Mask of the Rose, Failbetter Games' eldritch dating sim and my most-anticipated game of 2023, has been hit by another delay. Originally intended for an autumn release last year, it got punted to this April after the studio noticed how much stress its devs were under, and now it's scooted back a little further to June 8 this year.
"Being a perspicacious kind of person, you’ll notice that the 8th of June is very much not in April," said Failbetter in an announcement on Steam, and it's apparently down to bugs in the game's UI. Although Failbetter thought the game could work well enough with regular "visual novel interface conventions" at first, playtesting revealed that changes would need to be made to help players "navigate this vast web of choices."
Those changes have already been made, but—being quite profound and sprawling—they've introduced a bunch of bugs that Failbetter has to spend some time ironing out. "The trouble is," reads the announcement, "that in a game where the narrative is this flexible and procedural, these features open up a tremendous space for bugs."
The announcement continues that, because "You can meet characters in different orders, important information can be conveyed in multiple different conversations, and the story can vary a lot in how the parts are connected together," the studio has to account for a "huge number of variables and ensure the combinations are functional and satisfying." That's a fair chunk of work, naturally, so the devs are gonna take an extra two months to (hopefully) get all those ducks in a row.
It's disappointing, of course, but scarred as I am by ambitious, choice-heavy games that got rushed out the door in a less-than-exemplary state (what used to be known as 'Obsidian games'), I think I can stand the extra wait. Between now and June, you can keep track of Mask of the Rose over on Steam.