Posts Tagged ‘fallen london’

The RPG Scrollbars: Cool Setting, Bro!

The problem with fantasy is that it’s often not very… well… fantastical. Far too often, even brand new worlds feel like Tolkein or Warcraft or Star Wars with a few twists, and the serial numbers scraped off. The good thing about this is that when a game does take us somewhere new, it feels all the more special for it. This week then, a quick look back at some which have caught my attention for their sense of place. That doesn’t necessarily mean super-original in the great scheme of things, or even not based on a licensed work, or even necessarily that the world contained a great game. These are just a few settings that have stood out from the crowd as cool ideas that surprised, inspired, and deserve borrowing or dusting off.

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Sunless Skies Takes Sunless Sea To The Stars In 2017

Sunless Skies‘ sounds a bit too ‘A Day Trip To Reading’ to my ears. I guess 2unless 2ea, Sunless Sea 2: None More Sunless and 2 Sea 2 Sunless were deemed insufficiently lyrical. The name, of course, matters nought: what does matter is that charmingly bleak, ocean-bound, narrative rougelikelikelike12 Sunless Sea [official site] is going full sail to sequel-land with Sunless Skies next year. And then taking off into space.
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Sunless Sea’s Former Lead Now Writing For Stellaris

Stellaris [official site], Paradox’s sci-fi fusion of 4x design and grand strategy ideals, is a game that generates stories. As your species moves through the galaxy, encountering all manner of alien life, you’ll create tiny tales and epic sagas. There are also stories already written, however, in the form of quest chains, and over the weekend we learned that one of the minds behind Fallen London and Sunless Sea will be adding to those space-stories. Alexis Kennedy, co-founder and formerly creative director of Failbetter Games, is now crafting word-shapes for Stellaris.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Seeking Mr Eaten’s Name

Full disclosure time. I’m about to talk about Fallen London [official site] by Failbetter Games, a game and company that I’ve now done a fair amount of writing for. Please pause to get the necessary pinch of salt to take with anything that follows, if you wish. However, my love for this crazy Victorian universe goes back a lot further than that, and this week I’m not going to talk about anything I’ve had a hand in. Instead, I thought I’d discuss Seeking the Name. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s one of the most interesting, disturbing quests you’ll ever regret taking on.

Some minor lore spoilers follow, but nothing too deep.

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Failbetter Co-Founder Alexis Kennedy To Leave Studio

If I’ve one regret with regards to games I’ve let slip through my fingers over the years, it’s Failbetter Games’ Fallen London. I’m told its mysterious world, its lovingly illustrated interface, and its quirky character ensemble is rather wonderful; yet this is exactly how I feel about last year’s follow up Sunless Sea [official site]. Not only did the latter bag a place on our list of best RPGs, we singled it out for bestest best words of 2014 – testament to Failbetter’s storytelling prowess.

Which is why it’s a surprise to learn today that their creative director Alexis Kennedy is parting ways with the studio he co-founded seven years ago.

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Punbetter: Failbetter Launch Narrative Game Fund

Failbetter Games have found fame and fortune with Fallen London and Sunless Sea, and now they’ve started helping other folks in the narrative games lark. For fun and profit! They’ve already helped fund Harry Tuffs’s A House of Many Doors, but today formally announced Fundbetter. It’s a funding initiative for folks who want to make small narrative games and interactive fiction, fronting them cash in return for a cut of profits. You know, it’s funding. Money stuff. Like Dragon’s Den but without the gits.

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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.
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Lyrical Ballast: Impressions Of A Sunless Sea

We’re deep down now, deep down where dreams and figments tumble and churn together like silt, deep down in sleep, where pain and sorrow fall drop by drop into the Sunless Sea, and wisdom comes in whispers of text and through the rubbery fronds of some ancient lifeform. Now in Early Access, Sunless Sea is the first ‘proper’ game from Failbetter, the clever-clogs creators of Fallen London and the Story Nexus platform. I’ve been navigating its strange shores for the past few days.

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Between The Devils And The Deep: Sunless Sea

If I had my way, everybody who reads RPS would have at least a nodding acquaintance with the writing of Failbetter Games. The showcase for the tiny English studio’s talents is the free to play, browser-based RPG/adventure Fallen London, built in their own StoryNexus engine. Understandably, some people don’t want to invest time and (potentially) money into a fragmented narrative, which requires players to pay or to pause between play sessions.

