We Happy Few to offer early access refunds after another delay

As development of swingin’ 60s survival game We Happy Few takes even longer than anticipated, and with no more updates due until the game fully launches, developers Compulsion Games have announced plans to temporarily pull the game from sale and offer refunds to everyone. Complusion are not abandoning development, to be clear, but they are delaying the full launch again – until summer 2018. That’ll be about a year after its last update, so they worry that people buying it won’t be satisfied with that as an early access experience. So they’re taking it off sale until it’s done, and offering refunds to those who want ’em.

We Happy Few, to refresh your memory, is the sneak-o-survival game set in a 60s English city which seems delightful if you’re taking your mandated regular dose of Joy but a dystopian hole if you’re not. It’s an interesting Prisoner-ish setting but one that hasn’t really shone in early access. It was partially crowdfunded through Kickstarter, then aiming for a June 2016 launch. When it hit early access in July 2016 Alec liked the setting but found the survival dull. Though Adam found it more promising after a big update a few months later.

The final update was in August 2017 and no more are planned until it leaves early access. That’s a long wait for a game that’s a little slim – especially as it currently costs a whopping £38.24. That’s one reason for the pull-o-refunds, Compulsion explained today.

“We have also received feedback that some Steam players felt the new pre-purchase asking price didn’t mesh well with the game being categorized as Early Access. Given all the content we have yet to reveal to the public, we can see their point. That being said, we’ve done a huge amount of work and the scope of the game is substantially increasing over what’s there right now, which is a very unusual situation for Early Access games, especially as we have a retail release on the way. What you guys see right now is definitely not what we see internally.

“So, we find ourselves caught between Early Access (where it’s important to have a price that reflects the current game) and the eventual release of the full game with increased scope (which we believe reflects a traditional retail game). We had anticipated that Steam players would be okay with pre-purchase still granting early access, but since we won’t be offering any additional early access updates beyond August’s “Life in Technicolour”, we think having this labeled Early Access and charging the price of a larger game caused more confusion than we had hoped.”

At the end of January, they’ll disable buying the game until it’s closer to launch. If you want in now, get in right now. Conversely, if you want out, Compulsion say they’re enabling refunds for all owners, regardless of how much they’ve played it.

This is a nasty bump in the road for the game, and a worrying one, but Compulsion say work still continues. They’re still posting dev blog updates and you can meet the second playable character, Sally, at the end of today’s video announcing the delay:


  1. Premium User Badge

    Nauallis says:

    Sucks to hear about the delay, but really can’t fault their honesty, fairness, and willingness to refund. Hopefully it ends up a fun game.

  2. SaintAn says:

    Weird that they can’t get anything done on time. The game is severely overpriced and never goes on sale to a reasonable price so you’d think with that genius business model they’d be able to afford capable developers.

    • Asurmen says:

      Because delays never ever happen to capable devs, right?

    • Ooops says:

      Many early-access developers don’t want to discount their games before some time after full release, so as not to alienate early backers. I think it’s a fair policy.

      • rochrist says:

        Not when they’re charging $60.00 for an early access game.

    • anHorse says:

      Early Access costs the same as it did on the kickstarter.

      Given that they had all the funding for the game then I think this is a fair model

      • Baines says:

        That hasn’t been true ever since they signed a deal with Gearbox.

        With the Kickstarter, the first 1000 backers got to pay a “lower than retail” $25 to get the game. After that, you got the game at the “retail price” $30 tier.

        When the game went into Early Access, it was $30, matching the “regular price” Kickstarter tier. For this period, I do not believe the game went on sale?

        When they signed a deal with Gearbox, the retail price was doubled to $60, and the Early Access price was raised to a “discounted” $51. A separate $20 Season Pass, covering three planned DLC releases, was also announced.

    • ohminus says:

      Are you sure you’ve taken your Joy? You sound like a Downer…

  3. Rindan says:

    Well, that isn’t the worst way to deal with it. Early Access is already a pretty “buyer beware” market to begin with. I honestly can’t imagine what more else honest developers could do besides closing the shop and offering refunds.

