One of the coolest parts about being on Xbox Game Preview is that we can look at your feedback, and understand what people like and don’t like about what we’re doing. And then we get to experiment!
We Happy Few isn’t just a survival sandbox game, as many people think. It’s narratively driven with a linear story, and some of that is available in Game Preview right now, like the four islands you can explore and the side quests you can experience. As we’ve put more and more of our side quests into the game, we’ve received feedback that many people find the survival mechanics distract them from the quests. And we have a lot of feedback that people love survival mode too, so we have felt for some time that we needed to find a way to provide choice to players.
In the Maidenholm Update for We Happy Few, available now on Xbox One, we have implemented what we’re calling “playstyles”. When you start a new game, you’ll have the option of playing on one of three playstyles: Birdwatcher, Downer, or Vigilante. These are like difficulty settings, except that Birdwatcher does something more than make the game less difficult: it removes survival mechanics.
This means that on Birdwatcher, you don’t need to worry about monitoring your hunger or your thirst, and you’re free to enjoy the world and play through the encounters and quests without distraction. We were hesitant about this option, because removing a core part of gameplay isn’t what studios normally do; developers are (in general) really, really reluctant to touch the “core loop”, because normally this is what you iterate on and improve throughout development.
However, We Happy Few has evolved quite a lot since we created our survival mechanics (around three years ago). We’ve put more and more effort into the main game and side stories, so we think it’s time to give this a go.
As always, we’d love to hear what you think . The Maidenholm Update also has tons of other content, including a new island, new world generation systems, etc., and we hope you enjoy what it can offer.