PAX EAST 2015 | Very Happy With We Happy Few
How do you describe a game that has not quite defined it’s own genre yet? Intriguing is a good place to start.
I kicked off my PAX East 2015 experience with Sam Abbott, the COO of Compulsion Games to chat about the newly announced game We Happy Few. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you really should. Why, I’ve even included it below for easy viewing pleasure.
We Happy Few is a twisted game; dark, yet challenging at the same time. At it’s core, the game is a first-person survival strategy/puzzle game. I’ll give you a second to digest that. In tit [he game] you are the odd man out – a “Downer” in a sea of people drugged out of their minds on “Joy” – trying to pass as just another face in the crowd in order to survive.
In We Happy Few, standing or acting out of the norm will draw the attention of the people around you…and in a bad way. You see, Downers threaten the joyous balance of the town of Wellington Welles [where the game takes place], and are dealt with immediately by the townsfolk.
Nothing can endanger Joy. Nothing.
This is where the strategy and puzzle solving comes in. You have to watch the behaviors of the people around you to learn what you can and can not do in order to keep your identity as “Downer” under wraps. While in this observation mode, you still have to craft items. Some you will craft for health (like bandages), others for attacking or scavenging (like weapons and lock picks). To find these items you will have to explore the homes of various “Joys’” as well as shops you encounter in the town – always with the goal of not raising suspicion and dying – but often dying in your pursuit of materials and items.
You see, in Wellington Welles, everything is out to get you…everything.
Get caught crouching at any time by someone – you will die.
Break into a house and set off too many booby traps – you will die.
Raise your suspicion level with 3 or more people – you will die.
Eat too much food in the game – you will die.
Take too much Joy yourself – you will die.
Where food and the items you craft in other survival games are among the few items in the game the player knows they can trust, in We Happy Few, your inventory can hurt you if you don’t figure out how to use it the right way. All food in the game contains the drug Joy. On your HUD you can see how high your Joy level is, and how close you are to overdosing and dying.
Remember how I said that if you break into a house and set off too many booby traps – you will die? The key part of that sentence was the booby traps. Each home and shop that appears in the game is filled with booby traps, and they harm you in different ways. Some just damage your health (like smoke/poison bombs – usually right behind closed doors) others harm you and alert the neighborhood that a Downer is in their midst.
Let me tell you, there is nothing more creepy than a flock of forcibly smiling people rushing towards you with weapons trying to kill you from out of nowhere while cheerful, happy music plays in the background.
If you are at PAX East this weekend, be sure to check out the game, and if you aren’t, hit up the Compulsion Games website to learn more about it. The team at Compulsion is planning a Kickstarter campaign for the game, and bringing the game to Steam and consoles at some point.
I for one, can’t wait.