20,000 Leagues Above the Clouds is “like Baldur’s Gate meets Pirates!, with steampunk airships “

Friday, 2nd May 2014 21:39 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

20,000 Leagues Above the Clouds has been announced by Swedish-studio That Brain as a steampunk, single-player game where you fly around floating islands n the sky.

Players will trade, explore, and eventually fly around the world with others via multiplayer, as the later is being considered at the moment.

That Brain describes its game as “a bit like Baldur’s Gate meets Pirates!, with more steampunk airships.”

At present, the game is in development for PC and Mac, but tablets “could be an option later on.”

Here’s the game synopsis straight from the website:

“20,000 Above is a game set in a world of floating islands, far up in the sky. You are the captain of an airship with its crew, on a steampunk voyage across the seven skies. You’ll find your success through missions, trading, resource gathering or piracy.

Throughout the game you will find skyports where you can dock for supplies and upgrades. Here you will meet friendly as well as shady characters presenting you with their stories. Some of them may join you on your journey. As you learn more from your conversations, you gradually gain an understanding of how this strange world is held together, and how it came to be.

You choose your own name and portrait when creating your captain. Through your actions you will also to an extent define your character’s personality – be it charming or fearsome.

20,000 Above has simple click-to-move controls with a number of added abilities based on your ship and crew. Your journey begins high over the clouds, and from your vantage point you can see ships move and interact below. When you feel ready, you progress downwards to find new adventures and greater challenges.”

You can sign up for news on the title through here, which will put you on the newsletter and inform you when the beta will become available.

If you head through that link, you will also see plenty of screenshots and character portraits.



  1. ManuOtaku

    So a mixture between skies of arcadia and bioshock infinite and sid meirs pirates, i did love all those games, so i hope this comes to consoles

    #1 8 months ago
  2. TheWulf

    I was thinking of Skies of Arcadia through a Western lens, too. The ships and the designs of the flying island are eerily similar to that. However, since Skies of Arcadia was by far one of the most unique fantasy RPG settings I’ve ever played in, I’m very okay with that.

    I’d liken it to a new Star Trek show being released soon. Sure, we’ve had Star Trek before, but Star Trek as a setting is so unique (barring DS9, which desperately wanted to be Star Wars), and sci-fi has become so underappreciated that it would be a very welcome thing. It would cut through all of these awful modern day ‘sci-fi’ shows, which are half-heartedly so so that they don’t offend an audience of sheer stupidity, and paranormal shows.

    There are some things that another one of or even another twenty of would be okay before they even began to get stale. Whereas many other things have already outstayed their welcome by already being so cloyingly familiar. I’d count Skies and Pirates as both being unique enough to deserve there being more like them. Skies especially.

    And the character portraits give me a lot of hope for this one. Another reason that fantasy has become so dry lately is that it’s regressed from a well-rounded person into an emo teenager who craves people taking him seriously. Really, look at Dragon Age (especially the first) and tell me you don’t see the truth of that metaphor. Everyone speaks so cleanly, there’s no slang, no accents, there’s no individuality, it’s all very pious, professional, and entirely lacking in personality. That’s what I’ve become sick of with fantasy.

    I’ve said this and I’ll keep saying it — I remember when fantasy felt confident enough with itself to not change itself to meld in with the herd. It was a clever, wry, wise middle-aged person, the kind of wild-eyed someone who’d be telling stories to children around a fireplace, conjuring up the impossible in their imaginations with mere words. Now fantasy is just a failed extrovert who half arsedly attempts to achieve some kind of social acceptance.

    Yeah. Sure. Violence, I can do that. You’ll take me seriously if I do that? Look, I have this blood tech that does those blood splatters you like, and I’m really grimdark. TAKE. ME. SERIOUSLY.

    This is what I was worried about with The Secret World, because initially it looked like Ragnar wanted me to take him seriously. I’m so used to crap fantasy writers being like emo children who need that. Thanks to a friend convincing me to play it, though, I saw that Ragnar was laughing and encouraging me to laugh.

    It’s all bullshit. You should laugh at it. I encourage it. That’s what I and my characters are doing, anyway.

