Sunless Sea Zubmariner

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

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…


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

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…


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…


This sea-faring sim lets you romance your crew or eat them. Your choice, really

With The Walking Dead and Gods will be Watching and now Sunless Sea, a dark and Melvillian account of life on the open ocean, cannibalism is quickly becoming the hot new trend in games. OK, maybe three games doesn’t exactly constitute a trend, but we’ll wait and see. The interesting thing about this one, with selling points like “eat your crew” and staving off “hunger” while joining leagues with “pirates,” is that it teases to tap into moral-choice-making with a slant towards villainy, a perspective TellTale’s games, for all their horrific qualities, seem afraid to flirt with. But this game…