Unique: Josef Fares Discusses the Notorious Elephant Scene in It Takes Two


Spoiler Warning! This function brazenly discusses moments inside It Takes Two which are finest skilled first-hand. If you have not already, go play the sport, it is nice.

It Takes Two is a superb co-op sport. The newest effort from Hazelight Studios is a joyous journey packed to bursting with selection, endlessly bringing you new settings, eventualities, and gameplay. It is a rollercoaster experience with some really memorable moments all through its runtime. Nonetheless, there’s one scene specifically that stands out for many gamers. We have to discuss Cutie the elephant.

For those who’re studying this, we belief you recognize what we’re referring to. After being reworked into dolls by their daughter Rose’s tears, divorcing mother and father Cody and Might purpose that they have to make her cry as soon as once more to be able to reverse the spell. To do that, they resolve to kill Rose’s favorite toy: an elephant plushie named Cutie. After battling their means by means of a magic citadel, they discover the saccharine stuffed animal and proceed to tug her to her doom, kicking and screaming, her leg and ear yanked off within the course of. It is protracted, disturbing, and ridiculous. We needed to know extra.

After reaching out to Hazelight about this scene, we have been capable of converse to none aside from Josef Fares himself — the outspoken author and director. Within the beneath chat, he argues his case for the Cutie scene, in addition to responds to the sport’s reception and teases the studio’s subsequent challenge.

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Josef Fares: Alright, you need to discuss Cutie?

Push Sq.: Sure please!

Cutie, the stunning elephant. You are from England!

Yeah, that is proper.

Sure, so then you need to have an enormous understanding of darkish humour.

Yeah, completely!

Really it’s, in a way, impressed from British humour. Darkish humour may be very fashionable in England, clearly, so there’s undoubtedly a hyperlink there. However the entire thing — I imply possibly you need to ask the query first.

Certain. So the principle purpose I wished to speak to you is that this Cutie scene. From what I’ve seen on-line, there’s been fairly an enormous response to it, and I knew there can be. After I was taking part in the sport with my girlfriend, her response to the scene… Her mouth was agape as we dragged the elephant kicking and screaming. I knew this could get a response on-line, so I simply wished your view on this scene that is fairly tonally completely different from the remainder of the sport.

Yeah. In a way, it’s [tonally different], however in a way it is not, I might say. As a result of one thing we’re attempting to do at Hazelight is all the time ensure that no matter occurs within the story will likely be mirrored within the gameplay. So I preserve saying that. Clearly I am tremendous completely happy concerning the reactions, however one has to keep in mind that each mechanic itself is tied to the gameplay. So the entire thought is, you are in a tree, you meet these squirrels, you employ their weapons. And while you discover a fidget spinner, you employ that. Every thing you see, it occurs within the setting you are taking part in. Which is one other huge purpose; due to the story, that it’s a must to kill Cutie, you then really must play it. So in a way it is not very completely different in tone, it is one thing that occurs within the story, however you are really taking part in. Nonetheless, it is perhaps a special sort of scene, clearly!

We sort of knew that this scene was gonna be a bit harsh. I nonetheless at present actually love that scene, I believe it’s crucial for the characters. The entire thought is having [Rose’s] tremendous cute stuffed animal that it’s a must to kill, and the reason being this. The mother and father have develop into so egoistic and completely forgot about what’s necessary for them, that they’re able to go this far to truly do one thing like this.

I’ve seen some streamers after they’re taking part in it, they’re screaming so excessive and loud after they’re taking part in, so that they’re lacking all the small print in what the characters are saying. [The parents] are actually saying, “We’re gonna want remedy after this, that is so horrible”, so they’re conscious that they are really hurting this little stuffed cute elephant, however it’s nonetheless one thing they must do. They haven’t any alternative. They really imagine that, to make her cry, they must kill that elephant. Really, it is a good factor persons are reacting to this. I believe it is one thing that creates an influence.

