News Article

Zero Escape Series Director Struggling to Find Funding for Third Title

Posted by Tim Latshaw

Takes to Twitter for help

The Zero Escape series, which features the puzzle-based visual novels 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors on the DS and Virtue's Last Reward on the 3DS and Vita, has always included the carrying of hope in desperate times as a theme. Series director Kotaro Uchikoshi is now finding himself trying to maintain a similar sense of hope as he tries to find a way to greenlight the next game in the continuing story.

Uchikoshi has created an English Twitter account to explain the situation to more fans. According to his tweets, while the series has its fans, the games have apparently not turned enough profit for funding sources — likely including previous Japanese publisher Spike Chunsoft — to invest in the third title:

The director expresses regret to players anticipating the third game, saying he feels "ashamed of his own inadequacies," but he has not thrown in the towel. Crowdsourcing has been considered, and a call out to other potential investors has been made. Uchikoshi also believes creating a successful project outside of Zero Escape could turn the tide in his favour when proposing its continuation in the future.

Uchikoshi ultimately remains hopeful, saying he believes the game will "definitely be released somehow, someday!" Fans, in turn, have returned a great deal of their own hope and encouragement to the director:

Do you want to see a conclusion to the saga of the Zero Escape series? Let us know below.

[via twitter.com, gamasutra.com]

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User Comments (55)

Ralizah

#1

Ralizah said:

This game was, and still is, something I am deeply excited for. It might take a while to procure the funding necessary to see it through development, but it'll be finished eventually, and will be entirely worth the wait.

If crowdfunding is involved, I'll dig as deep as I can to help fund this.

Hopefully another project of his sells well in Japan so we can finally see the conclusion of the Zero Escape trilogy.

Peach64

#2

Peach64 said:

I love 999 and VLR so much. It's scenarios like this that make me glad Kickstarter is around. It's a beloved series, but is obviously a risk for the publisher.

Knux

#4

Knux said:

I'm playing VLR for the first time, and I'll do anything to play the third game of one of my most favorite series of all time. :(

Ronoh

#5

Ronoh said:

I don't care much for crowd-funding but.. if it were possible for a third Zero Escape game — I'd pay top dollar. It's one of my all time favorite series.

Knuckles

#6

Knuckles said:

I'm not into the Zero Escape series, but I feel it should be concluded. If I could crowdfund it, I would.

DarkKirby

#7

DarkKirby said:

Just make the Kickstarter, there's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, if the Kickstarter gets enough support a publisher might gain more interest.

The current system in which publishers make their own guess on what will sell without the input of customers is stupid. It leads to most games just never being localized.

Rapido

#8

Rapido said:

Yes, Give us a conclusion and i'd be happy to throw in some Zenny to get the ball rolling.

5ony

#9

5ony said:

Oh god, yes please. I don't care if it takes a few years, this needs to happen.

invmat

#10

invmat said:

Ever since I completed VLR, no day has passed without me thinking about the Zero Escape series. Please take all my money, this needs to happen!

TimLatshawAdmin

#13

TimLatshaw said:

@DarkKirby I don't think he's ashamed of a Kickstarter. It's a possibility, but it looks like a company would have to be set up in another country to do so, as it doesn't look like a Kickstarter project can be based in Japan at this time. This is likely why Mighty No. 9's project is based from comcept USA.

I may be wrong about this, however. Have to check a bit more.

UPDATE: I do notice some Kickstarter projects have been based in Japan, so this is somewhat puzzling now. The director initially believed he couldn't do it: https://twitter.com/Uchikoshi_Eng/status/434226590533185536

It may be a factor of presenting an English Kickstarter page, after digging a little more. Either way, it seems some work would have to be done or connections made to get on Kickstarter but, like I said, it's still a possibility one way or another.

Phil_Kavadias

#14

Phil_Kavadias said:

VLR didn't sell well? I find it frustrating when tired shooters and whatnot, receive wonderful sales. Whereas genuinely brilliant games like this, go unnoticed. I despise the mainstream market sometimes.

