Compulsion Games will bring the nightmare of a world censored of free thought to light in We Happy Few when it launches worldwide on August 10, 2018 for PS4, Xbox, and PC platforms. Compulsion Games has previously released Contrast, which we reviewed back in 2013 mostly praising the atmosphere and narrative focus of the puzzle / platformer. Gearbox will publish the originally crowd-funded action / adventure survival title which pairs the desperation of rebelling against a powerful dystopian society with a narrative exploring the right to have individual feelings as a driving force.
Set in a retro inspired 1960’s Great Britain (with a dash of futurism on top), in We Happy Few, citizens of Wellington Wells are required to consume a substance called Joy which suppresses negative feelings and critical thinking in lieu of ignorant bliss. Newspaper articles are screened before print by archivists who must ensure that nothing negative makes it to press. When one of the archivists begins to think with an open mind after a day of screening articles without Joy in his system, that’s when this so-called perfect society begins to feel threatened and things take a turn for the nasty.
In the newly released “ABCs of Happiness” trailer we are shown a rehabilitation center for citizens who find themselves gloomy or otherwise unfit for society. When Joy is functioning as intended, citizens are completely unaware of bad things. They see butterflies come out of their mouth instead of puke, they are oblivious to disturbing scenes around them. People who are sent to rehab are called ‘downers’ are no longer experiencing the benefits of Joy or have stopped taking it. They are pose quite a danger, since their negative feelings have the ability of spreading among the population. And we wouldn’t want that now would we? Fear not, as new experiments on the mind as well as a more permanent solution are being worked on by top men…
Chilling quotes like “What kind of lunatic wants to remember the past?” and “It amazes me that ‘downers’ would rather run off and starve to death in the garden district when they could simply take their joy like decent citizens and fit in, and be happy,” paint the picture of intolerance and hint at something sinister going on under the surface in Wellington Wells.
The archivist mentioned earlier is featured in the new trailer. Arthur Hastings is forced into a life of violence and endurance as he attempts to enact change on Wellington. A number of gameplay elements were also highlighted, including the following.
- Gather resources to craft brilliant weaponry.
- It’s not a crime… if no one sees you do it! (Lockpicking, Stealth)
- Technology and you: frightful friend or cruel mistress?
- An apple a day keeps the downers away! (Beware drugged food)
- Become a better you. (Level up skill trees)
- Lend a helping hand! (Rewarding side quests for citizens)
In a fact sheet sent to us accompanying the new trailer we have also learned even more about We Happy Few and its gameplay / cast of characters.
Perceive the world the way you want – players can actually take the drug Joy and change their experience in a way that could be brand new and innovative to video games. Their own actions and conversations as well as other aspects of the game will be warped for players who decide to take Joy, allowing the shoe to be on the other foot in terms of understanding what citizens are going through with their Joy addictions.
Five playable characters – Players will take control of Arthur, Sallie, and Ollie across the game’s chronological single player story campaign as well as two other playable characters yet to be revealed. Sally is the rogue scientist spotted in today’s trailer while Ollie is an old army lad that may be slowly losing his mind in the strange wonderland of Wellington Wells.