Go Cooperate With Yourself – Brothers: Tale Of Two Sons

By Nathan Grayson on March 9th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

Auditions for a third brother were eventually called off after the pair realized the talent pool wasn't particularly deep.

Starbreeze debuted a fairly promising-looking trailer for its bro-op puzzle adventure Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons not too terribly long ago, but it wasn’t tremendously illuminating in regards to how the game will actually, you know, play. Now, however, we finally have a (multi-part) answer: a) as a fascinating little hybrid of single-player and co-op, and b) probably better with a gamepad. While the latter’s got me feeling less-than-brotherly toward Starbreeze (so much so, in fact, that I’ll make fun of them for having a name that sounds like a fabric softener. Hah! Take that), I’m still quite intrigued by the possibilities here. Have your own brother help you past the break to see it in action. Unless you don’t have a brother. Then I guess you should just give up.

So basically, you control one brother with one half of the controller, and the other with, er, the other. I imagine they’ll just be mapped to different sides of the keyboard on PC (arrow keys plus WASD, etc), but I don’t know for sure. To Starbreeze’s super secret windmill-and-fabric-softener-powered space lair! Aka, its website’s contact form.

But yes, the older brother seems stoic and reasonable, while the younger brother’s central power appears to be sheer, unquenchable hatred for the elderly. Or, you know, being mischievous and therefore prone to grubby fingered domestic terrorism.

I don’t really like children.

Anyway, the bit that sounds like it’ll either make or break Brothers is its context-sensitive approach to the disparate duo’s abilities. Their respective actions are mapped to a single button apiece, so it’s simply a matter of figuring out which brother is best for the task at hand. On one hand, that could free up Starbreeze to go wild with environment and puzzle design, but on the other, it could also basically put those brain-ticklers on auto-pilot. It’s a total toss-up at the moment, though the challenges in the trailer didn’t seem to be particularly interested in reducing synapses to sizzling piles of ash.

But then, examples are often kept simple for a reason, so I’m definitely interested in seeing more. Fortunately, I shouldn’t have to wait long, as Brothers is currently penciled in for a spring 2013 release.

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38 Comments »

  1. dgz says:

    I’ve been an FPS and Starcraft guy for about two decades now. I hate everything RPG with a passion, and never really enjoyed adventure, except some very brief moments with Monkey Island, Neighbours from Hell and such.

    I also never liked any Starbreeze game as they suck at FPS. They are very creative and smart people, just suck at making shooters that feel right to me – nice shooting and movement. I mean, they don’t do them the way id Software does.

    That said, this game looks amazing. Gonna get it for my gf.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Indeed, I’ve enjoyed Rage very much. This game looks intriguing but I don’t like how in-your-face conceptual it is.

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      • Arkh says:

        I think you are the first person that I ever heard of that enjoyed Rage. I, for one, didn’t like. The ending in particular made me RAGE a lot.

        • dgz says:

          I loved RAGE and know at least a couple of others that enjoyed it very much.

          We are like dinosaurs, these days kids enjoy interactive movies instead… sadly, even on this site. It’s not a console thing, apparently, just kids nowadays.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            I think you’ve got a bit of a false dichotomy there TBH. Its not that people either like RAGE or they like linear corridor shooters, I have found it to be more that people who appreciate open world games like them to be filled with compelling gameplay and characters, and found RAGE somewhat empty and soulless. The shotgun was cool though, and the wingstick. Some of the levels looked extremely good.

          • dgz says:

            Huh? But RAGE is a corridor shooter, not as linear as I would like it to be, but still. I guess it’s id’s fault that most people expected something completely different, even though it’s an id game…

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            The innards of the actual set-pieces were linear, yes. I think its also a fair comment to say that RAGE wasn’t overly peppered with cutscenes and control-stealing action sequences, which is a common complaint.

            However, I remember the game was marketed as having an explorable, wide open world a la Fallout 3, and in this it certainly failed. I would not agree that this was accidental at all, because RAGE does have open world elements – just ones that are very limited and which were oversold. So many of the pre-release videos seemed to show distant explorable ruins that turned out to be pretty backdrops.

            Anyways, glad you enjoyed it. The world would be dull if everyone’s tastes were homogenous after all (*looks warily at the hivemind Anger Throb-o-meter*) :)

          • dgz says:

            It was marketed as “open but directed”. Check out all written and youtube interviews. They repeatedly said it’s kind of like Fallout/Mad max in terms of *setting*. Word of mouth and most “game journalists” are not the most reliable sources of information. You know it’s true.

            I agree, though. Their fault for not making it clear enough. Most people seem to trust everything but their own eyes. Today’s market isn’t really aware of what to expect from id. Then again, the market was surprised by A:CM… Need I say more?

          • Ultra Superior says:

            And while I get all the criticisms about linearity and lacking worldopenness (and the ending) that still does not change the fact, that it is a brilliant shooter with a great weapon feel, beautiful art, bullet-to-ragdoll impact, juicy and well-dosed combat, good AI – why do people always focus on the element of marketing disappointment, created mostly by their own false expectations – instead of appreciating the hard work and ID’s love manifested in the visceral combat, fast paced action and really great art direction.

