- "Remember the train, Arthur!"
- — One of Arthur's voice lines after a Joy overdose
Arthur Ernest Hastings is one of three playable characters in We Happy Few. He is the first playable character and was originally the only playable character of the game.
Arthur is a tall, slim (almost skinny) man, with parted black hair, dark brown eyes, and a rather large nose. Being a resident of the Parade District, he generally wears a black Proper Suit, his signature outfit, with black Proper Shoes. He also wears black, rimmed glasses.
Arthur is a rather meek, scrawny and submissive man who rarely gets angry at people and rather tends to be distressed and nervous, especially in combat. Despite that, he is capable of holding his own in combat and is an expert liar and can fool almost anyone in Wellington Wells. He is also quite resourceful, able to construct various tools, weapons, and other useful and helpful contraptions from different crafting components.
When Arthur goes off his Joy and begins to realize the truths that he had denied himself for so long, he begins to break down from the guilt and weight of his sins. However, he ultimately decides that he must carry on, nonetheless, and eventually, he learns not to let his grievances get in the way of the task at hand, without forgetting about them.
see Arthur's Quests
Arthur was born on the 12th of October, 1934
Very little is known about Arthur's history, at first. But as the game progresses, more of Arthur's history is revealed, the most important being that he had an older brother named Percival "Percy" Hastings. As a child, Arthur would often have to explain things to Percy, who had a developmental disorder (it is implied that he was mildly autistic), often being referred to as "slow." Percy was also often bullied for not completely understanding things, but Arthur stuck with him through it all, sometimes reluctantly. Arthur also had a crush on Sally Boyle, a girl around his age who seemed to care for him as well.
When they started sending children to Germany, Percy was convinced by Arthur to accompany him to Germany, However, Arthur betrayed Percy by using Percy's ID to impersonate him and lie to Constable Peters that he was already thirteen while claiming that Percy was Arthur. Percy was therefore sent to Germany in Arthur's place, calling out for Arthur, which later left Arthur feeling guilty. This likely worked because the two looked very similar and Percy's difficulty with communicating with anyone other than Arthur prevented him from exposing Arthur's ruse.
At around the same time, Sally Boyle's mother poisoned her family so she wouldn't have to send any of her children away, but Sally survived due to being out of the house at the time. Since she had nowhere else to go, Arthur's family ended up taking her in.
While living with the Hastings, Arthur and Sally would occasionally skip school and smoke together. However, when Sally was sixteen, Arthur's father propositioned her, and, out of fear of being kicked out, Sally had sex with him. Arthur discovered this, and, furious, ended up scaring her out of their house anyway. He wouldn't see her again for a long time.
Eventually, as Arthur got older, Joy came into existence and Arthur started using it to forget the things he did. As part of the side effects of the drug, his memories of events started to change (such as misremembering the train incident as him telling the truth about his age rather than impersonating and betraying Percy), before he eventually lost his memories altogether.
He eventually got a job as a reporter and became quite skilled at it, eventually rising to prominence popularity. Owing to his skills, he was employed by Victoria Byng and got a high-class job as an editor in the Department of Archives, Printing and Recycling in City Hall of the Parade District, the richest part of town. He became content with his life, until one day when he encountered an old article about a prize he and Percy had won in and chose to remember rather than take Joy and forget, thus setting in motion the events of the entire game.
Events of We Happy Few
The Parade District, and a chance at redemption
At the start of the game, Arthur is at work going through old newspapers and censoring things considered unpleasant and harmful to the community. Essentially, any article that is either too depressing or reminds people of the things they're trying to forget through Joy.
As Arthur goes through the articles, he comes across a newspaper article about him and his brother winning a scrap gathering prize and begins to remember Percy, upsetting him. Arthur quickly picks up the Joy pill bottle on his desk, opens it and pours out two Joy pills, but before he takes them, he relents, unable to decide whether or not he actually should take the pills. The player is then given the option to decide whether to take his Joy and forget, or refuse and start to remember the past.
Should Arthur choose to take the pill, he forgets about everything, censors the entire page and thus buries his past for good. Thus, the game ends there and the credits start.