You need to perceive, with out spoiling, scenes like this have been in Brothers and A Method Out. Not scenes which are violent, however scenes that upset individuals. As an example, the ending of A Method Out, I nonetheless at present get reactions of individuals actually upset, and say, “Why could not I select to not do it?” However that is the entire level! You have to do it. And it is the identical factor with this sport. On this scene with this stunning little cute elephant, that is one thing it’s a must to do. And also you see some gamers virtually hate the mother and father, like, “How might you do that?”

And in addition, the entire thought is that Cutie is fastened ultimately. Possibly it wasn’t that clear, however ultimately credit, you see she’s fastened, so she was taken care of.

I might nonetheless must say that, we knew there was gonna be a response, however not this type of response. However I really like that scene, and also you clearly see the people who get the darkish humour of that, they actually perceive it. However I believe it is an exquisite scene. When individuals get upset, in a way we have succeeded to make an influence of what we wished with the mother and father. You need to perceive, while you’re taking part in a sport, you may have emotions. Individuals combine up that, if it is a good feeling, then it is good. They do not settle for that, if it is a unhealthy feeling, that can also be [good] storytelling in gameplay.

It is attention-grabbing, as a result of, in A Method Out, we had a scene the place you torture a man and use a lot completely different gear, throw him across the room, no matter — no one reacted to that! And now it is a small little toy, and it is an enormous response! However I completely perceive that persons are reacting, and I can respect individuals’s opinion that they cannot take a look at it, or no matter, however I believe it was a vital scene for the story.

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After taking part in that half, I believed that it have to be a purposefully pivotal second, as a result of earlier than then, Cody and Might are nonetheless antagonistic and not likely getting alongside as much as this second with Cutie, after which after that…

Then it is begins altering, precisely. You need to perceive, that is one thing we talked about rather a lot. We even had a script model the place considered one of [the parents] was saying like, “Are we actually doing this, is that this too horrible?” and the opposite is like “Come on, we do not have a alternative”. However then it could create a factor the place one is the nice man and the opposite is the unhealthy man. It was higher that they make the choice collectively.

I believe it is much more darkish humoured, and exhibits how unhealthy the mother and father [have become], after they’re really bathing in [their daughter’s] tears. Who’s completely happy? They’re like “Sure, she’s crying!” Who’s completely happy when your child [is crying]? And I believe that has upset some individuals. However in a way, there is a goal with that, clearly. Such as you say, after that, issues begin to slowly change. And there’s additionally, possibly it is not clear for everyone, or possibly some did not get to the tip, however the realisation they get ultimately, that no matter we do, crucial factor is that we’re there for you, no matter occurs. They forgot crucial factor, which is their daughter.

Yeah. The scene undoubtedly caught out.

It caught out, however once more, it is a part of the story. You may argue that the chess mini sport caught out, or a mechanic caught out. I do know what you imply tone-wise, however nonetheless, that is what occurs within the story as a result of to make them go that far, to make their daughter cry, they must kill her favorite toy. Which is sort of sick, and it truly is darkish humour.

I bear in mind the primary time we put within the voice, as a result of that is when the magic occurred, after we put Cutie’s voice in. I used to be like “Oh my God!” I actually really feel it is unhealthy! I really feel unhealthy once I take a look at it. However on the identical time, wow! And the road when [Cody] says “We simply have to kill you a little bit!” I dunno, it is a particular scene.

Yeah, I undoubtedly get the humorous facet of it; I used to be laughing due to how ridiculous it’s, and my girlfriend was simply mortified.

I believe individuals get upset as a result of the characters aren’t doing it, you as a participant are doing it. If this could’ve occurred in a cutscene, you’d nonetheless really feel unhealthy, however it’s the actual fact you are pulling [the elephant], you are doing it.

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Is there a purpose the scene goes on for so long as it does? Is it simply to emphasize the purpose?

Sure as a result of… In order that they pull her and her leg comes off, after which her ear, after which she falls down. If this was simply pulling and throwing her off the shelf, it would not be the identical, simply pushing a toy down. And also you see when she lands, it is comfortable, she’s nonetheless a toy that is not alive, it is simply fantasy. When she lands, it is not a dwelling factor. It needed to break when it falls down, you may’t simply push it down and it breaks. And it’s a part of the darkish facet of the mother and father.

