SAIL THE STARS. BETRAY YOUR QUEEN. MURDER A SUN. Sunless Skies is a gothic horror roleplay game with a focus on exploration and exquisite storytelling for PC, Mac and Linux.
All Reviews:
Very Positive (91) - 81% of the 91 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 currently expect to release a finished version in September 2018.

To see how Early Access feedback from players has improved the game and impacted our delivery window, take a look back through our development updates.”

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.

We also expect to add more accessibility features as we get closer to the final release.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Players currently have access to the two biggest regions of the game: Albion and the Reach, which make up a little over half of the finished game. Two further regions, Eleutheria and the Blue Kingdom, will come later.

Players can experience a variety of base mechanics they’d expect to find in a Failbetter Game, such as Hunger, Terror, character creation, combat, exploration, trade, a legacy system and many, many stories. As we continue to develop the game these systems will be added to and improved upon. As the game is in Early Access it’s possible releases will contain bugs, although we QA each build thoroughly and the game is in a good 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 ( 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 (52)

October 10


Our REACH update is now live! This update completely transforms the first region of the game and features improvements to Terror, Condition, Fuel and Crew.

In case you missed it, we’ve also just announced some other exciting pieces of news:

Sunless Skies has a release date! It’s coming out 31 January 2019! Those of you who have been holding off until we’re finished now have a date for your calendar: hooray!

To accompany Sunless Skies, we've released a free pen and paper RPG system, called SKYFARER, set in the Fallen London Universe. If you want to check it out, it’s available via digital download at (for free)!

Our free-to-play browser game Fallen London has a new face! It’s the site’s first makeover since its origins in 2009. Besides having a more modern look, it’s now on HTTPs, has some nifty sorting/organisational features, and has received improvements to help it run more smoothly in mobile browsers! Our festival of secrets and masks, Hallowmas, also begins 24th October.

The Reach

After creating the Albion and Eleutheria regions, there were a few improvements we wanted to make to the first region we created: The Reach.

These improvements focused on two main aims:
  • to adjust the segment design and pathfinding within the region to match the more evolved design strategy used in the later regions
  • to ensure the atmosphere of the region matched the depth and complexity showcased in Albion and Eleutheria


One of the reasons we evolved our strategy for segment design across the three regions is that earlier on in development, players gave us feedback that areas like the Reach felt empty. It was possible to fly for long periods of time without seeing anything but the sky below your locomotive.

So when we started building Albion and Eleutheria we made it a rule that players should always be able to see *something* physical, preferably something you could hit with your locomotive.

In his talk at EGX, our Creative Director/CEO Paul Arendt explained that this actually came from an idea of replaying Sunless Sea for the PS4 port, as Sunless Sea is largely about coastal navigation - you follow walls.

So with this update, you'll be able to see we've redesigned the segments of the Reach to be more labyrinthine. Captains may find that journeys now need to be more planned, which should make flying feel more engaging than before. And, if you’d like to look even further behind the curtain, Paul’s also written a design blog about this very topic.

Many different art tools and strategies are used to create that more contiguous atmospheric feeling, to make sure it feels like you’re flying *within* something not just on top of it.

As you travel through the new Reach you'll notice branches and other luscious (often horrific) foliage that the player locomotive will sail beneath, as well as more complex middle layers to add that visual depth and richness.

Upgrading our post-processing tools in Unity also meant our artists could add more intricate 'profiles' to specific areas within the region. Profiles can contain things like colour grading and lighting effects. For example, one of the things they control is blooming, which is a term to describe a light effect that looks like a glow on brighter objects or diffused light. These effects are great for areas like the Nature Reserve that should look quite humid, or Lustrum for that snowy haze.


Our next build in November will focus holistically on Survival upgrades, but we've made changes already that you'll be able to see in this build, most notably with Terror. Terror is now less predictable, which will encourage desperate tales of survival and reduce the reliance on central ports to manage Terror. We'll be monitoring the effects of the changes closely, and gathering feedback to make any tweaks that are needed.

  • Terror now increases at about half the rate it did before.
  • Falling below half crew no longer increases the rate at which you gain Terror (expect to see new consequences for low crew in a future update).
  • Terror reduction opportunities are quite different: Wonders now lower your Terror much more quickly, docking at hub ports like New Winchester will no longer set your Terror to zero (they will reduce it by a chunk if you haven't visited them too recently), other ports now have opportunities which include terror reduction options.
  • As your Terror rises you will begin to experience Terror Events. The higher your Terror, the nastier they may be!
  • If your Terror reaches 100 you will experience a dangerous event that is likely to kill your captain.
  • However, a number of options there and on the Terror Events give you the chance to reduce your Terror by 50 in exchange for increasing your Nightmares. Oh yes, nightmares!


