For both Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Virtue's Last Reward, fans were given the opportunity to ask any burning questions they had about the game that weren't answered in the game. Kotaro Uchikoshi personally answered a select few of them, and his answers were compiled on the series' official website.
Fans asked him if he could answer questions for Zero Time Dilemma, since it didn't answer some questions. He said it was in hiatus soon after the game's release. However, when asked again nearly a couple years later, he basically declined. In the meantime, Uchikoshi has answered many questions about the game on his Twitter and they have been archived here.
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors
Were you influenced by Capcom's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series?
- Not directly, but perhaps I was influenced some in the sense that Phoenix Wright allowed Japanese gamers to rediscover how fun an adventure game can be.
Do you guys have any plans for new visual novel games?
- I have nothing I can announce at this moment, but depending on how well 999 does, I think there may be the possibility of a sequel. We're completely depending on fan response, though. If you guys can mention 999 on blogs, Twitter, etc, and spread the love, that would be great. Thanks in advance!
Where did Santa and June go after the true ending?
- To be honest, it's possible that what went on in Building Q might have just been the prologue to an even larger scheme. If that was the case, then you could say that they were heading off to prepare the rest of their plan after the true ending.
Given Gentarou Hongou's obvious instability, why was a loaded gun placed in the coffin? Whose use did Akane intend it for? Just Santa, since he was in on it?
- Akane had seen everything through Junpei's "eyes" 9 years before. If she didn't recreate the situation exactly, then she wouldn't have been able to save herself as a child. That's the reason for the gun, and why it was loaded.
The characters and plot are all really well done in this game. I was just curious as to how you developed them all so well. What do you work on first; plot or characters? How do you know when they're complete? Where do you draw inspiration from?
- For me, I first start by creating a rough draft of the characters' personalities. Then I make a sort of rough draft of the setting. Next, I figure out the "twist" for the story, and work toward that by coming up with a plot that fits that particular twist perfectly. So the "twist" comes first, basically. Of course, the characters and the setting that I come up with early on almost always end up drastically changed. I write a rough draft, then draw a line, then erase my rough draft, then draw a new line... It's just that process over and over. I don't know when it's "done" until I finish writing the whole script. I always write my stories thinking "I wonder what's going to happen to these guys afterwards?" Overall, I don't change the "twist", but I will change the story A LOT to get to it. So far as inspiration goes, all that I can say is that it mostly comes from me, while I'm writing my drafts. I believe that when I concentrate very hard on writing, all of my worldly thoughts just go away, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Also, this particular idea is in the game as well, but I need some danger to have that moment of clarity and inspiration. The closer I get to a deadline, the more I'll think "Crap! The deadline is coming up!" and that helps me come up with great ideas. So I'll try to work myself into a corner like that, and I also have the product manager and the other people on the team to help me out by getting me into that mode of thinking.
Are there any plans for an expansion or a sequel? Possibly on the new Nintendo 3DS?
- I have nothing I can announce at this moment, but depending on how well 999 does, I think there may be the possibility of a sequel. We're completely depending on fan response, though. If you guys can mention 999 on blogs, Twitter, etc, and spread the love, that would be great. Thanks in advance!
Why was Lotus in the 2nd Nonary game and not Nona?
- I mentioned this [earlier], but Akane's intent was to re-enact the future that she saw through Junpei's eyes. She saw Lotus, so she chose Lotus to be part of the 2nd Nonary Game. ...If you don't care for that answer, then you can think of it as "She needed Lotus in order to solve the puzzle in the laboratory room".
Lotus was a computer programmer once. Why is she dressed like a dancer? What's her current occupation?
- She is currently supporting herself as a freelance programmer. The reason why she's dressed as a belly dancer is because she likes that style. Her hobby is to belly dance, so she's dressed like that.
So June's watch was really 9 and Santa's was 0? Why did his watch show 3? Even if his 3 is really "E", that would mean his number was 6 (E => 15 => 1+5=6).
- Originally I was thinking of making it "E stands for Empty, so E=0" in the scenario, but it felt forced and I didn't want people to think that, so I cut that part out. By the way, in hexidecimal E is 14, and the digital root would be 5...
999 is definitely one of the best games on the DS, bar none. Are there any other visual novel games, DS or otherwise, that you would recommend?
- Apart from 999, we don't have any other visual novels that have been localized in the US. We might consider releasing some of our other titles in the US if 999 does well. We're completely depending on fan response, though. If you guys can mention 999 on blogs, Twitter, etc, and spread the love, that would be great. Thanks in advance!
How did you come up with the wide variety of puzzles in 999? Did you think of puzzles or stories first?
- For the puzzles, we collaborated with ORG (note: ORG is a Japanese company that helps other companies with games, or game-related projects). My role was to present a guideline, participate in the brainstorming, come up with the message behind the puzzles, and supervise the overall process. I did come up with a few puzzles on my own, but for the most part ORG and Kaneko, one of our team members, came up with them. As far as the structure goes, the story comes first, then the puzzles. For 999, I had them make puzzles that fit the story and the setting. I was really particular about coming up with puzzles that fit the themes of 999 the best.
What were your inspirations for the story? Would it have been possible to make the unique ending with a system other than the DS?
- This game was designed specifically for the DS because of its unique interface. The DS has a top screen and a bottom screen, and I thought to myself, "What can I do that utilizes this unique setup?" The result I came up with was 999's "twist". So, no, it wouldn't have worked on any other platform.
What exactly is the True ending all about? How can June/Akane be alive during the Nonary game, yet be dead from 9 years earlier? And why is the final puzzle upside down? Is it supposed to be as if you're seeing the last puzzle from Akane's perspective?
- I get a lot of these sorts of questions in Japan too, but I want you to think about it from another perspective. If, hypothetically, the story in 999 is about Akane dying 9 years ago, and Santa coming up with the whole plan to save his sister's life... Then what happens if Junpei does save Akane 9 years in the past? Does she suddenly materialize in front of everyone? Or will she just appear in some remote location? Wouldn't that be even stranger? If that happened, then what was she doing during the 9 years since the first Nonary Game? It seems to me that she would have had to exist somewhere... Huh? Then it's only natural for her to exist in Building Q, don't you think? In fact, don't you think it makes a lot more sense if that's the case? Let's say that right now, you discover how to access the past, and you save a kitten that was supposed to have been run over by a truck. That kitten would be alive an hour ago, or even two hours ago, right? I mean...YOU SAVED it 3 days ago... That's what I was trying to portray. Now, in regard to your question about the "last puzzle being upside down"... My thinking was that the top screen was the future and the bottom screen was the past. So if you solved the puzzle on the top screen, then that means that Junpei single-handedly solved the puzzle in the future. That's what I was trying to portray.
Why did they put All-ice (Alice) at the end of the real ending like that? Also, why wasn't there a cool CG with Junpei and Akane at the end?
- Was she really Alice? How do you know? We never show a real picture of Alice in the game. There's an image of her, but that was only what Junpei imagined her to look like when he heard the story about "All-Ice." ...Or perhaps that was an image of how Alice as Akane knew her? You could say that perhaps that image was sent by Akane to Junpei's brain. If that was the case, then what is the physical appearance of Alice that Akane knew? Pretty intriguing, right? Whatever the case, it means that "Alice" was a person who actually existed. In order to get that across, I decided to have her show up in the ending. As to why there isn't a picture at the end of Junpei and Akane... Regardless of the reasons, Akane was the mastermind, and her scheme lead to the deaths of at least a few people. How could she show her face to them after doing all of that? That's why she's hiding. (Also, I mentioned [earlier] that she had to go begin preparing for the larger thing she had planned.)
Why is June such a sadist? She places bombs in the 9th Man and Nagisa Nijisaki.
- Nagisa Nijisaki is one of the people who killed her in an alternate history... She's the sort of woman who'll do whatever it takes to achieve her goals. Even though she seems like a nice girl, she's always plotting rather cold things. She'd easily kill someone if she needed to. Her personality is a result of what happened to her 9 years before... Perhaps there were things that happened on that ship that couldn't be shown in the actual game.
How long did it take to write the actual script of the game? I imagine it would take a lot of extra thought to remove any plot holes and ensure the story all made sense.