However sure, it’s a particular scene. I actually do perceive some persons are getting upset, however on the identical time, I might nonetheless argue it has an necessary function within the sport.

The sport’s out and the response has been very constructive general. What’s your feeling now it is on the market and persons are loving it?

I’ve a robust perception in what we do. From day one, I do know what we now have accomplished. My speech to the staff earlier than we launched it for the general public was like, look, no matter response we get, opinions, remember that you’ve got created one thing extraordinarily nice right here. That is essential. Now, I by no means doubted the sport is nice. Nonetheless, when the opinions got here out and folks began taking part in, then abruptly everyone’s accepting: oh, it is a terrific sport. It will get the stamp. Okay, this is a terrific sport. And that made me extraordinarily completely happy. So it is now okay to know how nice It Takes Two is.

To be trustworthy, I am not that shocked, as a result of I all the time have a robust perception in what we do. For those who ask me about our subsequent sport, I can let you know now, it will likely be even higher than It Takes Two. It is gonna be so loopy. That is how certain I’m, just like the idea, what’s gonna occur, and folks will likely be blown away.

However, with that mentioned, it doesn’t suggest… Typically individuals name me a genius, blah blah blah — I do not take it severely. For me, it is only a phrase. For me, I am pushed by the fervour for making video games. Each sport has its challenges. The subsequent sport’s gonna be nice. With that mentioned, I will likely be up a number of nights…

It is like, each sport takes a bit out of your soul. Not in a destructive means, however, there’s a lot in Brothers, A Method Out, and this sport, there’s a lot occurring. Testing, attempting various things, artwork — you set your coronary heart and soul into this. However I by no means query if we’re doing a superb or a foul sport. I nonetheless suppose Brothers, A Method Out, and this are nice video games, to be trustworthy. And clearly, that is the general public feeling as effectively.

What I am attempting to say is, if there’s an issue like there all the time is throughout manufacturing, you twist and switch and do all the things you may to repair it, however I by no means lose belief within the imaginative and prescient of the sport.

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Have you ever needed to give anybody $1,000?

Not but! Look, like I mentioned, clearly there’s somebody on the market who would not like the sport, it is not possible that everyone likes it, but when somebody genuinely would not prefer it, I instructed them, I mentioned I will give them $1,000 for certain. Even the people who haven’t been giving it the best opinions, even they’ve favored the sport.

I suppose your level with that assertion is that it is troublesome to get uninterested in the sport as a result of there’s a lot selection all through, it is all the time shifting on.

It is attention-grabbing, and that is one thing I am tremendous completely happy persons are reacting to. It is so good to see as a result of that is one thing I have been pushing for lots, like the way you tempo a sport and the number of gameplay, and the way necessary it’s in narrative video games. It is so good to see that persons are actually loving this. It is an enormous quantity of labor, and we now have to shine all the things as effectively. It is not simply, oh let’s make completely different mechanics. You may make mechanics fairly quick, however all the things has to really feel polished and good, fast and responsive. So it is not a simple job to have so many alternative mechanics.

Effectively one factor I used to be going to ask is, there’s a lot within the sport, it goes to some actually loopy locations. You could have the vacuum cleaner boss combat, which is one stage of loopy, and you then go contained in the tree and you’ve got the struggle between the squirrels and the wasps. Is there something that you just did not put in?

You recognize what, there are — I’ll really discuss this sooner or later, however I need to wait a bit bit. I would even present some stuff. However mechanic sensible, I’ll say we check out a number of stuff. For the subsequent sport we’re doing now — ah it is gonna be so cool — we’re attempting out actually cool stuff right here once more, and generally it’s a must to work to search out the mechanic that feels very nice. One thing it’s a must to bear in mind is like I mentioned, you may prototype a mechanic fairly quick; in Unreal you may sit there and prototype a mechanic in like every week or two. That is not an issue. But when It Takes Two was stuffed with mechanics and so they felt unhealthy, what is the level? Then the argument can be, certain there’s so many mechanics however it feels so unhealthy to play them. Each mechanic we select, we attempt to bear in mind, okay, can we take this to a stage the place it feels good? Clearly, polish takes time. That is additionally one thing I am very completely happy about, that persons are reacting to the polish stage of the sport. We have accomplished a terrific job there. I can not say sufficient about how proud I’m of the entire staff.

