Explore a universe steeped in celestial horror and ravaged by Victorian ambition in this literary RPG for PC, Mac and Linux. The successor to Sunless Sea.
All Reviews:
Mostly Positive (31) - 77% of the 31 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Aug 30, 2017
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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“The feedback we received in Early Access for Sunless Sea was pivotal to its development, and we would like to work with players once again to shape Sunless Skies.

Opening the game to players in Early Access will provide us with crucial feedback to help us create a game that's delicious, delightful, and dangerous. With Sunless Sea, you helped us discover what type of combat worked, what accessibility features were necessary and how much cannibalism truly meant to you.

We still feel there’s plenty of lessons to learn, and hope you’re excited to help us craft the most exhilarating way to propel through space in a locomotive, kill a sun and much much more. Though to be absolutely clear, we’re looking for those people who don’t mind playing a game at an early state to help us sort out bugs and mechanics. If you’re looking for a fully polished, bug-free game, we wholly recommend you wait until our full release.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We expect Early Access to last approximately nine months, but this may change depending on the feedback we receive from you.

If feedback tells us to redesign a large system (such as combat), this may extend our final launch date. However, this would mean the final game will be better than it would have been without this redesign, which is why we've elected to take part in Early Access again.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“Our initial version for the Early Access release will only include one of the four game regions: the Reach. As development continues, other regions will be added to the game. Regions consists of a host of new places to explore, including a large number of new stories, art, music, enemies and mechanics.

Gameplay-wise, a basic, though broad, mechanical basis for the final game will be available from the start of Early Access: a lot of our design will be in, though there will be much to iterate on. You’ll be able to explore the skies, dock at ports, interact with stories, fight and die.

Throughout development we will release updates that add polish and add more complexity to the mechanics you see at launch. We’ll also of course be adding more locomotives, ports, sky-beasts, loot, equipment, discoveries, wrecks, characters and stories.

Along with this, we will continue to add more long-form features and systems to the game, such as character creation, character progression and Ambitions.

Initially, mouse and keyboard will be the only option for controls, though the game has been designed with controller support compatibility in mind. The same goes for accessibility features—we've aimed to make Sunless Skies as accessible as possible, but you may not see accessibility features in-game until further along in development.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“When we launch in Early Access, players will have access to a small but functional piece of the entire game: a vertical slice. This is one of the major reasons we decided to launch with only one region at the start, so we could give players a small taste of what the final game will be like rather than a big taste of an emptier, less representational world.

Players will be able to experience the basic mechanics they’d expect to find in a Failbetter game, such as Hunger, Terror, combat, exploration and the ability to interact with stories.

We’ve been testing the game for three months in a closed Alpha, in which nearly a thousand of very different players have been helping us find and track bugs, as well as give us general feedback about the feel of the game. The Early Access build will still have bugs as we continue to develop the game, but we are confident that the Reach is at a playable state.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Our current plan is to keep the price the same for both Early Access and full-release.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We cannot wait to let you loose amongst the stars! The feedback we received during the Early Access period of Sunless Sea absolutely made the game what it is today and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on Sunless Skies. Through development we will be looking for your feedback on all aspects of the game.

We have a dedicated Sunless Skies bug report/feedback email ( skies@failbettergames.com ) and will of course be listening to players on our Steam forum, GOG forum, our own Failbetter forum and all our other social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Tumblr). We’ll also be continuing to share our progress through development blogs and our FBG podcasts on Twitch.”
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Recent updates View all (22)

October 10

Onward, to Albion: OCCAM’S RAZOR

The office has still been a bit quiet this sprint due to quite a few people taking holiday in this post-Early Access launch time period. Our Albion work continues to forge ahead in each department. Alongside creating the next region, we remain focused on taking the feedback we’re seeing from players and having internal discussions about our design and production moving forwards.


ART

One area of feedback we’ve been looking at is Terror. Our first Focused Feedback thread on the forums was all about Terror, which led to the discovery that we could do a better job communicating/showing Terror levels to players in-game. Thus, Tobias has been working on how Terror levels and Terror increase are visually communicated on-screen. Later on, music will also be added to help illustrate this as well.