    Honestly, some of the most mature settings I’ve seen have been funny ones. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld has dealt with more social issues, and on average it’s been more human, more poignant than any other fantasy work I’ve ever read. By comparison, Tolkien’s Middle-Earth feels like something for younglings, because wars are so cool, people dying, all that blood.

    Whereas Mr. Pratchett wants to explore things in ways few fantasy writers ever have, but he wants to do so with a wide, knowing grin on his face. PTerry is literally the wiry-haired, wild eyed old man at the fireplace. It’s an aspect of his that I so fondly wish his daughter would take to heart. His daughter still has too much of the ‘take me seriously’ mindset going on at the moment.

    So, yes, this doesn’t want you to take it completely seriously. If anything, those portraits remind me of Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (which is an entertaining title when you get it). And that’s the best thing that something could remind me of, to be honest. It’s got a little bit of that ridiculousness to it that comes hand in hand with the fantastic. The thing is is that you can’t be fantastic without being ridiculous, the two are mutually inclusive.

    The problem, however, is that too many people are put off by ridiculousness because they’re too serious, too emo, and they want everything to be po-faced, serious, and without any humour whatsoever, no ridiculousness, just boring. So boring. I even remember one person who had trouble watching Iron Man because they believed that Iron Man was too far outside the possible, it was just too ridiculous a concept for them, and they couldn’t embrace the fun of the idea because they wanted to see something that looked like it could exist in reality. They were actually annoyed at the voodoo that exists within Stark’s tech.

    And a surprising amount of people are like that. Often, the more serious and, well, the more of a straight arrow someone is, the less imagination they usually have. If someone is completely ridiculous and bigger than life, to the point where you actually have trouble taking them seriously, that they seem like bullshit, those are the people who have imagination and creativity, it’s just that this can only be parsed by another person with those talents.

    As such, you’ll get something that’s hated by the mainstream for being too imaginative, too clever, too funny, and they aren’t physically intelligent (not enough neuronal complexity) enough to actually appreciate it, so they just view it as stupid.

    Iron Man is stupid, high fantasy is stupid, science-fantasy is stupid, Doctor Who is stupid, Star Trek is stupid, boy… are they projecting.

    I honestly find it depressing how serious and boring everything has to be now to appeal to an audience that has absolutely no wonder, no romance, or no imagination. As I keep saying, to a high per centage of humanity, a fantasy would be just a fast car, a mansion, and a hot partner. And all a power fantasy would entail is being a po-faced hero, slaughtering the evil (and ugly, obviously) things, saving the town, and banging the hot people.

    Humans, on average, are dull. Really dull. Most of them are a good cure for insomnia are they induce narcolepsy in me.

    If there was a button I could push to give everyone an appreciation for the fantastic, the incredible, the wonderful, the romantic, the wild, the unknown, the strange, the peculiar, the eccentric, and the intelligently humorous, then I wouldn’t think twice about pushing that button.

    Honestly, if you don’t have these things, you don’t know what you’re missing.

    #2 8 months ago
  3. TheWulf

    On top of what I just said, if more people were inclined in the ways that I am (towards variety and novelty), then we’d have more like Anachronox! Sigh. I don’t know, I just wish that games like that weren’t so horribly uncommon. I feel bored with most games because they’re meant for scared, small, cowardly people who crave familiarity above all else, who love having their small, old world views stroked and petted.

    This is why gaming these days is rife with cloying familiarity, grimdark, misogyny, Aryan ideals (white superiority), exclusivity (we don’t see too many gay heroes), and so on. I think there are just echelons of intellect, and the higher up on a tier of it you are, the more open you are to different things. Sadly, most of the human race exists on the lower rungs, and entertainment is aimed solely at them as the biggest market.

    I mean, I’d be completely fine if the only character on offer in a game where a gay robot with a talent for topiary was the only choice of a thing to play. It’d certainly beat faceless, characterless, ‘badass’ white man #3,972,064,484.

    …can I have a game where I get to play a gay robot with a talent for topiary? That actually sounds like fun.

    #3 8 months ago
  4. SolomanAu

    Wow, that was the comment from hell!!

    #4 8 months ago

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