Ralizah

#15

Ralizah said:

@Phil_Kavadias

Well, to be fair, the problem is that it didn't sell well IN JAPAN. Remember, visual novels are quite common over there. The Zero Escape games have sold splendidly in the West when you consider that VNs are considered one of the riskiest types of games to localize.

coolvw93

#16

coolvw93 said:

Both these games are awesome, unfortunately I only own zero escape: virtue's last reward but i have played some of 999 (will be picking up soon). the games have great story lines and intense puzzles. i never really thought i was into these mystery games until i played zero escape. I would definitely like to see one more game.

Peach64

#17

Peach64 said:

I don't know if Western figures have ever been given, but I know a rep of the publisher said on NeoGAF that they were very pleased with them, and it was among their best selling titles. They're certainly far better than in Japan, where I think VLR only sold 14k combined between 3DS and Vita.

Einherjar

#18

Einherjar said:

I would have bought Virtues Last Reward in an instant if it wasnt for the fact that 999 never came out in europe. And since the storys are connected, i dont feel like playing only part 2, sorry.

bboy2970

#20

bboy2970 said:

NOOOOOOO!!!!!! Zero Escape is one of my absolute favorite series of all time! The third one MUST come out! Here's and idea: If it doesn't sell well in Japan, don't release it there. Why should we have to suffer just because they don't know an amazing game when they see one. I wonder if he has talked to Aksys? Since they handled localizing duties for the non-Japanese versions, and reaped the benefits of its stronger sales elsewhere, I bet they would be willing to throw a little funding his way. This game needs to happen. It has been near the top of my most-wanted list for a very long time.

Melistrius

#21

Melistrius said:

@Einherjar I know what you mean, I felt like that before but then I bought part two and gave it a go and to be fair I would say it is nonecessity to have played part one. A lot is covered through the archives you get and yes there are references but I can't remember any that shouted "play 999 now" Actually the game made me want to play it but just because it is so awesome. Beieve me, you can really enjoy it even without having played it and I believe the EU promo for the title is still up. For 13 Euros you should really give it a go when you like a complex and text heavy story with many good thought out puzzles. Just believe me you should really not miss it out because part one wasn't released here.

Gerbwmu

#22

Gerbwmu said:

To me.....this is something that Nintendo should probably step in and pay to publish it.....I'm guessing it would be a small amount of their investment but would show a group of fans that Nintendo is interested in making sure their gamers are taken care of. The 3DS doesn't need the games really....it is selling well and has a lot to offer but its more about the good publicity to those who are fans of the 1st 2 games. Then again Nintendo can't do this every time a game developer is struggling so maybe it is best to leave it to crowd funding......

crimsontadpoles

#23

crimsontadpoles said:

I hope they manage to work something out and the funding needed. 999 and VLR are two of my favourite games ever.

Ninjuggernaut

#24

Ninjuggernaut said:

By God. Please everyone support this. In all honesty 999 is probably my favorite game of last gen and just a few days ago I secured a copy of VLR online.

If you haven't played either of them yet do yourself a favor and go get them. I promise you, they will not disappoint, and afterwards you will definitely be willing to support this third game

Expa0

#26

Expa0 said:

999 Is a fine story, probably the best Visual novel thing I've played.

VLR I didn't care for nearly as much.

Kyloctopus

#27

Kyloctopus said:

@Expa0 Funny. I'm almost the opposite of that. I find VLR an absolutely amazing. I felt it improved on 999 by miles.

Ralizah

#28

Ralizah said:

@Expa0

999 is more well-structured as a story, and the power of its twist ending is truly palpable. VLR is more interesting on a speculative level, though, and is far more player-friendly. I hated replaying the same early puzzles in 999 over and over again.

