'We Happy Few' dev doubled in size to make new Xbox exclusive

We're going to need more happy pills.

Compulsion Games

Remember We Happy Few, the thoroughly British BioShock-like which featured a dystopia that was so on-the-nose that its denizens took sanity-erasing happy pills called "Joy?" (If the answer's no, we can't really blame you.) Well, it seems that the studio behind that game, Compulsion Games, has been hard at work on a single-player PC and Xbox exclusive since shortly after We Happy Few launched out of early access in 2018.

In an interview with Xbox Squad, which was translated by VGC, Compulsion PR and Community Developer Nailia Hadjas revealed that the studio has doubled in size to accommodate the increased scope of their new project. Compulsion Games was purchased by Microsoft back in 2018 as part of a large acquisition that included the studios behind games such as State of Decay, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, and Forza Horizon.

"We have doubled the workforce and we are adapting to it," Hadjas said in part. "The goal is to expand our zany universe, to continue to make our mark in video games as a studio that likes to make unique games, in little-used settings. For now, that’s our goal. Pursue our legacy, our heritage, while remaining true to ourselves."

A joyless existence — Hadjas indicated further in the interview that the new project is not a roguelike or any sort of run-based game, and that it is unlikely that it will have any sort of Early Access period. We Happy Few's development was marked by a number of substantial changes throughout, which might contribute to this decision.

Though the game's initial trailer caught a lot of buzz, the version of the game the debuted in Early Access in 2016 was far less story-driven than players expected, with more focus on survival and crafting systems. By the time the game finally released two years later, however, Compulsion had added significant story elements in the form of three playable characters. We Happy Few received mixed to positive reviews when it emerged - it currently sits at a 63 average on OpenCritic.

Best guess — Other than the few crumbs that Hadjas revealed in the interview, we have very little indication of what this new Xbox exclusive will look like, or even what kind of game it is. (It's apparently a "third-person single-player game," which means it'll land somewhere between Tomb Raider and Lego Star Wars.) Frankly, We Happy Few was a game with mammoth ambitions and so-so execution, but perhaps Microsoft's bottomless wallet and three-plus years of time in the oven will produce something a bit more exciting. Then again, we have no idea when it's coming out, so probably don't hold your breath for this one.