Weathering a Storm

[color=#0066ff]Hello gang. Please see the latest Kickstarter update for some news about FBG, Fallen London and Sunless Skies.[/color]

Oh dear. Best of luck to you all.

I am sorry to hear this, especially about the 4 losses to the crew. I wish them my best and I’m sure I’m not alone.

This is unexpected and very sad. Very best, FBG. I’ll be here, buying Fate!
edited by genesis on 2/7/2018

Is there anything we can do to help?

Oof, this news hurts.
Failbetter is a strange, unique and very special little studio and I really do wish you the best.

Hopefully the full release will make a much bigger splash. Sunless Sea was highly regarded by reviewers and I feel like Skies will be very attractive and enticing to newcomers.

I just saw this in my email, and checked, and sure enough there was already a forum thread about it. I don’t have much to say that everyone else hasn’t said, except that I’m just as glad that they’re retiring the app. Well, and that this will help me rationalize spending too much Fate at the Feast of the Rose.

I’d just like to add my voice to the many who are sad to hear that things have not been going quite as hoped! <3

Best wishes to everyone affected and all at FBG. Skies is going from strength to strength and Fallen London has been steadily improving for a long while now, and I’m pretty upset to see that all this work hasn’t been rewarded as it deserves. We’re a relatively small community, but a fierce one, so if ever there’s anything we can do I hope you’ll ask!

A crosspost, I like this forum better

A lot could be said about what went wrong, but it’s not worth dwelling on, look to the future.

My advice for your next steps:

  1. The Albion update is your second chance for a first impression. A big explosion of content. Use it wisely, make sure everything’s polished and ready for primetime. Hold a private beta to work out bugs if that’d help, i’ll be happy to volunteer

  2. Once that’s out, work on a more frequent update schedule. An ideal would be a small content update every week.
    It doesn’t need to be much, one random storylet about something random happening in the skies, a new random result added to floating crates, etc. Just a little improvement helps to cultivate the feeling that the world is constantly growing, it creates a hopeful tone.

The biggest effect of regular updates though, is that it keeps the game fresh in everyone’s minds. Constantly popping up in feeds and the downloads page, it cultivates discussion

  1. Don’t be afraid of hotfixes. I did make a post about this in the past and you guys did it, great work. Keep that up. Do major content patches on a monday morning - not near the weekend , so you have people on hand to quickly fix any bugs that crop up. Keep things in a polished, presentable, advertiseable and streamable state.

  2. Be more liberal with keys. It’s a basic principle of viral marketing. Anyone playing your game is free advertising. Their friends see them playing it, they ask about it, they buy it. Giving out one free key can result in multiple secondary sales. Think of it as stimulus for a stagnant market.
    At all costs, get people playing your game, and keep them playing. The sales will follow naturally

A bad start isn’t the end of the world. With diligence you can turn this around

This motivated me to finally put down the money for Sunless Skies. I agree that its rollout was odd compared to how Sunless Sea was handled but, as your post noted, that’s been (unfortunately) magnified by the changed nature of the game market right now. I’m sad to see Cash DeCuir was one of the people to go. He wrote some of my favorite Exceptional Stories.

I understand the need to keep the site fresh and up-to-date but that screenshot looks too clean and similar to nearly every other recent site overhaul on the web. I hope that in the push to streamline the HUD doesn’t lose too much of its character and Fallen Londonish charm.

Very sorry to hear this, especially about the loss of team members. I love to think of you all somewhere not far from the Lost Thames, working away.

Some of the ideas mentioned by Nanako and Irym Ydell upthread sound good to me. Well, especially the one about vintage packs…

Sorry to hear about your difficulties, but I do hope everything will get back on track!

To be honest, Fallen London itself made me spend more money than any other video
game/franchise and I regret nothing!

Even if it’ll be mechanically better for me, I intend to throw some Fate down the well (meh, live with my decisions!) and even visit the Surface and hopefully get a weird consort. Some may argue, but you deserve it!

Keep up the good work!

Very sorry to hear about the problems FBG has been having. It’s especially saddening to hear about the loss of team members. I may not have played Fallen London for long, but I have always enjoyed playing it. No matter what happens, Fallen London has and will always be a source of joy and comfort for me. I hope that 2018 will bring better news to bear. I am grateful for all that FBG has done for its community and for the amazing games they continue to put out.

On a side note, while this may not be the most appropriate place to mention it, I want to mention that the redesign of the website makes me feel uncomfortable. I prefer our current 'parchment’y styled website a bit more. However, I will still continue to play Fallen London regardless of site design. It’s just my opinion.

