Abandon Ship Looks Like FTL On The High Seas

When we reviewed Tempest, a game of piracy in a fantasy setting, I came away saddened that it was all grinding turns and cannon aiming, with crew management that wasn’t very personable or fun. “Why has nobody successfully transferred the shipboard panic of FTL or the crew management of XCOM to a wooden frigate on the high seas?” I lamented. “Maybe in the future, some developer will plunder those design lessons.”

Well, shiver my timbers, it looks like Abandon Ship [official site] wants to do just that.

Here’s a trailer.

Set in a naval golden age with sea monsters, it tasks you with exploring the procedurally generated seas, fulfilling quests and surviving encounters with kraken, pirates, and big waves. There’s permadeath if your captain gets offed by a foe or a shipboard fire, but if he escapes on a lifeboat or becomes stranded on an island the game will continue despite the loss of your vessel. Presumably, you’ll have to work your way back up the rigging. Sadly, the trailer doesn’t reveal much of how the game is controlled or designed but here’s what the developers, Fireblade Software, have to say about it.

“We always wondered why a game didn’t exist that combined the Tactical combat of games like FTL with the exploration mechanics of titles such as Sunless Sea, all wrapped up in an “Age of Sail” setting.

“As development progressed, we felt that Abandon Ship deserved an Art Style to match the dramatic tone of the game, and the Classic Naval Oil Painting style was a perfect thematic fit… artists like Turner, Ivan Aivazovsky, Willem Velde, James Wilson Carmichael and Ebenezer Colls”

Those are some good inspirations to draw from. Sunless Sea is beloved by many for its storytelling, and FTL for its roguelike silliness and challenge. Whether you can do service to bloody Turner in a videogame, I remain sceptical, but those are still very respectable goals.

Abandon Ship is due out some time in 2017. A Steam page is already up. We’ll keep a spyglass focused on the horizon for it.


  1. RedMattis says:

    Looks awesome. I look forward to hearing more about this. :)

  2. Hyena Grin says:

    This looks really neat, right up my alley. Gonna keep an eye out for sure.

  3. Oozo says:

    I’d like to third the impression — this really looks good. The combination of the inspiration they are drawing from seems to make a lot of sense, and the game already looks nice. (I like how the impact of the cannons shreds the ship — as FTL has shown, you really wouldn’t need visuals that detailled to make it work, but I won’t complain if they can pull it off with those graphics.) Looking forward to finding out how it turns out.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      I’m thinking the graphics may actually hinder this game.

      FTL’s simpler graphics make the game work because your ship is your GUI. You can take one look at your ship and you can instantly see everything that you need and what needs to be done.

      The pretty graphics here seem to take away that element and make it a bit more confusing in combat.

  4. DarkFenix says:

    FTL meets Sunless Sea set in the age of sail sounds like pretty the perfect concept from my perspective. Here’s to hoping they can deliver even half the potential that formula has.

  5. Dlarit says:

    I got a good sid meiers pirates vibe from that trailer to start with, I would love someone to remake it but with a little more xcom inspiration…

  6. Hunchback says:

    Am i weird for finding the way old wooden ships explode in small pieces when hit by cannon balls very… fascinating ?

    • Turkey says:

      Never really thought about it before, but the thought of splintering wood kinda makes my scalp tingle.

    • Gomer_Pyle says:

      Nope, it’s just one of those awesome things in movies or games, like an epic cavalry charge or a starship exploding.

  7. Captain Narol says:

    Looks nice and I’m tempted, but I couldn’t really get in both FTL and Sunless Sea for various reasons so I’m not sure this one will work better for me…

  8. AngoraFish says:

    Abandon Ship looks exactly like Windward.

    Windward is already a great game, so this will have to do something better and/or more interesting than just throwing around names such as the current hotness of FTL and Sunless Sea despite having very little practical similarity to either.

    Hey, and while we’re at it, let’s just throw in “Roguelike” into the mix despite having almost nothing in common with a Roguelike either.

    • Superpat says:

      Does Windward have a single player element? Because this looks much more like a single player exploration game ala sunless sea than a multiplayer sandbox.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Yes, it can be played either as a single player game or with others. The networked stuff isn’t a particularly significant part of game play, but it can add a bit of additional life to the world.

    • Marr says:

      What? Windward is a grindy tank/DPS/healer MMO that looks a bit like bySid Meier’s Pirates, but with skill timers and randomised hits and misses where there should be arcade physics combat. The only thing this appears to have in common is boats.

  9. April March says:

    I like the concept of pirates so much that I’m interested in this game despite the enemy ship fading to black like a defeated JRPG enemy and the player’s ship starting to explode when it’s dealt enough damage like a Hollywood milk tanker.

    • Marr says:

      That is a concern. FTL had a complex damage model that allowed ships to be crippled, disarmed, or in extremis surgically relieved of crew for maximum salvage efficiency. This looks rather more hit-pointy so far.

  10. StAUG says:

    “FTL on boats”

    I’m sold. Didn’t even read the rest.

    • Captain Narol says:

      Irrational. Don’t come complain if the game disappoint you because there’s a difference between intents and final product.

      It’s not because something looks like FTL and tries to be like FTL that it will play like FTL or that you will enjoy it like FTL.

      Never preorder and always read reviews.

      • StAUG says:

        Christ almighty, I loved FTL and this looks good. I AM NOT A CRIMINAL.

        • Captain Narol says:

          Of course you ain’t, but you could be a victim of your own enthousiasm if you buy games on a marketing gimmick without reading the actual reviews of them.

          Well, that’s your prerogative if you want to take the risk, not my business anyway just a friendly warning.

    • Bishop149 says:

      “FTL but with boats / pirates”
      Is almost a separate genera these days, this feels like about the 15th one of these I’ve seen.

      • AngoraFish says:

        When I first saw this comment I almost googled to see how many RPS headlines had “FTL-like”, or words to that effect, in the tile. Must be dozens.

        Then I thought, nahh, can’t be bothered.

      • Captain Narol says:

        Indeed, because it’s a great idea and the crew management aspect of FTL/XCOM was probably one of the rare things that the good old “Sid Meyer’s Pirates!” was lacking to be even better.

        Some of those will probably be end up be excellent games that I’ll play with pleasure, but I think that currently it’s wiser to wait until we can see which of them really delivers on release before picking any.

        Right now, “Man O’War : Corsair” which is still in early access has 92% positive opinions on Steam and seems a good candidate to do the job, but as far I am concerned I prefer to wait for the final product before “diving in”.

  11. Zirkalaritz says:

    “Why has nobody successfully transferred the shipboard panic of FTL or the crew management of XCOM to a wooden frigate on the high seas?”

    Someone tried, and failed on Kickstarter. You guys covered it a while ago.
    link to kickstarter.com