It Takes Two sold very well, but the journey to get there was not easy for Josef Fares.
Jalla! Jalla! (2000), Kopps (2003), Zozo (2005), Leo (2007), and Balls (2010) – these were Fares’ films, where he was director and several times writer, too. He then turned away from the film industry to pursue a career in game development. His first game was Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, released in 2013. But it was nearly five years before we saw his next game, and that was no coincidence!
Born in Lebanon, Fares fled to Sweden at the age of ten and was recently interviewed by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. He said, “We started as a tiny team that I brought from the development of “Brothers”. We were maybe ten people at the beginning, but by the end, we were like 35, and, of course, the game’s ambition grew a hell of a lot.
In the beginning, it was supposed to be a simple game, but then it became increasingly ambitious. That made the budget not enough. It just didn’t add up. When we were in the middle of the project, I realized we were five million behind. I panicked a bit, but I didn’t say anything to the team. I didn’t have a salary for people for months to come. I think many people today don’t know about it.” Five million, in this case, possibly means Swedish krona, so it should be roughly 470 thousand dollars. He turned back to making films to earn extra money: he paid off his debts by making commercials.
It’s almost a year and a half since the release of It Takes Two, Hazelight Studios’ next game after A Way Out. The studio was delighted to announce on Friday that it had sold seven million copies, so Fares can now sit back and enjoy the ride. Fares has had a refreshing impact on the games industry: by his admission, video games are art, and there’s little argument about that!