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 (69 reviews) - 84% of the 69 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (3,083 reviews) - 81% of the 3,083 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.

7 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
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Very Positive (69 reviews)
Very Positive (3,083 reviews)
Recently Posted
Chill Gorilla
25.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 23
It's an incredible game worth every penny.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
6.1 hrs on record
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 on record
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 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
Helpful? Yes No Funny
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.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Lo Zio B
14.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 21
Well made and creepy.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
18.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 21
I ****ing love LOVE LOVE this game, too much fun, the stories, the beautiful world, everything about this. Do yourself a favor and pick this gem up. Sell it in Fallen London then go out to Zee and die, and die again. Then die some more. + + +
Helpful? Yes No Funny
50.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 20
Roguelike exploration and novel. This game its hard to understand at first glance. when you pass the starting hours of boring navigation gameplay you get caught into a deep and organic unterzee word, filled with misteries and cool stories. MASTERPIECE.

Helpful? Yes No Funny
7.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 19
You look at this game, save that money and go grab yourself a beer.

Game is like this:

Read. Die. Lose everything. Read all over again. Get further. Die. Read. Read. Read. Wait, is this a game I'm playing? Oh yeah, I should read this.

All that fancy writting seems fun at first 3-4 hours. After that it just becomes an annoyance, where you just want to do something like a quest, without spending 10 minutes on reading non informative text.

If you still want to pla... (*cough cough*) read this game, go pla... (*cough*) read the online version which is FREE.

This would be a nice game if it was free.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
32.9 hrs on record
Posted: August 19
trying to find a skeleton dad has never been more salty
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
22 of 22 people (100%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
24.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 23
"We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far." - H.P. Lovecraft

...you know what you do in this game? You take a look at those black seas and voyage the ♥♥♥♥ on out there. There are a lot of horror games on Steam, and there's fantasy and sci-fi aplenty, but Sunless Sea stands out for being a true work of weird fiction. It's about horror, and it's about survival, but it's not a zombie shooter or a walking simulator with jump scares. It's a steampunk game that feels dark and wondrous and strange instead of slapping a couple gears and monocles on everybody and calling it a day.

Go forth, bold zee-captain. Navigate under false stars and take shore leave at sundry isles shrouded in fog and wreathed in uncanny flora. But watch your provisions carefully. Should you fail, you won't go gently into that good night. You'll go kicking and screaming, with a mad glint in your eye and the taste of your crewmates' flesh on your tongue.

I wish you all safe travels, and pleasant dreams.
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37 of 58 people (64%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
48.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 25
Stories and lore
Difficulty and risk vs reward

The pacing is way too slow.
The rate at which you run out of fuel and supplies is needlessly harsh and punishes exploration.

Why I can't recommend-
They completely missed the opportunity to make each play-through truly unique. You expect to die a lot in games like these, but when I first died in Sunless Sea I was surprised to see that there were options for me to pass down certain traits to my next captain or (if you did really good) even begin the game as an heir of my previous captain's fortune. Sounds great, but it's horribly implemented. The game doesn't randomize the map when you die, which is fine, but all of the stories reset as if your previous captain never burnt down a certain house or whatever it may be. Essentially, the best you can expect from this game is a repetitive experience where it becomes less about "luck" or "randomness" and wise decisions and more about memorizing the same quest lines and navigating the same map over and over again (let's not forget hor absurdly slow this game is paced) until you go crazy like one of the sailors in the game and want to throw your captain (the devs) overboard.
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16 of 21 people (76%) found this review helpful
18 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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10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
101.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 26
A very unique game. So unique I can't think of anything to lazily compare it to, so I'll just have to essay up the things I really like about it.

Atmosphere. Conveyed to you with far more lecture and suspense than most recent games would want to risk. One of the first things you can do in Sunless Sea sums the mood up pretty well: you receive a pet for your crew, the Comatose Ferret. Interacting with it reveals that it used to be happy living among its kin, until you locked it up to rot on your ship. It suffers. If you wake it up it bites you. It is pretty much useless. Eventually, you can have it fashioned into a ferret-coat to gain a few stats.
Most people in Fallen London are miserable ferrets. Jostled helplessly in their prisons, at the mercy of inconceivable forces. The few bold souls that venture out to lay claim to some material or spiritual ambition quickly end up dead, or worse. You are an insignificant struggler, soon overwhelmed and erased - your only hope is that you are not forgotten by those who might follow in your footsteps.

As you explore the zee, you will find many tasks to follow and decisions to make. Maybe even too many to keep track of between sessions. Fortunately all your interactions and objectives are reviewable as items in your Journal, along with the status of individuals, nations and other powers you've encountered. There is also a Curiosities section of the inventory with no carrying limit, where the game will store your abstract possessions such as information, debuffs and special conditions, also in the form of items. This system of retaining almost everything as an item allows the vast varieties of event triggers and quest states to remain transparent for the player.

Roguelike elements are present, but do not clash with the semi-persistent progression. Death means you have to start over with the entire world and most resources reset, but exploring the world becomes easier as you learn of its risks and opportunities, and you will unlock more upgrades to pass on to your next captain.
RNG is a factor almost everywhere, but is applied expertly; never do I feel entirely at its mercy. You'll learn which stats to boost to improve your odds in specific situations, and there are often options to back out of risky gambles or ways to influence outcomes using resources. Chance doesn't work entirely against you either, as there are methods to get out of disastrous situations with a little luck... or at the very least you'll know to better pick your fights next time.

Not everything is intuitive, but it doesn't have to be - there's such an abundance of paths and path-forks that it hardly matters where you start. You can chase whatever seems most interesting to you, and you will inevitably learn about most things around it. That's a vague description of how I felt while playing, but I think people are bound to have wildly differing experiences with this game. If you like to toil for hours trying to understand the game organically I can confirm you will have a blast, and a tremendous amount of playtime. Fifty hours in I am still accumulating knowledge and incrementally improving, it still feels rewarding and there's still tons of content I haven't explored. Using the term "learning curve" is hardly doing it justice, it's more a series of learning rollercoasters.

That's my overview of the gameplay. There's good things to be said about prose and soundtrack, but they are more matters of taste. I can't think of anything strikingly bad in this game, probably due to lack of comparison. Well, maybe engine power could be made more useful. Or maybe the huge $5000 engine could have a percentage sellback value like other equipment, instead of being worth nothing after purchase. That is the only major pitfall so far I would've appreciated being informed of and that I'd recommend new players to avoid.

One last thing. I think there could be more of this. In many ways the concepts of the game appear to me very expandable. There's a lot of stuff. They could easily add more stuff. There could be another game in the same frameworks, but with new stuff. I want that stuff.
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5 of 5 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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5 of 5 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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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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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
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
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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