If Arthur refuses to take the pill, however, he throws both it and the pill bottle into a nearby trash can and looks at the article alarmed, crying out Percy's name. He then gets stuck staring at the article for several hours. After around three hours, Victoria Byng enters his office and reminds him to finish up so he can come to the party.
After finishing up his work, and while making his way to the party, Arthur passes by other offices which he can enter and even do more censoring on their machines, before passing by a window to a closed office where a Joy Doctor is forcing-feeding a worker Joy before quickly closing the window shutters. He then passes through other offices, seeing large piles of unfiled paperwork and broken pneumatic tubes, showing a concerning level of disrepair.
When he arrives at the party, he finds everyone else gathered around a piñata which Byng tells him to hit. After hitting the "piñata”, the residual Joy in his system wears off and he sees he actually smashed a rat, and the "candy" the others are eating is actually its innards.
He retches in disgust and horror, which causes Victoria to notice that he has gone off his Joy, and offers some of hers. When Arthur hesitates to take it, she realizes that he has become a Downer and calls for the Bobbies. Arthur runs out of the office and makes a hasty, if somewhat inelegant escape, only to be cornered in a motilene maintenance tunnel on the other side of Wellington Wells. Just as they are about to kill Arthur, however, the Bobbies smell a gas leak and run away. Leaving him there to die from the fumes.
The Garden District, and an attempt to escape
Arthur wakes up in the maintenance tunnels beneath Wellington Wells and attempts to recollect what had just happened. He then makes his way through the seemingly abandoned, yet operational, maintenance facilities. As he progresses, he begins to learn new and remember old crafting skills from way back when and begins collecting various items that'll allow him to progress.
While making his way through a workers' resting area, Arthur stumbles across a dead Council worker named Rupert Underhill and deduces that he had been murdered. When Arthur then tries to enter a room behind Underhill in order to unlock the nearby hatch, he is attacked by the killer, Theodore Miner. This is the first enemy the player encounters in the game and serves as the tutorial for hand-to-hand combat.
After unlocking the hatch that leads out of the maintenance tunnels, Arthur exits out of them into the wastes of the Garden District. While wandering through the desolate landscape, Arthur begins planning to escape Wellington Wells to find Percy by reaching the nearby train station on Eel Pie Holm and using the tracks to get to the Britannia Bridge and out of the city.
After getting onto Eel Pie Holm and locating the train station, Arthur enters it and begins making his way through the derelict and ruined building. Once he reaches the train tracks, however, he finds out that the tunnel has collapsed, blocking off the route completely. Shortly after that, Arthur is ambushed by a group of Headboys but is able to fight them off. Seeing his only means of escape blocked, Arthur sees no point in staying in the area and makes his way to the surface levels of the train station.
All while this is happening, Arthur has also started remembering bits and pieces of his past, mostly in the form of conversations with Percy. It is revealed that Percy and Arthur had a close relationship as brothers, even though Arthur would sometimes get frustrated by how "slow" Percy was. He also remembers when the children were sent off to Germany by train, Arthur told them they had actually gotten his date of birth wrong on his card, that it said he was a few days older than thirteen, so he ended up getting rejected while Percy was forced onto the train without him. Arthur feels stupid for having told them the truth.
Meeting Ollie and robbing Ravensholm
When Arthur is able to reach the ground floor of the train station, he finds his old neighbor Ollie Starkey living in the building, seeing him again for the first time in years. Ollie, who doesn't recognize Arthur at first, attacks Arthur with a Cricket Bat and almost clobbers him until Arthur manages to get through to him. Ollie makes deal with Arthur where he tasks Arthur with helping him infiltrate the Victory Memorial Camp in order to rob them from their resources. In exchange for this, Ollie will help Arthur get to Maidenholm.
When infiltrating the Military Camp, Arthur wonders why the Germans left behind their tanks after they'd gotten the children, though he doesn't get an immediate answer. While inside the camp, Arthur climbs atop the roof of a shed overlooking the abandoned German tanks in the camp in order to plot out his entry. Suddenly, a spotlight shines right at him, blinding him, causing him to fall onto one of the tanks, only to go straight through it.
