clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Watch us play We Happy Few pre-alpha live right now

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

We Happy Few is a new title in development by Compulsion Games, makers of 2013's stylish adventure puzzle game, Contrast. Polygon has been granted early press access to a pre-alpha build to coincide with the team's Kickstarter campaign launch, and we're bringing you our first impressions live.

An earlier build of the game was available at PAX East just a few months ago, where Polygon had about 20 minutes with the game.

We Happy Few takes place during the 1960s in an alternate-history England, where the inhabitants of the fictional town of Wellington Wells desperately don't want to deal with a traumatic event in their past. So they've invented a bliss-inducing drug called Joy, and like soma — the mind-numbing hallucinogenic happy juice from Aldous Huxley's classic novel Brave New World — it keeps everyone sedated. Joy does have some minor side effects, like near-complete memory loss and mild psychosis. And the Joy-addled denizens of Wellington really don't like "Downers," people who refrain from partaking in the wonder drug.

You play as a Downer in We Happy Few, and you're on a mission to make it out of town within a certain number of days, before you become trapped there. You must survive long enough to make it to that point, and in order to do that, you have to play pretend, blending in with the drugged-out people around you so as not to arouse their suspicion. Because boy, are they suspicious of anyone who doesn't act the way they all do. Running, for example, will draw their attention, and time isn't on your side.

Tune in from 3:15 until 4:15 p.m. ET and join us on our tour. Compulsion advises some caution for what you're about to see, given the early state of the game.

This is very early, pre-alpha game code. In the coming months we'll be adding many more features, including more fleshed out and varied environments, tech trees, Uncle Jack shows, AI types and behaviours, better combat, proper stealth feedback and interactions, enhanced social blending ... basically things are still going to change a great deal.

For those tuning in late, you'll be able to watch the archived stream above as well.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.