London, Arise! Sunless Sea Is Released This Friday

'Gall-eyed', apparently

After a year drifting through the sinister oceans of Early Access, Failbetter’s wonderful Sunless Sea [official site] is released this Friday. Full steam ahead, Mr. Boatswain, full steam ahead. It’s a game of steampunk and Lovecraft, sailing and survival, roleplaying and pint-sized naval combat, wonderful words and terrifying faces. It was one of 2014’s best games as far as Adam and I were concerned, and all being well we’ll be saying the same thing by the end of this year. I looked in on it a couple of weeks ago and all seemed well on course. We shall see, though: a question mark still hangs over the long game. While we all wring hands nervously, let’s enjoy the splendid typography and apocalyptic drum soundtrack of its launch trailer.

I spy some new particle effects, some beasties I’m yet to encounter, and a wise attempt to convey Sunless Sea’s appeal in words and musical atmosphere rather than with inappropriate cinematics. Everything seems to be in order.

All being well we’ll have some manner of review to coincide with the game’s full release this Friday, February 6th. Don’t think we’ve finished arguing over who it’ll be though. I might abandoned all our staff at sea, and whoever eats everyone else first gets the review.


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    DemonicFerret says:

    Is it a coincidence that the phrase “all being well” appears twice in this article, or is that a subtle Fallen London shout out?

    • vorador says:


      It’s officially licensed.

    • Noc says:

      It’s funny because they aren’t!

      (Tangentially: the moment I fell in love with this game was when I did something risky, and acquired the “Everything is probably fine!” quality. There’s very little that says “you’re fucked!” as compellingly as the explicit assurance that everything is very probably okay.)

  2. sairas says:

    I’ll most definitely get this one as soon as it’s fully released. But I have to object on the notion of “splendid typography” in that trailer. That does not go together with mixing first letter full caps with small caps (I know this is how you seem to do it in english – and american – but I still object to it being splendid!).

  3. Rizlar says:

    Bought the ‘early access’ version for the sake of getting any expansions etc for free, and since I knew I would want to buy it on release, but haven’t actually played it yet. So excited for Friday, it’s going to be delicious and deplorable!

  4. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    If you can’t decide who gets to do the Wot I Think, just do a Verdict. In fact, skip straight to it! I really liked that feature; you get a more well-rounded picture of the game with multiple perspectives.

    • April March says:

      They should do the Veredict first, then the WIT is made by the last person to go uneaten.

  5. FuriKuri says:

    For those diving into the zee I’d personally advise disabling the permadeath feature. It’s an enjoyable game but there’s little to no variance in gameplay for the opening sections and I found myself getting burned out very quickly having to keep redoing it.

    I do usually enjoy permadeath in the odd roguelike but, frankly, this is the game’s biggest frustration.

    • substationradio says:

      You know, I literally just died (for only the second time) trying to outzail a lifeberg near Codex, and rerolled as a correspondent with my (half filled) chart intact, and I really don’t relish the thought of revisiting all those places for a second first time, every story develops so slowly which is great fun but I dont know if it will be very exciting to go hunting down the intelligence commissions and rebuilding my relations with the Empire of Hands all over again…

      • Loam says:

        You know, after having died a few times, I don’t know that Correspondent is necessarily the best option for keeping things fresh. After all, a map shuffle means that new routes and thus new possibilities are opened up (not to mention that getting all those discovery fragments makes secret-hoarding go a lot faster).

    • Hieronymusgoa says:

      I’m with you on this one, though I will try it once more with permadeath after it is properly released this friday. I played it so far a few hours and was a bit annoyed by the over-and-over-starting (which is not such an annoyance or not at all, like in FTL for example) and not seemingly getting better at what I did really.

      I decided then that the final version might be improved by whichever means. Because the overall setting of Fallen London and so on is overly intriguing.

  6. jellydonut says:

    I am a backer but I have resisted the early access. Looking forward to the actual release.

    • jenkins says:

      Delicious friend, I’ve been in the same boat as you these many months – and eagerly await this Friday for identical reasons.

  7. SlimShanks says:

    Get your fresh sea monster here! Get it before it’s gone! Fresh hot sea monster!

  8. skalpadda says:

    I somehow had not seen this game before, but Lose your mind. Eat your crew. Die” reeled me in and the whole trailer seems to emanate an odd pathos of menace and oddity.

    Also, is Fallen London a something with which I should spend some evening in the near future? I’m not sure what it even is but a cursory glance looks interesting.

    An added note to youngsters out there. Don’t try to comment on the internet after taking some very strong sleeping pills.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Fallen London is a wonderfully written browser game trapped in all the grinding that you’ll have come to expect from such a thing. It does have it’s own voice though, and is worth the grind. I really hope Sunless Sea isn’t the only expansion of FL’s world.

      • Rizlar says:

        Yes, very much this. At the start it’s not even too grinderiffic (wait, that sounds like it’s to do with the gay hookup app, completely different thing…). The only grindy element at the start is the limited number of actions which replenish over the course of a few hours. So maybe less something to spend an evening with, more something to spend a little time with here and there over a week or so.

        • skalpadda says:

          A little time here and there sounds like a good thing right now as long as it’s worthwhile, since RL stuff makes dumping long stretches of time into gaming a bit tricky at the moment. Thanks. :)

  9. racccoon says:

    Oh my! a game actually finishing comm..completed !
    This is a joke isn’t it?? i know its not April, so it must be one of those light hearted jokes.
    if it is true, its the first one ever in my folder marked Steam Pile of uncompleted shite!.
    This one isn’t that bad, so I may play it once its been through release stage

  10. Craxel says:

    I’ve thrown a pint of salt water and a tin of pink crab on the floor so that it has time to dry–for friday’s fragrance. Piss off, cat.

  11. Craxel says:

    Ship just got real.