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Arthur Ernest Hastings is one of three playable characters in We Happy Few. He is the first playable character, and originally the only playable character of the game.
Arthur is a tall, slim man, with parted black hair, dark eyes, and a rather large nose. He generally wears a black suit and tie.
Arthur is simply put a face in the crowd. He isn't particularly special or worthless, he's just mediocre, plain, bland. However, Arthur does have a few noteworthy traits to him. He rarely gets angry at people and rather tends to be distressed and nervous (especially in combat). When he does get angry, his rage tends to be misplaced. He also is an expert liar, and can fool almost anyone in the city, perhaps save for himself. He comes to realize that all of the excuses that he has made for himself are most likely lies as well, and that he is doing everything for himself.
When Arthur begins to realize the truths that he had denied himself for so long, he breaks down from the guilt and weight of his sins. However, he ultimately decides that he must carry on nonetheless.
Very little is known about Arthur's history at first. 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 fourteen. Percy was sent anyways, calling out for Arthur, which left Arthur feeling guilty. This likely worked because the two looked similar.
Beforehand, Sally'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 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 rose to popularity. He was employed by Victoria Byng and got a high-class job as an editor in the Parade District, the richest part of town. He become 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 the pill and forget.
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 too depressing or reminds people of the things they're trying to forget through Joy). Arthur comes across a newspaper article about him and his brother winning a scrap gathering prize and starts to remember Percy, upsetting him. Arthur 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, the game prematurely ends and the credits start. If Arthur refuses to take the pill, Victoria Byng enters his office and reminds him to finish up so he can come to the party. On the way, he 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 a worker to take Joy.
When he arrives at the party, he finds everyone else gathered around a piñata which Byng tells him to hit (essentially a tutorial to the game's fighting mechanics). After hitting the "piñata”, the residual Joy in his system loses their effect and he sees he was actually hitting a rat, and the "candy" the others are eating is actually its entrails. He retches, which causes Victoria to notice that he has gone off his Joy, and offer some of hers. When he hesitates to take it, she realizes that he has become a Downer and calls for the Bobbies. Arthur escapes, only to be cornered in a sewer 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. Arthur then blacks out.
The Garden District, and Encountering Ollie
Arthur wakes up in the maintenance tunnels beneath Wellington Wells, where he remembers a fellow worker named Prudence who went missing and deduces she might have escaped the same way. He exits out of them into the Garden District and starts planning to escape Wellington Wells to find Percy by getting a Letter of Transit and exiting through the Parade District via underground tunnels. He goes through many tasks, including fighting in an arena, fetching medals, and crafting a torn up suit. He eventually meets his old neighbor Ollie Starkey again for the first time in years at the Cathedral, and Ollie, who doesn't recognize Arthur at first and has begun to lose his mind, attacks Arthur until Arthur manages to get through to him. Ollie tasks Arthur with helping him infiltrate the Military Camp by turning off the power in order to rob them. All while this is happening, Arthur has also started remembering bits and pieces of his past, mostly in the form of remembered 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. When children were sent off by train to Germany, Arthur told them they had actually gotten his date of wrong and he was a few days older than fourteen, so he ended up getting rejected while Percy was forced onto the train without him. He still doesn't know why he "told them the truth."
Before infiltrating the Military Camp, Arthur wonders why the Germans left behind their tanks after they'd gotten the children. While inside the camp, Arthur climbs a shed roof overlooking the abandoned German tanks in the camp, where spotlight sees him and he ends up jumps onto one of the tanks, only to go through it. He discovers that the tanks in the camp were nothing but fakes placed there by the Germans to deter any sort of rebellion during the occupation. He later brings this up with Ollie, stating that they could've fought the Germans if they had known that the Germans didn't really have tanks. He also 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 decides to give him a piece of machinery to use as an excuse to enter Maidenholm. Arthur passes a quiz at the bridge into the district, and is welcomed by the populace.
The Hamlyn Village, and Meeting Sally
Arthur traverses Hamlyn Village, completing tasks for different people. He eventually runs into Sally Boyle, who is excited to see him. She notices that he is off his Joy, and he says 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 and hateful, and is angry about something she supposedly did while living in his house. Arthur then tries to apologize, but Sally leaves (but not before telling where to find her, at her home).
Arthur continues to solve his problems through various means, most often through lying and manipulation. He also re-encounters the Constable in a police station, but doesn't fully recognize him, and instead has pieces of memories return to him.
Eventually completing tasks such as locating a Bobby's identification at a sex club and helping Doctor Faraday out of her imprisonment, Arthur eventually goes to see Sally in her home, where he apologizes for his actions, though still expresses his anger at her. She tells him to get a bottle of cod liver oil for her in exchange for a Letter of Transit from Byng, to which Arthur harshly agrees. She then kisses him, causing Arthur to flee in fear. This quest leads him to Anton Verloc's lab, which is in a state of chaos, and Arthur discovers that Verloc plans to essentially "lobotomize" the population of Wellington Wells with an even stronger version of Joy, which will drive people insane. Arthur attempts to throw Verloc's own chemical at him in order to destroy his mind, but Verloc electrocutes him and escapes.