- I believe it took me about half a year. As a director, I was also simultaneously working on the rest of the process of making a game, though, so I didn't dedicate those 6 months entirely to writing the story.
I would like to inquire as to how hard it was to write the script for this game, as well as how many words, pages, etc. Also, I'd like to know how an idea like the Nonary Game came to exist, as well as how each character was formed, and how you decided what number each character would get. I am aspiring to become a video game designer myself, and I am curious as to how this game came together, considering how well thought-out it was.
- Originally, I had a very simple story, which was essentially "There are a number of doors with nothing written on them, and you split into several groups and move forward. Depending on how you split up the group, the ending of the story changes." It wasn't on a ship to begin with, though: It was in a mysterious building... But my bosses said "It's hard for us to visualize this story. We can't relate to it, and it doesn't catch our hearts." ...So I decided to set the story on the Titanic, a location that most of us know about, and is easy to visualize. The rule where each group was determined by the numbers was also formulated at about the same time. We had a number of discussions where people said this story or that wouldn't sell, and then we came back with new characters, or rules, or stories. I kept tacking on new interesting ideas, and eventually we got our final story. Of course, as I'm sure you can imagine it was really hard to make sure that everything made sense and fit together. Because we'd just thrown so many things in without thinking, it was really quite hard to make it all work... As far as coming up with the characters... After I decided to use "9" as the theme, I used the enneagram for reference. For the character numbers, we just thought about the ending and who went in what group, and worked our way backwards from there. We made a huge chart in Excel and messed around with the numbers there until we got it right.
Was having the characters break their usual stereotypes intentional, or just a natural result of the story?
- It was intentional. In school, I was taught that you should use stereotypes to make it easy for people to understand your characters, but then use those stereotypes and people's expectations to catch them by surprise to get your message across. That was probably what influenced me.
Was Akane or 'June' phasing in and out of reality when she had headaches? I was at a loss to understand how she could have existed if she had died in the past.
- I guess this is the exact opposite of what was asked in [question 13]? Yes, you're right. If she was dead in the past, that means she didn't exist in the present. So her headaches were there to show that you were approaching a past that couldn't exist.
Do Kanny and Jumpy meet again eventually? I was hoping for a reunion before they cut off to the end.
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What inspired you to use a ship as the main location for the game?
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Who killed me in the submarine ending? It's the only one I didn't understand, though I do admit I may have missed something.
- It's Ace (Gentarou). Lotus's missing bracelet was a hint for you guys.
Why was Alice in the desert? If she wasn't in the coffin 9 years ago, where was she all that time?
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Why did Seven, Snake, and even Santa insist that Akane had died 9 years before, yet she was clearly there the entire time?
- Santa lied about her death in order to save her. Since Snake was on the ship too, we can assume that he knew the truth about Akane's death as well. If we are going to believe that Seven didn't lie, then we can assume that a fake memory was implanted in his mind somehow. If I tried to explain that in the story, though, I was worried people would think I was just coming up with random excuses, so I left it up to the player's interpretation. If it makes more sense to say that both Snake and Seven were in on the plot with Santa and lied to move things along, I'm totally fine with that.
Did they ever catch up to Akane and Aoi in the end?
- Nope, they didn't. Junpei goes on the spend to rest of his life chasing after her.
What were your inspirations when creating your characters? Did you take a niche or a cliche character commonly found in anime and manga, and put them into this situation by adjusting them to the situation that they were in? Or did you take characters with traits from games that you had previously made and just put them into this entirely different situation?
- I mentioned this in [question 17], but I used the Enneagram for reference. "Did you take a niche or a cliche character commonly found in anime and manga, and put them into this situation by adjusting them to the situation that they were in?" Yes, that's exactly what I did. I made a box, and put the characters in it, and then the story just progressed on its own. All I have to do is just work toward my "twist." So I suppose that, for me, the plot isn't really all that important. It's just an imaginary picture. As I write the story, it evolves. The 3 most important things are these: The box, the characters, and the "twist."
Will you publish 999 in Europe?
- I totally want to. I guess it really depends on how well it does in the US. Please support us!
What influenced you the most in the making of 999? Many reviewers mentioned the Saw movies, but I think there's more in the game than some basic horror movies.
- Saw is definitely a movie I like, so I would be lying if I said I wasn't influenced by it, but I don't think it played too big of a role. I feel like the movie Saw was influenced by conventional adventure games, so I think the sources are the same. Being isolated somewhere and forced to play a game is a very common setup in Japanese anime, manga, and novels, so there are a lot of stories that use that particular device. I can't really think of a specific title that influenced me, but I think a lot of the stories I heard as a child definitely provided the base. So far as the content, I suppose I could call it "Uchikoshi Flavor" if I felt like being arrogant, so you can just think of it as Uchikoshi's literary style.
This is about the scene where June connected with Junpei of nine years in the future. Can I safely assume that the world Junpei is in is a future where June is saved from the incinerator? And that nine years later, June became Zero to prevent a time paradox?
- She herself stated at one point that she "is less than Zero" nine years ago.
- That's exactly right.
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Are both Seven (who implied that June was killed in the incinerator) and Snake (who said that Akane Kurashiki died in the first Nonary Game) accomplices?
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What happened in the incinerator? How did June disappear?
- In the incinerator, Junpei of the present accessed Akane of the past and saved her. The current Akane/June snuck out while Junpei and the rest weren't looking. Akane disappeared before the door was locked.
What is the significance of Alice?
- She was there to explain the Ice-9.
Is there any end secret not revealed?
- I believe all the important parts have been revealed in the game.
What was your FAVORITE part of the game?
- I guess my favorite would be the scene between Akane from 9 years before and Junpei in the incinerator. I guess you can say that this title was written specifically for that exact scene. I wish that part could have been voiced...
Who is Nona's twin? Both she and Nona seem important...(since Nona means "nine," and Nona has a twin, there's gotta be another spin-off at least)
- Originally I intended for Nona's twin to be named "Ennea". So both their names would technically be "9". In regards to them appearing in a sequel...I'm not sure...? I guess if we get many requests like that, it would be possible.
If both Aoi and Akane are in the ship and they are both transmitters, then who's the 9th person that should be Akane's replacement in the Nevada building? Is he/she the only one that doesn't have siblings...? And supposed to be Akane's receiver...?
- Of course there was a girl who took Akane's place. There was some confusion, and the 2 of them were swapped. That would have meant that at Building Q, in Nevada, there were 2 sisters in the same location. So far as Akane and receiving, she was especially good at "sending", but that didn't mean that she could only "send." She has the ability to "receive" as well; all of the children have both. Some were just better at one than the other.
Did Seven really have amnesia?
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How hard was it to create 9 distinct people to interact in various ways as the game progressed? There were times of conflict, times of great emotional stress and whatnot, and creating 9 distinct persons to handle this and talk amongst others with their own personalities and quirks seems incredible to me.
- You're right. It was a real challenge. To be honest, though, the 9th Man dies pretty quickly, so there were really only 8 characters... But even so, 8 is still too many for a single story. Story theory says that you should really only have up to 7 characters. For instance... Luke, Obi-wan, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C3PO... You see? That's 7. If you add in Darth Vader and the Emperor, that makes 9. I believe Star Wars is a very well-developed story, and the characters are all very solid. What Star Wars uses as a base are legends and myths. According to Jung, those myths and legends are born from the human psyche, as archetypes. That fits into the enneagram I was talking about in [question 26]. With that said, the creation of the character wasn't too hard because I already had a formula to work from that's been passed down through all of human history. To make that actually work, however, was really hard. This story had rules, and it also had specific points it had to hit, so I wanted the characters to do very specific things, but...they didn't always cooperate. I tried my best to move them in the way that they were designed to, but even then there were times where the story wouldn't work and I sort of had to force them. It was very tiring.
Why was "Ace" allowed to live in the end while his cohorts were killed? He seems to be the biggest monster.
- I think it was because he was the person she felt the most animosity towards. Because there was so much hatred towards him, she didn't want to let him die that easily. She wanted him to admit his sins and either be judged legally or even just wanted him to admit his faults in public. That is what I believe Akane and Santa's motives were. If the people involved all died, then the truth would have been lost. I believe they wanted everyone to know about the horrific event they'd been forced to take part in.
