Sunless Sea's first major update to shuffle maps; better combat on the way soon

Nautical exploration/survival/trading/adventure game Sunless Sea is about to receive its first major update , which will be bolstered onto the game within the next few days. It's a big one, adding the promised random map generation (or "map shuffling") upon the start of each new game, along with additional lands, randomised ship names and—crucially for a story-focused game such as this—extra words, bringing the word count in Sunless Sea to over 100,000. Devs Failbetter Games—them what did Fallen London —have also outlined their future update plans, and improved combat is chief among them.

On the topic of map shuffling, Failbetter say that "the Unterzee now feels properly uncertain on each new career. We've gone beyond what we originally said we'd do—not only is the map shuffled between each replay, but also you'll see variant forms of some tiles and islands. It's working smoothly and we've been careful about what gets shuffled where, but expect weird and wonderful balance stuff until it settles down".

Those extra lands will feature evocative names such as "Salt Lions, the Mangrove College and the Sea of Autumns", while it's now "much easier" to use the game's chart. After this update is deployed, Failbetter are going to double-down on the combat system, pushing the other planned updates back a month in order to get ship-to-ship combat up to snuff. Rewards have also been highlighted as an area that needs attention, and they're going to improve that one over time.

Andy Kelly enjoyed the "evocative writing and compelling exploration" in Sunless Sea's alpha version so much that he used those exact words in his review of the Early Access version on Steam. He wasn't so keen on the "ponderous combat", however, but thankfully it looks like that's going to be addressed soon.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.