With their final stretch goal DLC in the bag, Failbetter Games has fully conquered the pitiless depths of the Sunless Sea. What remains for the Fallen London Universe then, but to take to the Sunless Skies? Players will travel beyond the dark underground ocean and into the celestial horror of Victorian space.
The Kickstarter campaign went live the other day, seeking $125,730. This is roughly the amount raised previously for Sunless Sea. The Kickstarter explains that the total budget for Sunless Skies development is around £330,000. Failbetter will fund the difference with proceeds from their previous games.
If the current numbers are any indication they should have no trouble scoring a second crowdfunding win. “We’re tremendously excited to bring Sunless Skies to Kickstarter, a platform which helped us find the audience for Sunless Sea,” CEO and Art Director Paul Arendt said.
The new story takes place ten years after the events of Sunless Sea. Queen Victoria is forging another, more ambitious and authoritarian, Empire. Players will journey into the High Wilderness, a nightmarish version of space. Here they will encounter talking storms, improbable beasts, and come face-to-face with the Judgments.
As always the game will rely on darkly humorous 2D narrative-driven gameplay. Fallen London is not the sort of world where you can casually breeze past text and hope to survive. Even so, the Kickstarter assures potential backers that they will not need to have played Sunless Sea to get into the sequel.
Failbetter Games Director of Development Liam Welton explained, “The big question for players and their characters in Sunless Skies is: who are you, in the dark? When you’re far from home and law, what will you do to survive, and who will you become?”
For those worried that Sunless Skies will merely be a re-skin of its predecessor, the campaign notes a few important changes to gameplay. Notably, death and legacy mechanics have been revamped. This will prevent players from having to redo early game stories with each captain’s death.
The World Remembers
When a captain dies they can choose to reset at their last major port or die and pass on a portion of their wealth and experience to the next captain. In Sunless Sea story encounters reset each time a new captain set sail. In Sunless Skies the achievements and follies of each captain will be remembered by the world long after their demise. Might want to hold off on the cannibalism as long as possible.
Combat will retain the measured and deliberate pace from the previous game. However, it will be more viable for captains to outmaneuver enemies and secure tactical advantages than ever before. Players will also be able to adjust a range of settings. This will determine the frequency and difficulty of combat to accommodate different play-styles.
Honestly, if you get a kick out of dark humor and narrative-driven insanity, you owe it to yourself to check out the world Failbetter has created here. You can even get a free taste of the universe with the browser based, Fallen London.
Sunless Skies is slated for release in May 2018 on PC, Mac, and Linux. An Early Access release is expected in Summer 2017.