Was Snake some kind of mutant or something? He certainly seemed to have some inhuman strength in the Safe ending.
- Snake has the ability to access the morphogenetic field and the ability to distinguish even the most distinct sounds. You mention the Safe ending, but are you talking about him being shot to death? If you are, the reason why he kept getting up was his tenacity. His love for his sister Clover made him a super-man.
Teruaki Kubota, #9, the Ninth Man... Who was he? Or to be more precise, I suppose, what kind of person was he? Is he the reason that submarine was there, for instance? Is the reason why he was in such a hurry to get through Door 5 alone because he intended to confess? Was there any particular reason why he was part of our main group instead of the other two?
- Teruaki Kubota was the only person who was a coward, and went crazy and exploded to death. That personality is why he was chosen as the 9th member. (Of course, the most important thing was for Akane to recreate what had happened 9 years ago.) Kubota has nothing to do with the submarine. It is believed that the submarine was already there when Ace (Gentarou) purchased the ship from Gordain. There was a submarine in the building in Nevada so that Building Q would be an exact replica of the ship.
Was Lotus originally planned to be Alice? It would have made all the gags about her age funnier.
- We didn't really have that in mind. However, I do agree that it would have been fun in various ways had Lotus been Alice.
Would you consider partnering up with Aksys Games to continue to develop great visual novel titles for release in Japan and the US? If yes, then Aksys Games will work with maximum efforts to localize the game without flaws.
- There is nothing that I can announce just now. However, depending on how well 999 performs, we do believe that would be a possibility. We're completely depending on the response from fans. If you can spread the love and mention 999 on your blogs, or Twitter, or wherever, that would be great. Also, I believe that Aksys did a magnificent job in localizing 999. I am thankful from the bottom of my heart.
What did the robe Snake was wearing after you rescue him out of the coffin mean? And what did the flags next to the coffin mean?
- Well... We sort of made Nagisa Nijisaki wear Snake's clothes... I believe the only other thing he could have worn were those ceremonial clothes in Building Q. I think Akane and Santa felt bad that they made Snake naked. As a side note, that ceremonial outfit belonged to Gordain. Back in the day, he and his friends were conducting strange ceremonies in the incinerator. As another side note, the Nonary Game wasn't Gentarou's idea: It was Gordain's. He would take young Englishmen who'd accumulated massive debts and force them to play games on the ship. He would enjoy the show with his millionaire friends and they would bet money on who would survive. All the losers were burned in the incinerator as a sacrifice during the ceremony... After many years of this, Gordain died of old age but the games continued. In the final game, Gentarou was abducted and forced to participate. He was victorious, and felt that if he could win the game, then he could come up with a better one. he told Gordain's successor and his fellow millionaires as much. They decided it sounded interesting, and told him to do it. That was what lead to the Nonary Game that happened 9 years before 999. Of course, Gentarou's true intention was to test the theory of morphogenetic fields, but that was the story behind the Nonary game. He inherited the ship from the millionaires and hosted the game. That was how he got all the funding as well. In other words, there were millionaires watching the game 9 years before 999 and placing bets on who would live and who would die. Yes, they were truly rotten people. That was also when Gentarou found the mandrake root in the coffin. He used that root to create the drug, Soporil, that made him a millionaire.
In the axe ending, did Clover get to escape, or did she die in the incinerator room because she couldn't figure out that the 9 was a "q"?
- I believe she didn't make it out. Well...I mean, after all, she kind of had it coming.
Regarding the theory Snake brought up about June and Santa's bracelets, was June's really an upside down "9" and Santa's a "0"?
- This is sort of connected to [question 9] but the official answer is yes. However if we don't stick to the bracelet's display, you can also think of it as June=0.
Was child Akane controlling Junpei's actions in addition to existing as her future self?
Was that really Akane we encountered on the ship replica? You brought up Locke's Socks, but didn't quite seem to tie it back in the way you did with morphogenetic fields or ice-9, so was that just Akane's mind in some sort of false body?
- It is the real Akane. The "Locke's socks", the "Ship of Theseus", and "John and Lucy" ideas that show up in the story are all part of the same theme: What is the true essence of a thing? If you're asking how all of these things connect to one another, then my answer would be "Don't you think it's the morphogenetic field that ties them all together?" For instance, the "you" of 20 years ago is made up of completely different molecules. How are you still "you", right? So what I'm trying to ask is, what is the real you? The notion of "self" is just a fraction of a much larger set of information. So that's part of the morphogenetic field, isn't it? That's more or less where I'm coming from. Whether or not that's true is a different story altogether.
There is a submarine present in one of the endings. I'm assuming that it is used for emergency escapes from the sinking ship but where does the tunnel from Building Q lead to?
- Nowhere. If you keep going further down, it's just a dead end.
There is a room behind the Library which you are locked into if you reach it. Is this room present on the ship as well? If it is present, what is in it? Because I don't see much purpose to having a room to build puzzles in on both ships, especially since the Alice/All-Ice's coffin can't exist in both rooms.
- This room does exist in the ship. Well, to be more exact, there used to be one. It was just a sort of study. There was also a coffin, but by the time Gentarou opened it Alice was gone and all that was left was the mandrake root.
As the creators, who were your favorite characters to design? One thing I liked was how, by the time all endings were completed, you really got attached to each of the characters... especially with the [safe] ending and Snake/Clover.
- I guess my favorite would be Akane. My intention was to create the world's worst heroine, but how well did that work out? She's pretty bad, but there's still some sense of purity in her, and she's also noble. I guess...you could categorize her as a genius... Her motives are too grand in scale for an ordinary person to ever understand her. I love all of my characters, though.
Lotus and Seven. All of the other characters had their 'real' names revealed by the end of the game. I guess this is just a minor detail, but it'd be nice to know: What are Lotus and Seven's real names?
- In the Japanese version Lotus's name is revealed to be Kashiwabara. It's revealed in the torture room... Her first name wasn't revealed in the game, but I was thinking it would probably be "Hazuki". "Hazuki" means "August" in old Japanese. Her ex-husband was named Ichiro. "Ichiro" means "first-born son" in Japanese. So that gives you 1, and then the 8 from August gives you 9. That's why her twins were named "Nona" and "Ennea". Seven, though... I didn't really give him a real name.
If there was to be a sequel, would it be a direct one, or one set in a different timeline (like future or past)/alternate universe or different place altogether?
- If there were to be one...I would come up with completely different characters, and then mix in some of the characters from 999 and build a story from that. Of course, the setting will be them being stuck in a room that they can't get out of. Storyline would be after the events of 999. ...Of course, this is all hypothetical.
Supposing that Junpei and the 9th Man actually had a code name for themselves like the rest of the characters, what would they probably have been?
- Well, since Junpei's number is 5, I would have called him "Hand", because of the 5 fingers on a hand. Or "Star" since a star has five points. Or maybe "Penta", from pentagon? As for the 9th Man...that would be hard. Maybe "Pigeon"? In kanji, "pigeon" would be the number 9 plus the kanji for "bird" (鳩)
I just wanted to see if you could confirm or deny the theory that whenever Akane began becoming feverish, it meant Junpei was heading down the wrong path, and that she was about to be incinerated in the past.
- You are exactly right. Please refer to [question 19]. And like you say, she gets a fever because she gets burned in the incinerator.
I'd heard that the bottom screen represents Akane's perspective of the Nonary game in the past. When Junpei finds the keycards with photographs in the cargo room, they're of the current Nonary game participants. This would be impossible if it was still Akane's perspective, as it shows the participants of Junpei's time. Is the inventory the only exception to the Akane-perspective idea?
- Very sharp. That was something that was pointed out by my debugging staff. Sorry. If you could make an exception, and just say that this was something Akane saw through Junpei's eyes, that would be great.
What were the actual values of everyone's bracelets?
- The other characters have the numbers that are displayed on their bracelets.
I've heard a rumor that the nine characters are based off of the nine Enneagram personalities. If that's true, which character represents which one? Do they share their number with their personality?
