The first scant details on Zero Escape 3 were revealed during a panel with series writer Kotaro Uchikoshi’s panel at Anime Expo 2015.
First of all, the 4infinity website is titled as such as Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun while infinity is related to time. This is related to Zero Escape 3 as it takes place on Mars. “A group of people will find themselves in the Mars test facility–a facility that will be testing the logistics of a colony living on Mars, and also the psychology of what might ensue between this group of people and their interactions while living on this enclosed colony space,” Aksys revealed during the panel. The game’s subtitle is still undecided.
It was also confirmed that Zero Escape 3 will be broken up similar to how 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward are with scenario and puzzle parts. Aksys also said that the game will feature a dog (which one of its team was very excited about). Plus, it was said that Aksys has about 50 percent of the scenario from Uchikoshi so far and that he’s still writing the rest of it as development on the game hasn’t long started.
Before Aksys handed control of the panel over to Uchikoshi it also said that the leaked words that were revealed on the 4infinty website before were only tests and have nothing to do with Zero Escape 3 so they should be disregarded.
The first thing that Uchikoshi did was to show off the key art from Zero Escape 3, as you can see above. It shows two of the characters that will appear in the game.
(Image via Justin Mikos)
Next, Uchikoshi revealed that when he came up with 999 it was meant to be a standalone story. However, due to its success in Japan and internationally he looked to expand the story further. Initially, he came up with two more volumes – Volume 2, which ended up being Virtue’s Last Reward, and Volume 3, which is now Zero Escape 3. When presenting both of these to the higher-ups, Uchikoshi wanted to develop them close together, one after the other, perhaps even in tandem. This didn’t happen as Virtue’s Last Reward didn’t do as well in Japan once it was released as it was hoped it would. And on that basis Volume 3 (or Zero Escape 3) was put on hold indefinitely.
As this was the case, Uchokoshi then moved on to work on Punchline. As he presumed that the third entry in Zero Escape was never going to happen, and he didn’t want to leave fans hanging, Uchikoshi tweeted out that Zero Escape 3 may not happen. This is when everything turned round. Due to the tweets becoming big news and fans raising their voices in demand of seeing Zero Escape 3 the decision to put the game on hold was re-evaluated. Uchikoshi thanked fans at the panel for being so supportive as it’s due to their voices that the third game is happening.
When asked how he keeps track of the twisting plots of the Zero Escape games, Uchikoshi said that he single-handedly comes up with the set-up, characters, and setting but for Virtue’s Last Reward he had a sub-writer helping him along. He also said that for Zero Escape 3 he has two sub-writers. Together, they brainstorm ideas and they each help him realize what’s not working so well and how to make scenarios more interesting. He also has staff that he leaves in charge of the games’ puzzle design only coming and checking on what and how they’re doing every now and then.
With the themes in 999 and Virtue’s Last Reward, Uchikoshi wanted the player to question what common sense is. His idea was to have you stop and think about what situations and decision that may seem obvious at first. This fits in with the game’s themes of betrayal that he so enjoys. “So for Zero Escape 3 I’m going to go into this even more and I’m going to have you as a player question philosophies, and what justice is, and what your value is. It’s going to be a game in which you re-evaluate a lot of these themes,” Uchikoshi said.
Laster in the panel, Kazutaka Kodaka, the scenario writer for the Danganronpa series, came on stage, and revealed that he knew how Zero Escape 3 ends and described it as the most “out of this world” ending so far. He also said that the passion of the fans seems to have really fired up Uchikoshi. And he also said that he thinks Uchikoshi is a genius.
Kodaka also said that he often goes out for meals and drinks with Uchikoshi, helping him to cheer up when he’s down, and as they are great friends and work at the same company, he hopes that one day they could work on a game together.