About this project
Thank you for checking out We Happy Few, the support so far has been amazing.
Update: Stretch Goals!
$265,000.00 Drug Paradise
We'll create additional, craftable drugs derived from Joy that enhance certain traits (ie - hearing, seeing, stamina), and expand the direct visual and audio feedback of being high, by changing elements of the world to better reflect your happy, euphoric state. We'll also develop additional status effects for crashing, withdrawal and addiction.
$280,000.00 New Game Mode: Sandbox Mode, in Customizable Worlds
We will create a new game mode: an indefinite mode, set in a world that you can customize as you wish (larger, smaller, more dangerous, less food, more Wellies, etc).
$315,000.00 Extra Uncle Jack Shows
More Uncle Jack! We'll go out and take an additional set of Uncle Jack shows, to be seen in-game. We have 32 episodes right now, but will add another 20.
$320,000.00 Authentic English Weather
We will give you the option to remove the sun, add drizzle, and everyone will be even more pale than they are now. Naturally, everyone will also be more charming and better at making tea, too.
$350,000.00 New Game Mode: Wellie Mode!
Role reversal! Play as a Welly, and hunt for Downers. But, remember to take your Joy, because you'll go mad without it. You'll experience the game from the point of view of a Joyed-up Wellie (or Wellette), and will watch the downfall of the city from the other side..
Every Friday we release development updates. In them, each member of the team explains what they've been working on during the week (what new props are being added, new concept art, how the A.I is progressing etc...). You can check all of the previous entries here!
We Happy Few is the tale of a plucky bunch of slightly terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful delusion. Set in a drug-fuelled, retro-futuristic city in an alternative history 1964 England, you’ll have to blend in with its other citizens, who don’t take kindly to people who don’t abide by their not-so-normal rules.
It’s a first-person game, set in a procedurally generated, fully 3D city that you must escape before society collapses around you. But, like any good roguelike, you’re probably going to die a few times before you figure out how it all works.
You will need to learn how to conform and avoid suspicion. You will need to hunt for supplies, and craft the devices and weapons that enable you to make it out of town alive. What do the Wellies approve of you doing? What makes them suspicious? What turns them into a homicidal mob? And is there anyone here who can help you?
Welcome, my friends. It’s another fabulous day in Wellington Wells.
In We Happy Few, your main minute-to-minute need is to avoid suspicion. The Wellies really hate Downers, and are very touchy if they think you might be one. But, if you don’t draw too much suspicion, they’ll just wish you a “Lovely day for it!”, and go about their day. Do as the Wellies do, and you should be fine. However, if you act like a naughty Downer and, say, break into a house in front of them, they’ll desperately want to make sure you take your Joy, with extreme violence if necessary, and all their friends will help them. Ha ha ha, what fun!
This isn’t stealth - this is hiding in plain sight. We Happy Few is a game about blending in, while you look for a way to escape.
Once they start coming after you, you’re going to have to fight, run, or hide. Combat isn’t easy - you’re not a superhero who can reload a saved game, you’re just a normal person trying to survive in a crazy world. Alternatively, you could craft an escape mechanism or take Joy to blend in… but every option comes with some sort of disadvantage. And usually, because you have one life, you’ll want to be very, very careful about what you’re doing.
If you die, or win, you’ll start a new game, in a brand new Wellington Wells. The world will change, so only through understanding the systems inside the game and how they work will you be able to win. Winning the game requires getting good at stealth, conformity or combat (hopefully all three), while learning what you can and can’t get away with.
It’s another harsh, but fabulous day in Wellington Wells.
In We Happy Few, you play as a Downer - someone off their happy pills. We have three Downers for you to unlock and play:
Each one has a story to play through. Their stories all interweave, so by playing one character, you can unlock new ones. And, each character has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, which change how you play the game.
Our stories are definitely Not Appropriate For Children, unless your children are already reading Neil Gaiman novels, in which case, good on you. 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.
Of course, you’re not alone in Wellington Wells - you’re surrounded by its people, the Wellies - regular lads and lasses just wandering about their day. They are enthusiastically happy and friendly, at least until they suspect you haven’t taken your Joy. Then they tend to get a little bit violent. They’re like that friend of yours that just won’t shut up about that thing they’re into, except that the Wellies get quite a bit more violent if you dare challenge their world view.
We also have a bunch of special NPC types, who’ll make your life a tad more difficult:
- Think you’re tough? Try fighting a Bobby.
- Think you’re sneaky? There’s a kindly, Nosey Old Lady who is always sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.
- Think you’ll pretend you’re on Joy? The Doctor can practically sniff you out.
Depending on how you like to play, some of these will be more dangerous than others.
Finally, we can’t complete this section without Uncle Jack, the proud, smiling face of Wellington Wells. Everywhere you go, he’s there to say good morning and he’s there to say good night. He is there to make you laugh, to make you smile, and to remind you that things really aren’t all that bad, and sawdust really is a very filling substitute for bread. Always so happy. So, so happy.
It’s just another fabulous day in Wellington Wells.
