Sunless Sea (opens in new tab) and its expansion Zubmariner (opens in new tab) make for one of the best Lovecraft-inspired PC games ever, and still contains some of my favorite writing in recent memory. In Sunless Skies, Failbetter Games is taking it's creaky neo-Victorian ships to space, and this time, they're letting players give them a test drive through Early Access on Steam.
Released today, it'll cost you $25 ($22.50 until September 6) (opens in new tab) to get access to the Reach, a fairly small section of the map meant to represent what the final game will play like. In a Kickstarter update (opens in new tab) detailing what's in the Early Access launch build and what's still on the way, Failbetter Games state the reason for starting small was "so we could give players a small taste of what the final game will be like rather than a big taste of an emptier, less representational world."
As for what you can do in that small slice, according to the same post:
- Explore the Reach in your locomotive
- Use your bat to scout for nearby ports
- Dock at 11 ports available in the Reach
- Interact with stories
- Engage in combat with sky-beasts and other locomotives
- Experience Terror, Hunger, and Heat mechanics
Even if it's meant to represent how the final game plays, there's still a lot more to come, including character creation and progression, spectacles, discoveries, legacies, trade, and more. If it sounds like mumbo-jumbo, go play Sunless Sea or read the update for details (opens in new tab).
If you're set on waiting until the official launch like I am, the estimated release window is currently May 2018. But as is the case with all games, that date can change as swiftly as the solar winds.