LOSE YOUR MIND. EAT YOUR CREW. DIE. Take the helm of your steamship and set sail for the unknown! Sunless Sea is a game of discovery, loneliness and frequent death, set in the award-winning Victorian Gothic universe of Fallen London.
User reviews:
Very Positive (66 reviews) - 87% of the 66 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (3,088 reviews) - 81% of the 3,088 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 6, 2015

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Recent updates View all (56)

August 16

Zubmariner will be released on 11 October 2016!

Enjoy this update with video and images on our blog

Zubmariner brings an entire second layer to Sunless Sea, including new cities and ports to explore, packed with our trademark: agonising choices presented in beautiful prose.

“Beneath the Unterzee it’s dark, hostile, littered with plunderable wrecks and haunted by the worst horrors of the Neath,” says Narrative Director Chris Gardiner. “You aren't meant to be down there. You're a trespasser. But that makes you both sacred and profane to those who dwell below.

“The ports on the zee bed are a level weirder than those on the surface, and their inhabitants have been changed by the deeps. Some are hiding, some are hateful, some are mad. Some are all three, and have very big ambitions. Players may have something to say about that."

Zubmariner also brings new zee-beasts, shipwrecks and flora to discover.

Art Director and Failbetter CEO Paul Arendt says, “Below the water, you’re limited by oxygen and the reach of your sonar. You can use sonar to highlight items of interest around you, but they may not be friendly. The zee-beasts you’re used to on the surface have little on the horrors of their underwater friends, including at least one new enemy who is as powerful as Mt Nomad.”

Director of Development Liam Welton adds, “This is an expansion in the truest sense: we've created the entire zee-floor, using a combination of procedural generation and hand drawn art. The ability to dive changes the whole flow of the game, bringing more flavour to long zee-journeys without compromising the loneliness and nail-biting close escapes which people enjoyed so much in Sunless Sea.”

Zubmariner will be available for $10.99 (or £7.99 in the UK), on Humble, GoG and Steam. It is free to anyone who bought Sunless Sea in Early Access.

EGX and Twitchcon

To see the finished version of Zubmariner first, come and see us at EGX in Birmingham, UK! Paul, Chris and Liam will be interviewed about the expansion at 4pm GMT on Saturday 24 Sept, and there will definitely be a live stream for those of you who aren't able to make it.

We’ll also be teasing the very first details of our NEXT GAME. Which is obviously tremendously exciting.

Find out more about EGX and get tickets

We’re also going to Twitchcon in San Diego, where Hannah and Kyra will be showing Zubmariner in the Expo floor indie area, hanging out and giving out goodies! Look out for live streams from the indie area too - we’ll share a link when we have it.

Find out more about Twitchcon and get tickets

17 comments Read more

August 11

Fan Art Competition: The Zee!

Zailors, our fan art competition last year was absolutely delightful, so we would like to hold another!

This year, we’re celebrating the upcoming release of Zubmariner: the first expansion to our PC/Mac/Linux game, Sunless Sea (we'll have a release date for you next week, by the way).

In Zubmariner, your zee-captain will have to make tougher decisions and face more terrible zee-beasts than ever before. Death is closer, beneath the Unterzee.

How to Enter

Create art in your chosen style on the following theme: The Zee!

Interpret this in any way you see fit, as long as the image obviously relates back to the theme. Winning entries will be judged by their use of the theme, rather than artistic ability.

Send your submission to competitions@failbettergames.com by 19 September 2016. We will make sure to share all submissions on our Tumblr so everyone can see!

We will review all the entries and repost a gallery of our top 10. The top 10 will be up for community vote until 26 September, and all 10 will receive a copy of Sunless Sea and its soundtrack, along with the upcoming Zubmariner DLC! In addition, the top 3 will receive:

Exclusive Fallen London jewellery
Our brand new, carefully crafted Dawn Machine jewellery (either black or gold, and a choice of necklace, brooch, or keyring)! These very limited edition pieces are hand-made by us from laser-cut acrylic.

100 Fate and 3 months of Exceptional Friendship in Fallen London
Fallen London is the game that originated Sunless Sea's universe: a massive online text adventure with 1.5 million words of stories.

This means 3 months of membership, 3 brand-new stories, and enough in-game currency to sample some Fate-locked stories (or just refresh actions furiously).

