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Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory Gameplay Footage and Preview at IGN

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Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory Gameplay Footage and Preview at IGN

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 14 June 2019, 15:00:11

Tags: Black Shamrock; Cyanide Studio; Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory

IGN have gotten their hands on ten minutes of Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory gameplay footage. In this typical troubleshooting scenario, the player character and his team are tasked with investigating the whereabouts of a maintenance team who have gone missing in the sector's lower levels, with the side objective of retrieving a cowardly floor scrubbing robot. Once there, the scrubot is easily located but the team is nowhere to seen, replaced with an army of hostile security bots who have been reprogrammed to think they're characters from a fantasy RPG. The game plays a bit like a real-time version of Shadowrun Returns, with a large emphasis on cover. Unfortunately the person playing skips through all the dialogue, so it comes across as more hack n' slash than it should. Thankfully IGN have also written a preview which provides some necessary context. Here's the gameplay footage and an excerpt:

You take on the role of a Troubleshooter: someone whose job is to deal with any problems in Alpha Complex that may require a more personal touch than Friend Computers many drones and servo-arms are able to provide. In our demo, this meant investigating why one of the maintenance bots in a sub-basement level was behaving oddly.

It turned out that a group of Traitors - the designation given to anyone in the Alpha Complex facility that does not follow the rules or remain Happy™ - had sealed off a few rooms in the sub-basement to use as their personal LARP-ing grounds (they'd even reprogrammed security bots to shout "Lightning Bolt!" as they fire their lasers), and it was up to us and our three crew members to clear them out.

Combat in Paranoia is real-time, but you can pause the action whenever you like for as long as you want to give your squad of four commands, sending them to cover, attacking specific enemies or making use of their unique specializations. For example, while your Cleanliness Officer might be able to use disinfecting chemical to deal acid damage, or your Happiness Officer (basically the logical and horrifying extrapolation of Big Pharma and Social Media) could buff your team with psychotropic drugs.

What's interesting is that rather than failing and restarting a mission upon death with a different skill loadout, HiM features a unique take on permadeath. Friend Computer understands that accidents happen, and as such has issued Troubleshooters with a bank of clones that are activated upon a unit's accidental termination (or an intentional one, depending on your actions). What's interesting is that each time you activate a clone, you're able to re-spec your skills and attribute points, effectively creating a new character every time you die. Friend Computer only provides six clones that can be re-spec'd, though, so you'll have to choose wisely if you don't want to get stuck with a skill set you don't want. I'm told, however, that there may be a certain geneticist somewhere in Alpha Complex that could help with that - if you've got funds and are willing to risk the demerits...

Of course, it wouldn't be called "Paranoia" without good reason. While your team members may be under your control during combat and missions, they are very much not your team members. Even though your jobs will take you into areas where Friend Computer's scanners don't work, that doesn't mean your team members won't inform Friend Computer of any misdeeds you commit while on a mission. For example, when we found ourselves at a locked door, our tech expert suggested that I hack a nearby vending machine to gain access to the local network and unlock the door. It was a good idea, so I did - and the little weasel ratted me out as soon as we got back upstairs, which caused my Treason Level (a percent rating system that every citizen has indicating how concerned Friend Computer is with their Happiness™) to increase and change my citizen rating from Questionable to Suspicious.

We didn't see much of Alpha Complex beyond the couple of floors we visited, but the little bit of the world it showed us did a great job playing with this notion of omnipotence and mistrust, and how you have to deal with it. Wherever your character goes, security cameras track your every move - even the Friend Computer icon at the top of the screen (it lets you know when you're in view of its cameras) follows the motion of your mouse cursor with eerie, silent malice.

Though I only experienced a small portion Paranoia's world, I was immediately hooked by its witty take on the "robots gone awry" genre, and can't wait to see how my exploits play out depending on my choices. Will I splinter off from the other citizens to join a secret society and overthrow FC? Or will I remain a steadfast and Happy™ agent of Friend Computer's ruthlessly intelligent design? Happiness may be mandatory, but participation is entirely voluntary - and I'll gladly be throwing on my read overalls later this year.

The game definitely has potential and the writing seems fun. For it to be a truly good game though, we'll have to see some more variety. Hopefully the developers are up to the task.

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