EA-backed game developer is most certainly whipping some fresh air to the gaming industry. With the equally charismatic and controversial Josef Fares leading the way, Hazelight is putting its mark on the gaming industry at roaring speed — having now been awarded game of the year at The Game Awards with It Takes Two, its third-ever game since its launch in 2014.
Just like Hazelight’s two previous games Brothers and A Way Out, It Takes Two can only be played in co-op multiplayer either locally via split-screen or online with another player. The complete disregard of single-player options naturally takes the game back to many gamers’ first encounters with video games: playing with friends or family in front of a shared screen with the sole intent of having fun.
— It Takes Two is like a box of donuts in your office breakroom: it arrives fresh, is gleefully devoured, and absolutely nothing included in it stays long enough to grow stale, was the words chosen by Tristan Ogilvie at IGN, to describe the game.
The game has received an almost complete consensus of praise from critics and gamers since its launch this spring, but that did not prevent gamers and journalists from showing disbelief and dislike on social media. The nominated AAA games (equivalent to ”blockbusters” for movies) with huge budgets and major publishers behind them like Metroid Dread, Ratchet & Clank, and Resident Evil will naturally have larger fanbases and expectations — many fans have stayed true to these games for decades.
And the critique is valid in the sense that many people haven’t had a chance to play it. In a way, It Takes Two is somewhat excluding to gamers without someone to play with.