Recently, Sound On Sight had the opportunity to talk with We Happy Few designer Guillaume Provost. Provost works for Compulsion Games whose previous work includes the 2013 title, Contrast, which was a launch title for the Playstation 4. Compulsion Games has recently unveiled We Happy Few, so in addition to talking with Provost, we got our hands-on the Alpha build of the new title.
Unfairly, initial impressions of We Happy Few will lead gamers to think that Compulsion is following in the path of the mega-hit Bioshock, but We Happy Few is a very different game. In fact, its a total deviation from their original title as well, now focusing on a first-person game that’s described as a rogue-like urban survival title. Compulsion actually drew more inspiration from Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, as opposed to any other sources.
From the very first moments in We Happy Few, players are put into a decidedly different world. Clues and narrative about the world are delivered through broadcasts that are on all the televisions. Provost said that all the footage is like old-time live action films and that all the it was recorded deliberately for the game. Players have to survive in this new world and make sure they take care of all their needs. In this build, players have to manage their hunger, thirst, and what kind of drugs they are taking. It really feels more like a first-person Don’t Starve, than any other type of game. Similar to that game, We Happy Few includes permadeath and they are hoping to make each journey through the world different with a procedural layout.
One of the things that was exciting about Contrast was that the title featured a female lead. When I asked Provost whether or not their new title would have the same feature, he couldn’t speak to it. He did mention that he would love to and that his art team, with female talent, would love that as well.
Although Contrast disappointed many when it originally hit the Playstation 4 two years ago, Compulsion Games is adamant about getting We Happy Few right. The amount of press and interest Contrast received was amazing for such a small studio and they couldn’t pass up the opportunity that the launch window provided. We Happy Few doesn’t have time issues to force their development and this looks like an exciting new twist on survival gameplay.