Compulsion’s We Happy Few is still trundling through Early Access towards release, and has plans for a substantial Joy-based update in August. Originally, the plan was to schedule two updates before the final release build (Joy and a new Parade biome), but now there will just be one (larger) update.
According to Compulsion, that’s for narrative reasons. To date, the team has been maintaining two builds: an Early Access build (that people have been playing on Steam) and an internal Story build. As they work to weave things together into a cohesive whole, the studio wants to do one final EA update and then work on a push to merge the two builds for release. They add that the Parade District is so heavily entwined with the game’s story that an “Early Access” version of that area no longer seems workable.
The Joy update for We Happy Few, however, is still happening. It’s now going to be in mid-August, but it’ll also be more expansive than previously planned. There aren’t too many details in the blog text itself, but a comment response from one of the developers says it will be “based around new Joy effects as well as the new UI, AI improvement and whole lot of tweaks and polish.”
Sounds like, on the whole, the game is moving towards a possible late 2017, or early 2018, release. The very first Steam build definitely felt like a world in need of a story, so it’ll be fascinating to see whether the eventual narrative can pull together the other, more survival styled, elements.