BakaKnight

#29

BakaKnight said:

Now this is a bad news with a bad timing O.O;
I just finished VLR yesterday and loved it, but it was clearly made with the third game planned, it even hint to it enough that makes you want to play it asap! Kinda ironic and awful to hear now that there isn't the budget for complete the trilogy >.<

But to those avoiding VLR cause they never played 999 I would say they have nothing to fear. VLR explain the connections needed and in all honestly they are very weak, worst case it can raise enough curiosity for go back and pick up the first title, but it's not a must for appreciate, understand and even start to love the serie :)

MAN1AC

#30

MAN1AC said:

This is so sad. These are some of the best games I've ever played. Hopefully we see a 3rd installment of the franchise.

Einherjar

#31

Einherjar said:

@Melistrius @hosokawasamurai Sure, i know that i could import the game and that DS games are generally region free. The point is, that not all people are willing to go that extra mile. And if they find out that VLR is in fact a direct sequel to a game that never saw the light of day around here, they tend to not get it. I simply didnt get it because i felt that i couldnt get the free time it deserves.
I generally love these visual novel / puzzle games. I also absolutely love the Phoenix Wright series, and even there i skipped the 3DS game for now because of time reasons.
But VLR isnt the only game with that problem. Etrian Odyssey comes to mind. Europe got the first one on the DS, skipped 2 and 3 and went right onto 4 on the 3DS. The problem ? They simply named it "Etrian Odyssey IV".
Im a completionist when it comes to collecting / playing games, and most of the time, i wont touch a franchise that is currently going on without owning and having played the first installments.
And im pretty sure im not the only one thinking like that. Not releasing previous installments in an ongoing series can seriously break its back. With games like, say, Final Fantasy back in the day, it wasnt a big deal. They literally had no connection.
I sure hope that the series will continue as it looks promising for being different alone. And to be honest, i will be getting VLR asap just to support it, but i wont play it till i get my hands on 999 first.
News like this are real wake-up calls, at least for me, to support these type of games and developers and remind me more than enough that going the extra mile (like importing 999) can help keeping the industry fresh and colorful.

divinelite

#32

divinelite said:

@Einherjar well its your choice but really Vlr is enough of its own. I try to play 999 after Vlr but once Vlr have so much improve I cannot finish 999.

So basically Vlr doesn't even have a number title. It's simple a new game just treat as one

Btw danganroppa is a best game similar to this, with combination of Vlr and ace attorney series. Love it so much

WiiLovePeace

#33

WiiLovePeace said:

@Einherjar Just a footnote, Etrian Odyssey IV is completely seperate from previous Etrian Odyssey games (heck, they are all unconnected as if they were new games) just like old Final Fantasy games. Hence it's all good to buy Etrian Odyssey IV as a starting point to the series, great game :)

Spoony_Tech

#35

Spoony_Tech said:

@Ralizah This series is my one gaming sin and regret that I've never owned it. There was always something else that I wanted to play just a bit more so I never got it! I still to this very day see the copy of 999 at my local Gamestop and hear it calling out to me.

I feel the need to support this game and add just a little bit more funds for this developer. I normally don't just buy a game to put on my backlog but it's not like I don't want to play it.

Can anybody tell me how big the dl version is. I thought I heard it was fairly big?

Ralizah

#37

Ralizah said:

@Spoony_Tech
From what I heard, it's a little over 3000 blocks in size.

I highly recommend both games. They have absolutely incredible stories if you get all the endings. Start with that copy of 999, if at all possible.

MagicEmperor

#38

MagicEmperor said:

Well, this sucks. Hope a third game will eventually get released.
... Though, admittedly, I think 999 > VLR, personally. I love both, anyway.

wolfhound91W

#39

wolfhound91W said:

I loved 999. However, I did not purchase VLR due to the save bug which deletes your save in a certain room. This is a serious issue that was not fixed as far as my knowledge. If this is not aknowleged, then I do support the series failure. If it is fixed, then I will finally purchase the game. I will not support medioce effort of this effect in the above case.

