Sunless Skies definitely happening, KS closes tomorrow

Sunless Seas sequel Sunless Skies [official site] has a rosy glow to it as it nears the finish line of its Kickstarter. Successfully bringing in £300k in pledges – 3x what devs Failbetter originally asked for – will do that, eh?

In other words, the spaceshippy alt-Victoriana exploration, storytelling and sudden death game is, barring developmental disaster, looking like a sure thing.

Failbetter’s latest Fallen London title boasts £334,234 and 10,165 backers to its name at the time of writing, with 26 hours left on the clock. They’ve hit a whole mess of stretch goals since this thing started, most of which are additional in-game stories, characters and/or quests. More about that stuff here.

The £330k milestone was, apparently, “the full costs of Sunless Skies’ production”, so in theory this means they’ve broken even before the thing’s even released – a deeply enviable state for any game to be in.

That’s a lot of money by any benchmark, and seems to have been achieved at least partially by Failbetter pining stretch goals not only to monetary pledges, but to ‘social pledges’ that involved interested folk submitting fan art, writing, cosplay and similar that served to increase the Twitter-based buzz. There are some lessons for other devs to learn here, I suspect.

So, all being well, anyone can buy the thing when it’s released in May 2018 (according to Failbetter’s current schedule), but you’ve got until 7pm tomorrow if you want backer rewards like in-game owls or out-game t-shirts.


  1. CAMN says:

    PSA: Just because a Kickstarter campaign finished, acquiring more than what was esteemed as necessary for the project, doesn’t necessarily mean said project will ever “happen”.

    People who spend their money to support games (or anything really) in Kickstarter should know that by know (I hope).

    And yes, a company that has done well in the past, finishing previous projects is a safer bet than most, but that is still just a bet.

    • rroose says:

      Trrruuuue, though, I honestly wouldn’t worry about that in this particular case.

      Unless the skies try to keep their secrets safe and a large enough meteor hits the Failbetter HQ and destroys all of their work, which, you know, you never know.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      So, uh, how many notable Kickstarters of games have produced nothing? I can think of maybe one or two, but they were pretty small. Like, one-man projects that raised a few thousand dollars. Oh and Yogventures, because definitely support a game “made” by a bunch of YouTube idiots.

      There are plenty of spectacular failures of hardware projects (by all means, stay the hell away from those), but videogames are fairly safe. You may not get the dream game you hoped for, but you’ll almost certainly get something.

      Even with all the smug chuckling over Star Citizen, you *can* actually play the alpha.

      • CAMN says:

        Well, can’t say I really follow up on news about Kickstarter projects, but after a quick Google search I found these games which were never finished, but all got the money they asked for (or more):

        – Clang: $526,125
        – The Stomping Land: $114,060
        – H-Hour: World’s Elite: $252,662
        – Midora: $73,000
        – Code Hero: $170,954
        – LA Game Space: $335,657

        No idea if anyone is keeping track of how many projects get the money and which ones actually finish and deliver the game they promised.

        • demicanadian says:

          Can’t find it now, but somebody kept this google spreadsheet of all kickstarter video games and their statuses.

        • Laythe_AD says:

          The only one I’ve backed that’s left a sour taste is The Mandate. It’s officially still in development but seems to me, to be going nowhere. Shame as the concept was like a dream game.

          • Premium User Badge

            ooshp says:

            The November update said they’re hard at work on the early access version, 3 months might be a wee bit early to call it a fail.

  2. Rinox says:

    I backed it. Loved Sunless Sea, for all its faults. Very much looking forward to what they can do with the lessons they learned from Sunless Sea.

  3. Blackcompany says:

    If they lower the frankly absurd levels of grind present in Sunless Sea, I will by this version. I dearly love Sunless Sea in terms of atmosphere. But I cant play it; the level of grind is intelligence insulting.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Just cheat!

      I immediately saw the grind and cheat-engined myself a bunch of money at the start, and it made my gameplay experience wonderful. I plan to do the same in Sunless Skies, if necessary.

  4. teije says:

    Backed happily. Their social pledges were nicely done, and tied into Fallen London in some cases too, promoting playing across their ecosystem of games.

    They did mention a bit about reducing grind – as in always having to return to London in Sunless Sea – so I’m curious to see how they handle it in Skies.

  5. caff says:

    Congratulations, Failbetterers!

  6. brucethemoose says:

    Funding is increasing even more rapidly now.

  7. syndrome says:

    Just don’t forget to Fail Better this time! The last time you failed was so-so.. It certainly wasn’t better. I generously backed this concept, and you still haven’t delivered. C’mon.