    That said, everyone should take the refund if you care about the money. The cynic in me wont be shocked if this game to never lives up to its promise or simply never returns.

  4. hughie522 says:

    It’s good that they’re offering up refunds to anyone who wants them, though I think it was stupid and greedy of them to prematurely jack up the price in the first place. Let’s hope the game they deliver in 12 months is worth the wait.

  5. aepervius says:

    I hope I am wrong… But I suspect there is something else at play here, that they would rather refund now and have people not too unhappy, then give up later and have everybody terribly angry. I may be paranoid, but I am thinking it may not come in summer either and end up being a sunk cost.

  6. Phinor says:

    “offer refunds to everyone”

    Specifically they offer refund option to everyone who purchased the game on Steam. The game has been available for purchase in quite a few stores most of which deliver only a Steam key that is not refundable on Steam, Steam refunds are only for people who bought it from Steam directly. GoG might be another store that can offer easy refunds because their games are not tied to Steam but so far it’s Steam purchases only.

    Still hoping this turns out good.

  7. woodsey says:

    I’m still annoyed this isn’t the wacky dystopian Immersive Sim jobby that I thought it was when it was announced. I can’t reconcile the art direction, setting, or premise with the survival sim stuff at all.

    Plus, haven’t they gone whole-hog on all the pre-order bullshit and whatnot now that they’ve got a publisher?

  8. Ser Crumbsalot says:

    After them basically selling out to Gearbox, and turning what could‘ve been an „indie darling“ into a AAA-priced garbageheap of season passes & preorder crapperoni, delays and problems don‘t really surprise me. I‘ll be more suprised if the game actually turns out any good.
    At which point I still won‘t buy it until it‘s cheap, as I don‘t want to my money to go to what surely must be regular satanistic rituals, seeing how they sold their soul to the AAA devil =D

    • causticnl says:

      happy few has season passes? thats new for me.

      for myself, I bought the e.a. when it arrived on steam. dont need the refund for that whopping 25 bucks.

      • Baines says:

        I don’t think it has a season pass, at least not yet.

        Under Gearbox, they doubled the price of the game and they also started offering a $150 Collector’s Edition. The $150 Collector’s Edition did not include an actual copy of the game itself.

      • Baines says:

        I was wrong. Looking for some other information, I saw that a $20 Season Pass, covering 3 planned paid DLC releases, was indeed announced last year.

  9. Servicemaster says:

    Why the shit would I want to refund?? I bought the game for like, $20. If I got a refund, I’d have to pay the $50 when the game is finally released. This sounds like a scam.

    Whatever, I already bought it, it looks detailed and deep so I’m excited to play it whenever it fully releases. Be it in a month, 6 months or 6 years. Not my fault they got Too Many Cooks™

  10. MacPoedel says:

    Well of course they have to pull the game from Early Access, since it’s completely going against the spirit of how Early Access is supposed to work. From Steam’s Early Access FAQ:

    <blockquote cite="What is Early Access?
    Get immediate access to games that are being developed with the community's involvement. These are games that evolve as you play them, as you give feedback, and as the developers update and add content."

    Compulsion admits they've been developing the game since the last update and are unwilling to release this progress before the definitive release of the game. It's evolving along with community feedback then, is it.

    Not that Valve is doing anything against this, Early Access seems to be some kind of free for all with rampant abuse (for example, paid DLC for Early Access games?).

    • MacPoedel says:

      I try a fancy quote and than forget to close the brackets, after which I let the time to edit pass before noticing my error. Oh well :).

  11. Plunkbat Oranges says:

    If I may…it would appear that there are more than a ‘Few’ who are less than ‘Happy’ about this situation.

  12. Ur-Quan says:

    Isn’t that the game with the 150 dollar collectors edition that doesn’t even include the actual game?

    Yeah i think they can afford a few refunds.