Now that everyone's had some time to knock back some Joy in We Happy Few, was it worth it?
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Mixing survival gameplay with a narrative is always a tough task for developers, but it’s one the creators of We Happy Few takes on. I’m 10 hours into their game, which was released yesterday for Xbox One, PS4 and PC, and I’m both charmed and frustrated. The writing is excellent, and the visuals are spectacular, but the clumsy gameplay makes appreciating these things difficult.
The Classification Review Board - which operates as a separate body to the Classification Board itself - has finally published the reasoning for its decision to overturn the RC rating for We Happy Few. In its report, the review panel noted that the game "quickly establishes" that the hallucinogenic state induced by the drug Joy was "undesirable" and that the game's overall quest was to "avoid the use of the Joy drug".
Following the unanimous overturning of the Classification Board's original RC rating for We Happy Few, Compulsion Games has expressed sympathy for the statutory body. The studio -- and Aussie gamers -- is glad that the RC rating was overturned, but one We Happy Few producer isn't sure the Board could have ruled any other way.
We Happy Few, a game set in an Orwellian future where freedoms are severely restricted, has been effectively banned in Australia. Once again, the decision came down to 'drug use related to incentives and rewards' - in this case, an entirely fictional sedative called Joy. Aussie gamers have some thoughts for the Classification Board, in Tweet form.
Joining the likes of Fallout 3, Crimecraft and Risen, We Happy Few is the latest victim of the Australian video game classification rating system's "drug clause".
As revealed by Kotaku, it was the use of "Joy" as essentially an unavoidable game mechanic that promoted the banhammer. That's not an R18+ rating, which we fought for years to have - a straight up ban.
The retro-themed survival game We Happy Few was revealed in early 2015. It hit Steam Early Access in mid-2016, where it remains to this day. If you were hoping for a full release soon, well, I have some bad news: developer Compulsion Games has pushed things back to "summer" 2018. On the bright (?) side, if you did pre-purchase the game, you can now get a refund.
We Happy Few just got a big update. The very British, slightly BioShock-esque survival game launched in Early Access over the summer. I found it intriguing and weird, but also aimless and fairly barebones. The update improves that by completely overhauling NPC behaviour, encounters, environments, and quest states. It also adds a story-driven tutorial.
We Happy Few is a survival game set in an alternate 1960s Britain. Citizens of Wellington Wells take a drug called Joy to forget, to function. The game wears its BioShock influences on its puke-encrusted sleeve, but in its current state, it's still got a way to go before it can live up to its lofty potential.