- First off, it has nothing to do with their numbers. The order is totally different in the Japanese translated enneagram... So I based each character off of my own interpretation and rearranged things a bit. It's not so much that this character fits this enneagram, at least to my mind. Still, they fit together about like this:
- Achiever: Ace
- Investigator: Snake
- Enthusiast: Santa
- Loyalist: Clover
- Challenger: Junpei
- Peacemaker: June
- Helper: Seven
- Individualist: Lotus
- Reformer: The 9th Man
- On a side note, if you were to compare our 999 characters with the Star Wars characters, it would go like this:
- Ace: Emperor
- Snake: Obi-wan
- Santa: Han Solo
- Clover: R2
- Junpei: Luke
- June: Leia
- Seven: Chewy
- Lotus: C3PO
- 9th Man: Darth Vader
- ...What, the 9th Man as Darth Vader?! Well, I guess we can't make everyone fit...
I'd like to know more about the role Seven played. Was he faking amnesia all along and was another Zero collaborator, or can we pretty much take him at face value throughout the game? If we can take him at face value, then what was the smile at the end about? Was his headache at the true end analogous to Akane's fevers - that is, an indication that the course of events was being altered?
- His headaches were because the memory that has been implanted in him started to show discrepancies with reality.
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Coming from the considerably higher resolution PC visual novels (640x480 & 800x600 in particular), I was wondering just how high-res 999's original art assets were, seeing that the DS only has a 256x192 resolution.
- The characters were drawn at 1024 x 768.
What couples do you folk actually see as canon. I mean, June and Junpei seem pretty canon, but is there the possibility of Lotus and Seven?
- I believe Seven and Lotus is totally canon. I mean, she is divorced, after all.
How did Seven get his scars? He did not have them in the flashback sequences.
- He got them in an incident that took place after the first Nonary Game 9 years before. He was battling against a particular powerful global organization.
If June was in fact Zero, and Santa was "assisting" her, was she responsible for planting the bombs into the Cradle Pharmaceutical executives? It doesn't seem likely, given how inherently altruistic she is. If not, why did she not admonish Santa when the 9th man blew up?
- You're exactly right. I guess you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Pretty scary, isn't it?
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In what year do the events in 999 happen?
- The events of 999 take place in the year 2027. So the first Nonary game would have been in 2018.
How did June and Santa manage to pull off staging the 2nd Nonary Game in the first place? How did they manage to finance it, reset/refurbish/use the facility and kidnap such big important people all on their own? I get the WHY of it all, it's the HOW that really just doesn't add up for me. And a side note, just to be clear, was June just acting innocent or was she actually a much more ruthless person than she portrayed herself as to everyone else?
- Well, the 12 year-old Akane saw through the eyes of Junpei 9 years in the future that Cradle Pharmaceutical would suddenly become a huge company. She told her brother, Aoi/Santa, to buy stock in Cradle Pharmaceutical when they were cheap, so they made a ton of money when it was eventually listed on the stock exchange. They took that money and invested in other stocks and increased their fortune. Before long they were millionaires and eventually formed an organization to help with the execution of their plans. It wasn't just the 2 of them doing everything: They had dozens of underlings working for them. (Santa buying stocks is mentioned in the game itself as well.)
- re: "June's Innocence"
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How did Clover know that the number discovered from the "Truth is Gone" riddle was for the safe in the piano room behind Door 5? She did not go through Door 5 and none of the 3 people who went through Door 5 told her about it. Also, is there any significance for the 8 digit combination number for the coffin?
- She found a note Kagechika Musashidou had written when he was alive in the captain's room. She learned about the safe in the piano room from him. As far as the meaning behind the numbers, I haven't really told anyone in any other interviews, so I'm going to make this just between us. If you take the number 14383421 and multiply it by 9, you get 129450789. What do all those numbers mean? I'll leave that up to your interpretation.
One tiny question when it comes to an individual's ability to transmit and receive messages from the field. Concerning Junpei's abilities, was he born with them, or did they awaken mainly because Akane had such a strong bond with him in the first place?
- You are right. It is the power of love.
Who is the "Zero" speaking in the ending in which Ace dies in the incinerator? Is it Santa?
- You can interpret it as Santa (the person making noise was in fact Santa), or it can be interpreted as Akane speaking directly into Junpei's brain.
Does Junpei realize Akane risked his life and the lives of 6 others (not including her own) by setting up the 2nd Nonary game? Or does he simply not care and loves her despite her selfishness?
- When he realized the truth, Junpei understood everything. That's why, in the game, we made sure that despite it all being completely planned out, he still had to save her. I suppose you can call it selfishness, but if Junpei didn't save her then a 12 year-old girl would die... Junpei did have strong feelings for her, yes, but that wouldn't really matter. Even if it were just some stranger, Junpei would have saved her regardless. No matter how he might have been tricked, or put in danger, or murdered in an alternative history, Junpei would have done the same thing.
What are the heights of each character? What are the measurements for the female characters? (bust/waist/hips)
- FINALLY, A LIGHT QUESTION! Unfortunately, I'm sorry... I didn't really give the characters specific atributes like that. All I know is that Lotus has big boobs. That's for sure. She used to live in Silicon Valley, but her boobs are not filled with silicon. They are ALL NATURAL.
What did Snake hear when he paused for a moment in door ? It was never addressed again.
- He was listening to the movements of the team that had gone through door 4.
Since Junpei saved Akane in the alternate timeline, will Junpei find the adult Akane somewhere in the present after the Nevada scene? I would love for them have a reunion in the timeline that we experienced. They are such a cute couple and I was so sad that Junpei couldn't find her after they escaped.
- I apologize for saddening you. Given Akane's circumstances, she had no other choice.
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Is the June that Akane presents herself as during the game how she really is, or is she really more like Ace, just acting, and really kind of crazy? And also, it was implied that the group was going to meet up with June and Santa during the true end, I assume that means the group didn't hold any ill will towards June/Santa?
- re: "Akane"
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- I guess we have a lot of these questions from the U.S. To be honest, I didn't get very many questions like this in Japan. Most of the questions in Japan are about Alice, or if Seven was lying. This is so interesting. I could have sworn I wrote "I (Akane) shall become Zero" in the game, but there were a few people who really believed that Santa was Zero. Anyway, putting that aside... As far as how the other 5 feel about Akane and Santa... I'm sure they have pretty mixed feelings. It's true that the bracelets didn't have detonators in them, nor were they actually implanted with bombs, but they were lied to... Still, they were lied to so that they could save a 12 year-old girl (Akane). I feel like they are in a situation where they want to hold grudges, but at the same time can't really bring themselves to do it.
Who kidnapped Junpei? (I know it's Zero, but who was the person doing all the kidnappings?)
- This is also something that not too many people know about, but the person wearing the gas mask was actually Akane. The kidnappings were done by her brother Santa, and as I mentioned in [question 65], she had a number of people from her organization helping her out.
Virtue's Last Reward
When Sigma explores the Gaulem Bay, G-OLM is shown to be lying on the table and then later falls forward next to it. However, in the timelines where another group searches the Gaulem Bay, G-OLM is nowhere to be seen. Where did he go?
- He is stored inside the operation table. I assume Zero Jr. put him away.
What happened to Snake/Light during the events of VLR? Did he search for Clover for 45 years, like how Junpei still searched for Akane?
- This will be revealed in the 3rd game. I hope you guys look forward to it.
Are there plans to end the series after Zero Escape 3 – or continue it? How far ahead is the series being planned?
- I plan on ending things with the 3rd volume. So basically it'll be a trilogy.
I loved the mystery of All-ice in 999 and when I saw that Alice was going to be in the sequel I became very excited. After completing the game it seems very unlikely that Alice is the Ice-9 All-ice we learned of in the first game. Are Alice and the ancient priestess All-ice not the same like we thought at the end of 999?
- What’s interesting is the (so-called) All-ice that was in the coffin was not seen by anyone in the game. So then, what was the visual of All-ice that was introduced in 999? I think that will be a fun thing to think about.
Was Luna’s love for Sigma more of a father-type love, or was it as a romantic interest?
- There are countless forms of love. And besides, don’t you think it’s hard for we as humans to classify what form of love a gaulem really feels?
Who or what was the inspiration for Zero III? He’s hilarious!
