Why We Happy Few is the Most Promising Game of 2016
Psychological horror is a genre that has recently spurred into recent heights in the games industry, with titles such as P.T, Layers of Fear, and SOMA influencing the genres true potential. However, all these titles have had similar motifs and explore such narratives as being stuck in certain places with no escape and so on. While they are mostly executed well, it’s certainly refreshing to have a game that explores the true roots of psychological horror, without relying on a scary formula to seal the deal. We Happy Few, the next title from Contrast dev Compulsion Games isn’t relying on these more modern tropes. In fact, it’s centered around a drug-ridden dystopian English settlement in which the player attempts to blend in with society and secretly fight against use of the drug, through any means necessary. The most surprising of all however, is that this crazy premise only scratches the surface of the game’s true potential. Here are some more reasons to why We Happy Few promises a lot more than it’s intriguing nature.
It’s already nailed it’s aesthetic
A Kickstarted game, We Happy Few didn’t go for a normal pitch to lure fans in. Compulsion Games actually went ahead and filmed a whole entire interview-themed short to present the game to the campaigning masses. The video actually manages to make a really good mark, and explains the lore, reveals some characters such as Percy and Uncle Jack, and teases the adapted alternate history setting of the game. Even better, many Youtubers and Let’s Players (even the more critical ones) have enjoyed and praised pre-alpha builds of the game. At this point, it’s extremely beneficial that the game has already come this far a year before release, something other crowdfunded projects aren’t able to achieve.
It could provide great social commentary
Taking heavy cues from other games with imaginary worlds gone awry, We Happy Few could explore new concepts other games haven’t been able to achieve due to it’s drug-ridden backdrop such as government ideals, society, and the overall case for happiness. Although I’m not opposed to more social commentary in games unlike some others, I think a new approach that centers on something different will certainly sway people’s opinions in a more positive direction. The only problem is that there is still an emphasis on the “could” as the dev team hasn’t announced anything yet, but the same happened with masterpieces like Bioshock Infinite and the Metro series.
It’s likely putting a twist on procedural generation
One of the most captivating things about We Happy Few is that it’s procedurally generated, permadeath and all. While this isn’t much of a current selling point in it’s own right, the games twists on it will most likely surpass expectations. For example, the developers have already teased you’ll learn more about the city and it’s messed up culture within each run. Another interesting tidbit is how the creative director worked on The Crossing, a cancelled game by Arkane and Valve that also dealed with sociopolitical themes influenced in the gameplay. (such as players invading campaigns to rival competing city factions ) Although basing off of track record isn’t always a good sign in the games industry, we believe there’s enough previous potential to brush this one off.
As said before, basing an unreleased game’s quality off of a developer’s prior background is always a gamble in gaming, but we believe Compulsion can pull it off. Although they stumbled during their debut with the ill-received Contrast, the game’s plot and overall character were some of the most shining aspects, something that is undoubtedly present in We Happy Few. All in all, there’s already been a lot of good signs along the development pathway for this game, adding to a lesser chance of failure in the long run. With Microsoft’s publishing support now underway, this game could be a true crowdfunded gem.
We Happy Few is releasing in June 2016 for Xbox One, PC, Mac and Linux.
Info was sourced from such sites as the Jimquisition, GameTrailers, IGN, Linkedin, ValveTime, and numerous respective social media sites relating to the game.
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