Located in the southwest of England in 1964, Wellington Wells is a city haunted by the ghosts of its recent past. In 1933, this world deviated from our own, and the Germans successfully invaded and occupied England during World War 2. Most of England is rubble, as is a fair part of Wellington Wells.
However, during the Occupation, the Wellies all had to do A Very Bad Thing. To calm their anguish and guilt - and forget what they’d done - the Wellies invented Joy, the miracle happiness drug, that obviously has no side effects whatsoever.
They set about rebuilding their town, and along the way, got a bit carried away with technological research and development. So, the Wellington Wells you will see is a combination of areas ravaged by war, and areas rebuilt with futuristic “modern” technology.
In We Happy Few's psychedelic, retro soundscape, we're embracing the musical revolution of the 60s. For example, in the Village, our ambient theme takes inspiration from early 60s space-enthused electronic music, while the Wellies listen to the ultra perky 60s pop, mod, and lounge that is pouring out of the Village speakers and televisions. Our composer and sound guys have been doing a lot of experimentation with vintage 60s instruments (such as mellotrons and other things we secretly suspect aren't real instruments) and recording techniques, and we're very excited with how this will shape the atmosphere and tone of our happy yet unsettling world.
It’s a really groovy, fabulous day in Wellington Wells.
We began building prototypes for We Happy Few in January 2014, and built the team throughout 2014/early 2015 to get us to where we are today. We’ve embraced open development, by showing the game really early on, posting consistent updates, and getting feedback from friends and family. We spent a few whirlwind days at PAX East in March, where we got insightful and challenging input from hundreds of gamers on a very early build. Afterwards, we invited a small gang of contest-winners to continue playing We Happy Few throughout development, and we’re just starting to get their feedback now.
As a whole, this community feedback has been awesome and has hugely helped us shape the development of We Happy Few. Which is why we’d like to work with you and hear your feedback all the way to our release. Plus, right after the end of the campaign, we’ll be offering backers who pledge CA$60 or more immediate access to the game, letting you provide hands-on feedback with every update.
Community-focused development will take more time and money than just keeping our heads down and getting a game out. But it will help us to make sure that we’re not missing any serious flaws — or great opportunities — and that we deliver on our ambitions.
We are Compulsion Games, a small studio of around a dozen game developers based in Montreal, Canada.
Two years ago, when we were just 7 people, we launched our studio’s first game, Contrast (http://store.steampowered.com/app/224460/), which was a launch title for the Playstation 4. It also came out on PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. We like to make games set in surreal worlds, with stories about emotionally interesting characters, great voice acting, hallucinatory art, and innovative gameplay.
We’re also thrilled to be working with our partners and friends at Signal Space (Jose, Nic), who created the music and sound effects for Contrast. They have worked on a whole range of other games, including Deus Ex and Civilization 5, and they are just as passionate and cantankerous as we are. We’re also working with a bunch of great London-based voice actors, and of course, Montrealer Julian Casey as Uncle Jack.
As we’re not in the business of making physical things, we decided to ask for the help of Luis and Shawn at Level Up Studios. These guys have previously worked on the rewards for the Awesomenauts Kickstarter (among others), and also look after other physical merchandise for the teams behind OctoDad and Guacamelee, and Vlambeer. They’ve done this a few times, and seem to think that what we’re promising isn’t totally crazy.
Tier 1: The Beer Tier: *CA$8, ~US$6
Tier 2: The Early Bird Catches Jack Tier: *CA$25, ~US$20
Tier 3: The Downer Tier: *CA$30, ~US$24
Tier 4: The Digital Collector Tier: *CA$40, ~US$32
Tier 5: The Pre-Alpha Tier: *CA$60, ~US$48
* Name in the Game!: We'll integrate your name into the world of We Happy Few, in something like a phonebook, memorial, or something else cool. We'll decide this later on, but we promise it'll be cool.
Tier 6: The Shadow Tier: *CA$70, ~US$56
Tier 7: The Goods Tier: *CA$110, ~US$88
Tier 8: The Best Mate: *CA$150, ~US$120
Tier 9: The Librarian: *CA$225, ~US$180
Tier 10: The Boxer: *CA$350, ~US$280
Tier 11: The Decorator: *CA$500, ~US$400
Tier 12: The Vandal: *CA$400, ~US$320. We dropped the price on this because it was crazy expensive before.
Tier 13: The Collector: *CA$1500, ~US$1200
Tier 14: Part of the Scenery: *CA$2500, ~US$2000
Tier 15: A Delightful Voice: *CA$5000, ~US$4000
Tier 16: An Ignominious End: *CA$5000, ~US$4000
Tier 17: Uncle Jack's Best Mate: *CA$5000, ~US$4000
Risks and challenges
For us, the biggest challenge is making sure that we do community-focused development right. So, to get in the habit, we’ve been practicing. In February, we started sending our monthly builds to our friends, family and more recently to PAX players, and are currently at Update #5. We also post a weekly review of what our team is doing, so that you can always check in on where we are with the project. We do our best to respond to everything on our forums and social media, and won’t change that.
Otherwise, games are orange alert territory - something might go down somewhere in some way at some point in time. Unforeseen issues can always hit a project, and we’ve never heard of a game that hasn’t faced something unexpected.
