Sunless Skies

Sunless Skies doesn’t take place in outer space as we know it

It’s no surprise that outer space in Sunless Skies isn’t the terrifying vacuum that we know lingers above our heads. After all, the sea in the game’s predecessor Sunless Sea wasn’t the blue ocean of our Earth—it was the Unterzee, an underground sea populated with its own terrible creatures and peculiar folktales to pursue. In a blog post, Failbetter Games outlined what will likely come to define the High Wilderness, which is the name given to space in Sunless Skies—note: Failbetter has said that this is all in the early stages and “we might revise it, change it completely.” The studio starts…


The “New Weird” In Videogames

Defining a genre is a troubled process the moment a discussion of its elements begin. Those nebulous divisions that separate detective and gothic fiction, science fiction and horror, adventure and fantasy; all seem built on shaky foundations as tropes and archetypes bleed into each other. More often than not, studying the progression and evolution of genres begins with the understanding that such genres are seldom fixed, codified strictures. Such was the case in 2003 when a group of writers began an online conversation about a genre known as the “New Weird.” Though the New Weird, like almost every other genre,…


Eternal Darkness, Psychonauts, and sanity in videogames

Western depictions of mental illness often tend toward the dramatic. Shows like House often showcase rare disorders or extreme versions of a diagnosis when they mention mental illness at all: the schizophrenic woman who sees fire where there isn’t any, a mute patient who is able to speak after one redeeming event, or the man who had bipolar disorder and kept it secret after opting for an experimental surgery—one that ultimately resulted in malaria. In other cases, the idea of insanity is used as, if not a comedic device, a warning; one simply cannot look into the face of an…