News

Seven is the number

By Alexis Kennedy, May 25, 2016 · Failbetter

In June 2009 I sat down to build Fallen London. I mailed Paul Arendt and asked him to draw me a dozen icons for a web game.

“I do have a vague and optimistic biz plan for this” (I said) “though I’m primarily doing it as skills practice and a showcase. I know you said you didn’t want to take money, but could you pick a fair price for these pics if you do them? and if I ever make any profit on it I’ll pay you out of that, if not, I’m sure ears are riveting to draw.”

Seven years later, we’ve shipped nine projects and we provide full-time work for sixteen people making dark, distinctive, untidy games. RPS says we write the ‘bestest best words in gaming’. And there was that time we rang up a helpdesk and the guy on the other end went ‘wait didn’t you make Sunless Sea’. We’ve built something that’s changed the world, ever so slightly. But it’s been seven years in one place, and I’m too busy running the company to do enough of the creative work I love. So, rather to my own surprise, once I’ve finished off one last project, I’m leaving.

Failbetter is in an excellent place, and delights in an excellent team. Everything will be the same except that it will also be different. All of you are going to have a great time. Me, I’ll be walking the earth like Jules in Pulp Fiction walking the earth like Caine in Kung Fu. Oh all right I mean I’ll hang out my shingle as a freelancer. I have the entrepreneur’s bug and I’ll probably found another studio eventually, but I want to learn as much as I can from as many different kinds of project as I can, first.

(Because I know it’ll be top of the comments queue otherwise: I might get to extend the Seeking storyline before I go. If not, it’ll be in good hands.)

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’ve played Fallen London or Sunless Sea. That means you’ve been part of the Failbetter adventure, and you still will be, even if I won’t. You’ve made all the difference in the world, and we’ll always be grateful. Thank you. Good luck. Goodbye, delicious friends.

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Aardent Lore Nov 19, 9:59pm

Thank you for giving me a place to escape to when the Surface makes me weary and I need a delicious distraction whether it be adrift on a Sunless Sea or roaming the streets of Fallen London.

Cultist Simulator: recipes and bumping brains – WEATHER FACTORY Aug 3, 11:08am

[…] it can be difficult to remember. My strong inclination is to bunker up. I’m an introvert who ran a company for seven years, and being able to work from home and not have to talk to anybody unless I wanna is intoxicating. […]

Brian Rodgers Jul 3, 6:41am

"Why are you here? Are you here at all?" We came because we loved the world you created. We were, because we believed. Thanks for the memories.

SmallFish Jul 1, 8:03pm

Thanks for these years Alexis. It's been a great ride and actually I'm still on it. :) All the best in your future endeavours.

Edlaine Saphburgh Jun 20, 5:02pm

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Bek Jun 16, 12:39am

Thank you for everything, Alexis. Fallen London and FBG in general has changed my life completely--it's helped me discover things about myself and led to me meeting my current partner of 2.5 years. It's brought me so much joy and created a wellspring of inspiration in my own art and writing and it's been a pleasure being a part of this little community while you were here. I hope that your future endeavors continue to bring joy and that we haven't seen the last of you yet!

Eira Jun 15, 12:05pm

Thank you, Alexis. I can't get enough of Fallen London and I'm so invested in my character that I've written SO MANY backstories and tidbits just for fun with a friend (with her own character). Thanks for all the inspiration and the great adventure. I haven't played FL recently life got in the way, but I am planning to get back into it again. Best of luck with your future endeavours. I'm looking forward to your future creations. Til next time, delicious friend.

Alex Jun 15, 9:49am

Did you know, dear sir, that when you leaving Failbetter Games, the boat guy takes you back there in 5-10 actions?

DreamCC Jun 14, 2:23am

Thankyou for all the wonder and mystery that is Fallen London and Sunless sea. Best of luck in all your future endeavors. i look forward to seeing them. Sincerely, DreamCC

Cyrus the Burnt Jun 12, 5:50pm

Why? For god's sake, why? What could you possibly hope to gain? Stop now. Before it's too late.

The Coughing Gent Jun 11, 9:13pm

So long and thanks for all the painful deaths.

Verrain Jun 10, 3:04pm

Well, if you have to move on from this wonderful creation of yours, I am glad it is on your own terms and with the hopes of creating yet more things for us to enjoy. Fare well and don't be a stranger.

Trilby Jun 9, 2:01pm

Farewell, delicious friend.

Lady Sapho Byron Jun 6, 11:58pm

Thank you for sending London a mile below ground; I have had so much fun deep below the earth, I've met wonderful people, and I've been delighted by so many creative surprises. Thank you for crafting a little world away from the drudge of the commonplace that I can escape to, relax in, laugh in, and wear the scandalously red stockings in! Fare thee well and blessed be -S. B.