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I wished to additionally contact on one thing else I see individuals speaking about. Lots of people say that this sport has very accessible controls, and individuals who do not usually play video games are capable of take pleasure in It Takes Two. My girlfriend has struggled previously with motion video games however acquired on simply positive. Might you discuss that?

It’s extremely attention-grabbing as a result of I am listening to this rather a lot. To be trustworthy with you, we now have sort of an everyday observe digital camera, and you’ll change within the choices to have it sturdy or weak. However we now have it as default as a bit stronger than regular, so that’s just about the one factor that is a little more useful, however however, it’s a must to management the digital camera like another motion digital camera. I believe what persons are lacking, it is not accessibility — I imply I am shocked that so many are taking part in with somebody who’s not a gamer, and it is really working so effectively. I believe the principle purpose for that’s, in case you take a look at Brothers, A Method Out, and It Takes Two, and also you take a look at what number of tutorials, and what number of lengthy introductions, all the things feels so intuitive and good. If you begin taking part in it, there’s not a whole lot of tutorials or menus. And I believe that is what persons are referring to, as a result of while you play this in case you’re not a gamer, you instantly get it.

That is why I say like, there’s an inspiration from Nintendo there. Their playfulness, and [their games are] straightforward to get into. That is one thing I actually love, and also you see it in our video games. You’ll by no means see a menu of upgrades in a sport I am concerned in, by no means. You’ll by no means see collectibles, it can by no means occur. No menus, no upgrades, no levelling — all these items, while you reduce them away, I believe it makes a cleaner expertise for an informal gamer. However with that mentioned, I’ve to be very clear about this, I am actually not into the informal gaming on cell, as a result of I believe there’s a number of sh*t video games there that I do not like, in order that’s not what I imply. I imply, if I examine it to love, an iPhone. Tremendous complicated, however nonetheless very good to make use of. That is what I really like about some video games. Typically once I get too caught within the menu of video games, I do not prefer it. So you will by no means see a sport from Hazelight with menus and upgrades.

So I believe it is not the accessibility, like I play a cell sh*t sport with a number of microtransactions, that is not what I imply. I believe the closest factor is the design of what Nintendo is doing, I really like. Straightforward to get into, however in a way, there’s a number of complexity and depth. A whole lot of mechanics in It Takes Two may be accomplished as a complete sport, the mechanics are deep relying on what you do with them, however it feels very intuitive. For those who give [it to] somebody who doesn’t play [games] in any respect, they’re like, oh, I push this, and I push that.

We did not do something particular. I imply we talked about one participant [relying on] the opposite, however it could create so many limits for design, as a result of that is designed as co-op. That is one thing that lots of people are forgetting. They’re calling this one other co-op sport, however this is not one other co-op sport. That is co-op from the start, designed. Persons are saying, in a great way, that is one of the best co-op sport since Portal 2, finest co-op sport ever. It’s a co-op sport, however that is just about one of many solely co-op solely designed video games. We do not have a single participant marketing campaign, so from that perspective, it is much more distinctive than your common co-op sport. So what I am saying is, in case you carry the opposite participant, you may’t do it as a result of these video games are designed to be performed alone or with two. [In that case] you may carry a participant, however in It Takes Two you may’t. It is designed that generally you are in several areas.

The rest you need to discuss?

I am simply so proud that persons are feeling the fervour we put into the sport. You actually really feel that persons are feeling it. That is really the sport we have gotten [the biggest] response to in a constructive means, it is loopy. You may’t deny or cover while you see or hear somebody passionate discuss this. And that’s so cool to see I believe. Clearly we’re all tremendous proud and completely happy. It is all the time good to each get the good consideration that persons are loving and taking part in it, and the truth that we’re accomplished, and may really feel very pleased with it.

An enormous thanks to Josef for taking the time to speak to us, and to these at Hazelight Studios who made the interview doable. What did you make of the Cutie scene? What have been a few of your favorite moments in It Takes Two? Work collectively within the feedback part beneath.

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