Good news arrives in the form of Sunless Sea, a new showcase for Failbetter’s magnificent worldbuilding in the form of the most RPS-friendly game I’ve seen for some time. Steampunk ships undertake FTL-inspired voyages of “discovery, survival and loneliness”, while crews face down vast tentacled horrors, risking life, limb and sanity. Watch the first in-game footage below and keep an eye on the log at the bottom-left.

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Of London And The Sunless Sea: Failbetter Interview Pt 2

Our lengthy conversation with Alexis Kennedy and Paul Arendt of Failbetter Games continues, with mysterious, enigmatic and untold tales of Fallen London, details of the nightmarish voyages undertaken by the captains of the Sunless Sea, and adventures in the mind of a dead god. If you haven’t read part one, you’ll find it here. If you have, jump right in.

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Of London And The Sunless Sea: Failbetter Interview

“Have you ever been to Córdoba?” It’s not the sort of question an interviewee normally asks me but this isn’t a normal interview. I’d like to say that I spoke to Paul Arendt and Alexis Kennedy of Failbetter games in a corroded wine cellar by gaslight, but that would be a lie. The creators of Fallen London work in Digital Enterprise Greenwich, overlooking the Thames from on high rather than sifting through its waters in search of stories to tell. I’ve had a long and fulfilling relationship with Fallen London, and Sunless Sea looks like a marvellous mixture of Elite, roguelike and top notch storytelling, so I was hoping for a fulfilling conversation.

A couple of hours later, we’d talked about everything from Dark Souls to Dickens, and the world felt like a more fascinating place. These are two of the most interesting minds making games and whether you’ve played Fallen London or not, you would do well to consume their thoughts.

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Of Madness And Steamships: Sunless Sea

Sunless Sea takes the excellent writing and world-building of Fallen London, and injects it into a 2D exploration, trading and survival game. It’s Elite but with steamships instead of starships, and dwindling-dark ports instead of space stations. Throw in giant fish with moustaches, living mimic islands and deranged cannibal crew members, and the resulting concoction seems more than satisfying. I spoke to Failbetter about Fallen London, Black Crown and Sunless Sea a few weeks ago, and today, as the Kickstarter launches, I plan to feed you their words over the coming days. Visit Fallen London, toll-free, for a taste of the style and the setting of Sunless Sea, and then ponder if it is possible to pass up on a game in which the images and text below appear.

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Revolt And Romance: Fallen London

When I read Alec’s salute to Kingdom of Loathing, I recognised the sentiment immediately. Although it hasn’t existed for as many years, Fallen London is a firmly entrenched feature of my waking life. I’ve written about it before and I’ll readily admit that I’ve only been reminded to mention it again because of a Valentine’s press release, detailing The Feast of the Exceptional Rose content. That’s a fantastic name for a romantic event. The Failbetter folks spin some marvellous word-threads and the possibility of discovering new parcels of prose is the best reason to revisit every day.

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Text My Breath Away, StoryNexus

It's easy to get into. Simply be rescued by the Enterprise, then use trilithium missiles to detonate suns so that it flies through Veridian 3, and be standing on it when it hits.

While it’s still at the ‘sign-up for info’ stage, Fallen London creators Failbetter Games are getting ready to launch a cool sounding set of tools that could let you beat them at their own game. It’s called StoryNexus, and with it anyone will (eventually) be able to create their own card/text based adventures. There’s also going to be a new game based on the technology, described with the company’s ever-erudite panache as “kind of a musketeer noir thing”.

I’m really looking forward to seeing this in the flesh, for a number of reasons…

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Impressions: Fallen London

The RPS social club is at The Medusa's Head

Browser-based narrative experiment Echo Bazaar has quite the following and when it took on the new name, Fallen London, I decided I was long overdue a visit to the delirious, devil-haunted sprawl of suggestive steampunk. It’s a browser-based adventure, working from a lovingly illustrated but mostly textual interface, which involves seeking mysteries, stories, secrets and opportunities in the sunken city. There are stats that increase as plotlines are pursued and there are action points that replenish over time, or through the expenditure of real world currency. The pleasure of it isn’t really in the self-improvement though, it’s in the joy of discovery, and the word-forging and world-building are quite brilliant.

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