Last year at E3 2017, Compulsion Games took the gaming world by surprise. Their E3 2017 gameplay trailer was easily one of the most unexpected, exciting things of the entire show. During this trailer, Compulsion revealed their new game called We Happy Few.
Since then, the game has been in Early Access on Steam and it has been on Xbox One’s Xbox Game Preview. Developers have learned a lot from the feedback they’ve received from gamers. This fascinating new action-adventure, horror game is setting up to be an excellent experience once it finally arrives.
We Happy Few will contain an interesting story that explains why exactly people are wearing masks. It will also go in-depth into why everyone is all drugged out on Joy. In an exclusive interview with We Write Things, Compulsion Games community developer Naila Hadjas spoke about some of the themes We Happy Few will explore in its narrative.
“The original ideas for the game were drugs and masks in a procedurally generated city. As we started to build the story around those elements, things started to fall into place. We decided that our citizens were taking drugs to suppress their feelings from a trauma in their past; living in blissful denial of a dark reality. The overindulgence of happy pills and having to put your best self up front to conform with the rest of society are two major themes that we explore,” Hadjas said.
Scarcity will be something we talk about shortly, but it is a major pillar of the title’s gameplay. We Happy Few isn’t just targeting drugs and masks for the themes it is covering. “Memory is also a big theme in the game, and in particular how we alter it to suit our need for self-justification.”
Getting back to needing things that just aren’t there, resource scarcity is a major component of gameplay. Those who have been playing We Happy Few on early access will surely know how it plays into the experience. Hadjas explained how scarcity will correlate with the part of Wellington Wells you are in.
“Resources in general are scarce everywhere – or at least, that’s how the Wellies see it! The premise of the game is that the society is falling apart; collapsing under its own forgetfulness. The different parts of the game operate differently as well – the Garden District has little food but clean water, the Village of Hamlyn has a bit more food but the water is laced with Joy. This is the kind of contrast you can see in Wellington Wells, and you’ll need to understand these differences in order to proceed through the game,” Hadjas said.
Now if you are a bit worried about scarcity getting in the way of your experience, don’t worry because Compulsion has you covered. “That being said, we have also made it so that you do not have to play with survival mechanics, if you don’t want to. This means food/water will do different things for the non-survival players,” Hadjas said.
Wellington Wells’ resources will differ in the various parts of the city you visit. However, it’s not just the resources that will differ as gamers will find out. The structure and architecture of the city is very much unique everywhere you go. With the city being procedurally generated, originality is all over.
Players who have been playing the game’s early access build may not have liked its combat. There’s a reason it is not some long, drawn-out part of the game. Combat, or getting into conflicts, should not be your focus in We Happy Few. Hadjas explained how combat fits into the context of gameplay.
“It’s more of a last resort – if you fail to conform or be stealthy, combat is your only option unless you choose to run away and hide. The player has the option to be the predator if they want to, but it will only get them so far in a society based on conformity,” Hadjas said.
This is refreshing to see a game like this not solely rely on combat. After all, if combat isn’t a focused feature, then it doesn’t need to be a long-drawn out deal. Besides, games like We Happy Few turn out to be extremely rewarding when you can successfully avoid combat.
Folks know about We Happy Few‘s involvement with the Xbox Game Preview program. The game is an exclusive for PC and Xbox One, though it’s unknown if it’s a timed-exclusivity. Xbox was clearly a worthy partner for Compulsion to team up with. Hadjas spoke about what has stood out in the studio’s mind when it comes to Microsoft.
“Microsoft really liked the project and were very supportive of our vision. They had also just launched their Game Preview program and wanted us on board. Since we wanted to release in Early Access it was perfect for us. With their support, and the support of our Game Preview players, we have already made a better game than we might have otherwise,” Hadjas said.
Microsoft’s E3 2017 press briefing will be held on Sunday, June 11. The event will showcase a number of upcoming games, and it’ll be interesting to see if We Happy Few is among them. Compulsion Games has big dreams for We Happy Few and Hadjas described the feelings they hope gamers experience while playing.
“The world we built is based around survival and conformity, so if we did our job right they should feel tense, paranoid and a have a sense of urgency to escape Wellington Wells,” Hadjas said. “But the world is also really charming and funny, so hopefully they’ll fall in love with that side of Wellington Wells too once we release the full story.”
We Happy Few does not have a release date quite yet. It is still available on Early Access and Xbox Game Preview. When the final version does launch, it is presumed to debut on Xbox One and PC. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on We Happy Few.