Failbetter Games introduced players to the Fallen London universe, in which the English capital has been transported underground by mysterious forces, through an eponymous browser game and gothic survival sequels Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies. But the studio’s next project aims to be a more intimate take on the Unterzee.
Mask of the Rose is a romantic visual novel set just a few months after Queen Victoria made a pact with a group of alien space bats to bring her husband back to life (this is real lore, look it up), and turned Regular London into Fallen London. As such, players will be given the opportunity to witness as the city contends with this terrible predicament first-hand—while also courting its more eligible denizens, of course.
“If you’re a fan of the Fallen London universe, Mask of the Rose offers a glimpse of events we’ve never shown before, as part of a more personal story,” Failbetter’s official announcement reads. “You will get to explore the origins of beloved characters and institutions, as well as encounter brand new mysteries. Mask of the Rose is also an excellent introduction for players just getting started with the Fallen London universe.”
Failbetter plans to launch a Kickstarter to fund Mask of the Rose’s development in February 2021. Sunless Sea was pretty dang successful by the studio’s own estimation, but the relatively poor sales of Sunless Skies resulted in the small team laying off four employees in 2017. Kotaku has contacted Failbetter for more details on the necessity of Kickstarter to get this new game out the door.
In any case, Mask of the Rose feels like a wild departure from Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies. While those previous games included romantic elements, they were survival games at heart rather than full-fledged visual novels. I’m very interested in seeing what the folks at Failbetter have in store as they set their sights on a brand new genre.