More prizes to be announced!

Competition Guidelines
  • The piece must fit the theme of the Zee. It doesn’t have to be a new piece, but pieces which clearly don’t fit the theme will not be taken into account.
  • Please, nothing NSFW. We’ve got interns; their minds are still so very fresh.
  • JPGS, GIFS and PNGs will be accepted. See Tumblr’s image guidelines to make sure your image will look its best.
  • The competition is open internationally. The piece must be made by you, and submitted by you.
  • Your ask must be open, or you must include alternate contact details when posting your piece. If we can’t contact you within a week of voting closing, we’ll move on to the person with the next highest number of votes.
  • Any attempt to manipulate voting will be cause for disqualification. We trust you not to do anything like this, and to know when ‘trying to drum up support’ turns into spamming or manipulating either the system or other people.
  • Full terms and conditions.

    Best of luck, zailors! If you have any questions, drop us a line and we’ll try to help.

8 comments Read more


“Sunless Sea's method of storytelling isn't unique, but it has never been realised with such impact and elegance.”
10/10 – Eurogamer

“Absolutely the best writing in any video game since, well, as long as I can remember.”
10/10 – PCGamesN

“a very compelling and satisfying adventure... The realm of possibilities seems endless, and every time I set sail I find something new.”
9/10 – Destructoid

About This Game


Take the helm of your steamship and set sail for the unknown! Sunless Sea is a game of discovery, loneliness and frequent death, set in the award-winning Victorian Gothic universe of Fallen London.

If the giant crabs, sentient icebergs and swarms of bats don’t get you, madness and cannibalism certainly will. But that old black ocean beckons, and there’s loot for the brave souls who dare to sail her.

Betray your crew, sell your soul to a Devil, marry your sweetheart. Survive long enough and you’ll achieve your life’s ambition.

You will die, but your legacy will live on…

Key features

  • A deep, compelling world packed with 200,000+ words of stories and secrets. Find your father’s bones. Determine London’s destiny. Defy the gods of the deep sea.
  • Beautiful, hand drawn art - castles of sparkling ice, prisons perched on lily pads, fog-shrouded lighthouses and the DAWN MACHINE.
  • Your captain will die. But you can pass on resources from one generation to the next. Acquire a family home and a hoard of heirlooms. Build up your own story across generations of zailors who braved the sea and lost - or won...
  • Real-time combat against ships and Zee-beasts, spider-crewed dreadnoughts and sentient icebergs.
  • Light and dark, terror and madness: stray too far from the gas-lamps of civilisation and your crew will grow fearful and eventually lose their sanity.
  • Upgrade your steamship with powerful engines, cannons and pneumatic torpedo guns. (Or buy a bigger, better ship.)
  • Hire unique officers like the Haunted Doctor and the Irrepressible Cannoneer. Each has a story to tell, if you can draw it out of them.
  • Choose a ship’s mascot: the Comatose Ferret, the Wretched Mog, the Elegiac Cockatoo, and more!
  • Trade or smuggle silk and souls, mushroom wine and hallucinogenic honey.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows XP or later
    • Processor: 2Ghz or better
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1280x768 minimum resolution, DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
    • Processor: 2Ghz or better
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 1280x768 minimum resolution, DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card
    • Storage: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Very Positive (66 reviews)
Very Positive (3,088 reviews)
Recently Posted
26.5 hrs
Posted: August 25
This is the story of Tsu Wen Laka. A philosopher who set sail from Fallen London, Laka wandered aimlessly and foolishly took a job from a "Cheery" Man. The Man warned him not to return without completing the job, but couldn't actually mark Laka's map to show him where he was supposed to go. Laka could not find the island, desperately returned to London to resupply, and was murdered by his employer.

So, actually, this is the story of Ashta Ruual. A war veteran who set out north, Ruual decided to go past the world's end, and lost all his supplies. Desperate for food, he engaged a pirate vessel many times his strength and was sunk.

So, actually, this is the story of Tilly DuPont. An urchin, she was way more successful than her rivals before her. The first to visit the world above, and raise a foundling as a Scion. Her affairs with her engineer, however, earned the ire of her lover in London, who left with the child. Driven to madness, she attempted to sail past the Dawn Machine, which only drove her deeper into insanity. Invariably, her crew turned on her, and she was killed.

