The Decision Game is a game made by Zero to decide the fate of humanity and is the focal point of Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma. It is played on December 31, 2028. It was thought to have been played at the Mars Mission Test Site, also known as Dcom, in Nevada. However, it is actually played at the Underground Shelter, which is located 50 meters under the surface nearby. The players are told by Zero that if they do not win the Decision Game, 75% of humanity will die, due to the release of Radical-6.
The players are forced to play a series of miserable "decision games" involving life-or-death. The mental stress and torture of the Decision Game is much more intense and horrific than the Nonary Game and Nonary Game: Ambidex Edition, since no one necessarily had to die and if someone did die in the Ambidex Edition, they would be euthanized. However, from the get go of the Decision Game, they are told that at least six players must die. A variety of booby traps and torture instruments are used, as well as weapons such as guns, a crossbow, a chainsaw, an axe, incineration, acid showers, poison, exploding death collars, bombs, etc.
As the name implies, the players must make decisions - decisions which are more complex than "Should I enter this door or that door?" or "Should I ally or betray?" These decisions are designed to test the player's humanity, and make them question their values and beliefs of what's "right" and "wrong". The players must make difficult decisions that force them to choose between their freedom, their humanity, and their morals.
There are three ultimate purposes of the Decision Game:
- For Sigma to have sex with Diana and impregnate her, resulting in Delta and Phi's birth, and to have Sigma and Diana put them in the transporter.
- For a timeline (Virtue's Last Reward) to be created where 6,000,000,000 people die in hopes for a 75% chance of a religious fanatic to die. This will create a bootstrap paradox in which Sigma, Phi, and Akane would become Dcom participants.
- To get all of the players in the determined mindset of stopping this religious fanatic from destroying the world, which would be easier by strengthening their SHIFT powers. They would only find out about this threat if Delta was born.
How to escape
To escape, a player must enter the X-Door in their respective ward. However, it only opens when six X-Passes are obtained (each door has a monitor beside it displaying X-Passes). An X-Pass is obtained when a player dies. In order to escape, at least six people must die. When the X-Passes are entered, the X-Door opens for thirty seconds and then will never open again. The player(s) then enter the Central Elevator Hall which contains an elevator to rise to the surface.
In the beginning of the game, the participants of the game must decide which other team they want to kill. This is done by computers and a majority vote means that if a team has 2 votes from other teams, all three members are killed. Only the team leader can vote and they can only vote once. If a team refuses to vote, all three of them die.
This leads to four timelines:
- Everyone spreads the votes and no one dies
- C-Team is executed
- Q-Team is executed
- D-Team is executed
The Decision Game has some randomized outcomes, utilizing elements of pure luck and chance instead of skill.
For example, at the beginning of the Decision Game, Zero says, "Life is simply unfair" and flips a coin - one side is blue, one side is red. Carlos can guess whether the coin will be red or blue. If the player guesses correctly, all of the players can escape, but if they guess incorrectly, the players will be forced to play the Decision Game, which will kill 6 of them.
Randomness, chance, and unfairness is a core theme of the game. Life often operates on the principalities of unfairness, chance, randomness and luck. A major component of life does not rely on actual effort, talent, and skill.
In terms of the game itself on how this theme will be used, for example, Sigma will be trapped in a chair. The gun next to Sigma's chair has three live rounds and three blanks which has a 50/50 chance of killing him. The game calculates the odds each time the fragment is played. However, the player may play the fragment multiple times in order to achieve a positive result. If the player makes decisions differently, the most recently made decision is taken for the purpose of determining events on other routes.
The Decision Game also makes use of bracelets. They function as watches and tell the time when pressing each button on the side of the bracelet simultaneously.
Every 90 minutes, these bracelets release an anesthetic (possibly Soporil) that forces the players to get knocked out, and another unknown drug is injected after that, so the players lose their memories of the last 90 minutes after they awaken.
There are thirteen escape rooms in the Decision Game, and Zero puts each team in different escape rooms depending on their actions. The teams are forced to solve puzzles (although it is unexplained why, perhaps Zero enjoys seeing if the teams can solve them). At the end of some escape rooms is often a decision game, often with fatal consequences.
