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We Happy Few Gets Big Early Access Update

We Happy Few [official site] is in Early Access at the moment. It’s the dystopian survival game set in a drug-addled English city in the sixties. The trailers and concept art makes it look like something in the vein of The Prisoner, but from what various RPS-ers have played it really doesn’t make good on that promise yet.

But, for those of you who did pick it up, this week the development team at Compulsion Games are deploying an update to the game which takes into account a bit of the Early Access feedback. There’s stuff like bringing down the difficulty of the survival element so you go a bit longer between naps, snacks and slurps and some waypoint/map alterations. There are also combat changes, looting tweaks and the all-important assurance that “Basic rubber duck is now throwable”.

I think I’ll wait until the bugs are fixed and it gets deployed into the main work-in-progress game so I can see how it’s looking. When I tried We Happy Few last year it felt like so many other survival games and I was waiting for the thing that made it click for me. That thing never came and, reading Alec’s far more recent experiences it sounds like it has still not quite figured itself out even though more things have been added and worked on:

“My overriding sense as I play is that this is a game I want to like, a game which feels as though it has been constructed out of my own pop-cultural interests to such an extent that it surely, surely will please me. I keep playing, waiting for the penny to drop. Waiting to see if there will come a time when every excursion to a new part of town or to find a key component to get over the bridge is not characterised by drip-feed maintenance of basic needs.”

I guess the thing that concerns me about We Happy Few is that it’s a game proposal which a lot of people are excited by – a dystopian sixties psychedelic sci-fi British thing – and the marketing gets me excited every time, but from what I’ve seen and played and spoken to colleagues about I just have no idea if the team can make *that* game. I think my experience with their previous game, Contrast, is also playing into that concern here – it looked so interesting in trailers and then it was this clunky, buggy thing that never really came together.

The update won’t change the default game yet as there are some bugs to be worked out, but if you did buy into Early Access you can see the updated version by switching to the beta environment on Steam and GOG. (For Steam you right click the game in your library then go Properties -> Betas tab -> select preview from the drop down list. For GOG, open the game card in GOG Galaxy, select Settings from the [MORE] dropdown the toggle the Beta Channels setting to on then change the DEFAULT to this new one.)

The full update listing with all the game changes is here. There’s a LOT there.

It’s Early Access so ALL OF THE CAVEATS ALL OF THE TIME and costs £22.99 / $29.99 / €27.99 on Steam and GOG

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Philippa Warr

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