Upon his return from holiday Paul began work on the Isambard Line assets which consist of gates and track. The Isambard Line will be a railroad line located in the Reach, owned by the Windward Company.



Players will have the option to fix the line and bring it back into service or leave it to disrepair. Fixing the line will help the Stove Pipes, while the Tacketies would be rather pleased if it stays unusable. If fixed, the line will act as a fast-travel service throughout the Reach, in a similar way to Currents in Sunless Sea. If left in disarray, you’ll have a better relationship with the Tacketies and may find new trade opportunities open up.


CONTENT

We’re thrilled to announce this sprint that Cassandra Khaw will officially be one of our excellent freelancers for the game! Specifically she’ll be working on Worlebury-juxta-Mare, a seaside-esque port in Albion.

The writers (including our wonderful freelancers) are in full Albion mode and have been busy working away at the content for Albion ports and other bits of Albion content.

Similar to Terror, we’ve also received some great feedback about the game’s economy, and so Chris has been looking into some solutions as he designs and write s content for Prospects and Bargains—or the trade system within Sunless Skies. Chris answered quite a few questions about the future of trade in the last FBG Podcast.

MUSIC

Maribeth, the exceptionally talented composer behind the Fallen London and Sunless Sea OSTs, has started creating the tracks for Albion. Since each region has its own unique atmosphere, the theme music for each region is extremely pivotal. Alongside the Albion music she has also been composing the Terror, Death, Victory and Hero themes.

GAMEPLAY & DESIGN

Mac and Barry have continued implementing both the Character Creation and Legacy systems. The Legacy system in Sunless Skies is designed both to respect players’ time and to address the change players will experience as the move through the map of the High Wilderness.

In Sunless Sea, players always returned to London and often moved from right to left. In Sunless Skies, players will still return to major ports often, but there won’t be a singular ‘home’ port and we hope the circular structure of the regions will put more of an emphasis on exploration and cause more variance in travel pathways.



Players will initially be able to choose from two game modes in the Legacy system: Merciful or Legacy. In Legacy mode, when your captain dies, your new captain will start from the last major port that your previous captain visited, along with:
  • Their locomotive
  • Half their sovereigns
  • Any items they stored in the bank
  • A percentage of their experience

They will also start with most of the equipment assigned to the locomotive, however, players will lose one random piece of equipment from their hold.

When players die in Merciful mode, they can choose between starting with a new captain as in the Legacy mode, or continuing with their previous captain from the last auto-save point.


BUGS & FEEDBACK

Lesleyann would like to remind everyone playing Sunless Skies to check out the Focused Feedback threads on the Steam and FBG forums. So far there are two posted: “Terror” and “Economy, General Progression and World Shape,” with plenty more to come!



Keep an eye out week commencing 23rd October, as we’ll be updating the game with its first new feature build—meaning our first update to the game that will include new bits and pieces and not just bug fixes.

Catch our FBG Podcast this week at 16:00 BST Friday 13th October on Twitch! We’ll be joined with Cash and James, who would adore to answer any writerly questions, or in Cash’s case, singing requests.

REMINDER: Any backers who have not received their game keys yet please email skies@failbettergames.com, as it appears that quite a few people’s keys got eaten by spam filters.
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September 27

Onward, to Albion: NUCLEOSYNTHESIS

This sprint, seven of our crew headed to EGX to showcase Sunless Skies! New and veteran fans alike stopped by to give the game a try and we were delighted to chat with everyone and hear their feedback. On Friday, Chris, Lottie and Adam headed to the EGX stage to chat with Eurogamer’s Johnny Chiodini, which you can watch on Eurogamer’s YouTube page.



ART
With the Early Access launch finished, Paul has departed for a well-deserved holiday, so the art this sprint has primarily been done by Tobias. One of the things he’s been working on is another locomotive: the Altani-class outrider, an evasive locomotive from the Khanate.



Alongside the Altani, he also tackled some Discovery homesteads. There are currently five types of homesteads: eerie, friendly, recently abandoned, hostile and pro-trading.




