Claims of the Gearbox Software-published official release of We Happy Few by Compulsion Games being glitchy and very broken are coming out. I’m looking to see how widespread these issues are, though it so far seems to be the case of some-work-some-don’t, but the footage I’ve seen still shouldn’t be in a $60 game, not one that’s been in development for three years.
Video game satirist Jim Sterling (thejimquisition.com) released a video of his impressions of We Happy Few. Sterling was once a supporter of Compulsion’s project (before it became associated with Gearbox Software,) even providing voice acting; however he has also been one of the loudest critics since the first demo. His voice work has reportedly not been included in the final release, however he is still listed in the credits, a fact he considers “embarrassing.” His footage and commentary suggest the game is extremely buggy, stating in his caption, “Nothing short of a mega patch will fix everything truly messed up about this game. If you can imagine a game bug, any game bug, We Happy Few probably has it.”
Sterling’s footage shows glitches in the game such as inability to initiate dialogue with an NPC, a glitch I had observed once or twice in YouTube user ChristopherOdd’s playthrough of the game’s first demo last year. “Mr. Odd” didn’t seem to encounter many issues in game even though this demo received backlash for too heavily relying on a random number generator for its crafting items, leading to some players’ frustration as they scavenged for vital quest materials that didn’t spawn. Eurogamer’s Edwin Evans-Thirwell summed up the whole ordeal thusly back in 2016:
“The rhythms of play are by and large familiar: seek out quest sites and resources while keeping one eye on your thirst, hunger and fatigue bars and taking care not to upset anybody you can’t put down with a cricket bat. Disease is a factor, from rotten food that may give rise to dizzy spells or vomiting, to a plague that kills you slowly unless treated with special medicine. There’s certainly plenty to ponder, especially once you fetch up against the limits of your Resident Evil-style grid inventory, but it all feels disappointingly rote after the wonderfully sinister intro. The combat in particular is a chore – stupefying trigger mashing plus spikes of irritation when the weapon you’re holding shatters.”
Now, with the game officially released, Mr. Odd’s gameplay seems to be functioning well once again. We shouldn’t go digging for issues, that’s a bit cynical, but I’m a touch skeptical since Mr. Odd was granted early access to the game by Compulsion after how positive his play-through of the demo had been.
And yet the footage from Sterling, remarks* by Adi Robertson (The Verge), and comments on the game’s steam page suggest the full release is still very buggy regardless…
* “…My PC copy of We Happy Few also glitched constantly. Characters treated gravity as more of a suggestion than a law, and I had to abandon or restart quests because objects had disappeared or important characters had stopped reacting. And trying to fix bugs by reloading an auto-saved checkpoint creates a catch-22 because you have to quit to a main menu to load a save, but quitting overwrites the autosave with your latest progress.”
Still, reviews anywhere should be taken with a pinch of salt, good or bad, and for now it’s hard to say what the general consensus is on We Happy Few. As of now, I suggest interested buyers wait a bit longer for more reviews to come in, and perhaps give it a try on Steam and decide whether or not to keep at it before the return time frame expires…
UPDATE: The Beat’s own David Nieves has the full report. Be on the look out for that review coming soon!