He now discovers that the tanks in the camp were nothing but fakes made by the Germans and placed there to deter any sort of uprising during the occupation. After disabling the power and barely escaping from the military camp and the crazed Home Army soldiers, he returns to the Train Station and brings up what he has just discovered with Ollie.
Ollie becomes shocked at this revelation, stating that had he known this he would have told the rest of the Home Army and they would have risen up if Germans really did not have tanks. Arthur, meanwhile, remembers that he actually lied about his age to get off the train and left Percy all alone. He reminds Ollie of their deal, and though Ollie initially laughs it off, he then decides to honor his agreement and gives Arthur a strange piece of machinery from his stash to use as an excuse to enter Maidenholm. Arthur is able to fool his way into the entry terminal, goes through a rehabilitation program meant to turn Wastrels into Wellies and is welcomed by the populace onto Maidenholm.
Hamlyn Village, Meeting Sally and seeing the state of the city
Arthur traverses Hamlyn Village and makes his way to the Old Government Printing Office in order to steal a Letter of Transit that he'll need to get into the Parade District. During this, he runs into Sally Boyle, who is excited to see him. She notices that he is off his Joy, to which he explains that he remembered Percy and decided to stop taking his Joy in order to find him.
While the beginning of their reunion is initially friendly, when Sally offers to get a Letter of Transit for Arthur from General Byng, Arthur becomes cold towards her, initially angry about something she supposedly did when they were younger. Arthur then tries to apologize, but Sally is nowhere to be seen.
Arthur goes through a lengthy set of tasks in order to gain access onto St. George's Holm, and while Arthur is infiltrating the Wellington Wells Constabulary building in order to obtain identity records from the archives, he briefly stumbles upon a Police Constable who somehow seems familiar to him from before. The Constable calls Arthur Percy but Arthur denies this, saying that Percy is gone. This prompts the constable to ask if Arthur's memory is playing tricks on him, seemingly knowing more than meets the eye.
After this short encounter, Arthur remembers that the constable he just met very closely resembles the constable that Arthur lied to about his age and identity in 1944.
Arthur is eventually able to locate Sally's home, where he apologizes for his actions, though still expresses his anger at her. Sally tasks him to fetch a bottle of cod liver oil for her in exchange for a Letter of Transit from Byng, to which Arthur reluctantly agrees. She then kisses him, causing Arthur to flee in embarrasment.
Much to his dismay, Arthur realizes that the only place where he could find cold liver oil is Anton Verloc's lab, and so he sets out on another adventure in order to obtain the credentials to enter the facility. This includes tracking down a vanished reporter named Gemma Olsen and carrying on with her investigation from where she left off, which takes Arthur through the underground maintenance facilities for Jubilators and the Motilene network. There, Arthur gradually discovers that the entire system keeping the city functioning is breaking down, more and more batches of Joy are going bad and turning Wellies into Downers, and citizens are beginning to suffer from the ill effects, with harmful and lethal results.
After gaining access to Haworth Labs, Arthur discovers that the facility is in a state of chaos, with random accidents happening regularly, leading to fires, explosions, chemical leaks and areas being flooded with electrified water, among other things. On top of this, Arthur discovers that Verloc plans to lobotomize the entire population of Wellington Wells with a plan he calls "The Permanent Solution", which will lock them in a permanent state of happiness while also reducing their intelligence to that of a gerbil. Arthur attempts to throw Verloc's own chemical at him in order to destroy his mind, but Verloc stuns Arthur with an electroshock field and escapes.
After finding the cod liver oil he returns to Sally's home, giving it to her. From the way she acts upon getting the oil, Arthur assumes that she sent him on a pointless quest for an equally pointless souvenir. He complains to her how it's always been what she wanted and needed, she quietly asks if he really thinks she's that awful before he brings up what had happened all those years ago; she, an at-the-time 16 year old, had sexual intercourse with his dad in his dead mum's bed.
Sally is distrought to hear this and turns away from him, and after a second of realising what he had just shouted at her, he apologises, saying "I don't hate you, in the strangest way you're completely innocent. You're practically the only one I know who is". She then finally gives him the Letter of Transit.
