We Happy Few, a 60s “Drugged-out Dystopia”, Hits Kickstarter


We Happy Few is world of drugs and dystopia, brought to you by the guys at Compulsion Games who had preivously worked on Contrast. Set in a 1964 English town called Wellington Wells, the citizens are always under the effects of Joy, a drug they began taking to forget the horrors of World War I. Now, Wellington Wells is a perfect place to be with its citizens always smiling—unless you’re not one of them.

Going along with the Wellies is the premise of the game, who are completely unaware of the decaying world around them. “This isn’t stealth – this is hiding in plain sight,” it says on the game’s Kickstarter page. “We Happy Few is a game about blending in, while you look for a way to escape.”

As a first person shooter, the player will control one of the three Downers, as seen in the concept art below. The goal is to avoid suspicion and make the Wellies think you’re as blissful as they are, or they might resort to “extreme violence” to make you take your Joy and be as happy as they are. See, they’re just looking out for your well-being.

Playable Downers. Concept art from We Happy Few’s Kickstarter page.

While trying to escape the “drug-fuelled, retro-futuristic”, dying world, there are characters who will make your goals more difficult. Some enemies the player will encounter are fighting a Bobby, avoiding the Nosey Old Lady, and trying to steer clear of the Doctor who can oust you from your pretense. Uncle Jack, a Big Brother-esque figure, is the face of Wellington Wells who pushes happy propaganda on its ignorant citizens.

“Our stories are definitely Not Appropriate For Children, unless your children are already reading Neil Gaiman novels, in which case, good on you,” the text on the Kickstarter page says. “But don’t worry, it’s not all frowns and sadness! It’s also laced with dark humour, hope, and even a spot of redemption.”

The background of Wellington Wells also gives a unique spin to its atmosphere. Reminiscent of Bioshock, We Happy Few uses elements of 60s music for its “psychedelic” soundscape that includes electronic, pop, and mod. The town also has hints of steampunk-like technology, as a result of isolating itself and rebuilding with their own innovations after the German occupation.

You can view other details about the game on its Kickstarter page here. The campaign is asking for $250,000 and ends in 29 days. So far, 1,704 backers have pledged over $60,000.

You can see some of the gameplay in the video below:

If successful, Compulsion Games plans to get We Happy Few out by June 2016.

Source: We Happy Few on Kickstarter

Edit: After the publication of this article, the author backed this project on Kickstarter.

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