Sunless Skies wants to know its audience

Failbetter Games think it’s important for indie devs to know their market.

We had a chance to catch up with Haley Uyrus, Marketing Manager over at Failbetter Games, last weekend at EGX Rezzed to discuss their latest release, Sunless Skies.

“I think, particularly in the indie field,” said Uyrus, “it’s quite easy to think and assume things about your audience, particularly if you’ve made a game you yourself would like to play.”

After a successful Kickstarter back 2017, the sequel to Sunless Sea is now moving towards a full release. Sunless Skies massively exceeded its funding targets going on to expand into stretch goals fostering a great community of supporters along the way. It’s not as easy as it looks launching a game through crowdfunding, though, as Uyrus pointed out.

“It is interesting as an indie that, if you do raise a lot of money, then people think you’re a bigger studio than you are,” Said Uyrus. “So, I think it’s managing people’s expectations of the workforce that you have, to make sure that they understand that it’s still only 12 people making quite a big indie game actually.”

Sunless Skies is a gothic narrative adventure with some RPG and roguelike elements. You pick your vessel, or locomotive to be more accurate, create a captain and begin on a voyage of difficult choices and uncomfortable sacrifices. It’s set in the same universe as Failbetter’s previous titles and relies on emergent gameplay elements to create compelling and meaningful stories.

With their new game, the team have faced a totally different landscape on the indie game market than they experienced during Sunless Sea’s launch. There’s a lot more competition out there now with multiple games struggling for attention on the Steam landing page.

“Sunless Sea benefited from being on Steam at quite an early juncture where visibility was a lot easier to get,” Uyrus told TIGW. “There were less games obviously but more importantly visibility [was better], it was all on the front page carousel.”

Even though the sequel didn’t get the wide visibility of the first game Sunless Skies still has a strong community behind it thanks to their successful crowdfunding efforts. The game has received numerous updates since its first release into early access and the team hope to continue that success as the game moves towards full release.

You can expect the full release of Sunless Skies at the end of September on Mac, PC and Linux.

Editor

Once the Editor of The Indie Game Website, Jon now wonders the Earth as a hermit in search of worthy opponents to challenge at Tetris.

Jon Calvin

Editor Once the Editor of The Indie Game Website, Jon now wonders the Earth as a hermit in search of worthy opponents to challenge at Tetris.