It seems Sunless Skies, the narrative-building steampunk exploration game, is going to be wandering the uncharted darkness of Early Access a bit longer than anticipated. Developer Failbetter Games has announced Sunless Skies will now be launching in January, four months after the planned September launch.
The most recent Early Access build of Sunless Skies includes the game’s third and darkest region, Eleutheria. In a post detailing what the new region brings, Failbetter explains that after considering both feedback from Early Access players and the lessons they’ve learned over the course of development, the team decided to take some extra time to go back and improve earlier regions to bring them up to the standard set by Eleutheria.
“We’ve gotten a lot better at designing and building regions,” the developers wrote in the post. “We’re very happy with how Eleutheria has turned out, and we think it’s important to bring the Reach up to the same standard, both in terms of atmosphere and the quality, variety, and frequency of the experiences during exploration and traversal.”
Failbetter says the team also plans on reworking some of Sunless Skies’ game mechanics, like Condition and Terror, to make sure they’re in line with how they want the game experience to unfold as you play.
The additional work they have planned shouldn’t take four full months, the developers said. But pushing the release back beyond September puts Sunless Skies into dangerous waters that are crowded with triple-A releases and holiday sales – not an ideal time for any indie game to launch. Sunless Skies has already struggled to find funding during Early Access, which resulted in layoffs at Failbetter and one launch target already missed this year.
The delay may be disappointing for Kickstarter backers and Early Access players eager to get their hands on the full game, but the extra time will allow Failbetter to further polish Sunless Skies into the creepy, foggy, airborne-steam-engine experience fans are hoping for.