Just don't save in that room...; Screw that, fix it you lazy barstewards! You get no money from me.

Spoony_Tech

#40

Spoony_Tech said:

@wolfhound91W Lol, calm down it was fixed a while ago. I'm pretty sure there was a patch about 2 months after release.

Edit: On second though did a search and found out it might be fixed on the eshop version. Not sure if that means the retail version is alright or not.

Einherjar

#43

Einherjar said:

@WiiLovePeace You might remember, that Final Fantasy 6 was called 3 in the US because the rest of the series was missing ;) Why not call it simply "Etrian Odyssey" or give it a subtitle like Millenium Girl.
This is basicly a marketing fault.
On that note, wasnt first Izuma Eleven released on the eShop ? That was a DS game as well.Couldnt someone contact Mr. Uchikoshi on twitter to contact nintendo about this ? He could release the game on the eShop, it doesnt even need localization, just release it in english as it is. With enough word of mouth propaganda, this could bring in quite a bit of extra money and wouldnt cost that much (localizing, printing, boxes etc)

Skogur

#44

Skogur said:

It never hit me that Uchikoshi was involved with the Infinity series until I saw those encouragement photos. The more you know.
Anyway, I thought that VLR was absolutely brilliant, so would be terrible to see the Zero Escape series being left unfinished.

TopLaytonsHat

#45

TopLaytonsHat said:

At the time I thought buying 999 was a risk but it was amazing and VLR became a day one purchase. I probably enjoyed 999 more but I love both and want part 3!!

Wilford111

#48

Wilford111 said:

This makes me want to finish VLR...
I certainly hope he achieves the funding he needs.

kupo

#50

kupo said:

@wolfhound91W
I loved 999 too! But...the VLR bug is basically not fixed:

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2013/08/virtues_last_reward_glitch_resolved_in_eshop_version_maybe

If you end up playing this game, I recommend you NEVER save in ANY of the Puzzle Rooms. There are a couple rooms where it's well known that the bug will be induced, but it's also been reported that there is a slight chance the bug can be caused by saving in ANY puzzle room (as I found out). I own the retail version and got the bug in the second chapter of the game, because I saved in the puzzle room.

Ever since my game got screwed up, I haven't touched it. Having my game progress completely undone is something I refuse to deal with.

AJWolfTill

#51

AJWolfTill said:

Zero Escape is currently my favourite series, second of all time after Zelda. Every time I start chatting with one of my gamer friends I convince them to try this series. Between my girlfriend and I we have converted at least half a dozen people so far. I don't know if this is the kind of thing Nintendo would publish globally themselves but it is an absolute travesty if this series doesn't get it's third entry.

@wolfhound91W To everyone avoiding it as a result of the save bug, I think it was two rooms, and I never had any problems with the game. How are they supposed to fix this if their publisher isn't supporting the series?

Phle

#52

Phle said:

I loved Virtue's Last Reward, I haven't played 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors yet though (was impossible to get where I live when it was out on DS). It's sad they never fixed the save bug, I've tried to talk my BF into trying Virtue's Last Reward but he wont risk it because of the bug. I never had any problems with it though, but I was super careful when & where I saved. They should really have fixed the save bug, I don't think they realised how damaging it might have been to the sales. That said, I would love to try out another instalment in the series.

Kolzig

#53

Kolzig said:

In a dream world, Nintendo would give Kotaro Uchikoshi the same chance as they gave to Retro, Monolithsoft and Platinum games to make their dream games with a producing from Nintendo. :-)

Now there would be your third part to the games.

SyFyTy

#54

SyFyTy said:

these are the types of games we need more of not 125th edition Mario's and PokeDerp 2k and such Give Mario a rest, and his friends. If not he'll start screaming about the labor laws and overtime/underpaid conditions, sweat shop labor he and his friends have to tollerate over the past few eyars.

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