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Fallen London's dating game spin-off has a demo now

Welcome, delicious friend

You might brave all sorts of horrors in the supernatural Victorian setting of Fallen London and Sunless Sea, but dare you face the greatest horror of all: love? Failbetter Games this week released a demo for Mask Of The Rose, a dating sim set in the same wonderful world.

Available now on Steam, the demo offers "a condensed version" of the first act. You'll go a few places, meet a few people, and meet at least one alarming... well, I suppose they could be a person, as far as our character knows?

Mask Of The Rose is set in the same world as Fallen London and the Sunless games, where Victorian London was pulled deep underground into a vast cavern full of strange and wondrous things. While those games are set many years after London's descent, with the new order well established and at least some of the world vaguely understood, Mask Of The Rose starts only 230 days after the fall. We play as someone who's got a job taking a census for the word-loving Mr Pages, one of the mysterious Masters of the Bazaar who control trade in the city. From there, discovery, mystery, murder, friendship, possibly even romance?

I dig the demo, enough that I stopped playing it because I'd rather go into the full game innocent and unknowing.

Failbetter's blogblast also offered a few updates on development progress. First, the game won't launch when planned. They estimated a June 2022 launch when they ran a Kickstarter (which hit its goal in one day), but now think it'll be more like late October or November. It's the usual reason: they want more time to make it good.

Failbetter explain, "as we moved through pre-production, we realised the game would benefit from adding or extending some features we hadn't expected to when we ran the Kickstarter."

These including the ability for us to craft stories about other characters, a more nuanced system for characters revealing emotions through poses and expressions, and deeper consequences to our character customisation, leading to "the ability to make player characters who have significantly different styles of social behaviour, whether joky or moody or something else." Please, do.

Alice Bee talked with Failbetter last year about Mask Of The Rose, as well as decisions behind not making Sunless Skies DLC.

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