- When Akane was in elementary school she witnessed a very horrible thing in her school’s rabbit cage. That trauma was the inspiration for the design of Zero III. The actual person who created Zero III would be Doctor Klim, but Akane helped out in terms of design.
Will Clover be appearing again in the third game?
- She’s in the middle of a cold sleep right now…but if there are enough requests for her she might show up.
What was Dio’s “sin” involving women?
- Sorry…I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Do you have any plans to include Seven, Lotus, or Ace in the future games?
- If there are enough requests there is a huge chance.
Where is Aoi during VLR?
- This will be revealed on the 3rd game. Hope you guys look forward to it.
What was the nature of Aoi and Akane’s relationship as children like? What was their relationship with each other like during the period of 999? Were they close?
- They only had each other as family so they were very close. Their relationship will never change.
What is Dio really like? A lot of his behavior and what he says seems to contradict each other, so it’s hard to tell what his real personality is. For example, in the Dio end, before escaping, he rants about throwing away the weak being “how nature works”, but when confronted on the lunar surface, he preaches about cleansing mankind’s greed and creating a world with no conflict. He claims that he finds individuality “weird”, but seems strikingly individualistic himself, being the “best of his generation” and dressing according to his “singular sense of style”. He also refers to the Radical-6 outbreak as a “disaster”, which seems strange if it was part of Free the Soul’s agenda. He acts pretty oddly about the bombs as well. He threatens to press the bomb detonator, saying that he doesn’t fear death, but even when Tenmyouji goads him, he never actually presses it. He then attempts to kill himself with a poison pill with no hesitation, but reveals the password to one of the bombs, which seems to defeat the purpose of taking the pill in the first place. Why would he do that? His strange behavior seems to suggest that he’s not out to kill. Is there conflict between Dio’s own values and what Free the Soul wants him to do?
- Free the Soul eliminated the weak and only the fittest (the chosen ones) survived. They tried to create a world without conflict where only the chosen ones resided, and succeeded. The reason why he takes pride in being the top of his generation may seem a bit contradictory, but in that scene, the contradictions surfaced unexpectedly. In other words, contrary to his thoughts and beliefs, his true colors surfaced. Haven’t you ever met a clergy or a religious person whose action does not reflect what they preach? In regards to his fashion, all his brothers are all dressed the same, so it wouldn’t be unique, right? (Well, it was partially a joke, but…) While the events of Radical-6 is indeed the plan of an organization, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a “disaster”. I believe there are references like “a disaster will come your way” in the bible too, right? It’s the same concept. As for the detonator, I assume Dio was just about to press the button. The reason why Dio revealed the password after taking the poison is because him telling them just one password won’t do them any good. Knowing his personality, he just wanted to tease the others.
Was there a timeline before the large jumps in time between old and young Sigma, where it was uninterrupted until the start of the AB project?
- That’s a tough question. I say it doesn’t exist. What do you think?
Who is your favorite character from both games and why?
- Akane Kurashiki.
How were the bombs that Dio planted synced to Radical-6 time? Why didn’t they go off before the players’ watches reached 0:00 due to the discrepancy in perceived time passed and actual time passed?
- In the beginning, where Dio was unconscious, Akane messed with the timer of the bombs and made it so that it will count down slowly.
Was Doctor Klim the one who gave Luna her necklace?
If the Phi who was unaware of Zero’s AB project was in Phi’s body at the beginning, how did she know they were on the moon and that she could jump high?
- Phi’s consciousness had looped and jumped many times already at the start of the game. That’s why she sort of has an idea of who Sigma is and has memories of other pasts.
Does June have good intentions at heart, or has time and circumstance hardened her into a heartless creature?
- She has experienced various histories (both past and future) many, many times. For example, imagine a person who’s lived for a million years. I’m sure the definition of “good” and “evil” will be a lot different than ours.
Why did Sigma not hear that he had the voice of an old man?
- Maybe it’s because…his processing speed was slowed down. I assume he recognized an old man’s low frequency voice with that of a young person’s high pitched frequency. On a side note, the reason why he didn’t recognize Doctor Klim’s hologram voice is the same concept of you not recognizing your own voice when you record your voice, since it sounds different.
Was Akane telling Kyle the truth when she said she would have preferred to spend her life with Junpei?
- Of course it’s the truth.
What’s going on with Ace? Does he die or escape from prison when Radical-6 hits?
- This will be revealed in the 3rd game. I hope you guys look forward to it.
The cloak Akane wore in the End or Beginning, with the Free the Soul symbol on it, looked like it was the same as the one Snake wore in the true end of 999, which had the Free the Soul symbol as well. Why is that? I thought Snake’s robes were from when Lord Gordain ran the Nonary Games, so why is the Free the Soul symbol on Snakes’s robes?
- This will be revealed in the 3rd game. I hope you guys look forward to it.
What was your favorite moment in VLR?
- When Sigma sniffs Clover’s protective gear. Well, this was during an escape part though…
Is there a possibility of Sigma and Phi being a couple? I know his body is old, but Phi DID say she showed herself in a swimsuit in one of the timelines…
- No, they won’t be a couple… I can’t tell you any more without it being spoilers, so please look forward to the 3rd game.
In 999, Akane disappears when you don’t reach the True Ending. This implies that changing the past affects the present. In VLR, Tenmyouji explains to “?” at the end that even if Sigma could change the past, the timeline that they live in will remain the same. If Sigma can stop Radical-6 in the past, this will only create a new timeline. This implies that changing the past does NOT affect the present. Don’t these games have contradicting ideas?
- Even if you had changed the past and prevented Radical-6 from spreading, the setting is made so that there will be no changes made to the VLR history. And let’s say VLR’s history does get destroyed. Then Sigma’s old consciousness won’t be able to return to 2028 and as a result he won’t be able to stop the Radical-6 outbreak. Same goes for 999. The true end is where Junpei accesses the Morphogenetic Field 9 years ago and saves Akane, but if he isn’t successful, then a new timeline is created. And the extension of that history is the Junpei who couldn’t find Akane at the chapel. (*We call this end that isn’t the True End the B End.) However, there may be some of you that will say “Hey, Akane did exist in the B End route though”. Well you’re exactly right. In that history Akane should not have existed. So in other words, the contradiction isn’t the setting between 999 and VLR, but rather it is in the B Ending. However, if you consider that Akane had jumped to the B End route with her whole body and not just her psyche then it would all make sense… If that is the case, then Akane did not disappear in the chapel but she just made her escape, or you can say that her whole body jumped to another time line.
Did you have any specific directions for the localization team when they brought the game to the West? Were you worried that any changes to the game, if not handled meticulously, could potentially misrepresent the game in a way that could interfere with consistencies between VLR and its sequel?
- That wasn’t something I was worried about because we literally had hundreds of email correspondences. The questions Aksys asked were very, very detailed and I was confident that they knew and understood the game perfectly. I think the reason why it did so well in the US is because Aksys was so careful and sincere with their localization. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
On the K route, K retrieves Dio’s bracelet from the Treatment Center and shows Sigma and Phi that it is broken. K says that Dio’s killer likely broke it in order to kill Phi and K with the penalty, but Dio was killed by K himself.
- What exactly happened? That’s a good question. The person who broke the bracelet was K, also known as Kyle. Kyle wanted to test his father, Doctor Klim’s, love and created a situation where there are two choices. Of course he did it with the possibility in mind that Sigma would find the antidote and return… And he put Sigma to the test and wanted to see whether his father would save him or Phi. Technically the consciousness would be young Sigma, so there would be no way that he would know the relationship between Doctor Klim and Kyle. But even then, he couldn’t help but to test his father’s love…
Luna is the only person Dio willingly allies with. I’ve always wondered how he would have voted against her had she not died in the second round, when she only had 1 BP?
- Sorry… I rechecked my documents and Dio decided to ally with (Quark pair) on the first round and (Tenmyouji pair) in Sigma’s route on the 2nd round. (There is also another round where Phi didn’t let him in the AB room.) The only time he has Luna as an opponent is during the bomb route’s Round 1. Is that what you’re talking about? Regardless, I think his decisions would change depending on the current situation.
What happened during that ending where Sigma wakes up alone with his hand missing?
- Everyone else stole Sigma’s bracelet and opened the white door. They played the AB game a few times and were all able to increase their BP to 9 or more and escaped.