Lavi Shroud Jun 1, 4:25pm

This made me smile and it made me a tad sad. The remark about the seeking storyline finally been given an end is something I am happy to hear. Nonetheless, Alexis, your presence in the work you did (and from time to time on the forum) has made this trip with Fallen London a pleasure for me. It is rare to see someone get so caught up in his creation without forgetting the fans and the way his story and actions impact the people around. As a student in London, this was the first game I picked up in a long time and it was a three year adventure that I still revisit from time to time. It's become a boundless creation that extends in so many directions and it has offered a world to expend my imagination upon. (due to my profession, I can't help but imagine how an underground world could be built or it would look like). I can see the appeal in traveling and searching new horizons and possibilities for your new work. To sum up the words of every person that has commented before me, thank you for your words, work and creation.

End of May Link Assortment | Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling May 31, 11:43am

[…] Alexis Kennedy is leaving Failbetter Games. Failbetter has had a huge effect on the interactive fiction landscape, very much thanks to Alexis’ initiating vision. The company has of course grown to encompass a great deal of other talent, in writing and editing and community management and other areas, and I expect it will continue to be influential for quite a while to come. But it will be fascinating to see where it goes, and also what Alexis does next. […]

CEO of Sunless Sea studio quits | May 26, 9:51am

[…] work for sixteen people making dark, distinctive, untidy games,” Kennedy wrote in a farewell post on the Failbetter […]

James Sinclair May 26, 1:40am

Fallen London and Sunless Sea have both become a great source of fun for me, and I can't thank you enough for sharing them with the world. I do understand that you need some creative space, though. The last FL project you wrote for (Flint) was an absolute blast, so I'll be looking forward to whatever you produce in the future, regardless of where you end up.

Loiathal May 26, 12:04am

Alexis, FL has become this wonderful thing in my life, where I pay really close attention to lore facts everywhere and I read the month's exceptional story aloud to my wife as I play it. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your next place on The Great Chain.

Cruxhallow May 25, 8:54pm

You have left us beautiful stories, most delicious of friends, and we will savor them for a long time to come. But no goodbyes. You do not venture that long dark alone. Take us new places, Mr. Kennedy. There is no Sequence for this. We make our own road yet.

Failbetter Games CEO Alexis Kennedy is leaving the Sunless Sea dev to go freelance – GEEKDOMO May 25, 8:38pm

[…] a post on the studio’s website, Kennedy speaks about his memories of setting Failbetter up and building Fallen London, following […]

Eliza Cromlech May 25, 6:28pm

Thank you for enriching my life, and the lives of so many others, with this wonderful world you've created! I think I speak for most (if not all) of us FL players when I say we're sad to see you go, but eager to see what you come up with next. Best wishes to you, O most delectable of friends! :D

Joona May 25, 5:32pm

Thank you so much for everything, you have created a world I can't get enough of and I'll always be grateful for that. Good luck with everything you do from now on, I don't doubt you'll be amazing and continue to fill the world with the very best words there are. The legend of the fez-tiger will never die.

Carine May 25, 5:08pm

Thanks you and good luck for all that you've done our Exceptional Entrepreneur Friend. I look forward to your next endeavour.

Maribeth Solomon @solomonchik May 25, 4:39pm

Thank you for the most wildly wonderful fun working with you, Delicious Friend. See you after whatever interval you deem fit. Thank you for all the Inspires.

Jerrry B May 25, 4:36pm

Fare well and bonne chance. And don't be shy about all those new projects.

David Child May 25, 4:12pm

I wish you the best in your future endeavors and hope you scratch that entrepreneurial itch. I stumbled into Fallen London, then Sunless Sea, and thank you for it. Make some mischief, good sir, and push out some more words.

Olga May 25, 4:01pm

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful and charming stories you've gave us! May the brightest stars guide you in a new journey and may new path bring you joy!

Marko May 25, 3:54pm

Even though I haven't played Fallen London in two years or so, the time I've spent with it (and the time I am yet to spend with Sunless Sea) has been some of my favourite in any game. The whole lore, and especially the Seeking story, have been a true delight. Thank you for that, and good luck in all your future endeavours!

Rupho Schartenhauer May 25, 3:21pm

As someone who's followed Fallen London and Failbetter Games almost from the start, I only want to say that I fully understand your decision. I've done something much the same more than once in my life. I'm sure we'll hear from you again, when- or whatever it'll be!

Jacob Goldstein May 25, 2:32pm

Good luck with your future ventures. Thanks for the words you've given.

Ben Y. Faroe May 25, 2:16pm

Thank you for all you've done. Truly the bestest best words I've ever read in any game (and most books), and an inspiration that broadened my view of what can be done and strengthened my resolve to go do it. Best wishes on your next adventure.

Host May 25, 2:10pm

I wish you the greatest of luck in your every endeavor. We appreciate you very much.

Absimiliard May 25, 2:03pm

I just want to thank you for creating a non-gendered safe space in which to play. For many people you are a god-send, even if many of us might not choose to phrase it that way. Thank you Alexis, your creation is both Marvelous and Delicious.