On 9am on Tuesday, we released We Happy Few into Early Access! The “Gameplay Alpha” as we’re calling it was a huge upgrade to the pre-alpha version, and we’ve had tens of thousands of people playing and giving us some fantastic feedback.
To those of you new to the community, welcome! It’s great to have you here. Every week we post up news about the game, including future plans, important info and, most importantly, what we have worked on this week. This one is a little longer than usual, as this has been a bigger week than most.
Before we get started: we’d like to thank everyone who has been so positive and awesome in the community, providing feedback, helping others with the game, and even reminding people that (a) We Happy Few is a survival game, and (b) the story is coming on 1.0. We’re seeing a lot of commentary that people are still confused about what the game is - understandable for those people who only saw the E3 gameplay and didn’t look at anything else - and we’re grateful to all of you for helping spread the word, and reminding everyone that We Happy Few is in fact, not Bioshock. We’ve seen you in comment sections, twitch channels, and on twitter, all being awesome. Thank you.
Next Steps - A community update, and the first content update
We’re currently hard at work preparing the first two updates to the game. The first is what we’re calling a “community update” - this is something to respond to the initial wave of feedback, and includes a significant number of bug fixes and quality of life changes (such as reducing the hunger/thirst rates). We’re currently looking at the following fixes:
- Toning down the survival needs and lengthening day cycles.
- Map markers being broken on quests or not visible on quests.
- Support for tuning X and Y sensitivity of the mouse independently.
- Saving the game with Plague kills you instantly when you respawn.
- Dig spots confusing, sometimes marked on the map before they are active.
- Tuning the durability, range and damage of certain weapons (ie: the pointy stick).
- A large number of quest issues reported by you guys (full list of fixes next week).
- Performance updates for AMD Cards and for slower graphic cards.
This will take a bit of time, so we are hoping to push this live to the “preview” branch on Steam next Friday 5 August. This branch will be available to anyone who want to help test the game. Once we are happy that it is stable, we will publish it to the main branch for everyone to enjoy. Secondly, we’d like to let you know that the second update will be the first one that substantially changes the world. This is a content patch which will change how the world generates, including:
- adding more variety in the world generation,
- coast, lighting and vista updates,
- journal, quest and compass updates,
- additional NPC dialogue, and
- more flexible difficulty settings.
We are aiming to release this in the first week of September.
Feedback and Roadmap Boards
To help collate all the feedback we are receiving, and keep you informed of our plans for the future, we are setting up two different Trello boards - one for our design roadmap, and one for community feedback.
The community feedback board you can find here: https://trello.com/b/qF8RTSDh/we-happy-few-community-feedback, in which you can vote on the issues that you are most concerned with fixing. Note that this generally does not contain bugs (these are entered directly into our bug database), and instead is focused on suggestions and ideas for improvement.
The high level roadmap will be less detailed, but will outline the various tasks we have planned to complete as we finish the game. This is going to be a very flexible board - we are currently planning on spending between 6 and 12 months in Early Access because we don’t yet know exactly where we’ll need to add content - but is loosely based on our progress on the three characters’ story campaigns. This is not yet available, but we will post this up soon.
I spent the first part of this week beating the game! As the narrative director, I don’t always get the luxury of time to sit down and go through a full playthrough. This week I did, and it took me about twelve hours! It was nice to finally get Arthur to the hatch on Apple Holm.
... which also meant writing a score of bug reports for issues that only I’m going to catch. I’m the guy whose responsibility is making sure that the world makes sense and that all the characters have in-game reasons to do the things they’re doing, and so I found a bunch of things I’d like to improve.
Of course after Tuesday morning’s launch, we’ve all been absorbing players’ reports of bugs. Some of them are bugs we know about. Some of them are not bugs at all. Some of them are new issues. For example, some people have complained that the NPCs can get a bit repetitious. Partly this is a bug in when they tell you to back off. Partly this is because we haven’t yet implemented the systems for atmosphere and showcased conversations. You should be hearing them talk lots more in our second update.
But, issue heard, I’m going to be writing and recording many more things for Arthur and the NPCs to say.
Of course, like Whitney, I’m sort of at the beginning of the pipeline – a lot of the things I do hit the game in weeks or months, rather than tomorrow. So I have to keep putting things in that pipeline.