What prompts Dio to pull a knife on Clover? And why leave her and Tenmyouji alive after handcuffing them? Why not kill them with his knife, instead of risking them being found?
- Well, originally Dio was planning to do something even more messed up to Clover, but our president said NO to that idea for ethical reasons, so that scene was cut out. That’s why Dio pointed his knife towards Clover. The reason why he handcuffed Clover and Tenmyouji is because he enjoys the gambling feeling of it all. Experiencing luck and winning in that type of game is the only way he can sense the feeling of “love”. Just think of it as the mentality of a messed up person.
Can you tell us more about Dio?
- He’s portrayed as a bad guy, but there’s something sad about him too. What kind of person is he when he doesn’t have a sacred mission to complete? Did he really save a stray kitten? It’s hard to say since his reason of being is his sacred mission, but had he been raised in a warm family environment when he was born, he might have turned out as an honest and kind young lad. Since him saving the cat isn’t mentioned in the main game, I’ll leave that to your imagination. However whether he saved a cat or not, I don’t think it has any relation to his morals. For example, a murderer can have a pet rat, which wouldn’t be unnatural, right? On the contrary, there are people who will experiment on a rat and kill hundreds of them to develop new and improved medication in order to save human lives. I think it’s a hard call.
You’ve confirmed before that Luna from VLR is based on the woman from the test site. Did Sigma/Doctor Klim have a prior connection to this woman before jumping to the past to infiltrate the test site? Or was she just someone that “original” Sigma (the very first one, before him and Akane started the AB-project and jumping plans) met and connected with at the test site?
- She was just someone that Sigma had met and connected with at the test site.
If you were trapped in a room and needed to escape, which character would you want with you to help you?
- Anyone besides Dio.
With a new generation of consoles around the corner, is there any chance that we may see a future Zero Escape game on the Wii U or other game system besides on handhelds?
- I think there’s a possibility of porting it to the iPhone, iPad and other smartphones and tablets.
Why is Junpei called Tenmyouji?
- It’s because his full name is Junpei Tenmyouji.
Were there any other thought experiments like Schrödinger’s Cat and the Chinese Room that you’ve considered putting in the game but ultimately left out?
- It wasn’t a thought experiment, but on my notebook where I write down ideas I also had the following: Dissipative system, Monty Hall problem, Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, Toxoplasmosis, Folie à deux, Capgras delusion, Fregoli delusion, Sally–Anne test, and Project MKUltra.
Is it possible that Brother is somebody we already know from 999 or VLR? Or is he a new character entirely?
- It’s a secret. =^ーﾟ)b
In 999, when Junpei asks Lotus about her daughters, she tells him something along the lines of “she’s done things she’s not proud of”. What exactly did she mean by that?
- I’m sorry… I don’t remember. I don’t think she did something that she’s not proud of per se…
In ‘Another Time’, who is Kyle Klim? How can he swap his consciousness to his past self in 2028, when he didn’t exist in that time?
- He is a person who knows things that he should have not known. There is no specific rule that you have to be yourself to possess a psyche. In 999, young Akane and 21 year old Junpei communicated. The developed version is to be able to move yourself entirely, so if your frequency matches, then it is even possible to jump into another person’s body.
Who really is Quark (other than Tenmyouji’s adopted grandchild)? I mean, does he have any other kind of connection to present or past characters?
- At the current moment there are no other details besides him being a child with no family. However, I do think it’ll be interesting if he’s the grandson of a person from 999.
Doctor Klim knows the “original Luna” from the test site. This means that in subsequent loops Young Sigma would never see the original Luna, right? So would Sigma be basing Luna on the Luna he met during the Nonary Game?
- The original Luna is a survivor of the disaster, so Young Sigma would meet her on the Moon. Luna is created with her as a base.
VLR made a big jump to 3D graphics, with 2D art only sometimes appearing. Has any decision been made about Volume 3′s art style? Will it move closer to full 3D or full 2D animation? Or will it remain a hybrid of the two? Also, will we be seeing longer animated cutscenes for important events? (Either in 2D or 3D?)
- Due to budget reasoning I think it will be in 3D. We’re currently considering animating the event scenes at the moment.
I played VLR in English with Japanese dialogue, and I was really curious why “Claydolls” was localized to “Myrmidons”. Is this also why one of the bomb codes was different in the U.S. version (so that the +1 code would give you Myrmidons instead of Claydolls?) I feel like Claydolls would still have been great in English because of the similar pronunciation to Cradle (Pharmaceutical). (Answer from Ben Bateman, Localization Editor)
- The short version is that in a narrative for an English-speaking audience, “Clay dolls” sounds kind of weird. It’s not a word you’d ever hear unless it was referring to exactly that thing, and in this case, it’s being used in a more metaphorical sense. This makes more sense in Japanese, because “doll” (or, more accurately, “ningyou”/人形) is frequently used as a metaphorical way to refer to someone who is being manipulated or controlled by someone else. Unfortunately the term “doll” isn’t used that way metaphorically in North America, which makes the term somewhat awkward. Although we knew we would (unfortunately) lose the allusions to Cradle Pharmaceutical, we ultimately decided that a term that “sounded better” and more accurately communicated the nature of the organization “Clay Dolls” referred to would be better. We ultimately settled on the term “Myrmidons” for a couple reasons. For one, it sounds cool. For two, it refers to a group of people in Greek history who were famous for being excellent warriors and loyal in the extreme—both things that describe the organization Dio belongs to. It was also used for a period of time to mean “a loyal follower, especially one who executes orders without question, protest, or pity – unquestioning follower” so the hits just kind of keep on coming. It also has an interesting tie, in a way, to the story Zero Sr. tells about termites, since the word “myrmidon” in Greek means, roughly, “ant people” and they were in fact supposedly created from ants. Ants aren’t technically termites, but we figured it was close enough. So while something was admittedly lost (the clever phonetic connection to Cradle), some other connections were gained, and we got a term that sounded better and more natural in English.
Can all ESPers have the ability to jump, if under the right circumstances? If not, what makes Sigma, Phi, and ?/Kyle so special?
- Actually, in terms of setting, only a few number of ESPers can jump. And I can only say that they were born with these special powers. It’s the same as, why can Usain Bolt run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds? Of course it is a result of him undergoing intense training, but it doesn’t mean if everyone trains they can all run 100 m in 9.58 seconds either.
How closely does the “multiple timelines” idea relate to 999′s plot? In 999, it seemed like the alternate paths were simply observed by young Akane, and didn’t actually exist. Only the “True” path was the final, since it was the only one where Akane completed her mission and was able to continue her existence. But VLR suggests that the alternate timelines like the Safe ending actually exist. Does that mean there’s another timeline where Akane no longer exists?
- Please refer to Question #25.
Who was inside the Zero outfit that kidnapped Sigma?
- That would be Akane Kurashiki and the members of her organization. On a side note, her organization is called “CRASH KEYS”.
Could you give us hints about Phi?
Did Gentarou Hongou truly believe in Free the Soul’s cause, or was he just trying to get funds for the Nonary Game from them?
- It would be the latter. He’s not the type to blindly accept religion or ideology. I believe he was just pretending to worship the doctrine of Free the Soul in order to use the organization to get what he wants.
Which character was responsible for the hidden message in the bomb codes? (or was it just a message from the developers that isn’t ascribed to any of the characters from the game)
- The actual bomb was made by the arms division of Hephaestus Systems. And those bombs were being passed around in the black market and ended up in the hands of the MYRMIDONS. The person that set the timer and cancelling functionality on the bomb’s detonator was an engineer heavily tied to the MYRMIDONS. (This engineer would do maintenance on illegal machinery and customize them as a profession. He’s an underground mechanic). Now by adding the cancellation functionality on the bomb the engineer asked “What do you want the password to be?”. It was Dio who responded. Dio used the alphabet related to the organization and moved it over by one letter and told the engineer. And that’s how the passwords were set for the 4 bombs and handed over to Dio. Thus Dio headed for Rhizome 9… When he went into the facility and tried to kill Akane in warehouse A, he was attacked by Phi and lost consciousness. After that (when Sigma and Phi’s consciousnesses went back to the future) Akane took bomb 01 of the bombs that Dio snuck in and changed the password. That password would be “ＢＱＺ・ＲＧＪ・ＤＸＲ”. If you move them over by one it will be the name of Akane’s organization.
