Rose of Winter is a fantasy-romance Visual Novel created by Pillow Fight, the same people who brought you We Know the Devil, with music composed by Toby Fox, the person who brought you Undertale, and art and writing by Magnolia Porter, Aatmaja Pandya, and Victoria Grace Elliott. It was released on October 17th, 2016.
The game follows Rosemary, a young woman who has left her family's farm to pursue her dream of becoming a real knight. She's finally found a job worthy of a knight—escorting one of four princes across the deadly Mount Needle to the glimmering Starlight City on the other side. Rosemary will have to protect her companion from the bitter cold and dangerous wild animals, and not let their dashing good looks distract her too much. After all, none of them are quite what they seem...
Rose of Winter contains examples of:
- Arranged Marriage: Falkner has agreed to one in order to save his people, and is happy to do so, until Rosemary comes along. He ends up following through with it regardless of which ending you get.
- Alternate Self: Prince Elgandir is actually Crow's younger self.
- Badass Adorable: Rosemary may be easily flustered and endlessly optimistic, but she can also go one-on-one with a giant boar and slice its eye out.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Tirune is generally soft-spoken and gentle, and is the Prince that insults her the least. But his true form is also a gigantic, vicious dragon, and he admits to liking the taste of humans...
- BFS: Rosemary's weapon of choice.
- Big Beautiful Woman: It's really no wonder that it's possible for four different men to fall for her within days.
- Big Brother Bully: More like big sister, in Kuya's case, but he mentions other siblings, and it's fair to say they don't treat him any better.
- Bittersweet Ending: Falkner's good ending is a big heaping helping of this. He leads his beloved kingdom from the brink of extinction, at the expense of being with the first woman he ever truly loved. The sad ending for Crow's route is this as well, as while it's unclear if he'll ever come back, Rosemary is determined to fight against the prejudice towards magic users and meet him in the future. In Kuya's sad ending, his fight against the razorback leads Karro to deem him worthy to join the council meeting after years of being looked down on as a runt, but this also means that he and Rosemary have to part ways, since his victory means he can no longer have her as a bodyguard.
- Blade on a Stick: Falkner's weapon is a spear made of clear diamond from his kingdom.
- Break His Heart to Save Him: Tirune did this to Cameilla, and depending on the ending, Rosemary does this to Falkner. Subverted in that he realizes what she's doing, but parts with her because he knows it's the right thing to do.
- But Now I Must Go: See Bittersweet Ending above.
- Did Not Get The Guy: This happens in both of Falkner's endings, as despite Rosemary and Falkner falling for each other, his political marriage to save the Fae takes precedence over their budding romance.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Rosemary, with all the princes. Multiple times.
- Dying Race: The reason behind Falkner's marriage.
- Fake High: Rosemary can choose to drink from Crow's flask, which leads to her boldly going in for the kiss. Crow returns the kiss, then informs her that it's just cider.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Tirune is a literal dragon, but takes on more of a human form when he is weak or otherwise conserving energy.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: Falkner demonstrates his talents in dance, cooking, combat, forging weapons, and, er, other disciplines.
- Hand-or-Object Underwear: Kuya covers himself with his hands when Rosemary runs into him bathing in the river.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Kuya's constant boasting comes from trying to compete with his older siblings.
- Innocent Innuendo: Falkner gets one right out of the gate.Falkner: I'll have to ride you for most of the journey.
Falkner: On your shoulder.
- Insistent Terminology: Rosemary's a knight, not a mercenary.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kuya is the most obvious example, but Falkner is ruthless to Rosemary the second he feels condescended to.Falkner: Your legs are like massive pillars: well-suited to hold a slab of rock off the ground, but I wouldnt ask them to dance!
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Tirune has long, flowing white hair, prominent eyelashes, and is frequently referred to as "pretty" and "delicate" in the narration.
- Longing for Fictionland: Kuya constantly talks about the Great Hunters, and how he is one. His sister later informs Rosemary and the player that the Great Hunters are a legend-turned-bedtime-story in Moonforest, and not a real title. He latched onto the stories growing up, and decided to use the fact that Rosemary wouldn't know the difference to make himself sound cooler.
- MayflyDecember Romance: Rosemary and Tirune, with the age gap being somewhere in the neighborhood of 980 years.
- Mellow Fellow: Crow only brought the clothes on his back, a flask, some smokes, and a deck of cards to help escort a young prince across a deadly mountain. No situation is dire enough to break his cool, or stop him from flirting. The reason is because he remembers everything working out just fine from when he lived this before, as Prince Elgandir.
- Miles Gloriosus: Kuya won't shut up about all the grisly battles he's won, but once he's in real danger...
- Multiple Endings: Each pair has a good and bad end, making for a total of eight possible endings.
- Mystical White Hair: Tirune has long, flowing white hair and is a powerful thousand-year-old dragon.
- Rose-Haired Girl: Of course Rosemary has hair to match her name, and sweetness to match her hair.
- Romantic Vampire Boy: Well, dragon boy, but Tirune hits all the same beats as Twilight—older than he looks, longs for human blood but lives off fish and deer instead, insists being with him is too dangerous, and there's even a Distaff Counterpart dragon that does eat humans that Tirune protects Rosemary from.
- Shout-Out: The "special thanks to" list in the credits includes thanks to Ganondorf Dragmire.
- Smoking Is Cool: Crow mentions packing smokes, and goes off to take a smoke break near the beginning of their journey.
- Stop and Go: The music cuts out briefly for a gag while Rosemary tells the story of Camellia.Rosemary: She could have married any man, but instead she was wooed by a terrifying dragon—[music stops] Er, no offense.
Tirune: None taken.
[music and story resumes]
- Stout Strength: Given her BFS and how easily she can lift grown men on her back, one can assume that's all muscle.
- Successful Sibling Syndrome: Kuya always felt small and useless compared to his older siblings, which led to him putting down and insulting the first person who would let him—Rosemary.
- Time-Travel Romance: Rosemary and Crow.
- Wainscot Society: Moonforest is one to the people of this universe. They don't let outsiders in, and the only thing people know is that they look scary and are supposed to be vicious killers. That may have been true at one point, but they have since become a pacifist nation that keeps itself hidden for the sake of environmental conservation, of all things.
- You Didn't See That: Kuya always does this immediately after saying anything nice.