Last Friday and this Monday I recorded two voice actors for a series of audio flashbacks for Arthur. Now I’m editing them. You’re going to know a lot more about what exactly Arthur’s remembering.
And, I’m just starting on a similar system for another playable character, the Girl in White, or as Sam thinks of her, She Who Must Not Be Named. She’s going to have some surprising things to say for herself. You won’t hear this stuff for some time, but you will.
This week was all over the place. I concepted a new NPC variant, started developing some strange new technologies and gadgets, fleshed out ideas for some symbolic statues and landmarks, and worked with Tito, JR and Emmanuel on a new piece to help showcase the Wellies. Super busy!
Here's a quick concept I did for the Mystery House. We wanted it to feel like an old, abandoned manor house - a place with clearly some history.
I had quite a lot of fun this week! Being out on Early Access doesn't mean we get to slack off! This week I've worked on props such as Garden District signs, church benches and a majestic organ. You guys should be able to play it soon.
This week has been a major whirlwind! It's been great to see so many new faces discovering Wellington Wells for the first time. After watching streamers big and small all week, I find it hilarious how deeply and universally Crazy Legs is despised. I'm with you there.
This week I've been putting a lot of focus into some more Garden District signs (you can see examples in Marc-Andre’s image!) and new architectural archway concepts for the Village to add more ye olde English flare to the environment. I've also been tweaking some paintings and advertisements so that they can be integrated into the Village and beyond, so stay tuned! Below is a painting the naughtier Wellies commissioned for the House of Curious Behaviours, I do hope you enjoy. Ta for now!
I worked on vista and rock formation. This is going to change how the edges of the islands appear, and should help to improve the look of the world.
Hi! I have been very busy answering and reading a lot of feedback on Steam and on our forums. I tried to reply to as much questions as I could, and at the same time compiling all the recurring feedback we are getting and of course fixing and testing a lot of bugs that you guys reported. Keep them coming!
Hello! I hope you people are enjoying playing the Gameplay Alpha. We’re reading the comments, having great discussions over many things you people mentioned and obviously making changes and fixes. We’re really excited to have some honest feedback on the survival mechanics and to be able to iterate on them. That’s what Early Access is about! The team is working a lot on breaking repetitions in both the things you see and the things you do. For example, we’re prototyping new underground sections, that bring more of a creepy dark atmosphere with an aspect of randomness.
We’ll be using that thinking to improve the ways we vary layout. For example a path that was opened in one game will be closed in another, traps could have been placed or not and rewards for exploring those areas could be in different places. They could be guarded by maybe some people of the night gang that established a small point of operation in there or by a small group of plagued wastrels. I think many of you are wondering what the Torch (flashlight) is about since you really don’t have any use for it right now. The plan for it is that you will need it to navigate underground sections that will be mostly dark (with certain light sources so that you don’t get stuck because the power cell in your Torch has depleted). All those empty power cells will also be able to be refilled with the Motilene Harvester!
Hey guys - This week I made a bunch of bug fixes and improvements following the awesome feedback you guys have been giving us. Thank you very much for this!
Also, making a bunch of new buildings for the village, with focus on adding secondary circulation between the main streets and the back alleys:
...and I’m working on a few more that I might show you guys next week. I completed the basic layout for a new underground level:
... this should be pretty fast to flesh out and finalize.
- New “unfitting NPCs” system, where a NPC of the wrong type for the island can spawn at random (for instance, you can sometimes see a Wastrel appear during the day in the village… mayhem ensues.)
- Improved our position when we sit, on all chairs and benches, so it feels more natural Fixed a bunch of issues with map markers
- Fixed a bunch of issues with save/load
- You can now throw the rubber ducks at people :D
Hey everyone! This has been a very important week for us to receive all of your feedback. It is very exciting to watch people play our game and allows us to take TONS of notes about what to fix and improve. That being said I have mostly spent my whole week integrating more character variations and fixing bugs. It was quite a busy week and hopefully, we will be able to fix most of the issues in future updates. I would have loved to show you some of the upcoming animations, but I guess it’ll have to wait for the next update! Glad to have new people on board and I hope we’ll have more to show in future updates!
That is all for now, thank you for tuning in!
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