What happened to Snake and the rest of the 999 cast during the Pandemic and succeeding apocalypse?
- This will be revealed in the 3rd game. I hope you guys look forward to it!
Did young Akane know she’d wind up in the incinerator from her morphogenetic connection with Junpei before she was captured by Hongou?
- I don’t think she knew.
I noticed that old Akane was wearing a ring on her ring finger. Is this a wedding ring? Did she end up marrying Doctor Klim or someone else? Or is there some other meaning behind the ring?
- She’s wearing the ring on her “right hand”, so it’s not a wedding ring.
What’s Dio’s fate after the end of the game? The last we see of him is when he’s chained to the sink.
- Since the AB project is already a success, he is no longer a threat to Akane. Therefore I believe he was released.
Was the girl on the tape recording the woman Luna was based on?
- Yes. She is the woman that Luna was based on.
What was Kyle’s favorite pastime when he was a kid?
- Angry Birds.
In the Zero Escape universe, how long has Free the Soul been around? In question 44 from your previous Q&A centered around 999, you said that the robes worn by Snake were from Lord Gordain, who “conducted strange ceremonies in the incinerator” (along with friends) on the Gigantic/Britannic, which leads me to believe that Lord Gordain was also part of Free the Soul. But according to Seven, while talking behind Door  in 999, Lord Gordain died in the 1930s (1931/1932, I believe). If these two statements are correct, then Free the Soul existed at least by the 1930s, if not earlier. So when was Free the Soul established? And how did Brother manage to keep his brother’s DNA intact/uncorrupted until the technology to clone (Dio/Left, 4th generation Myrmidon leader) him became available? Also, when was human cloning invented in the VLR timeline, and when was the first generation of Left clones gestated?
- This will be revealed in the 3rd game. I hope you guys look forward to it!
My friends and I have often gotten into debates about Akane’s true character. They say she has a cold heart, while I say she’s kindhearted, putting on a strong front in the face of overwhelming obstacles. I get an idealistic vibe from her, since she tries to save herself and the entire world while giving Alice, Clover, Junpei, and herself a chance at a normal life with Schrodinger’s Cat. Did you envision Akane’s personality either way or did you envision it differently?
- Please refer to Question #18.
Have you thought of a full name (first and last) for Seven from 999?
- His real name is “Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta”. Just kidding of course. I noticed various people gave him a wonderful name on Facebook but that’s not the official name. His name is “Seven”. Don’t you think that’s good as is?
Do you think Clover and Aoi could be potential love interests?
- I don’t know? Does Aoi even like girls? I have to start considering from that.
Do Clover and Light have an official last name?
- I didn’t really have one for them. How about their last name being “Field”?
Do you have names for the remaining children from Hongou’s Nonary Game in 2018? And do you have an idea of what their personalities would be like?
- I haven’t really given them a name. I believe they are all very nice people. I mean if they can figure out what other people are thinking, then obviously their ability to relate to them will increase.
You said in the 999 fan Q&A that Seven received his scars fighting an international organization. With Ace’s connections to Free the Soul (highlighted in some of the secret files), is it safe to say Seven was fighting Free the Soul after he rescued the children from the Gigantic, since Ace’s affiliation would ultimately lead him to Free the Soul?
- Yes. That would be correct.
With the last game, 999, you revealed how old the characters were outside of the game. How old are the VLR characters?
- The ages that are disclosed in the game will be as is. For those that haven’t been revealed and show up in 999, sorry, but it will be great if you can calculate them. For the others, I’ll leave it to your imagination.
It is mentioned in the game that Free the Soul was known as Free the Soul of Y before they dropped the “of Y” part. What is the significance of “of Y”, and why was it cut?
- It means “left eye of Horus”.
Is “Brother” still alive in 207X, or has he died? I recall Alice said he was a pretty old man, which means he was already old in 202X. And if he has died, has a “Brother” clone taken over Free the Soul, or did someone else become the new leader?
- This is just between you and me, but he’s still alive. Whether he’s alive using secret powers related to his ESPer abilities or he just had the best doctors because of his financial stability to keep him alive doesn’t matter, but he is for sure still alive. According to one theory, there are rumors that his body as a whole had time slipped to another time.
The characters in 999 were all based on the nine enneagram types. Did the VLR characters have a similar motif?
- VLR is also enneagram based. So all the VLR characters are in correspondence with the 999 characters. It would be fun to see which character is which character.
In the Director’s Office, there’s a facial recognition device that’s important to solving the puzzle in the room. On the Tenmyouji route, Tenmyouji uses a picture of young Akane to activate it. On the Phi route, Clover, Luna and the unconscious Alice go into the Director’s Office, and on the Luna route, K and Dio go in along with Alice’s bracelet. Were they able to use the facial recognition device?
- If my memory is correct that device is set to recognize a woman’s face. Therefore it shouldn’t be an issue in the Phi route. In the Luna route, maybe Dio’s face was misinterpreted as a female or Zero Jr. changed the settings.
In Dio’s Japanese profile, it is said that he once saved a cat on a rainy day. Where did this come from? I don’t recall seeing it mentioned in the game.
- Since it’s not mentioned in the main game I’m not going to declare anything, but I think it’s true that he saved a cat.
In the K route, Dio takes the Neostigmine gun from the Treatment Center’s safe. He is very insistent on keeping it, which seems to imply that he knows of its value. Does he know that it can be used to counteract a penalty? In the K Game Over, K opens the nine door, but Dio doesn’t attempt to escape himself. If he knows what it does, then why doesn’t he use it to go through the door? If he doesn’t, then why does he want it so badly? Does he also take the Neostigmine gun during the other timelines where he goes through the green door?
- No, I assume he didn’t know what kind of effects Neostigmine had. I believe he just had a hunch that the medication would be somewhat important. In terms of why he wanted the neostigmine gun, it wasn’t a matter of what medication was in that gun, but I think it’s only natural that you want possession of any kind of gun. On a side note, on the Alice route Dio entered the Treatment Room with Phi and Tenmyouji. Since Phi and Tenmyouji got to the safe first, Dio never got the neostigmine gun.
So just what is the SOIS? Is it similar to the NSA or FBI? Or is it some kind of paramilitary type group? What exactly are Alice’s and Clover’s roles in this organization? What kind of work do they do that required their choices in clothing?
- It’s a governmental top secret organization with everything shrouded in mysteries and secrets. Alice and Clover’s role would be comprehensive investigation on criminal and terrorist organizations. As for their outfits, can you even imagine or believe that they would be top secret agents based on what they wear? Even if they say, “Hey, I work for a secret organization” people will just laugh them off. That is what the organization was hoping for. There are rumors that some of the members of the organization would dress up like Elvis or Lady Gaga, and even some agents dressed up like Captain America. The very few people that know of the organization are said to be teasing them by calling them “State Of InsanitieS”, or that’s what I hear.
While playing 999, I was constantly afraid the next room would lead to my death, or someone else’s death. In that regard, it felt very much like a horror game. In VLR, each room felt a little safer and more elaborate than in 999. Along with how the characters reacted to their circumstances, this made me feel a little more comfortable and less paranoid. Overall I felt VLR had more of a “puzzle” feel to it. What inspired the shift in tone between the two games, and which of those two moods do you enjoy writing more?
- After the release of 999 we did marketing research in Japan for those who didn’t buy the game. Of the surveys that were taken there were people who stated that they refrained from purchasing because they felt like it would be too scary or gory. As a result, the higher ups had given me orders to make the next installment more light. So with that I made the penalty of the Nonary Game “death with poison injection” as opposed to being blown up. And overall I tried to make the vibe less gloomy. The Japanese version’s title is also made to be a bit of a pun. I also tried to make the conversation during the escape parts more light and witty. And just between you and me…for the Japanese title, I’m honestly not happy with the higher up’s instruction on making it “light”. But if I don’t comply, they won’t allow me to make the game, so what can I do, right? This is the downside for a creator. I heard in the movie industry there are cases where the production company will give orders and would even change an ending of a movie. (For example, “I Am Legend”). Please go ahead and think something of that sort happened with VLR. So with that said, I’m sure you guys can conclude which mood I’d enjoy writing for more.
