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Currently, My Partner and I Are Playing a Video Game in Which You and Your Spouse Are Separating.
My partner and I spent the better part of half an hour battling a vacuum before giving up and calling it a day. Because it flat-out refused to do its job on a Sunday morning, the vacuum generated a great deal of anxiety for the household. We weren’t disagreeing over who should clean what; rather, the vacuum represented an antagonist we had to vanquish. In It Takes Two, we were attempting to beat the game’s first boss.
Developed by Hazelight Studios in Sweden, distributed by industry giant Electronic Arts, written by Josef Fares and Soni Jorgensen, and directed by Fares, It Takes Two is a marital-themed computer game. The game was released in March 2021 for Xbox, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.
It’s easy to see how “a video game about marriage” could be the punchline of a lot of jokes. (What or who is the game’s ultimate evil guy? I mean, my wife, right? It Takes Two successfully sidesteps these plot devices, which is to its credit. Instead, it is a cooperative game where the two players must work together to triumph over fanciful foes and the gulf of feeling between them.
The actors play the characters of May and Cody, a couple whose marriage is on the verge of collapse. May and Cody undergo some sort of transformation after breaking the news of their upcoming divorce to their daughter, Rose, and end up as two of Rose’s dolls. May and Cody’s marriage is put to the test when they find themselves trapped in a Toy Story-inspired version of their home, which ranges from cute to terrifying. Fares likens the game to a romantic comedy, so you can probably anticipate how it ends.
The cooperative gameplay seen in It Takes Two is unusual in commercial video games, where the second player typically controls a copy of the main character or a minor NPC. While romance is a common theme in games like visual novels and dating simulators (a genre of game that simulates the process of wooing multiple characters), as well as popular board games like Fog of Love, the type of games that most people think of when they hear the term “video game” are typically high-budget action titles like shooters.
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