Developer Failbetter Games has released a major new update for its currently-in-early-access Sunless Sea follow-up, Sunless Skies, introducing new region Albion.

Sunless Skies entered Steam Early Access last August, and is Failbetter's attempt at transplanting Sunless Sea's engaging mix of rogue-like exploration and strikingly imaginative storytelling to the stars. It unfolds in "a universe steeped in celestial horror and ravaged by Victorian ambition".

Failbetter called the version of Sunless Skies that released into early access last year "a small taste of what the final game will be like rather than a big taste of an emptier, less representational world." It featured the game's core systems - namely Hunger, Terror, combat, exploration, and a selection of interactive stories - as well as a single region, the Reach.

Today's major new update introduces a second region, Albion. This, says Failbetter, is "the heart of the British Empire and home to Her Majesty Queen Victoria [...] where manners must be minded and secrets are necessary". Albion can be reached via Port Prosper's transit relay, and includes nine new ports, 12 new Discoveries, six new Spectacles, and five new Agents.

New sights include "Avid Horizon (the door through which Londoners entered the sky; now solemnly closed), the Clockwork Sun (greatest marvel of British Engineering), and Worlebury-juxta-Mare (a pleasant town on a sea of mist that definitely doesn't squirm with noisome horrors)". You can get a glimpse of some of those in the evocative introductory trailer above.

Sunless Skies was originally scheduled to a launch on PC and Mac this May. However, Failbetter announced a delay to Kickstarter backers in February, alongside news of redundancies at the studio amid disappointing sales.

Eurogamer's recent investigation into the development of the game and life at Failbetter, published alongside the delay's announcement, detailed the studio's sometimes fractious inner workings and culture, and Sunless Sea's complex, tough development.

The game is now expected to arrive this September.

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Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a freelance writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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