In most basic visual novels the difficulty is measured by how easy it is to reach a certain ending or not – to be able to foresee which choices bring you on the right path, and lets you avoid unhappy endings. Some are pretty straightforward, while others present you with a lot of vague and difficult options. It varies what people prefer – some like a challenge and the chance of something unexpected happening, while others would rather just read the story and bring up walkthroughs to make sure they’re heading in the right direction.
So what is the difficulty in Blue Rose like? At this point I’d have to say that it is probably… pretty easy. If you know what character’s story you’re after, then it should be pretty straightforward to get there. You can (usually) see where people are on the map before you go, and the conversational choices aren’t that challenging if you know what is going on.
Personally I don’t mind a challenge in visual novels, but I realise that in Blue Rose the focus has been elsewhere. The choices aren’t meaningless – rather than make it difficult for the player, they simply do just that, give the choice of where you wish to go, and how you want to see things unfold, and no version of the story is any more true than the others.
In that light I don’t think this title is going to really need in-depth walkthroughs when released, just guidelines at most. It is possible to run into a bad end without wanting to, but it shouldn’t take much more than one retry to get it right. One of the character routes also need to be unlocked first, which it will be after seeing just one of the other good endings.
I still hope some people also get to see the ‘bad’ endings, though – especially two of them I personally find to have quite some meaning as well, and I hope the readers will too if they come across them.
Some day in the future I’d like to make something more challenging, in a way that makes sense for the story. But for now I hope people will appreciate this approach as well, and enjoy the different possibilities of the story as they go along.