Arthur then offers to take Sally with him, to which she agrees at first, but says that they'll have to leave at dawn because she needs to get some affairs in order. Arthur decides to leave without her, hastily saying that it's nothing personal.He suspects that Sally was planning on using Arthur to her advantage to get out of the city and dispose of him afterwards, though this is later revealed to not be the case at all.
The Parade District, Arthur's Escape, and Regret
Arthur enters the Parade District, which is far more advanced than the rest of Wellington Wells and goes about various tasks to get into, through and out of the city, from fashion modeling to fixing machines for an engineer to infiltrating the hospital to lift the quarantine to the Wellington Wells Broadcast Tower. While infiltrating the hospital, Arthur is ambushed and captured by Joy Doctors and is subjected to an experiment, where he is injected with a prototype of Joy, causing him to see hallucinations of Percy, hear sounds that he heard when Percy was sent away and other traumatic experiences.
Seeing this, the Doctors decide to call off the experiment as a failure. When they try to move Arthur to the cells, the power goes off, and an accident happens. Arthur is able to disable the containment system, starting a riot amongst the Plague Wastrels in there. This allows Arthur to escape, albeit while inadvertently breaching the quarantine in the process.
Running through the town, as the Plague has now broken through the quarantine with symptoms of Joy withdrawal, Arthur finally makes his way to the broadcast tower. He goes beneath the building and enters into the rail tunnels, where he discovers the corpse of his co-worker and fellow Downer, Prudence Holmes. With the letter in hand, Arthur fights and flees his way through the tunnels, which are being mined out to harvest Motilene.
In order to get across the huge mine shaft, Arthur activates an excavator, triggering a massive chain reaction of explosions, causing the entire mine shaft to collapse in a violent orgy of destruction. Arthur narrowly escapes the carnage and makes it to the bridge.
He had actually used Percy's ID and mimicked his behaviour to trick Chief Inspector Peters into allowing him to stay in Britain, letting Percy take the fall and be dragged onto the train by the other constables, calling out to Arthur as the train left for good.
Arthur grieves over his brother that he betrayed, but the Constable reassures him that they've all done terrible things, stating that while Arthur can't be forgiven for what he's done, he should consider it a gift that he remembers these things at all.
He then escorts Arthur across the bridge, ending Act I.
Arthur is encountered by Sally at the same location as in Act I, albeit from Sally's perspective.
Several things go differently, their behaviours are different, Sally doesn't ask why he's off his Joy and he simply cuts her off when she tries to explain what a day she's been through, Arthur is bluntly harsh towards her, and she describes his father far differently than what Arthur interperated. Biggest change of all, perhaps, is when Arthur leaves her behind instead of the other way 'round.
Sally later encounters him out in the Garden District, sitting on a swing set. Their second conversation is almost identical to the one from Arthur's perspective, with some differences, including Arthur being harsher and less forgiving.
Finally, in Sally's last encounter with him, things go similarly as before but Sally, rather than Arthur, suggests that they leave Wellington Wells together. Arthur, initially excited by this, gets upset when Sally tells him that they have to wait. As Arthur abandons her, she reveals that she has a baby, but Arthur brushes this shocking statement off and leaves, saying it's nothing personal.
Arthur is only encountered in the first cut-scene during his dialogue with Ollie after infiltrating the military camp but from Ollie's perspective. Things are almost identical, but with several slight dialogue differences, and Ollie immediately helping Arthur.
Another difference is how Ollie can see, hear, and talk to Margaret. While Arthur only saw him talking to air.
As Arthur and the Chief Inspector walk across the bridge, Arthur continues to hear Percy crying out, and laments how heinous he truly is. The Constable notes that some people are better prepared than others to handle the truth, as well as the guilt and anguish that comes with it, and offers Arthur an Oblivion Pill that will make him completely and permanently forget everything. The player is once again given the choice between taking and not taking the pill, mirroring the choice given at the start of the game.
Should Arthur accept, he presumably completely forgets the events of the whole game and goes back to Wellington Wells, and can be seen playing on playground equipment in a dilapidated and overgrown area, presumably one of the last people still on Joy.