So, actually, this is the story of the Shadowed Stranger, who's owner gave up and started reading the Wiki. The Stranger was able to get several important tomes necessary to raise the stats of his predecessor. He was the first to actually be able to upgrade his ship, and ventured beyond the High Gate with the Merchant.

So, actually, this is the story of Mara Sei. A disgraced priest, Mara Sei...

Et cetera.

The most frustrating part of this game is its lack of direction. You'll get vague instructions like "in the southern corner of the map" which is a vast expanse that will sap all of your fuel to reach, let alone explore, and then you'll struggle and die. On the other hand, if you explore too slowly, the Admiralty doesn't pay well enough to keep food in your hold.

This is a game that simultaneously rewards and punishes caution. They want you to play on their hardcore mode (autosaves only), but it's pretty brutal. Especially since the map changes on each playthrough.

On the other hand, this is a fascinating world and story, but I have no sense of what the history of the world is.

Helpful? Yes No Funny
51.1 hrs
Posted: August 25
Superb game. The writing, visuals, sound, and music are all fantastic. I'll concede the gameplay itself can get repetitve but I didn't feel bored very often anyways. For those that do feel bored with the early-game grind, I suggest you start venturing out further, and also paying attention to what goes on in ports. Many are interconnected in interesting ways. And remember, you can and should run away from most fights early on.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.9 hrs
Posted: August 24
In one playthrough I...
  • Got a girlfriend
  • Had said girlfriend give birth to my "fatherless" child
  • Became the quintessential loser father and ditched my family
  • Hired a ferret as a crew member
  • Started a war between two rival groups of rats
  • Became a war hero
  • Offended a local rat-merchant
  • Was banished from the very country I helped found
  • Went crazy
  • Had my crew draw straws every week to determine who we will eat
  • Ran out of fuel in giant-crab infested waters
  • Prayed to every god in the game for fuel (including but not limited to, Posideon, Neptune, Zeus, and Satan)
  • Cut myself in order to please some war-god
  • Realized that the crab-infested water looks really nice.
  • Went for a swim
  • Died
  • ...
  • ...
  • ...
  • Then a buddy of mine goes out to do the whole thing all over again
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Lvl 86 Vulpix
93.8 hrs
Posted: August 24
I love this game and its seemingly endless playability. The ambience, the quests, the characters, the story... the exploration. I got more than my money's worth out of this game. It is challenging and I tend to get invested pretty quickly in whatever motivation my character has. I highly recommend.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
42.0 hrs
Posted: August 24
Of course there is nice setting, and story...
But the game just wouldn't let you go, you know, you just must take another one trip, and another one, and another one.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
8.7 hrs
Posted: August 24
So, I really like the atmosphere and stuff, but so far I've spent eight hours carefully making my way out, running out of money, and dying at sea thanks to lack of fuel. It was neat and unique the first few times, now I just can't imagine making yet another captain so I can desperately try to find money only to fail and yet again run out of fuel and die at sea. It just isn't fun anymore, and I want to get to the fun parts. The rest of the game looks like it might be awesome, but it's locked behind this endless circle of dying forever, and I just can't keep wasting my time.

Which makes me sad, because this looks like it should be awesome.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Chill Gorilla
25.8 hrs
Posted: August 23
It's an incredible game worth every penny.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.1 hrs
Posted: August 22
This game is neither as tactical nor as action-oriented as the marketing videos would have you believe, but it's still an excellent game.
Very focused on story-telling through text and world-building through diverse and varied settings.
The writing is excellent, while the stories are creative and interesting.
If you like games that have a great story, I highly recommend Sunless Sea. I just was expecting it to be more tense and gameplay heavy.
I say anyone interested in this game should check out the browser-based "Fallen London" before buying, since that's what a large chunk of the game is like.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
9.8 hrs
Posted: August 22
I love the lore, and the setting is splendid, but I just can't get behind the gameplay. Recommended if you're a big fan of the former, not recommended if you're a fan of the latter.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
32.1 hrs
Posted: August 21
Deep beneath the somber waves
Where no light has ever shone
Far beyond the lifeless reefs
You'll forever be alone

Blind you eyes with candlelight
Eat you crew, set terrors free
Vanish in eternal night
Of a gloomy, sunless sea
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
18 of 23 people (78%) found this review helpful
23 people found this review funny
12.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 3
An incredibly in-depth cannibalism simulator where you can partake in a war against hamsters.

