Narrative exploration roguelike Sunless Sea has been out for a while, delighting us with its singular oddness and its wonderfully weird subterranean Victorian fantasy.
The recently released Zubmariner Edition, which contains both the base game and its Zubmariner expansion in one neat package, explores new lands, venturing far beyond the game’s PC-bound port of call into unexplored console waters.
I have to admit that I was somewhat wary of this port. Consoles aren’t exactly the ideal home for games which contain lots of text, and Sunless Sea is positively overflowing with stories. However, this works just fine, thanks to the game’s nicely oversized interface with its large font.
Not only that, but traversing the Unterzee also benefits from the big screen treatment. It amplifies that oh so terrifying feeling of isolation, as your small ship sets forth into the unknown. Alone. In the dark.
According to Failbetter Games’ Haley Uyrus, the studio didn’t realize that the game would really work on the big screen “until a fan sent us a screenshot of them playing Sunless Sea projected onto an entire wall! I think that really showed it was possible. [Besides,] our players have been asking for a PS4 port for quite some time and we felt it was the right time in Sunless Sea’s lifecycle to expand onto console.”
Getting the game to feel right on the console was “definitely one of the design challenges of the port,” Uyrus claims, “but our Quality Analyst, Lesleyann White, worked closely with [porting studio] Blitworks to figure out ways to make the UI and the HUD work a lot smarter so we could get the text to a readable level without taking up the entire screen.”
You can read a bit more about that process here. Ultimately, the game looks like it was made to be played on your TV, and the gamepad controls feel intuitive and just right. This is exactly what you want from a console port.
With this out of the way, Failbetter Games will put all their efforts into finishing Sunless Skies, which is bound to be complete early next year. Considering that eating my crew works so well on the PS4, I certainly wouldn’t mind to murder a sun on there as well.
Sunless Sea and its Zubmariner expansion are available from GOG, Steam, and the Humble Store – and of course from the Playstation Store. For more information, visit the Failbetter Games website or follow them on Twitter.