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Sunless Skies adds new region, extends early access voyage

You get to keep your sanity just a little longer

Why rush to lose your mind in the depths of space when strange aeons barely notice your passing? With that old adage in mind, Failbetter Games have announced plans to keep Sunless Skies in early access a few months longer, now planning to launch the 'experience cosmic horror in space then eat your crew' follow-up to their 'experience cosmic horror on the seas then eat your crew' exploration RPG Sunless Sea in January 2019. They say they want to go back and improve the first areas they created, and then polish and logistics and yadda yadda. In the meantime, a new update today added a new region, the dark and deadly Eleutheria. Have a look in this here trailer.

Cover image for YouTube video

A happy place. Darkness is your friend in Eleutheria, as your spacetrain's headlight might agitate some of the region's sensitive wildlife. Though other fauna will come for you when your light's off. And you might crash into terrible things if you're drifting in the dark. In short, maybe stay somewhere safer.

Failbetter say that one of those regions, the Reach, is a large part of why they have again delayed the full launch. Failbetter's Hannah Flynn explained in today's announcement:

"Since we worked on the Reach, we've gotten a lot better at designing and building regions. We’re very happy with how Eleutheria has turned out, and we think it's important to bring the Reach up to the same standard, both in terms of atmosphere and the quality, variety and frequency of the experiences during exploration and traversal.

"Although we anticipated we'd want to make some improvements to the Reach and had set aside some time for it, it's significantly less time than we need for the full range of things we want to do. We think the Reach is a particularly important region to get right because of its position in the middle of the other three, and because it's where players are first introduced to the High Wilderness. We've decided it's worth taking the extra time to get it right.

"We also want to revisit some of the survival mechanics, which in their current form don't always shape the experience in the ways we'd like – especially Condition and Terror."

And then they don't want to launch during the business hell that is November and December, so they may as well take a little more time to work on other things too, such as the UI.

Updates will continue ahead of this new later launch, with improved combat due at the end of August and Reach improvements expected in early October.

I'm still waiting for Skies to leave early access and properly launch before I go blasting off myself, so sure, my vigil continues. Why rush to lose your mind in the depths of space when strange aeons barely notice your passing?

See the patch notes for more on additions, changes, and fixes in today's early access update.

Disclosure: I hear that RPS columnist Richard "Cobbo" Cobbett wrote "quite a bit of" the new area. "I think fans are going to be horrified," he adds. "In a good way." Hark at you, spookypants.

Additional disclosure: Oh god, this also has more from RPS co-founder Kieron Gillen? Best avoid it. In space, no one can hear you scream at puns.

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Sunless Skies

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Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.