I am sorry to hear that. A friend of mine just told me about it because he knows that, even though I don’t play Fallen London anymore (played every storylet available and got bored of waiting), I love your studio and your games.

I hope everything will settle, that these news will trigger a reaction from people (it did to me) and that you’ll be able to launch your next projects as well as re-hire those four people you lost in the Storm (if all of you want to).

Best of luck, you are amazing !

I am also very saddened by these news. Failbetter is probably my most favourite game developer and has positively influenced my life in many ways. I really hope that all of the staff that had to go already found some new place where they enjoy work or will find one soon.

I was also contemplating some ideas, of what could be done to improve the situation.

One thing that came to mind was this.
(I hope I got this lorewise right. Otherwise I will feel pretty silly.)
What if You made an update to Sunless Sea with some minor questline that would allow one to send a character through the gates and that would create some kind of safe file that Sunless Skies could read in and have some minor questline with that character. Maybe this would reach some of the players of Sunless Sea and encourage them to try out Sunless Skies.
(I seriously hope something like this has not yet been announced and I just missed it or I will feel even more silly ;) )
I can however see, that this is rather unleikely, as it might bring a lot of design problems and a ___ ton of programming work, which might make it completetly unfeasible. Also I have no experience with marketing and don’t know if something like that would work in any way.

Another thing is however what we as community can do.
I for one took this as a reason to actually write a steam review for once. An honest one. But a positive one, as I really enjoy Sunless Skies already in its current state. I don’t know how much steam reviews actually do for sales, but I guess it can’t hurt.
Maybe some visibility could be achieved if we as viewers of some streamers or let’s players could recommend the games to be played.

Sorry for the rambling, but this post has really shaken me up somehow.
Here is to hoping for a better future. All shall be well and all manner of beings shall be well.

Btw. I really appreciate how open you are abput the problems. That is one of the reasons I have so much respect for you folks.

Sorry to hear about this, I may have only been playing for a short amount of time but these games have bought me so much joy

I’ve thought for a while that YouTubers like NerdCubed giving these games a showcase would be a godsend. I think Failbetter is leaning a bit too hard on word of mouth.

[color=#0066ff]I’ll reply on the YouTuber and key thing because it’s my job: being liberal with free keys has a different effect these days. We have already given 11,000 Steam keys to our backers, and none of the reviews from those players (our most dedicated) will count to our Steam review average. We will give keys to YouTubers when the game is almost ready to launch; having someone big cover it this early wouldn’t help as much. We did this for Sunless Sea and secured some really huge YouTubers which made a big difference for us; we hope with some hard work from me and Haley that we’ll get similar results this time. :)[/color]

I know there is unspoken tradition to reassure FBG in threads like this. But.
If you release pretty much unplayable game in EA no wonder sales are low. And patches with content, only one every 2-3 months? You had it coming, deserve it.
FL redesign is nice, but what community really wants is the content. Free and for fate. FL Reworks were nice and it feels like game should be updated at this pace constantly. I hope this was not a singular project because you have &quotfree&quot money.
edited by Waterpls on 2/8/2018

As somebody who used to be a more than unusually enthusiastic fan: one very simple reason I got into FL was because it was a game that you didn’t have to be good at games or motor reflexes in order to play. I splashed out the money for Sunless Sea assuming that the same would hold true, and got exactly the experience I wanted and expected; a game that had combat and wild action if you want to do that stuff, but which would also let you largely ignore all of that if you were not so inclined. (SS is rather carefully balanced so that an attentive player can, even with a cheap engine, survive most conflicts as long as they don’t try to shoot anything.)

The action-oriented, oh-look-you-can-strafe-now, have-fun-spending-ten-minutes-trying-to-dock mode that Sunless Skies was in back at the start of September, rather strongly suggested that I’d bought a pig in a poke and this was going to be Another One of Those Action Games. So after spending more play time crashing into things than actually getting anywhere, I gave up and figured I’d wait for the promised easy mode controls.

When the development blog said that auto-docking had been added, I rushed off to go test it out, only to find that it hadn’t been implemented for Mac users yet and I was still stuck with the September iteration of the game. At which point I figured I’d just ignore the whole thing until launch, and have mostly not bothered to talk or indeed think about SSK since then.

I don’t know how representative or helpful any of that is, but hey, there’s my two cents.
edited by Teaspoon on 2/8/2018