            People complain like this about Rage and also DX:HR – for different reasons, obviously, but always disregarding the fact that these games are at the very top of their genres and they basically have no competition whatsoever. (which is sad)

            I’d like other developers to be encouraged by these games, follow in their direction and hopefully surpass them, but why would anyone bother, when the reaction is so… focused on the petty negatives, ignoring the overwhelming achievements and high production value.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            I suppose it depends if you think the combat alone carries the game. For me, I loved the part where you have to fight through the arena (The TV channel thing), but TBH I was done with the combat after that. Its clear that the gunplay made you feel something deeper that I did not. Killing stuff was cool for a while, but felt empty and pointless against a backdrop that did not inspire or intrigue. There was little else to carry it.

            I think claiming it is at the top of its genre is a statement too far. Its not an opinion reflected at all widely. It was an average shooter with far too many “petty negatives” to redeem it.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Well, which is at the top then?

            Bulletstorm? I for one, dislike it very much, so I can’t place it at the top. What remains?

          • dgz says:

            SuperNashwanPower, it most definitely is the top current game in its genre. All current competitors are nothing more than glorified B movies, instead of games. Everything there’s to them you can achieve with a joypad. That’s important because we’re talking FPS here.

            RAGE has fairly solid shoot and feel, plus classic id movement most people are unaware of and can’t utilize. Even though Tim Willits (RAGE is his baby) did make it very playable with a joypad and insisted this is the right way for us to enjoy it, there are things you can not do without mouse and keyboard.

      • DonDrapersAcidTrip says:

        Completely forgot Rage was a game that even existed

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      I refute your claim. Starbreeze made the excellent Chronicles of Riddick, which was a good FPSSS (First Person Shooter Stealth Stabbin game)

    • Jason Moyer says:

      There were two shooters released in 2011 that everyone hates yet I thought they were both great, and the first non-stealth/rpg shooters I’d played in a long time and found enjoyable.

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  2. dsch says:

    I’d find it really confusing to control, at least on keyboard.

  3. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Sounds like my spacker-hands’ worst nightmare!

    Oh, congrats on being on the BBC News headlines last night Mr Grayson!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21712910

  4. Lanfranc says:

    I have trouble enough controlling one character on screen, so I’m pretty sure trying to control two independent characters at once would only lead to bitter tears of frustration and deep embarrassment. Still, looks nice.

  5. Njordsk says:

    I like the concept and the art direction, might give it a go.

    Pad required I’d say though.

  6. derella says:

    The game looks gorgeous! Not sure about the controls though.

  7. Acorino says:

    Could be a good one, but so far it’s hard to tell. Could also be dull and tedious instead. Anyway, it already looks pleasing to my eyes, so that’s good. And I like that there’s not a huge emphasis on violence.

  8. Cunning Linguist says:

    The negativity towards gamepads is really weird. I’ll get my coat.

    • Caiman says:

      Seriously. There have been gamepads for the PC for over 20 years. Hating them because they originated on consoles is like hating smartphones with keyboards because they keyboard originated as typewriters. Gamepads are clearly a superior input mechanism for certain types of games, just as mouse and keyboard is superior for other types of games. Design the game around the controller(s), don’t try and shoehorn a controller type into the game. Be thankful your PC has much greater controller variety than any console.

      • The Random One says:

        This comment thread is pretty saintly, compared to the ones I’ve seen in which gamepads have been unironically compared to cancer and the sanitation processes one undertakes after touching them are explained.

    • aliksy says:

      Hatred of gamepads comes (for me) from hatred of shitty, lazy ports. And then being told “it’s better with a gamepad.” Fuck you, skyrim’s interface is shit with anything. I have gamepads (2, actually), and I use them when playing things I think gamepads are good for. Like platformers and old final-fantasy games. Anyone who tells me to play a first person game with a gamepad, I will try to kill with my mind.

  9. DonDrapersAcidTrip says:

    So is this game actually co-op or not? I don’t define co-op as using both of my hands.

    • Jake says:

      It’s co-op if you have multiple personality disorder.

      And yet it’s still not related to A Tale of Two Sisters.

  10. Acegikmo says:

    Looks very promising! I will definitely check this out when it’s released, lovely to see more creative output from larger studios, I hope others will follow!

  11. Syros says:

    Looks great and immersive

  12. Redkid says:

    This game is designed and directed by a movie director, and he says that you will never see the same game mechanic twice in the game. This, if nothing else, is an interesting experiment.

    • Bork Titflopsen says:

      If anything, it’s more interesting than game developers designing and directing their games like they are movies, using the same mechanic over and over again.

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  14. honuk says:

    Why would you be “mad’ that this game works better on a controller? Are you “mad” that Starcraft works better on a keyboard and mouse? You take a concept and you roll with the control scheme that best accommodates it. To be “angry” about this is juvenile

  15. Stitched says:

    Sounds like a game built around a gimmick – controlling two characters with one controller. The skepticism in the write-up confirms my suspicion.

  16. sgt. grumbles says:

    Video Dude’s fingernail is way too long for a guy that isn’t either a coke fiend or a bluegrass guitarist. Creeps me out.

  17. innokenti says:

    Somehow reminds me very much of Gobliiins. Or, more technically Gobliins 2.