If Arthur refuses, the Constable puts away the pill and allows Arthur to finish his journey on his own.
After making his way across the bridge onto mainland Britain, Arthur can then be seen saying "Lovely day for it!" to various plants, trees and rocks and then encounters a young boy with a ball, who Arthur tries the same greeting with. The boy retorts by saying it's actually been a shitty day because it's been raining all day, and that it'll probably be a shitty night too.
Arthur, with a smile on his face, then states to the boy, "You're right. It has been rather a shit day", feeling a sense of relief from the artificially-enforced happiness of Wellington Wells.
Percy was Arthur's older brother in Wellington Wells. They were extremely close, and Arthur often was there to take care of him due to his developmental disorder, although he would often do it begrudgingly. Percy loved Arthur more than anybody else, highlighting their relationship as being as close as friends. However, that undoubtedly disappeared the moment of Arthur's betrayal.
However, Arthur still loved Percy despite what he had done to him, and felt extraordinarily guilty after having finally remembered what he truly did. When Joy came into existence, he seized the opportunity to forget, only to realise much later that forgetting about something does not change what happened.
When the Chief Inspector causes Arthur to remember once again what he did, the immense shame and guilt overwhelms him and causes him to break down. Should he decide to remember everything, he will set off in search of Percy, showing that he plans to make up for what he did.
Sally was Arthur's childhood friend and crush, and it seems like Sally did as well, highlighted by the time they spent together.
Arthur's family took Sally in when her mother poisoned the whole family as well as herself, leaving Sally as the sole survivor. She was eventually scared off by Arthur out of fear and shame, due to the fact that she slept with his father.
When the two meet again many years later, they are initially excited to see one another, but Arthur quickly remembers what Sally did, and seems to resent her once again, but feels badly for it, and decides to apologize. From there, their relationship becomes one based on a deal: "Help me and I'll help you." It is shown that Sally still has feelings for Arthur, however, when she kisses him, but he is scared by this and flees, suggesting that the time for romance has long since passed.
Arthur considers Sally to be confident, brash, brilliant, and flirtitious. This is in stark contrast to how Sally sees herself; insecure, afraid and horrible.
Ollie and Arthur's relationship is a little more unclear, as the two seemed to simply be neighbors. Ollie knew Arthur's mother and would let Arthur and Sally play in his house sometimes. In the game, it is revealed that Ollie apparently knew of Arthur's survival, as he found Arthur coming back from the train station, the only child to do so.
An old friend of Arthur and Percy. Arthur saved Eddie from the Plough Boys and carried him to the pub after the gang attacked him and broke his legs.
Eddie mentions on multiple occasions how Percy told him that Arthur was good.
Out of the three characters, Arthur has the most well-balanced build for either combat or stealth. He can craft a relatively wide assortment of survival items, tools, weapons and the like, can wield any weapon he can make or find, and can even remove the penalties normally incurred from being hungry, thirsty or tired. He is also the only character that can use both Chemistry Tables and Workbenches.
Two of his abilities are simply cosmetic and the other two are positive ones:
|Odd Man Out||Defensive and Sarcastic.||Arthur makes remarks and comments to certain actions such as taking down enemies, running out of stamina, putting on different outfits, greeting people, and even remarking at leaking motilene pipes.|
|English||Repressed.||Arthur has a British accent and most of his tone in voice shows he's holding back his fear when making comments.|
|Swift||Runs quite fast.||Walks and runs faster than any other character.|
|Unremarkable||Can hide in plain sight, e.g. on benches, if not in the line of sight of angry people.||Arthur can conceal himself by sitting down on chairs or benches and reading a newspaper as long as people aren't hostile towards him|
His other abilities in Combat, Stealth, and Super-Duper all focus on both combat and stealth.
Combat allows Arthur to deal more damage when attacking, gain more health and defense, or even give him the upper hand by stunning enemies or breaking their weapons when he blocks their attacks at the right time.
