20,000 Leagues Above The Clouds Announced

Scandinavia really is becoming a hotbed of fascinating indie projects. Yet another studio has spawned in Sweden, this time emerging from the likes of Grin, Gameloft and Media Molecule, called That Brain. And this team of just two has already got a long way into an impressive looking single-player airship game, 20,000 Leagues Above The Clouds. You can see the first footage of the mission-led trading/exploring below, and indeed find out how to join their team – they’re hiring.

It’s a peculiar announcement video, beginning more like a tourism advert for Stockholm, but eventually remembering that it’s meant to be about a game. And is seemingly narrated by Bjork. (I’m fairly sure it’s not.)

Obviously this is not the only airship combat game. Air Buccaneers and Guns Of Icarus spring immediately to mind. But what stands out here – from my misanthropic perspective at least – is that it’s single-player. There are plans for multi eventually, but the core game is designed to be an accessible single-player experience, character driven, and inspired by the likes of Miyazaki, Firefly, and Baldur’s Gate. Sure, anyone can name names, but they’re naming the right ones.

It’s interesting to note that the trailer above sounds like it’s about to launch into a Kickstarter pledge, but then doesn’t. In fact, when they say they need “your help”, at this point at least they seem to mean in terms of people voicing interest in the project, and actually working for them. Of course, some crowd-funding may well still be to come.


  1. wodin says:

    Hurrah a single player game…!!

  2. Wonkyth says:

    Looks great! :D
    Looking forward to see what comes from these two and whomever else they can grapple in. ^_^

  3. Simes says:

    “We never work overtime but we still get a lot of things done”

    On the basis of this statement alone, I wish them every success. It’s an attitude that’s all-too-rare.

  4. Screwie says:

    Oh wow, this looks lovely.

  5. Jim Rossignol says:

    Amazing. I want this.

  6. yesterdayisawadeer says:

    Disliked because hipster dev.

    • RedViv says:

      Though that’s really just how 99% of young Swedes who are not affiliated with any subculture actually dress.

      • yesterdayisawadeer says:

        Oh, great. Now I dislike 99% of young Swedes who are not affiliated with any subculture! Thank you very much.

      • skalpadda says:

        Pretty much.

      • Lanfranc says:

        The Swedish hipsters, of course, dress in completely normal, everyday clothes because irony.

        (Disclaimer: I don’t actually know how Swedish hipsters dress.)

    • Iskariot says:

      I like hipster devs.

  7. westyfield says:

    Cor. That aurora was rather pretty.

  8. MrThingy says:

    I’ll assume 20,000 leagues refers to the distance travelled and not the distance above the clouds as I doubt propellors will get you very far.

    • Fanbuoy says:

      Are you getting all scientific on a game that features flying islands?

      EDIT: And it seems they use jet engines…

      • MrThingy says:

        Haha, no, just venting one of my annoyances about common understanding of “20,000 leagues under the sea”.

        (which I think would be an awesome game, playing as Captain Nemo, taking your sub in an open-world procedural ocean, ramming bad ships for resources, fighting giant squid… now there’s a Kickstarter I’d be interested in. This does look nice though, I love Laputa by Miyazaki, so this game does appeal to me quite a bit. I wish them the best for it!)

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          phuzz says:

          Just buy this game, and play it with your monitor upside-down or standing on your head.

        • darkmouse20001 says:

          Laputa is one of my favorite ‘films’. Its almost impossible to find the original English dub these days, and the american voice overs seem to ruin it for me. I can’t remember what my point was.

          • MrThingy says:

            Yes that English-dubbed version was the first time I saw it (think it was shown on ITV late 80s or early 90s). I have the american dub + a japanese import with (admittedly, dreadful) english subtitles. I should use that as an excuse to learn Japanese!

        • cjlr says:

          Good film; Gulliver’s third voyage (in which the original, namesake Laputa appears) includes a stop in Japan, iirc, though as with anything in that story its resemblance to real life, if any, is entirely beside the point.

          Of course, I still think of Dr Strangelove first, hearing that name.

      • Noburu says:

        You sir failed to get the joke.

    • solidsquid says:

      I was wondering about this, even 20,000 leagues above the earth’s surface you’d be in what’s technically outer space, in the same atmospheric layer as the ISS

    • cjlr says:

      Man, I was going to make that joke, but I was too late. Oh, well, there’s always next time.

  9. cjlr says:

    … inspired by the likes of Miyazaki, Firefly, and Baldur’s Gate. Sure, anyone can name names, but they’re naming the right ones.

    Sure, but anyone who’s got floating islands and doesn’t mention old Roger Dean is doing it wrong.

  10. Moraven says:

    Reminds me of Armada,
    with more RPG bits and traveling on the vertical plane.

    Airships and RPG makes me want a new Skies of Arcadia.

  11. Tams80 says:

    My, my. This certainly looks like my cup of tea.

    What I’d really like is to have some part of it be Far Eastern themed. A steampunk junk? Yes please!

  12. JiminyJickers says:

    Looks good, very much interested in this.

  13. MacTheGeek says:

    I can’t believe it. I’m FINALLY going to get to play Unigine Heaven!

  14. Shadowcat says:

    Floating islands always make me think of “Project Nomads”. I always meant to replay that game with one of the other characters, but I never got around to it. The game wasn’t truly great, but the crazy setting and atmosphere made up for a lot of its deficiencies :)

  15. Urthman says:

    They say they want to release the game on the “pay what you want” model. I hope they’ll look at the Dustforce post-mortem and re-think that (and save “pay what you want” for later), but I have to say this looks like it could be one of the tiny, tiny, minority of games that I’d pay more than I have to for.

    I really like the concept, the look, the type of gameplay they’re promising, and there general attitude toward making games.

    Fascinating Dustforce financial postmortem (can’t believe this hasn’t been featured on RPS yet):
    link to hitboxteam.com

  16. Caenorhabditis says:

    The battles are giving me a strong Sid Meier’s Pirates! vibe. Which is awesome.