Over the course of developing We Happy Few, Compulsion Games went from being a five-person indie team to an Xbox first-party studio. As it looks ahead to what its next project will be, Compulsion’s creativity won’t be held back by any mandates from its new parent company.
In a new documentary about the development of We Happy Few called “The Cost of Joy,” Compulsion Games producer Sam Abbott says trying to maintain creativity inside Microsoft “is not as hard as people think it is.”
“We have been told to keep making really weird, just different things,” says community developer Naila Hadjas. “So, on the creative standpoint, it’s just been all positive.”
“That’s actually removed a lot of the focus from finding where we’re going to find the next paycheck to actually concentrating on what is it that we need to make great games,” says creative director and Compulsion Games founder Guillaume Provost.
The Compulsion team shared similar sentiments in an interview with USgamer for a postmortem on the rocky development of We Happy Few. The team’s next project will be a new game set in a new universe, with a distinct style that will attract more players to the Xbox ecosystem. And with the help of other Xbox first-party studios, it sounds like they’re all building up each other’s projects.
“Our animation director, our technical director, our game designers are all kind of starting to plug into all the game directors and their peers at all the other studios,” Provost told USG.
It seems like this creative freedom is allowed across other studios as well. Considering Ninja Theory recently announced a sequel to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, it looks like Xbox studios are working on games that will stand out from the fold.
We Happy Few didn’t get off to a great start, as Compulsion Games found itself caught between two genres that didn’t always mesh. Now, with its next project, we’ll get to see what Compulsion Games wants to make, and the type of game it can produce with this newly allowed freedom.