Sunless Skies will be released in September 2018!
Thank you all for your kind comments and understanding on our last post. It’s been a stressful time for the studio, but we’re grateful for your support as ever! Now that the storm has passed, we’re feeling really focussed, and have a lot to share with you in this update.
We’re pleased to announce that Sunless Skies will be released in late September 2018! The launch release will include your Kickstarter scout (and mascot if you backed at that level). We’ll have an updated roadmap next week, but for now here’s the lowdown on our latest release: COMBAT.
Weaponry and heat
The biggest change we’ve made to this build is a complete rework of the Heat mechanics. We’ve redesigned the Heat bar and made the mechanics simpler. Try holding down the button to keep firing, and experimenting with what happens when you’re overheated but keep shooting (clue: it is not good). We feel we’ve arrived at something that makes combat fun and accessible, whilst being measured and allowing you to try different tactics to get the most out of it. It’ll keep evolving based on your feedback!
Combat will also feel a little different due to some additional tweaks to ship speed and camera behaviour: you get more screen around you when you’re at full speed or when you’ve been targeted by an enemy.
We’ve also made numerous small changes to some of the beastie behaviour in the Reach. Cantankeri go down a little easier, Reach Marauders are a little more nimble. The Tackety Scout remains a tough encounter - think before you engage! The Enduring Dreadnaught has a powerful new chain weapon, so stay out of its line of fire. Generally, enemies are more capable of missing now, meaning more narrow escapes. Let us know what you think!
After many hours of gameplay we’ve added a default controller configuration which we feel is the best fit, but you can change the gamepad controls at any time from the title screen (select Options > Controls) or in-game (press Esc > Options > Controls). We’ll also be adding keyboard-only support in a future release.
We are toying with the idea of having difficulty settings for movement. We won’t be implementing this until much closer to launch, but in the meantime we wanted to adjust the controls to make the locomotives feel slightly less ‘slidey’. This is a minor adjustment on the road to default controls that feel right (no easy task to balance!). Once difficulty settings are in place, you’ll be able to make stronger adjustments yourself.
This month, the writers had a workshop with consultant, game writer and friend of Failbetter Meg Jayanth, in which they looked at the theme of colonialism in Sunless Skies. They came out of it with a whole bag of story ideas, new writing approaches, and some particularly exciting material for the Blue Kingdom.
Meanwhile in the story mines, the writing team have mostly been forging onward into Albion (with a little excursion to Eleutheria), so you can expect to see the fruits of these labours further down the line.
The next update will be a biggie. ALBION enters the game. An entire new region to explore!
Quite a bit of work from the last few sprints will be revealed all at once: all the ports will have their core stories, and you can expect a well, a legendary wreck, new prospects and bargains, and several new discoveries and enemy types.
Of course, with two regions, we’ll need a way to travel from one to the other. We know what this looks like and we think you’re going to be tickled.
That’s your lot for this release! Our podcast today is cancelled due to the snow (as much as we love our office, we'd like to get home tonight!). We'll let you know when we've rescheduled!
And those of you in the UK can come see us at EGX Rezzed! Rezzed is the 13th-15th of April at Tobacco Dock in London, and it's always a great time. Hope to see you there!