We Happy Few delayed, developers offer refunds to Early Access purchasers

The release of We Happy Few, the game about getting high and getting along in the jolly old England of an alt-history 1960s, has been pushed a little deeper into the year. Developer Compulsion Games said in an update on Steam that it's now "content complete" but requires more time to polish than was originally expected, and so it won't be released until sometime in the summer.   

The launch date had been set last summer to April 13 of this year as part of a publishing deal with Gearbox that also saw its price double from $30 to $60. The studio explained at the time that the price hike was driven by a tremendous increase in the game's scope to a "full sized, retail game," and while that may be accurate it nonetheless did not make a particularly good impression among fans and followers. 

The studio acknowledged in the delay announcement that the reaction was fair, although it reiterated that "we’ve done a huge amount of work and the scope of the game is substantially increasing over what’s there right now, which is a very unusual situation for Early Access games, especially as we have a retail release on the way."   

"So, we find ourselves caught between Early Access (where it’s important to have a price that reflects the current game) and the eventual release of the full game with increased scope (which we believe reflects a traditional retail game)," it wrote. "We had anticipated that Steam players would be okay with pre-purchase still granting early access, but since we won’t be offering any additional early access updates beyond August’s 'Life in Technicolor,' we think having this labeled Early Access and charging the price of a larger game caused more confusion than we had hoped." 

To address concerns, Compulsion has decided to offer refunds to anyone who has purchased the game so far, regardless of playtime, and will remove the game from sale on Steam on February 1. Sales will be re-enabled closer to release, "when more info and materials on the game will have been released, giving players more clarity on what they can expect in the full version of We Happy Few." 

A production update video below offers a bit more insight into why the game has been pushed back, and also shows off a few clips of gameplay featuring a newly-revealed female playable character.   

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.