Sunless Sea Zubmariner DLC Diving Down Into The Dark

Splendid searfaring fantasy-horror roguelikelike Sunless Sea [official site] is already set down in the dark, sailing oceans long ago swallowed by the earth. If that’s not terrifying enough, imagine what lies beneath those waves. I bring good/bad news!

Developers Failbetter Games are planning to let you get up-close and personal with what lies under the Unterzee in the game’s first DLC, named Zubmariner. As you might guess, it involves submarines. Details follow.

Failbetter have dropped a blog post with a few words and pictures teasing what’s to come. You’ll get to uncover shipwrecks, explore strange places, and visit underwater ports like the city like Wrack, described by Failbetter as “an arbour of shipwrecks, where the flesh of kelp brings intoxication.” Also, you can meet new big sea kittens like:

“The Thalatte is an exposed-looking collection of wattled and shining organs, like a half-completed vivisection, with a fanged orifice at the front. This orifice applies a force which draws your Zubmarine towards it. The Thalatte can move rapidly, ram, and expectorate gobbets of vile fluid.”

Hello cutie!

Don’t you want to scratch under those chins? The blog post also shares a few work-in-progress screenshots for how the seabed might look, with glowing coral, volcanic vents, and bioluminescent life appearing out the black waters. Do have a look – they’re quite pretty. No word yet on when Zubmariner will arrive.

Whatever could this be?


  1. CMaster says:

    You know what I felt was missing from Sunless Sea?
    Creepy things in the dark. Totally needs more of those.

  2. Captain Joyless says:

    What a wonderful and diverting game Sunless Sea was. Like most games, I never completely finished all of it, but it was quite fun.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      I backed it but have been having a lot of trouble getting into it. It seems difficult to know how far I should explore, initial errands always seem too far away and get me killed.

      Would love to enjoy it more though, any advice?

      • Jekadu says:

        Taking risks is usually the way to go; don’t be afraid to explore, as there is almost always a way to get a few more units of fuel. Avoid combat unless you intend to commit to monster hunting. Learn the approximate layout of the map (it’s not very random). Memorize which storylets are worth pursuing early and which are too risky. Figure out how to juggle terror by taking out easy enemies, keeping close to coast lines and keeping the lights off.

        It sounds like a lot, but there’s a certain rhythm to it. Specific advice: you can use the Shalt-Flions… er, Salt-Lions as an early source of income. As a rule, the NORTH is more forgiving than the south. Try to get a townhouse, a lover and a Scion as soon as possible, and take care to always keep at least one Heirloom for your next captain.

        North. North. North.

        • skalpadda says:

          Yes, this is good advice. Once you get a feel for the map the game becomes much easier. Stuff moves around, but most places stay in the general vicinity from game to game. The entire western coast and all four corners always have the same layout.

          Once you have a scion you’ll be able to leave *all* of your money to the next captain, which can let you start with a better kitted ship should you die, and that’s a huge deal. Make sure you write a will.

          Get better engines first, that will let you run away from foes even in dangerous areas. Combat usually isn’t very profitable (with some exceptions), nor is trade (unless you do some very specific stuff), so being able to go from port to port swiftly and playing lots of stories is the best way to get a leg up (it’s also a lot more fun!).

          Always pick up missions from the admiralty whenever you’re back in London as that’s a steady source of income and can help a good deal with fuel and repairs as well.

          Unless you’re role-playing a very law abiding captain, don’t be afraid to commit some crimes.

          There are a couple of places that are very good for refueling and resupplying or lowering your terror. Finding them early will make life much, much easier. (Pigmote Isle and Demeaux Island are examples you can find early on, but there are many others).

      • ventricule says:

        The atmosphere matters immensely to enjoy it. Ideally you should be playing by yourself, on a cold night.

        Once you are bored with the music of the game, start playing while listening to Drone zone: link to

        Then curse the world when you see the sun dawn, you have to go to work and you completely forgot about sleeping.

  3. Itkovian says:

    Just at the mid-point (I assume) of my second proper playthrough of Sunless Sea. Enjoying it hugely so may even finish this time. More is always welcome news.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I lost my Sunless Sea save files in a PC move, foolishly thinking they were synced to Steam Cloud. I was like 50 hours in with the Fanciest Ship and everything

    I suspect I’ll just cheat and give my starting character enough money to get said fancy ship etc, but that won’t stop me from having to repeat all the stories. again. because it took me like 3 plays to figure out it was a much better game with permadeath off :)

    • MattM says:

      I gotta retry this with permadeath off. I loved the atmosphere, but every time I “took a risk” I ended up with some neat trinket and an unmanageable hit to my small amount of resources. The first 5 hours of that game get really boring after repeating them five times in a row.

      • jerubius says:

        While I agree it is a better game with permadeath off, and it probably should be played that way, there is something alluring about permadeath. Especially once you start getting good at it. I started a completely fresh captain when I picked the game up again, with no previous captain benefits. I am now some six hours in on that captain, and continue to push the limits of my resources. More than once I have ran out of fuel and coasted in, or had to be towed. My nightmares score is up to 9. Never have enough money or cargo space. At any given moment, I could lose it all, and more than once I am sure I would have.

  5. Scelous says:

    Sunless Sea is a game that looks like something I would enjoy. So did Fallen London, for that matter. However, I found both Sunless Sea and Fallen London to be very grindy, with the grinding punctuated by overwrought text that said a lot but meant little.

    Stylistically, I appreciated what Failbetter was going for. There was just too little game for me too enjoy.

    • Scelous says:

      *to. Sigh. This is the 21st century. We need an edit button.

    • supermini says:

      My feelings exactly. I wanted to like it, but the gameplay is a huge letdown.

    • Coming Second says:

      Yep. At its very best when you are pushing east into the black unknown, with no knowledge of what is ahead and whether you’ll have enough supplies to get back home. It provides some wonderful moments of discovery and terror.

      Once you’ve uncovered most of the map, however, it turns out that the meat of the game is an unjustifiably punishing and overblown treadmill, decorated by text that reaches for flowery profundity whilst too often ending up in Pseuds Corner.

    • klops says:

      Same for me. The sailing part was horrible grind. Fortunately the text part was wonderful. I always wondered how the reviews paid so little attention to the part that covered most of the game. I find it hard to believe that anyone who finished the game enjoyed the endless sailing.

      Hopefully the sailing part is improved in the DLC since I’d really like to get my hands on the text part of the game.

  6. shrieki says:

    aww it looks like it will kepp the old unzoomable top down view ! foolishly i was hoping for some kind of different perspective… i was hoping it would be a truly bottomless zee somehow this game just isnt what i would like it to be. all awesome writing yeah but repetitive and somehow underwhelming. maybe i just need to try to delve in again…. still hope this will be good

  7. Phasma Felis says:

    I hate to be that guy,* but how is that sub casting a shadow?

    *This is a lie, I love being that guy

  8. unacom says:

    It´s supposed to be some kind of stylistic device…