Sunless Sea
News

Sunless Sea will wash up terror and cannibalism on your iPad this spring

It was Failbetter Games’s seventh birthday yesterday, and so, to mark the occasion, the London-based studio decided to make an announcement. You remember that terrific nautical adventure game Sunless Sea (2015)? The one in which you sailed across a vast, dangerous ocean, collecting a range of stories, scars, and probably losing your sanity? Well, it’s only been available on PC before, but it’ll also be coming to iPad this spring. Great news, then. That’ll mean iPad owners can travel across the dreaded Unterzee with a tap of their finger, and from whatever real-world location they might find themselves in—handheld terror wherever…

A House of Many Doors
News

Weird fiction continues to invade videogames with A House of Many Doors

It was going fine until the Gangleman came. He arrived in the total darkness that my crew and I had been plunged into after the Heartlight had gone out. As Captain, I had made the decision to not sacrifice my own heart nor that of any of my crew to restore the light, and so we made haste towards the City of Keys, the closest refuge to our desperate position. That’s when he came, to the tune of “Gangleman, Gangleman,” a portentous poem written across the ages about his infamous acts of terror. And with that he stole one of my men…

Sunless Skies
News

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…

Sunless Sea Zubmariner
News

Oh, what horrors you can see in Sunless Sea’s new expansion

That Lovecraft’s infamous eldritch horror Cthulhu shares a similar appearance with a being from the deep only highlights a certain connection between the abyss below and the terror-filled void of science fiction works. While we’ve yet to discover extraterrestrial lifeforms, the sea floor is home to species with gaping maws and needle teeth, black eyes and bioluminescent bodies, that would be at home among alien monsters. Much like the expeditions of the Enterprise and other space-bound vessels, submersibles drift through the abyss, shielding crew against the inhospitable environment outside. Failbetter’s Sunless Sea (2015) was a unnerving hybrid of the terrors…

Sunless Skies
News

Sunless Skies promises a gloriously Victorian sci-fi tale

Rejoice! The stars are right! The stars are right because they are being murdered. Sunless Sea (2015) introduced players to the lonely madness and terror of an underground sea. Its expansion pack, Zubmariner, is set to take players to the claustrophobic depths of that ocean on October 11. Now, the sequel to Sunless Sea has been announced—named Sunless Skies—and promises to take its blend of well-written prose and pensive cosmic horror out into the actual cosmos. Fallen London is going to space. Sunless Sea begins with an epigraph from Joseph Conrad, expressing the central theme of the game: “The Sea…

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Feature

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,…

Sunless Sea Zubmariner
News

Head into the dark with debut footage of Sunless Sea’s first expansion

“The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human recklessness.” These are the words that Sunless Sea, the game of nautical exploration and cannibalistic mutiny, first chooses to present to its players. Creator Failbetter Games wants us to have no illusions of our chances going in. When we sail out in our derelict vessel, the darkness of the Unterzee barely intruded on by our searchlight, it’s all too likely we won’t return. But if we feel so vulnerable bobbing along on top the titular sunless sea, imagine being fathoms underneath it. That’s where…

ks_goty2015_header_opt1
Article

High Scores: The Best Videogames of 2015

Header image and artwork by Caty McCarthy 25. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime (Asteroid Base) Neon cuteness belying hardened spacefaring carnage. A manic platformer disguised as a cheerful shoot-em-up. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime is a lot of things, and all of those things are descending on you at the exact same time. With the evil forces of anti-love surrounding you as you save imprisoned space bunnies, Lovers works best with two players sitting side-by-side, working together against near-impossible odds. An AI-controlled dog or cat can accompany you on your suicide mission, but facing down increasing waves of enemies next to…