- "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.
She is the protagonist of the We All Fall Down DLC.
Early Life Edit
Victoria Byng was born in British India at some point in 1920 to British officer Robert Byng and Maharajkumari 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 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 I 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 Deirdre’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 III 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 as she escapes into town on her own.
Taking place October 23rd, 1964 after Ollie Starkey withdraws her joy during Act III, she knocks him out and escapes her house in the Bridle Path. As she wonders Dunkerton District in search of a Mood Booth she discovers people eating charcoal, plague in the Village, dead bodies lying around and people starving. Finally making it to the booth, only to stop herself from taking Joy to her realisation of this. A bobby near the booth calls her out as a Downer and attacks her.
After escaping the Bobbies she hides out in ransacked building, there she starts to hallucinate her mother talking to her, but shuts her out for the time being. After searching the crumbling house she finds that a group of people had committed suicide via arsenic during a party, further showing her how worse the situation in Wellington Wells is becoming.
She escapes to the sewers and is confronted by the Wastrels who live in there who scorn her. Once again she's met with the hallucination of her Mother and is given the idea to visit her father about the situation going on in the city.
After using the Underground tracks to get the Victory Memorial Camp she confronts her father who is ultimately dismissive about the city tearing collapsing, saying even if he does do something the people would panic and they would tear each other apart for what food remained. Victoria then leaves for Dr. Verloc who supposedly has a solution to all of this.
After crossing the dilapidated bridge, fighting off plague-riddled townsfolk, and passing through the ruined streets she makes it to the Waterloo District. After disabling the Downer Detector she enters Haworth Labs who is not only undergoing beautification but is also going through a riot. Victoria takes down the rioters and meets with Verloc who is no better at finding a solution than her father is and is also openly dismissive at the lives being lost in the city, saying that they can sustain whoever is left alive.
She leaves but not before another hallucination of her mother appears again, advising her that people of the city need to get off their joy otherwise they would ultimately kill themselves from starvation. She soon gets the idea of cutting off the Joy supply via destroying Allocator hub, hoping that when people come to their senses her father will finally be able to do something; which is easier said than done as Verloc now knows that she's off her Joy and has sent the Joy Doctors after her.
She does succeed, but it doesn't work as people are still getting their Joy from the water supply which prompts her to cut off the water to the city; however Verloc is aware of what she's doing and tries to stop her. She ultimately does accomplish her task in cutting off the water supply.
However, it makes things even worse as people are panicking from the lack of Joy in the Mood Booths and in the water, causing them to riot and become Downers as they're slowly starting to remember their guilt of sending the children away combined with the realisation of the dire situation they're all in; one woman even kills herself in front of Victoria.
Victoria doesn't get far through as she's ambushed by a couple of Bobbies and sent to jail. She sleeps in her cell and recalls a memory of her mother being sent to jail in India. After waking up she becomes remorseful towards her mother and finds that her hallucination has stopped for now and escapes thanks to her cell door being unlocked.
After exploring the prison, whose inmates are all people who sent their against their will thanks to Verloc, she runs into Johnny Bolton. Johnny tells her that there is no way to truly fix things as long as Verloc and Haworth Labs are still standing as they're the ones who are ruining the city with their attempts to keep people on Joy. He convinces her to blow the facility building up with explosives that he put at her house along with blueprints that he hid in his Hideout in the Square.
She regains her whip and escapes the prison and runs into her father, revealing that he was the one who left her cell door open. It's here that he shows his true side to his daughter, showing that he has no qualms running away to save his own skin which angers Victoria, shoving her father to the ground and calling him a coward.
Now that's escaped she goes to her house to her house which is being occupied by Bobbies who are looking for her. She gets the bombs and later the plans from Johnny's hideout and storms Haworth Labs. She's confronted by Bobbies, Doctors, Security Systems and all the while Verloc taunting her over the intercom. Despite this she sets up the bombs and they go off, prompting her to escape via the roof.
She escapes, is knocked out in the fall of some of the roof and briefly gets buried in rubble just as Ollie Starkey broadcasts Uncle Jack's last tape explaining that Wellington Wells has fallen, that there's no food left and begging for the people is stop taking Joy.
When Victoria comes to her senses she's greeted to a city completely in disarray. The streets and buildings are ruined with dead Bobbies, People, and rubble all over.
Now that there is no more Joy, combined with Jack's last tape being sent out, and the guilt that they've trying to suppress all this time, regular people and even the Bobbies are starting to wake up from their drugged induced apathy, causing them to become Downers; they even discard their Happy Faces.
Victoria comes across a group of survivors who lash at her for what she's done, and talk about leaving Wellington Wells; as there is nothing left for them here. One of them goes on to say that the survivors do not care what Victoria does or where she goes, but then they subtly make it clear that they do not want anything to do with her ever again. Victoria's Mother returns to her one last time saying that she did what needed to be done, even if they don't see it that way. She then suggest Victoria go to India, as the real her might just still be alive.
Victoria, now alone, hopes that she did the right thing and that her mother is proud of her.
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.
However during the events of We All Fall Down, she begins to see the truth behind Wellington Wells after being withdrawn from her Joy by Ollie Starkey in Act III. She tries to get wellies off their Joy by sabotaging the Mood Booths and cutting off Joy from the island water supply.
- Her weapon is a horse whip as seen in We All Fall Down DLC, it can also be used a lasso.
- Her other weapon is a shocking dart gun.
- When she was younger, she had a polo pony, a special kind of horse that is primarily used to play polo.
- In the note, In Which Oliver Gets a Headache, it is said that she keeps the riding crop in memory of the pony.
- In her game over death screen, a news article stating Victoria being promoted to regional manager.
- When she was sick as a child and couldn't eat anything else, Robert made her coffee yogurt. She may have disliked that, too.
- Victoria donated to the Pheonix Theatre found in Oh, Behave! And gifted the Wellington Wells Health Institute with a "Light Rain" fountain.
- Although not stated outright, it is hinted that she had a very close relationship with Prudence Holmes that leaned on homosexuality. However, Prudence speculates in one of her notes that her feelings were not reciprocated.
- In one of Arthur's lines to a Wastrel, "Did we go to school together? Miss Byng's class?", it is suggested that she was a teacher in her earlier years. This is further suggested when she had to conduct the orientation for all children under 13.
- She is the first character to be both an antagonist and a playable character.
- Her father's nickname for her is "Doodlebug", which has many meanings and definitons, though it's most likely a reference to the V-1 flying bomb.
- She is so far the only character to wear red lipstick as opposed to the middle class Wellies who wear a nude color.
- The Music that plays inside her home in Hamlyn Village is an excerpt from Henry Purcell's Abdelazer Suite.