Sunless Sea dev unveils Fallen London prequel and "romantic visual novel" Mask of the Rose

Coming to Kickstarter early next year.

Failbetter Games, the developer behind the likes of Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies, has revealed it's currently working on two new titles, one of which is a visual-novel-style prequel to its acclaimed browser game Fallen London.

Fallen London, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, unfolds in an alternate-universe Victorian London that was stolen by bats and carried beneath the planet's surface, down into a vast underground cavern system known as the Neath.

Failbetter's next game, titled Mask of the Rose, takes place in 1862, shortly after London's move underground and around three decades prior to the events of Fallen London and Sunless Sea. It's a somewhat different proposition to other games in the series too, being pitched as a "romantic visual novel" - albeit one that retains Failbetter's darkly irresistible gothic wit.

Mask of the Rose: A Fallen London Romance trailer.

"Mask​ of the Rose follows the lodgers in a boarding house a few months after Victorian London has been transported underground," explains creative director Emily Short in Failbetter's announcement, "There's no sunlight. Not all of your new neighbours are human. Parliament is underwater, and the mysterious Masters of the Bazaar are now in charge".

The ensuing action, according to the accompanying teaser trailer at least, will see players finding their match, collecting London's love stories, resolving rivalries, overcoming complications, and giving their heart away. Short adds that it'll also offer a chance to "spend more up-close and personal time with a few well-known characters and play through a story that's more centred on individual relationships".

As has been the case with Failbetter's two most recent titles, Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies (both of which secured Eurogamer Essential awards), Mask of the Rose will be attempting to secure funding through a Kickstarter campaign, currently expected to launch in February next year. The game itself is planned to release in 2022.

In addition to Mask of the Rose, Failbetter is working on a second title, although its currently keeping details under wraps. ""We can't tell you much about the other game yet," explains CEO Adam Myers, "but we can say that its game mechanics are very different from our past work, and that it takes place in a new setting".

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Matt Wales

Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a freelance writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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