- "People won't face facts. Not until we take their Joy. And when we do that... they'll murder each other in the street."
- — Victoria voicing her concern about taking away Joy.
Victoria Byng is a major antagonist in We Happy Few. She is the Director of the Department of Archives, Printing, & Recycling at the Wellington Wells City Hall and is the first encountered character at the beginning of the game.
Early Life Edit
Victoria Byng was born in British India at some point in the 1920s to British officer Robert Byng and the Maharajukarmi Indira Devi, daughter of the leader of one of India's princely states. At a young age her mother was arrested for her actions in support of Indian independence from British rule and, as a result, she was raised primarily by her father in the English custom. At some point after 1932, Victoria moved with her father from India to Wellington Wells, England.
During German Occupation Edit
During the German Occupation of Wellington Wells, Miss Byng assisted her father in his work as Municipal Liaison to the Occupation Authority. On August 22, 1945, she accompanied him to the Bolshevism Against Europe Gala held at City Hall and was noted for her "eye-catching" appearance. She had a friendly relationship with Ollie Starkey, her father's secretary, and comforted him after Margaret's death.
In 1947, when the Wellies were made to register their children under thirteen with the Occupation Authority and three people accused of sabotaging the registry were lynched, Victoria wrote a cold-toned letter to the editor of the "The 'O' Courant" vigorously disagreeing with the editor, stating that everyone must do their duty and that the "selfish" saboteurs deserved to be hanged.
On July 20, 1947, Miss Byng conducted an orientation with the youngest children of Wellington Wells, singing songs and playing games with them, in preparation for their forced trip to Germany. This act in contribution to the "Very Bad Thing" would eventually come to deeply haunt and traumatize Victoria, and as such became in later years a prime reason for her strong support of Joy.
Post-Occupation Life Prior to We Happy Few Edit
Following the end of the German Occupation, Miss Byng maintained a prominent position in the civil service of Wellington Wells. Victoria was the one who suggested Joy's introduction to the public water supply, and was in charge of a Joy-related campaign called "Happy Faces" which was a rousing success. At some point, she was named Director of the city's Department of Archives and, in 1962, was made Executive Counsel to the Executive Committee of Wellington Wells. As head of the Department, she was the superior of Prudence Holmes, Arthur Hastings, Clive Birtwhistle, Hopkin Jones, and Deirdre, among others.
Events of We Happy Few Edit
Act One Edit
At the beginning of Arthur's story, Byng reminds Arthur of an office birthday party being held in honor of colleague Deirdre. She becomes briefly suspicious of Arthur after finding a Joy pill on the floor, but ends up eating it herself after Arthur reassures her of him being on the drug. She waits for him to put in a new power cell and comments on whether Arthur approves or censors the article surrounding Arthur and Percy before leaving the room for the party.
When Arthur finally shows up at Deidre’s party, Victoria encourages him to hit a piñata set up for the occasion until it explodes. However after Arthur, who is slowly snapping out of his Joy-induced state, smashes the “piñata” he sees that it is in fact a huge rat that they have just beaten to death. Subsequently, Victoria and her colleagues eat the rat’s innards thinking it is candy which makes Arthur nearly vomit. Victoria, seeing this, remarks that he is off his Joy and offers him one of her pills. However, after witnessing his hesitation, she realizes Arthur is a “downer” and calls security before running out of the room.
Act Three Edit
Later, while at home, she is surprised to see old friend Ollie Starkey standing in her foyer. She initially steps around his questions surrounding the state of the dying city, but eventually reveals to him that she does remembers the truth about the "incident" everyone is trying to forget. However, she claims that it is better not to remember and that truth is the enemy of the preferable happiness brought by Joy. Ollie then takes her hostage, knocking her out and tying her up to a chair, while also depriving her of Joy. Suffering from Joy withdrawal, she becomes increasingly abrasive and ill as she vividly remembers the role she played in the "Very Bad Thing." She states that she believes that without Joy, the people of Wellington Wells will murder each other in the street. However, with the statement that "there hasn't been a baby born in Wellington Wells in 17 years," she eventually appears to take Ollie's side on the matter and states that she will help him in convincing the Executive Committee to remove Joy from the populace, revealing the elevator code needed to access them in City Hall. Yet, upon being released by Ollie, this cooperation is revealed to be a ruse as Miss Byng quickly incapacitates the Scotsman with a kick to the crotch. With the cold statement that "in an hour [she] won't even know [Ollie] exist[s]," Miss Byng knocks him out with the chair she was tied to and leaves him to the Bobbies while she returns to her Joy.
Victoria Byng's core drive in life is Duty, instilled in her from a young age by both her militaristic English father and aristocratic Indian mother, and she is determined to carry out her Duty even if such an action has adverse effects. This is demonstrated through notes and interaction with her throughout the game, showing that she will choose doing her Duty over all else. During the German Occupation, her Duty was to assist the Authority with her father, and in the present day of We Happy Few her Duty is to keep the populace on their Joy and oblivious to the pain they wish to forget; in both cases, she strives to excel at the task at hand.
While her emphasis on the preserving the "Stiff Upper Lip" does make her character frequently cold in nature, she is known to occasionally show moments of tenderness and feeling. In the past, Victoria was kind to Ollie when he began to lose his mind after Margaret's death, and, though not outwardly, Miss Byng appears to have inwardly reciprocated Prudence Holmes's affection for her to some extent as shown by Pru's farewell letter's prominent place in her candlelit bath-side sanctuary. However, her core drive always comes first.
Though Victoria has the best interests of Wellington Wells in mind, her strong sense of Duty makes her utterly resistant to contradicting viewpoints; she refuses to believe that a Joy-less Wellington Wells would be anything but total chaos.
- Her father, General Robert Byng, is one of the men responsible for children 13 and under to submit to the Authority.
- She is so far the only character to wear red lipstick as opposed to the middle class Wellies who wear a nude color.