We've changed how Condition works, and renamed it Nightmares. It now begins at zero and can go as high as four. It no longer increments automatically; Terror events will offer opportunities to drastically decrease your Terror at the cost of increasing your Nightmares. As Nightmares rise - as before - you will experience increasingly horrifying story events.

You’ll also notice we’ve changed:

The rate at which fuel is consumed is now determined by your locomotive's weight, taking into account cargo, equipment, and the locomotive itself. The chart will now make it easier to see where fuel and supplies can be bought. When you run out of fuel you will no longer die immediately. Instead, you'll enter a story event where your captain has three last, tantalising options to find a way to keep going.


As it’s now possible to recruit crew through Port Opportunities, this means we've now removed shops where crew could be acquired.

The game now keeps track of if you have enough crew aboard your locomotive to run it properly - dubbed the 'Minimum Safe Manning' quality. We'd recommend remaining fully staffed, after all, you've got a lovely locomotive. It'd be a shame if something happened to it. Out there. In the dark.

Join Our Stream!
Kat Brewster, a Sporadic Academic and occasional streamer, will be streaming from the REACH update today at 15:30 BST with our Editor/Writer/Content Manager, Olivia Wood, on her Twitch channel!

We hope you'll join us there and come with many questions, brave skyfarers.

Nextime, on Sunless Skies
In our November build, you can expect even more updates to Survival mechanics! Plus an overhaul to the New Winchester segment, the final opening game experience, and more player weapons (hooray)!
6 comments Read more

October 10

Patch Notes - (10th October 2018)

Build Version:
Release Date: 10/10/2018
Known Issues

What’s New

The Reach Redesign
The redesigned Reach has finally arrived. Dark, verdant and dangerous, we’re very proud of it and we think it’s going to blow you away, especially if you’ve been playing throughout Early Access.

We received a lot of feedback in Early Access that the Reach was too big and too empty. We listened and iterated our segment designs as we introduced the Albion and Eleutheria regions. Each time we felt we improved the atmosphere and use of space but this left the Reach feeling rather lacking, which is quite a big problem considering it’s the starting area of the game.

Not only does the redesign address the atmosphere and emptiness of the Reach, but its labyrinthine layout helps create interesting choices when navigating to points of interest. Will you travel into dead ends full of lucrative discoveries knowing there’s a chance that the Candlewind may appear and make escape difficult? Do you risk a detour through agent infested areas to visit a Wonder that will lower your Terror? Should you choose the shortest route to your destination and risk encounters with Terror inducing Horrors, or should you play it safe and go the long way around which uses more fuel?

Just like Eleutheria the Reach no longer has an inner and outer ring around a central hub. Instead it has just one, larger ring that is divided into five segments and so each segment now has two Stations within it.

When importing a save file from previous builds you’ll see a notification informing you that the Reach has been regenerated and the Fog of War will have covered the chart once again. You won’t lose any story progress, but you will need to rediscover the entire region. We hope you have fun exploring and making potentially life or death decisions in the process.

You’ll notice that New Winchester hasn’t had a makeover yet and that’s because it’s tied into the opening game experience which is coming in a later build.

Terror and Nightmares
We’ve made some really big changes to way the Terror mechanics work in this build. The old system linked Terror to a quality called Condition, which rolled over each time a Captain reached Terror 100. This effectively meant we had a Terror meter of 500 and while you started to experience Nightmares as Condition ticked over, it made Terror gain feel inconsequential and Terror reduction choices seem unattractive.

In this build Terror now runs from 0 to 100 and hitting the limit has a good chance of killing your Captain outright. Even if you do survive, the cost may be very high.

We’ve separated Condition from Terror and renamed it Nightmares, since that is literally what it tracks. Nightmares is a quality that affects your captain directly whereas Terror is more about the state of your crew. Nightmares runs from 0 to 4 and can be gained in various ways throughout the game, but will always increase if you survive a Terror 100 event. Reaching Terror 100 with Nightmares at 4 will also kill you.

To help existing players cope with the changes we’ve added a storylet that will fire when you next load your save file. You don’t have to accept the assistance it offers, but we recommend it as it will give you a chance to get used to the way the new Terror system works.