You can also play properly, I guess.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 28
Sunless Sea is an ever changing roleplay. This was suggested to me by a good friend that knows of my love of stories, reading, and Lovecraftian and Gothic Horror. The game allows the player to live several lives as several zee captains, each one different, each one presented with different choices. There is danger, adventure, intruige, piracy, and even opportunities for a lonely captain to find a little romance, so long as it is kept discrete. I've found this to be one of those addictive games with constant "what happens next" moments. I've also discovered it is really handy to keep a pad of paper nearby and a pen to keep note of the goals and directions you are given, as I've had to start out with blank charts twice so far.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
130.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 4
This is literally one of my favorite games I have ever played, the world is so expansive and detailed, the number of stories available is amazing. I have numerous playthroughs in this game numerous times and have not gotten bored of it, not to mention I've played for 120 hours and have yet to finish it in the first place. The only thing its lacking is good character art in my opinion. 9.5/10 (super excited for the new zubmariner DLC)
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
9.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 15
Dripping with story and atmosphere. Slow moving but worth the journey. The soundtrack and art are also excellent!
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
32.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 21
Deep beneath the somber waves
Where no light has ever shone
Far beyond the lifeless reefs
You'll forever be alone

Blind you eyes with candlelight
Eat you crew, set terrors free
Vanish in eternal night
Of a gloomy, sunless sea
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
152.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
One of the main complaints for this game seems to be repitition, but if you've found it repetitive, that just means you haven't gone terribly deep yet. There is SOME repitition - As there's bound to be, and it's good repitition too - but the further you advance, the more branches there are to explore. Will you let Maybe go, or convince her to stay on your ship? I haven't found out what happens if you let her go yet. Will you find a lover, even multiple? What happens if your nightmares become too strong? Have these people sided with London, or the people of the Dawn Machine, or-- But that's going into spoiler territory.
I haven't COMPLETED any of the supremacy stories yet, either, because they're long and difficult and there's always something that sinks you somewhere along the line. You slip up, you become insane, you meet the GLORIOUS DREADNAUGHT in combat too soon. Don't trust the bruiser, his deals can bring a swift end to the unprepared. Make note of where islands are LIKELY to appear, there are patterns. Buy a house, write a will, gather heirlooms, it makes your next captain's life easier, and you'll need that.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
10.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 21
As much as I love the aesthetic, the story, the look and feel of everything in this game, it feels like it goes to great lengths to literally waste your time.

I absolutely cannot agree with a roguelike permadeath in an RPG like this. Sure, the world shifts, island locations will move and require exploration on death, but the player doesn't see the world as new and you'll be cycling through the same couple of quests and dialog trees wasting your time trying to catch up. Be warned, permadeath is on by default.

The oddest thing though, a vast sea is available to explore but requires considerable resources. Fuel and supplies run out extremely quickly and will always be scarce. Instead of trying to save up funds for a bigger ships, better equipment, tradeable cargo, or repairs, your fuel and supply reserves will be constantly drained and punished for simply exploring the game. Sure, simply traveling between ports will net you a valuable "port report" to deliver to London, combined with any cargo you can manage to get your hands on, you can scrape a profit together that overcomes the loses to fuel and supply consumption.

But that's my point -- the game constantly feels like 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Certainly, you can overcome given enough time, but your gains and time are constantly wasted as you play.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
24.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 12
zet zail and zeek your fortune.

Surprising depth, well delivered rogue lite elements, and an interesting world to explore make for a winning combination.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
8.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 17
It's a roguelite survival/exploration game with one of the most unique & immersive writings, settings I've seen..
Along with beautifully drawn art in a generally creepy atmosphere, makes for a well-crafted experience..

You are a captain making his/her way in Fallen London of the Under 'Zee.. Make connections & experience tales in every new ports, where your choices & actions will have profound effect on your fate & others..
Trade & commerce, fight monsters & superstitions alike while keeping your life & sanity, for if you die, all is loss..
But, your descendant can start again, with things you've written into your will..!! & they too, will try to fulfill their ambitions or die trying..

Cuz the 'Zee is endless, the 'Zee is dark, the 'Zee will kill you. Your heart belongs to the dark gods of the 'Zee now....
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
14.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 21
Well made and creepy.
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