It Takes Two Proves That Local Co-op Games Aren't Dead
For many gamers, the joy of gaming is about the community and shared enjoyment of a title. Whether it is discussing the latest Call of Duty with your friends or battling it out with a team on League of Legends, it’s the experiences that sit at the foundations of gaming. With online gaming, friends can connect over long distances and continue to enjoy their shared adventures together. However, this has caused a decline in a once-popular method of play as couch co-op faded into the background.
Major releases rely on the online experience to connect players, but the interpersonal dynamic of co-op gaming has been vanishing for years. With online play, split-screen experiences have dwindled. However, the release of It Takes Two has sparked an old fan-favorite genre, and local co-op adventures are surging once again.
Let's go back to the year 1996. You are sitting on the couch, Nintendo 64 controller in hand, battling it out in the first release of Super Smash Bros. with your friends. Back then, the game only went up to four players, and it was a battle to see who could get into the next round. Fast forward to the early 2000s, and you and your friends battle it out on a split-screen Call of Duty map. Screen-cheating is a constant topic of contention, and tournaments between your friends were commonplace.
Ten years later, online gaming is at its prime. Voice chat replaces high-fives, and online gameplay replaces pizza night with your friends. New releases pushed deeper into online multiplayer, but the co-op audience dwindled over time. With the release of major titles like Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold war, it became even more evident to many fans that co-op gaming was on its way out.
Couch co-op versus online gameplay
While online gaming has streamlined connectivity, the physical connection found in couch co-op is lost. Friends can play together online for more extended periods of time, across time zones, but that interpersonal connection has shifted. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that a game developer is less likely to produce a dedicated couch co-op experience.
The lack of these games creates a void in the market, and in that void, It Takes Two found massive success. From a compelling story to interactive levels, players must work together through the game’s narrative adventure - further, the game's core design echoes the foundations of cooperative gaming. The game is not the first to reinforce co-op action, but it’s the first to hit mainstream success in several years.
What makes It Takes Two a unique game?
It Takes Two is an action-adventure platformer from Hazelight Studios that focuses on coop gameplay. The game tells the story of two parents going through a divorce as they reignite their love and work together towards common goals. To date, the game has won Game of the Year from The Game Awards along with Best Multiplayer Game and Best Family Game. Unlike other recent releases, the gameplay mechanics of It Takes Two rely on cooperation and it is near impossible to complete the game without working with your teammate.
The key difference between It Takes Two versus other cooperative games is the immersion found within the story. While most games focus on the mechanics of coop gameplay itself, this game pushes a story that is filled with emotion and energy. This approach makes the game accessible to gamers and non-gamers alike. This relatability to reality forms the core component that pushes this title above other cooperative adventures.
Future of co-op gaming
The mainstream success of It Takes Two creates a new world of opportunity for the game industry. Co-op gaming on a local level can grow, and fans use It Takes To to introduce new players to gaming. The real-life experiences, a mix of digital adventures, and the memories they create will shape the future of couch co-op experiences. With the gauntlet thrown, it is unknown precisely what the next steps will be as the gaming industry sees the return of a classic experience.