Here’s a summary of the Terror changes:
  • Ambient Terror now increases at a slower rate, approximately 1 point for every 20 seconds.
  • This rate will still double if you encounter a Horror or if you turn your headlight off, and quadruple if both conditions are met.
  • Falling below half crew no longer increases the rate at which you gain Terror (we will be introducing new consequences for low crew in a future update).
  • Wonders now lower your Terror at a much quicker rate.
  • Docking at hub Stations like New Winchester will no longer set your Terror to zero, instead it will be reduced by 30 if you haven't visited them too recently.
  • Other Stations now have a set of storylets that you can play once per visit. Almost all offer a way to reduce Terror, and they might also offer chances to recruit crew, gain rewards, or have other effects.
  • As your Terror rises you will begin to experience Terror Events. The higher your Terror, the nastier they may be.
  • If your Terror reaches 100 you will experience a dangerous event that is likely to kill your captain. However, several options on the Terror Events give you the chance to reduce your Terror by a substantial amount in exchange for increasing your Nightmares.

Now when you run out of fuel you will no longer die immediately. Instead, you'll enter a story event where your captain has a few tantalising options to find a way to keep going. There are many different things that can be burnt after all, but at what cost?

Fuel is also no longer available to buy at every Station but you can check which ones sell it by clicking on the Station’s chart icon. Plan your journeys carefully.

Fuel Efficiency
The rate at which fuel is consumed is now determined by your locomotive’s weight and that of any cargo and equipment it is carrying.

Engine yards now display a locomotive’s base weight alongside the Quarters, Hull and Hold capacity. Mousing over this icon will show you details of the change in fuel efficiency if you trade your current locomotive in.

Your current locomotive’s fuel efficiency can be seen in the Hold and you’ll see it change as you equip items, acquire cargo and use up fuel and supplies.

Supplies and Crew
Now the more crew you have, the faster you’ll get through your supplies. And while falling below half crew no longer increases your rate of Terror gain, we don’t recommend keeping a low crew count. We now check if you have enough crew aboard against your locomotive’s 'Minimum Safe Manning' quality. Expect to see new consequences for low crew in future updates.

We’ve removed shops where crew can be acquired at a whim. You can now recruit crew through ‘Opportunity’ storylets found at Station. Since these opportunities often leave you with the option of either reducing Terror or acquiring crew, you may have to make some tough decisions.

Since fuel is no longer sold at every Station, we’ve tweaked the information on the Chart icons so it now tells you whether or not fuel is sold at a particular Station. Click the Station icon on the chart to see this information along with the Station’s description, export details and whether or not new Prospects and Bargains are available there.

On loading an existing save file, or on discovering your first Station on a new save, the Station icons on the chart will be highlighted with a red exclamation mark. This is simply to draw attention to the fact that the icons are interactable. After you’ve clicked and displayed Station info for the first time, you won’t see the exclamation mark again.

  • A bunch of new Prospects and Bargains are available in the Reach.
  • The Prospect and Bargains directional system has been reworked to take into account that Eleutheria and the Reach now only have one ring.
  • The Titania storyline has been reworked.
  • The Traitor’s Wood content can now be completed.

Known Issues
Below is a list of known issues for this build. For a full list of known game issues see our Known Issues page.
  • Erroneous text can be seen briefly when moving between shops.
  • Several SFX can play at once when exiting to the Title Screen.
  • When encountering the Storm that Speaks in Lustrum the Station icon will appear on the chart over its location.
  • Some storylets can overflow Crew and Terror.
  • Terrain on the Chart does not align perfectly on the segment borders.
  • Patch notes on the Title Screen have not been updated, however the build number is correct - check you are on v1.1.5.3.aa85c96.
As always, if you find a bug that's not on the Known Issues page then send us a quick Bug Report.