Returning to Sally, Arthur gives her the cod liver oil, but from the way she acts, assumes that she sent him on a pointless quest for a souvenir. He then brings out into the open how Sally "had sex with his father in his mother's bed," unaware or perhaps ignoring how his father would've kicked her out if she hadn't, in order to guilt her, and Sally sadly gives him the Letter of Transit. Arthur then states that she was the only person really innocent in all of their troubles. He then offers to take her with him, to which she agrees, 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.
The Parade District, and 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 out of the city, from modelling to fixing machines for an engineer. Arthur eventually gets captured by Joy Doctors in their hospital, and is experimented on, seeing hallucinations of Percy. Eventually, the power goes on the fritz and Arthur starts a riot among the Plague Wastrels locked up in there. Running through the town (as the Plague is breaking quarantine) with symptoms of Joy withdrawal, Arthur makes his way to the broadcast tower. He causes major damage there, and goes into the 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. He manages to make it to the bridge, finally believing that he has just used Percy as an excuse because he isn't strong-willed enough to escape for himself.
There, Arthur encounters the Constable, who, upon removing his mask (stating that it's itchy), is recognized by Arthur, and he finally properly remembers his past. Arthur realizes he actually used Percy's ID to trick the suspicious Constable into allowing him to stay in Wellington Wells, letting Percy take the fall and be dragged kicking and screaming by guards onto the train, calling out to Arthur. Arthur grieves over his brother that he betrayed, and the Constable tells him that they've all done terrible things, and states 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. The Constable then begins to escort Arthur across the bridge.
Arthur is encountered by Sally at the same location as in Act One, but from Sally's perspective. Several things go differently, chief among them Arthur storming off instead of staying to apologize. 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, and as Arthur abandons her, she reveals that she has a baby, but Arthur brushes this shocking statement off and leaves.
Arthur is only encountered in the final cut-scene with Ollie here, but from Ollie's perspective. Things are almost perfectly identical, but with several slight dialogue differences, and Ollie immediately helping Arthur.
As Arthur and the Constable walk across the bridge, Arthur continues to hear Percy crying out, and upon questioning from the Constable, Arthur laments how heinous he truly is. The Constable notes that some people are better prepared to handle the truth and the guilt that comes with it, and offers Arthur an Oblivion Pill that will make him permanently forget everything. Should Arthur accept, he forgets presumably the events of the game and goes back to Wellington Wells, and can be seen playing on playground equipment in a dilapidated and overgrown area. If Arthur refuses, the Constable puts away the pill and allows Arthur to finish his journey on his own. Arthur can then be seen saying "Lovely day for it!" to various plants and rocks, and then encounters a boy with a ball, who Arthur tries the same greeting with. The boy retorts by saying it's actually been a shitty day and it's been raining all day, and that tonight will be bad too. Arthur, with a smile on his face, then states to the boy, "You're right. It has been rather a shit day."
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, which possibly led to Percy's death. However, Arthur still loved Percy despite what he had done to him, and felt extraordinarily guilty over time. When Joy came into existence, he seized the opportunity to forget, only much later realizing that he can't afford to forget anymore.
When the Constable 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 (which is futile, as he seemed to be killed with the rest of the children sent to Germany), showing that he plans to make up for what he did.
Sally was Arthur's childhood friend and crush. Sally seemed to like Arthur as well, highlighted by the time that they spent together. Arthur's family took Sally in when her mother killed herself and the rest of the family, 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 (although refusing to would have ended badly for her).
When the two meet again 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 past.
From their differing perspectives, the two offer the other one the opportunity to leave Wellington Wells together, but it ultimately doesn't happen, as Sally needs time to get her affairs in order before she can leave, causing Arthur to abandon her, stating that it's nothing personal. This closes the door on any future relations with one another.
Ollie and Arthur's relationship is a little more unclear, as the two seemed to simply be neighbors. Apparently, though, Ollie knew Arthur's mother (judging by his comment about Arthur swearing) and he would let Arthur play in his house.
Years later, Ollie seems to have believed that Arthur had been taken away by the Germans, most likely because of his deception. Ollie then decides to exploit Arthur by having him help out with robbing the Victory Memorial Camp blind. Ollie seems less concerned for Arthur's safety, as he leaves out some important parts about the security in there, but ultimately decides to help Arthur get to civilization, perhaps because of their friendship. Ollie and Arthur never see each other again after that.
An old friend of Arthur and Percy. Arthur saved Eddie from the Plough Boys and carried him after the gang apparently 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 any of the basic tools from workbenches or chem labs, can wield any weapon he can make or find, and can even have no conditions that negatively affect him if the player gets the skill, Tireless for him. Two of his abilities are simply cosmetic and the other two are positive ones:
- Odd Man Out: Defensive and Sarcastic. (Arthur makes a remark to certain actions such as taking down enemies, running out of stamina, putting on different outfits, greeting people, and even remarking at the leaking motilene pipe as it explodes.)
- 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 line of sight of angry people. (Arthur can disguise himself as a regular Wellie when sitting down on chairs or benches as long as people aren't hostile)