Founded in 2009 by Guillaume Provost – and recently acquired by Microsoft to become a Microsoft Game Studio – Compulsion Games aspires to create extraordinary games that tell stories about flawed characters in convincing, hallucinatory worlds. With a culture that celebrates creativity and craftsmanship, the studio has produced two original IPs: Contrast and We Happy Few.
Contrast stars a young girl named Didi trying to rescue her father and understand her parents’ rocky relationship in a noir-inspired 1920s world. You play as Dawn, the circus girl who is Didi’s invisible friend, whose magic power is to literally become her own shadow.
Contrast was released on November 15, 2013, and .was the recipient of multiple awards including “Best Innovation” at the Canadian Videogame Awards.
We Happy Few tells the tales of a plucky trio of moderately terrible people trying to escape a lifetime of cheerful denial. Set in the drug-fueled retro-futuristic city of Wellington Wells, the game portrays a groovy alternative 1964 Britain in which all proper, decent citizens are taking a happy pill to forget the terrible things they did during the War; and the terrible things they’re going to do to you.
Available at first to Kickstarter backers and then through Steam’s Early Access, the game was built in the spirit of open development, systematically improved based on player feedback, and dramatically enhanced with story content that brought the world of Wellington Wells to life.
Featured by Microsoft at E3 2016 and again at E3 2018, We Happy Few was published by Gearbox Publishing and released on August 10, 2018. Three separate DLC episodes are planned for release in 2019, and a variety of external projects, including a film and comic book, are in development.
Now a part of Microsoft’s Game Studios, Compulsion Games remains dedicated to creating intriguing original content that challenges genre tropes and industry trends. With an eye towards growth, the studio is proud to be a member of Montreal’s world-renowned game development scene.
In addition to Guillaume Provost, the studio’s multidisciplinary team is led by directors Sam Abbott, Whitney Clayton, Alex Epstein, Matt Robinson, and David Sears.
Overseeing both business and production, Sam hones the teams’ processes and pipelines as the studio grows and new technological tools become available.
As Art Director, Whitney has established herself as a visionary in the industry, earning extensive praise among consumers and critics alike for the eye-catching visuals across both original releases.
The studio’s incredible worlds and characters are the brainchild of Narrative Director Alex, who— along with his wife Lisa—continues to push the boundaries of story-telling in games.
Leading the programming team as Technical Director, Matt ensures the team has the technology and tools to create experiences that defy the norm.
Lastly, David wields his extensive experience as Creative Director to guide the team’s game and level designers to craft experiences that balance gameplay and narrative in intuitive and gratifying ways.
No matter what world the studio explores next, its culture will remain founded on creative expression and bucking trends. From its humble beginnings in a gramophone factory in Montreal’s creative St. Henri district to its inclusion within a global family of Microsoft’s AAA Game Studios, Compulsion Games will always be grateful for the inspiration it receives from this city’s artistic spirit and audacious pursuit of excellence.