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:
Positive (45) - 80% of the 45 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 (36)

January 31


Hello, Skyfarers! An update, in which we discuss the EXPLORATION release and the ever-closer reveal of ALBION!

This release pulls in a lot of the work we’ve been talking about from recent sprints (TEKTITE and VEGA):

Discoveries and spectacles are now available! Scavenge from wrecks, harvest hives, investigate (or eat) fungal fragments, mine sky rocks for undiscovered hours, scour flotsam and jetsam for random treasures, and carry Curators' Eggs to port before they can hatch.

At the edge of Old Tom's Well, you can discover the Pitchkirk and its bitter sect. Those who can prove they have been aggrieved may even be allowed to take part in their services and enact their well-rite: the Rite of Wrongs (which will modify your captain's skills).

You’ll notice a lot of fun (“fun”) changes to Terror: new visual and audio effects and terror music made by Maribeth that will make the atmosphere more and more tense and unbearable.

Fog and locomotive headlights will work together to add atmosphere to your journey, help you target enemies during combat and make it easier to discern which elements on screen are possible to crash into. Docking will be automatic. You’ll be able to tell how many sovereigns you have more easily.

The next release, coming at the end of February, will cover MOVEMENT AND COMBAT, including work based on your feedback.

With exceeding joy, we can confirm the release after will be ALBION. A whole additional region, with its own look, feel and surprises. If you’ll permit us some over-excitement, it’s time to get on board the SPACE HYPE TRAIN.

It almost goes without saying, but releasing an additional region into the game will immediately make the play experience something much more like the final game; in all likelihood it will be the biggest appreciable change to the game during Early Access for you as players. We are intensely nervous and excited to reveal it to you.

Our next FBG Podcast has been moved to Tuesday 6 February at 4:00pm GMT so that we can take a moment to celebrate Sunless Sea’s third birthday. So bring your captain’s logs and memories to share! We’d also love to show off Sunless Sea fanart, so leave us a link here or tweet to @failbettergames and we’ll cover as much as we can!

As ever, we’re taking your feedback on the Steam, GOG and Failbetter forums. We can’t wait to hear what you make of these changes!

AND - hooray - you can come and meet the team to chat about Sunless Skies at EGX Rezzed! We’ll be there from the 13th to the 15th of April and we’re excited to see you.

Your friends,
Failbetter Games
9 comments Read more

January 31

Patch Notes - (31st January 2018)

Build Version:
Release Date: 31/01/2018

What’s New
Spectacles have arrived! Some of these are existing assets that have been spruced up and had a Terror effect applied, others are new sights to discover. Some Spectacles will fill your crew with a sense of wonder and your Terror level will decrease whenever you’re basking in their beauty. The High Wilderness however is also filled with many horrors and a lot of Spectacles will increase your rate of Terror gain whenever you get too close.

Each wonder and horror spectacle has a charge which begins to dissipate and apply its Terror effect when you enter its immediate area. Once the charge has run out, your normal rate of Terror gain will resume. The time over which the Terror effect is applied varies from Spectacle to Spectacle, and while it eventually runs out they do recharge so plan your journeys carefully.

Our first batch of discoveries are in place. Scattered across the Reach you’ll find abandoned wrecks, homesteads, mineable sky-rocks and hives to mention just a few. Flotsam and jetsam litters the space between ports and you’ll be able to pick up a number of items from them on your travels. Some discoveries have accompanying storylets and while most will disappear after interaction or on leaving the segment, some are perpetual. Two permanent discoveries found in the Reach are Old Tom’s Well and Wreck of the Parzifal. Both have storylets though Old Tom’s Well also has a Spectacle-like terror effect when you approach it. You’ll understand why when you find it. Happy hunting!

Fog and Lighting
Fog has crept into the Reach helping to build the mood and sense of dread as you explore areas unknown. Unfortunately with this increase in atmosphere came a decrease in visibility, making it even harder to see what objects you could collide with.

To combat this we’ve introduced the long-awaited locomotive headlight. The headlight is purely to help with navigation, there are no mechanics (such as increased fuel consumption) applied to it and as such it cannot be turned off. This perpetual beam is there to help guide you through the Reach and see what you can and cannot crash into. Anything on the collidable level will stop the light passing over it, creating eerie shadows and beautiful scenes of dancing debris. Light will pass underneath bridges too making them much easier to distinguish.

Another benefit is the effect it has during combat. The headlight acts as a targeting reticle, helping you to see when your weapons are lined up and also when you are in your enemy's line of fire (for mechanical beasties as least).

New Docking System
There’s now an auto-docking system in place at all ports in the Reach. As your locomotive pulls into the entrance of a dock the docking system will take over and guide your ship into position, meaning fewer collisions and hull repairs! Turning and strafing will be disabled whilever you’re in dock too, helping you to maintain a shiney, damage-free engine.

More Terror Changes
Along with the new Survival HUD, November’s update saw the introduction of different rates of Terror gain. We reduced the ambient rate from approximately 1% per 7 seconds to 1% per 14 seconds and applied a Terror-free zone in and around ports. We also added a spooky camera effect that creeps in at the edges of the screen when your Terror rate doubles, owing to having less than half the amount of Crew that your locomotive can carry.

January’s update sees further additions to Terror in order to make it clearer when you are gaining or losing it. The Terror icon and bar is white when you are not gaining any Terror, but will pulse red when it starts to increase on leaving the safety of a port. If your rate of Terror gain increases (around Spectacles, when you have a low Crew count, or both), the pulsing quickens and you’ll see visible colour changes. When your Terror decreases however, the HUD will turn a soothing shade of blue. We’ve also added additional camera overlays to accompany these Terror effects. Now that there are more ways to increase and decrease Terror in game we’ve once again tweaked the ambient rate of Terror, this time to ~1% per 10 seconds.

New Officer HUD
We’ve implemented a new Officer HUD so you’ll be able to see who you have recruited at all times. It also incorporates your Profile avatar and the tooltip will display your name, level, experience and how many character points you have to spend (character points are gained each time you level up). Clicking on your avatar will open the character progression screen where you can spend your character points on new Facets.

Not all the functionality of the new Officer HUD is in place just yet however. You cannot yet click on the Officers to interact with them.

  • Sovereigns are now visible in the shop and Bazaar interfaces!
  • The Spatchcock’s cargo space has been raised to 12.
  • New items are available at New Winchester.
  • The Bank interface has been reworked so that it is one UI element.
  • New Title Screen, Terror and Death music.
  • All locomotives now have their own unique engine SFX.
  • Enemies now explode on death.

Bug Fixes
  • There is now a delay between the triggering of in-game messages around ports.
  • The camera overlay no longer persists after death.
  • The focus icon no longer overflows the storylet interface at Traitor's Wood.
  • Settlers can now be dropped off at Traitor’s Wood.
  • The Possessions, Officer and Profile interfaces now auto-update if they are open when you obtain new qualities, officers, port reports, affiliations or peculiarities.
  • When the Journal is open alongside a storylet it will now auto-update with quests when you start, advance or complete them.
  • The Hold now updates automatically if it is open when accepting and completing Prospects or when purchasing a Bargain.
  • Terror gain now stops correctly around all ports.
  • Interfaces now open and close correctly after other UI elements have overridden them.
  • Agents can no longer enter docks and drop loot which cannot be collected.
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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

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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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