CONTENT
Content have been continuing their work on Albion and its ports. James and Olivia have been finishing up the writing for ports such as the Serene Mausoleum and Brabazon Workworld, which Caolain has been mechanically QA'ing afterwards.

Chris created the art briefs for Discoveries and Spectacles, which aren't yet in-game.

Discoveries are points of interest in the High Wilderness. A Discovery could be something simple, like a floating crate of munitions, or could be the (hopefully) empty wreck of a crashed locomotive. These Discoveries will provide resources and stories for bold explorers to find.

Spectacles are awe-inspiring locations in the High Wilderness. Some will strike terror into the hearts of your crew, while others may bring them comfort. A wise skyfarer will learn routes that will keep their crew's dread at bay.


GAMEPLAY AND DESIGN
Before heading off to EGX, Barry worked on the Legacy system. This included selecting a Legacy and how new characters are created after a previous character dies. Under the Legacy system, captains may find they inherit a few bits from the expired captain, such as their ship and some donations from the old captain’s acquaintances.

Liam has been tending to the UI work for Character Creation while Henry and Mac have continued the tech work involved in implementing this system.

Mac has also been implementing Experience Gain within the game, so that players will receive the proper figures upon passing landmarks. He's also been working on the Banking Service, which is a feature that will allow players to store some of their items in New Winchester to save space in their locomotive's hold.

Shipyards are also being implemented, which give players the ability to rename their locomotive. Prospects and bargains have also been started. Once these are implemented, players will be able to scope out potential deals for trading.

BUGS AND FEEDBACK
This sprint we’ve started focused feedback sessions on our game forums. The first Feedback Focus we’d like to dive into is Terror. You can find these threads here on our Steam forum or on the FBG forum.


REMINDER: Any backers who have not received their game keys yet please email skies@failbettergames.com, as it appears that quite a few people’s keys got eaten by spam filters.

Our next FBG Podcast will take place this Friday 29th September at 16:00 BST! Come with your content questions at the ready, as we’re hoping to have a writer join us this week.
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About This Game

It is the dawn of the 20th century, and London has taken to the stars! As the captain of a spacefaring locomotive you'll behold wonders and battle cosmic abominations in the furthest heavens. Stake your claim. Fight to survive. Speak to storms. Murder a sun. Face judgement.

Ten years have passed since Sunless Sea, and Queen Victoria has led an exodus from London to the heavens. There, a revitalised British Empire - ambitious and authoritarian - begins to expand across the skies.

The stars are alive. They are the Judgements: vast intelligences that govern all things. But they are dying. One by one, something is snuffing them out, leaving their thrones empty. An opportunistic Victorian Empire is colonising the domains they leave behind, painting its industrial vision upon the fabric of the heavens.

  • Travel between distant ports, unravelling stories, bearing passengers and news, and trading in exotic celestial cargoes.

  • Your every foray into space is as precarious as a Polar expedition. You’ll need to balance your resources carefully and keep an eye on your crew’s Terror to avoid mutiny and death.

  • Your captain's actions could tip the precarious political balance of a region. Will you run guns for the Independents? Or spies for the Empire? Choose wisely – your decisions will affect the story; not just for yourself, but for your future captains as well.

  • Leave your mark on the universe, and be marked in return. When you are creating your captain, every decision is a story, and every story has a consequence.

  • Equip your vessel as you see fit. Would you benefit more from reinforced armour plating, or the additional manpower allowed by external crew pods? ("Soundproof! Cosy! Detachable!")

  • It is not safe in the skies. A captain will need to defend themselves against pirates, scorn-flukes, the Cyst of Faces, and worse.

  • Recruit a gallery of unpredictable characters to crew your locomotive as First Officer, Chief Engineer, Signaller, or Surgeon. Each brings their own skills and stories to your adventures.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP2+
    • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DX9 (shader model 3.0) or DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities
    • Storage: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.9+
    • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DX9 (shader model 3.0) or DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities
    • Storage: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04+, SteamOS+
    • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DX9 (shader model 3.0) or DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities
    • Storage: 700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
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