Stealth allows him to be more hidden by making his footsteps quieter, having enemies take longer to see him and allows him to quietly strangle enemies unconscious in their beds or from behind when trespassing. Two of the later skills allow Arthur to be outdoors during curfew without raising suspicion as well as run, jump and crouch without upsetting Wellies.
Super-Duper lets him get more health back from healing items, carry more things and be less burdened if he carries too much, takedown taller enemies (Bobbies and Doctors), and remove the penalties of low hunger, thirst, and exhaustion.
We Happy Few
- He used to love the train station.
- He also got the worst nightmares about the train, according to Sally.
- Arthur could never grow any crops.
- Arthur tends to quote Hamlet a lot.
- Sometimes he wishes he was more of a drinker.
- According to himself, he's a sucker for science.
- Arthur and Sally used to sneak into movie theatres.
- They also used to steal cigarette butts from the Germans when they weren't looking so that they could smoke them themselves.
- Arthur used to race Eric Liddell, but could never beat him.
- His first Proper Suit is a gift from his uncle Henry Hastings.
- When entering a Joy booth, he will always pick the strawberry flavour.
- Arthur claims he hates irony, though that in itself may be ironic, considering some of his quotes are ironic.
- During pre alpha, it was revealed in the newspaper after the player died that Arthur used to play the clarinet for the Writhlington school's Jazz band.
- According to Reg Cutty at the beginning of Possibly Heinous Package quest, Arthur is about tall 6 ft. (=1.83 m). Many other characters often state that Arthur is very tall.
- Arthur and Percy's names are references to the Arthurian legends, King Arthur and his knight Sir Percival.
- Hastings shares a name with Captain Arthur Hastings, assistant to Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot - who, like We Happy Few's Hastings, is a quintessentially British gentleman. His last name is also the name of the famous battle of 1066 which lead to the death of the then-current King of England and facilitated the successful Norman conquest of the country, the last successful invasion until the 1943 invasion in the game's alternative history.
- Besides Gwen Boyle, Arthur is presumably either the youngest or one of the youngest people in Wellington Wells due to the fact that everyone else his age and younger was sent to Germany (or killed beforehand, like Margaret) and all children born after that were killed or smuggled out.
- The cutscenes that he and Sally share are experienced differently depending on who the player is playing at the moment. In Arthur's perspective, he will meet Sally in the Village and give her the cod liver oil in her home; in Sally's perspective, she will meet Arthur in the Village as well but she will meet him again in the Garden when he's on a swing.
- In general, Arthur's POV seems to portray him as a decent bloke (aside from his memories of his past) who is only cruel or a liar when he needs to be. On the other hand, Sally's POV shows more of the worse parts of his personality.
- This is because the main characters are all unreliable narrators, no one is completely right in what they experienced; Sally sees Arthur as far more cruel to her than he did because she is convinced he still hates her, meanwhile Arthur sees Sally as confident and open, though she acts more nervous and reserved from her perspective. Many of these scenarios are left for the player to determine what really went down.
- From the PAX 2016 Demo, Arthur is said to be a member of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, a denomination opposed to violence and famed for abstinence and/or moderation when it comes to drugs and/or drinking. Whether this is still the case is unknown.
- Judging by a few of his in-game descriptions from certain quests, he goes to church and listens to Father McCartney.
- Young Arthur's identity card as shown in his flashback to the train station erroneously states that he has brown hair and green eyes; adult Arthur is consistently portrayed, in-game and in promotional material, with black hair and brown eyes.
Arthur talks a lot to himself while wandering around on his own in Hamlyn Village or Garden District
- He misses his mum, but not his dad.
- He asks himself that if he's happy on drugs, is he really happy? or rather, if there is a true self.
- He remembers that he used to own a dog named Stripe.
- He wonders to himself what chocolate used to taste like, and remember that Percy hated it.
- He hopes that a Mrs. Hudson fed Sparky and didn't eat him. In pre alpha, it was revealed "Sparky" was Arthur's pet lizard.
- He wonders if 'Changelings' were the term people used to call people like Percy.
- He recalls that no one told him what the specialist said regarding Percy's conditions.
- He thinks Percy would fit in better in the Garden District than in the Village, that he might even like it better there.