We believe we have solved the majority of the technical challenges that we faced at the beginning of development. Our procedural system is fully working, and the suspicion mechanics work in the field. We have an experienced team, that between us have shipped close to 100 titles. We’re using Unreal Engine 4, which is a very mature engine that allows us to efficiently create a lot of high quality content.
And, on the upside, we’ve got the game running through Steam right now and you can play it immediately at the end of the Kickstarter campaign if you pledge at the CA$60 tier.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
As we said above, we started prototyping We Happy Few in January 2014. We grew our team from 7 to 13 with two full time team members working remotely, with everyone started on the project by March this year.
The game we have right now is a really great base. So, we’re here on Kickstarter for two reasons:
1) We want to know whether you dig this game as much as we do. If you do, and you contribute towards this game, then we can make it bigger and better than we could do on our own. As the game is completely systemic, additional development money just means more, better quality content to play through.
2) We believe that this game will be made better by open development, and by securing additional funding early. By getting lots of engaged people involved at an early stage, it helps make sure we do things right.
We’ll launch on PC first, on Windows. See below for Linux and Mac.
We plan to come to consoles after launch, but we want to focus on the PC version for now.
We’re likely to launch first on Early Access, on Steam. However, the more successful this campaign is, the longer we’ll be able to continue working with our pre-alpha players, and potentially not launch on Early Access at all.
That depends very largely on how much you guys support us! But, if all goes well, we may release fully in 2016. Until then, you’ll have to keep playing the pre-alpha :)
Not for a while: we will not be revealing anything more about the narrative until the full launch of the game. We can promise meaty, nuanced, dark, morally ambiguous stories of the kind you rarely see in video games. We also have a plan to do something clever with the interweaving stories that we’ve never seen done in a video game. But it’s all secret for now.
CA$250k buys us 2-3 more months of community-focused development. If we hit stretch goals, we can keep going, expand the scope of the game, and deliver more We Happy Few goodness.
Honestly, we’d ask for more, but don’t want to seem greedy. But, at the same time, you get what you pay for, you know. We can promise that 100% of the funds of this Kickstarter (except for any taxes/fees) will go towards development of the game.
It means access to the current version of the game, plus monthly updates, via a Steam key, after the Kickstarter campaign is funded. How soon after depends solely on us finalising the way we’re delivering keys.
It does not mean access to narrative content. To make sure that we’ve got a surprise left for launch, and people interested in the story don’t lose out, we’re developing the story behind the scenes, and will release it on full launch of the game (i.e., post Early Access, if we go down that route).
No - while we’ll be listening to everyone’s feedback, we won’t get carried away. We’ll always make sure that our changes remain faithful to our vision for the game. If you say “I want dinosaurs”, sorry, but that won’t happen. However, if you say “guys, I’m throwing my mouse out the window because you’ve nerfed the cricket bat, and I really liked it, you bastards,” then we’ll see what we can do :) And if you say, “I really want to be able to throw a body out a window to make a distraction,” well, a couple of people did say that, and we have already done it. You can now throw bodies off or at anything you want, and yes, the Wellies tend not to like that. Hurray. You sick bastards.
We are very excited to announce that we will be bringing We Happy Few to Mac and Linux! Now the citizens of Wellington Wells will be able to be suspicious of fruit and aquatic mammals as well.
This took a bit of time for us to consider, so thank you for being patient. We hope that you guys will help us spread the word to your friends in Mac and Linux gaming communities, as we’d love to have them join us!
No. As you guys know, we’re not a huge team, and we really want to focus on making this game the best it can be. We are planning to deliver the Mac and Linux versions on or shortly after full release of the game. We will not be creating Mac or Linux pre-alpha versions - the pre-alpha through Steam will be Windows only. If we go into Early Access at some point, we won’t be creating them then either.
Any tier you want - but bear in mind that you’ll need a Windows PC to run the pre-alpha, if you pledge at that tier.
The same way you get access to the Windows versions: through Steam and DRM free. Exactly how we distribute the DRM free builds we haven’t confirmed yet (you do have to get retailers to agree to this), but hopefully it will be GOG.
Cool! While we’re not going to spend a great deal of time supporting this, let us know how it goes on our forums and we’ll be happy to sticky a thread to help keep support/solutions in one place.
Good question! This is a roguelike, so the game is based on the concept of replayability - you don’t only play this game through once. It is a challenge, and you need to learn the rules to try and beat the game before time runs out. Chances are, you’ll probably die within 5 minutes the first time. But, the next time you’ll last 15. And then 30. And so on, until you can escape before time runs out.
Each run through should be a maximum of around 3 hours to complete (this isn’t Don’t Starve, so it doesn’t continue indefinitely). Although, that may change if (a) you die, or (b) you find a way to speed it up.
However, for the people among us who don’t like we will also have different difficulty settings, to allow people to experience the story without wanting to pull their hair out.
It is too early to have very specific specs. As development progresses, those specs will go up and down. Please bear in mind that those are temporary specs :)
Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD, 2.5 GHz or faster
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 470 GTX or AMD Radeon 6870 HD series or higher
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