We Happy Few takes place in an alternate world that is creepy and filled with cringy people wearing masks to have an everlasting smile. An important feature in the game is “Joy”, a mood enhancing drug that characters can take to progress in the story more easily.
Although this game takes place in a dystopian world where the main characters can avoid conforming, the prevalent drug use put We Happy Few on the ban list by the Australian Classification Board. Kotaku Australia explained that the Board is now reviewing the refused classification for this game after an appeal against the ban.
A report by the Board claimed, “Computer games will be refused classification if they include or contain ‘drug use related to incentives and rewards”. In We Happy Few, if a player does not take Joy, the gameplay becomes difficult. Even though players can choose to take Joy or not, there is an incentive attached to taking the drug which is progressing through the game more quickly.
Developer Compulsion Games described We Happy Few by saying, “It’s a society that is forcing its citizens to take Joy, and the whole point of the game is to reject this programming and fight back.” Also, Joy is not a real drug and the game is making a social commentary on society. The game is not suggesting drug misuse.
The Board said they will meet on July 3 and public submissions are open for anyone who wants to be part of the review. The submissions regarding We Happy Few are due by June 29.
We Happy Few will launch on August 10 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac, and Linux.