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Sunless Skies Blasting Off to the High Wilderness

Following an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, it looks like Sunless Skies is definitely getting made. Not only was the proposed sequel to Sunless Sea fully funded in less than four hours, but when the month-long campaign ended last week, backers had pledged nearly four times more than what Failbetter Games had asked for. That’s an impressive £377,952 from 11,739 backers, meeting all stretch and social goals.

As with Sunless Sea, Sunless Skies will be a 2D literary-RPG set in the same Victorian Gothic universe as the popular free-to-play browser-game Fallen London (formerly Echo Bazaar). But whereas as the former saw you captaining a steam ship across a mysterious and perilous underground sea (the Unterzee), its sequel blasts off to explore the wonders and horrors of the High Wilderness. Set 10 years after the events of Sunless Sea, a revitalised British Empire has mastered space travel, with Queen Victoria herself leading the exodus from Old London to celestial colonies of the new frontier.

Sunless Skies will follow pretty much the same formula as its predecessor, only this time flying around in a spacefaring locomotive. So you’ll choose an ambition, take on quests, trade, explore, fight pirates and exotic creatures, and become entangled in those wonderfully-imaginative and beautifully-bizarre emergent stories so typical of the series. Or as Failbetter put it in their characteristically poetic and pithy manner:

“It is the dawn of the 20th century, and London has taken to the stars! As the captain of a spacefaring locomotive you’ll behold wonders and battle cosmic abominations in the furthest heavens. Stake your claim. Fight to survive. Speak to storms. Murder a sun. Face judgement.”

Sunless Skies will be coming to Windows, Mac and Linux, via Steam and GOG, possibly around spring next year. However, in the coming months there will be a closed beta and they’re hoping to start early access this summer. In the meantime, everyone can enjoy the social rewards from the Kickstarter campaign, including three cups of Darkdrop Coffee (mmm… musky!), a Judgemental Hat and a stand-alone avatar creator for Fallen London, and sentient, written word-loving mushrooms (Blemmigans) as pets for all three titles.

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For nearly 30 years I’ve been enthralled by the magic and escapism of video games. From the highly-pixelated 2D graphics and simple but addictive gaming concepts of the 8-bit era to the sophisticated multiplayer 3D worlds of the modern gaming system, I’ve always loved gaming. These days I’m a massive fan of indie games, but I still find time to play classic Amiga and PC games via emulation and read about video game history.