Tenmyouji had seen what the effects of Radical-6 were before going to Rhizome-9. Why, when Quark showed signs of it, didn’t he realize that’s what it was until Luna had scanned him?
- Due to the tragedy on 4/13/2029, the population on the earth decreased tremendously. As a result ironically, the spread of Radical-6 stopped and the pandemic came to an end. Tenmyouji spends 45 long years after that living through the aftermath. So I assume he would never have imagined that Quark would be infected with Radical-6, which has been gone for so long.
Is there a reason that Phi resembles Aoi?
- I assume it’s Kinu Nishimura, the character designer’s preference…
Tenmyouji mentions knowing who Zero Sr. is in his ending. Did he see the hologram of Sigma? If so, why did he not expose him then and there? And if not, who did he think Zero was?
- Yes. When Tenmyouji and Quark return to the Director’s Office to get the picture, he sees Doctor Klim’s hologram. So he realized Zero = Doctor Klim = Sigma. Maybe he didn’t tell the others because he could have potentially assumed that the others were in on it as well. I assume he told Clover the truth after they escaped, since she escaped with Tenmyouji. And the reason why he said “I know Zero very well” is because he realized that Sigma, who was present, was Zero, but he also remembered that he had met Sigma 45 years prior at the test site when he was still young. That is why he had stated that he knows Zero very well. And the reason why he wanted to punish Zero is because he wanted to leave Zero/Sigma behind and trap him.
Sigma said that there were three reasons for him to be at school at 2 AM on the day he was kidnapped. His home computer stopped working, his Buddhist doctor said he still had to work on Christmas, and his girlfriend broke up with him a week before. Were these events engineered purposefully? The part about his girlfriend seems particularly suspicious, as he says she broke up with him through e-mail and that he wasn’t able to contact her at all afterward.
- Yes. It was all engineered by Akane and the Crash Keys.
In the Luna end, Luna says that “Zero Jr.” lured Dio into the facility. How did he do that?
- The term lured is a figure of speech. Dio knew about the location of Rhizome 9 in the briefing he had before he started his mission.
According to the secret archives, “GTM-CM-G-OLM” stands for “GAULEM Type Male – Cockney Model no. G-OLM”. Luna’s ID is “GTF-DM-L-016”. Evidently, the “GTF” would stand for “GAULEM Type Female”, but what does “DM” stand for? I’ve heard that it’s “TM” in the Japanese version.
- I believe “DM” stands for “Diana Model”. In terms of what Diana means, please stay tuned for the next installment. In the Japanese version it is “TM”, but that is our mistake. “DM” would be the correct title.
Why wasn’t Santa with Akane on Rhizome 9?
- That’s because…
In the Dio end, Dio says that he’s going to take Sigma and Phi to a shelter where some people who survived the disaster are living. What kind of place was this? The facility’s on the Moon, so it can’t be just an ordinary shelter. Is it another Rhizome? Also, who are the people inhabiting the shelter and how is Dio acquainted with them? If they’re survivors from the Radical-6 outbreak and reactor explosions, it seems strange for them to be on friendly terms with someone from Free the Soul.
- The three of them headed towards Rhizome x. (The x has a number to it.) It’s a lot bigger than Rhizome 9 and there is a very comfortable living environment. By the way, each Rhizome is actually connected with an underground road. However, Rhizome 9 was abandoned, so the road to the other Rhizomes was closed off. In Rhizome x there are various people from various nationalities living there. The kinds of people include millionaires who paid large sums of money after the April 2029 tragedy, government researchers and officials, chosen children, etc. However, 45 years have passed since and most of those people have returned to Earth. The people that remain currently are eccentric people who enjoy living on the Moon, researchers, scientists, laborers who are mining the Moon’s rare minerals, and those who lived so long on the Moon that they couldn’t adjust to Earth’s gravity. It has nothing to do with Dio really. He knows a few people here and there. And even to those that know him, he hasn’t revealed that he is a believer of Free the Soul. And besides, only a handful of people know that the tragedy 45 years ago was Free the Soul’s doing.
Where did Dio keep the bombs before he set them and in the timelines he didn’t set them? Did he always keep the detonator with him when the bombs weren’t set? Sigma doesn’t find it when he searches Dio’s pockets for the Neostigmine gun in the K end.
- He had it hidden on his back. The detonator was hidden inside his hat.
Was Luna the robot who was created to look after K when he asked for a mother?
- Yes. In actuality she wasn’t created because K asked for her, but that’s probably what the young K interpreted.
In 999, the young Akane sees events through Junpei’s eyes. Does she do something similar to see futures in this game? Also, where does Brother get his information from? Does someone transmit it to him?
- I don’t think young Akane was watching the VLR world through the eyes of Junpei Tenmyouji. However, old Akane’s consciousness can freely jump to different histories, futures or pasts. Brother gets his information from himself. He too is an ESPer.
What was your reasoning behind having Snake become a new age harpist with a cult of followers (and then an ESPer secret government agent)?
- I just thought he’d look good with a harp… The reason why I had him join the SOIS is because I figured Clover wouldn’t join unless he did.
Did Tenmyouji ever develop romantic feelings for anyone other than Akane in the many years he searched for her?
- The feelings he has towards Akane is beyond just romantic feelings. At the test site Tenmyouji found out about the great burden imposed upon Akane. I think he wanted to free her from her burden, so that is why he was looking for her.
In 999, Akane flirted with Junpei quite a bit in the puzzle rooms. While she was wearing Kyle’s armor, did she take the opportunity to tease Tenmyouji a little even though he didn’t know who she was…?
- If that was the case, then that would be pretty cute, right?
Did Doctor Klim program Luna to fall in love with him, or did that happen on its own?
- It would be the latter. Well, it’s hard for us to define what the feeling of “love” is for her but… Actually there is no guarantee that your definition of “love” and my definition of love, and anyone else’s, are the same too…
What sort of cloning technology allowed Left and Kyle to be created? Does it require incubation by a human surrogate, or is it all done artificially somehow?
- There are a few titles of mine that feature clones. Up until now I’ve always used the setting that they were born from a surrogate mother, but for VLR I have set it so they were born from an artificial uterus. On a side note, the water tank in the Laboratory wall is in fact just that.
How did Alice and Light get along while they were in the SOIS together?
- At the very least, I don’t think they had any problem with one another.
In Tenmyouji’s ending, we find out that Quark can write extraordinarily well for his age. How did he learn to if he never went to school?
- There was a woman who used to be a teacher that lived in their neighborhood. Quark learned how to read and write from her.
Alice tells Tenmyouji about another man she met who believed she was the Ice-9 mummy of legend. Was that man a younger Junpei, or Seven, or someone else?
- Yes. That man was the young Junpei Tenmyouji.
In the endings where someone escapes, what happens to the others? If someone on the outside is alerted to their predicament, are they rescued?
- What do you think happened? I urge you to let your imagination run.
Is there more to what happened to Alice’s father than what we’re told? They hold him for over ten years, then just brutally murder him? Was that really just to scare Alice? And what about the other scientists who were mentioned having been abducted? And how did Brother make all of them do what he wanted?
- Everything written about Alice is all there is to her story. In this world there are heartless people, as well as cruel, inhumane organizations that go beyond our imagination. I mean just the other day there were atrocities in Algeria. The problem is that the terrorist group who kidnapped the hostages, and the Algerian troops who bombed the terrorists and hostages, were all working in the name of justice. I’m sure neither party felt that what they were doing was cruel. The same is the case for Brother. And again, the same goes for Akane. They are just doing what they think is the right thing to do. So what does that leave us? Are the things we do on a daily basis really the correct course of action? It’s a very difficult concept. All we can do is pray that such tragedies will never happen again.
Did Junpei get to talk more with Akane off-screen, and if so, what about?
- For Junpei there are 45 years worth of feelings, and for Akane, a million years worth of feelings and emotions, resonating within them both. There is no way I can write them all here. But what I think is that there was a tranquil and majestic silence between the two of them. Maybe just looking into one another’s eyes was enough for them.