Bug Fixes
  • We believe we’ve fixed the issue where loot storylets were not opening on Wrecks, however if you experience this issue in the new build, please send an email to us with your save files so we can investigate.
  • The reversed surround sound has been fixed.
  • Crew and Hull will now be removed when items are unequipped owing to Engine Problems.
  • Locomotives will no longer become invisible when storylets fire during the transit gate animation.
  • Peacock wind and Candlewind no longer slow the player down when travelling in the same direction.
  • Peacock wind and Candlewind will no longer slow players out of docks.
  • Prospect and Bargain details and Station descriptions can now be found on the chart for Eleutherian Stations and Platforms.
  • We’ve fixed the title of a Prospect for Langley Hall which referenced delivery to Pan.
  • All Eagle’s Empyrean prospects can now be delivered.
  • The Regent’s Grave Horror can now be interacted with correctly as part of the Traitor’s Wood storyline.
  • You can no longer recruit two Reckless Drivers.
  • The Reckless Driver will no longer appear at all Stations.
  • We fixed an issue related to the Chorister Bee SFX which was causing exceptions in the output log.
  • Credits are back in game.
  • Correct change descriptions are now displayed when qualities decrease.
  • Focus icons now show on twists.
  • Prospect Accepted once again appears over the top of the card when clicking on prospects at hub Stations.
  • Success, Failure and Narrow Success once again appear over the top of the card when selecting branches with a difficulty test.
  • Level descriptions no longer act as spoilers in quality icon tooltips.
  • Quality effect messages no longer appear twice in certain storylets.
  • The [complete] tag will no longer be seen in the tooltips for quest objectives on branches.
  • Values for qualities now display correctly in quality effect messages, e.g. An occurrence! Your 'cheerfulness at Titania' Quality is now ! will now show the actual number.
  • Quality requirement tooltips now deal with singular items correctly.
  • Instructional text is now displayed correctly on branch cards.
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“As a general sense of Sunless Skies, the game feels like it's on the right track. The developers have clearly learned from Sunless Sea feedback and adjusted the core loops without losing what was magical about the Fallen London universe.”
PC Gamer

“Considering that it's an Early Access game, Sunless Skies performs remarkably well. The experience is smooth, bugs are nearly non-existent, and the music and sound come through crisply and without issue. The fact that Sunless Skies is more polished than many other current titles and hasn't even released fully yet is to be commended.”
Windows Central

“Visually, Sunless Skies is excellent, but verbally, it is already a masterpiece.”

About This Game

Sunless Skies is a gothic horror roleplay game with a focus on exploration and exquisite storytelling.

Command a flying steam locomotive

The only thing between you and the waste-winds, storms and cosmic lightning is your engine. Tend and upgrade it, buy weaponry and exotic equipment, and keep her hull in good shape to hold the hostile Heavens at bay.

Explore a unique and dangerous universe

You play the captain of a locomotive, a steam engine fitted for off-rail travel: sailing the stars, leading your crew into trouble and out of their minds. Smuggle souls, barter for crates of time, stop for cricket and a cup of tea.

Discover more of the deep, dark and marvellous Fallen London Universe, as seen in our previous game, SUNLESS SEA. (You can play either game first, the stories coexist happily.)

Fight her majesty's agents, pirates and abominations of the skies

Face ships of differing factions and unknowable beasts each with different attacks and agendas.

Survive starvation, madness and terror.

Manage your crew’s condition and your captain’s nightmares. Balance fuel and supplies against your desire for new horizons, knowledge or riches. Struggle with sights never meant for human eyes. How will the dark change you?

Recruit officers on your adventures

Populate your ship with unique, upgradeable officers, each with their own quest to fulfill: an incautious driver, an incognito princess, a repentant devil, and - dear god! - your Aunt?! How did she get out here?

Discover your captain’s past through narrative levelling

Reveal your captain’s past deeds as facets of their personality as you progress. Most captains will perish, but their actions will leave a mark on the world for their descendants - for better or worse. Pass on some effects, and return anew to deal with events that your previous captain put into motion.


The High Wilderness is a wondrous vision of space: shifting, wind-swept ruins where the laws of the cosmos are not as we imagined.

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.

Unfettered by trivial things like gravity, the Victorian Empire have pushed their tendrils into this new world, and their ambition is savage. They have built a new Sun. The Empress Victoria reigns from the Throne of Hours, which gives her control over time.

Your Captain and crew must carve out a life between the stars. Will you support her majesty and the establishment, or the working class rebels who yearn for freedom from the Workworlds?


  • Multiple, intertwining stories with a depth and richness unlike anything else in games, inspired by CS Lewis, Jules Verne, Lovecraft and HG Wells
  • Lush, hand-drawn 2d art to match

  • Four giant regions to explore: celestial wilderness, impossible industrial empire, pagan midnight expanse, and the mysterious Blue Kingdom.

  • A choice of play styles: build a lineage of captains as each dies, or reload your most recent captain and continue

  • Key remapping and full controller support

Who are Failbetter Games?
We’re a boutique games studio based in London, UK. We’ve been making indie games since 2009. If you’ve read this far, this game is almost certainly for you. Come with us into the dark, delicious friend.

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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