- Gab - dog used for inter-team communication
Zero Time Dilemma
Coincide - Heads or Tails
As the Decision Game begins, the players are locked in cells. Zero appears and tells them life is unfair, and says that all it takes is one snail for the world to be destroyed. He forces them to play a game - a game which will determine the lives of them, him, and the rest of humanity. He flips a coin with red on one side and blue on the other and hides it under his cloak. He asks the players which colored side is facing up, but they will only be able to guess once. If they guess correctly, Zero will set them free. However, if they guess incorrectly, they will be forced to play a game in which 6 of them will die. Zero leaves the decision to Carlos, and tells him that he is a snail.
If Carlos picks correctly, Zero does indeed set the group free, resulting in an ending only 5 minutes into the game.
Execution - Execution Vote
Each team is locked in their respective wards. They are told to cast a single vote per team for the execution of another team; that any team with two votes will be executed; and that abstaining will result in a team gaining two votes. Carlos sends Gab through a vent to Q-Team detailing a plan for the survival of all teams; Sean adds to the message and sends Gab to D-Team. Zero does not erase the memories of the teams after they vote.
If any team does receive two votes, they are executed by explosive neck collars as in Battle Royale. All possible results lead to different paths.
First Come, First Saved - Kill Button
Each team is locked in their respective ward's decontamination room. Zero announces that no team has been executed, and instructs each team that they may execute the other two teams by pressing a button in the decontamination room. After one team presses their button, the other buttons are disabled.
If any team presses their button, the remaining teams are executed by hydroflouric acid being pumped through the decontamination showers, although this does not happen immediately: it happens during the next active period. The team that pressed their button can escape at that time, but does not have their memories erased, so they must live with the knowledge that they killed 6 people.
Radical-6 - Inject Radical-6?
Q-Team are given several syringes holding Radical-6. They are told that Radical-6 has a 75% mortality rate. However, a second virus - FBR - exists which has a 100% mortality rate, but if combined with Radical-6 the two viruses kill each other and the person is unharmed. Zero informs them that he is clairvoyant, and has foreseen the future. If he has foreseen that the team inject themselves with the Radical-6, then he has previously injected them with FBR. If he has foreseen that the team will not inject themselves, he has not injected them with FBR. Thus if his claim is true then the player will be saved either way, but they have no grounds to believe Zero's claim to be psychic. The players must choose to inject themselves or not. (This is a variation on Newcomb's Paradox.)
Sean argues that, regardless of Zero's possible powers, probability is the best method to decide whether or not the group injects Radical-6. Mira agrees, noting that the survival rate if they inject Radical-6 is 62.5% vs. 50% for not injecting Radical-6. The group injects themselves.
Afterwards, Eric laughs about something and explains his abusive childhood to the others. When he calls it "dark," Mira takes this as a joke. When Sean disagrees, something sets her off and she stabs Eric and Sean with the scalpel from the Biolab.
Sean argues that, regardless of Zero's possible powers, the real and present danger of Radical-6 is the most important factor in whether or not the group injects Radical-6. Sean argues that Zero is likely trying to cause a pandemic through Q-Team, and that Fanatic Bio R is unlikely to be real. Eric and Mira seem to agree, and the door opens. After the others leave, Mira grabs one of the syringes and laughs.
Afterwards, Sean explains how Radical-6 works and the implications if it got out to Eric and Mira.
Suppression - "Don't Press" Button
D-Team is presented with a large blue button after solving the puzzles in the Healing Room. A warning in red lights instructs them not to press the button. Sigma argues that since Zero wrote the warning, they should ignore it; Phi argues that the warning is likely intended to goad them into pressing the button. Diana is given 65 seconds to press or ignore the button.
If Diana presses the button, the underground shelter explodes.
Outbreak - The Bomb
D-Team sets the bomb from Manufacturing next to the Decontamination Room's outer door (which has been welded shut). Zero, seeing through this plan, sets the unconscious Q-Team on the other side of the door and turns on the hydroflouric acid showers in the decontamination room. D-Team finds a protective suit in the prep room, but Sigma says there isn't enough time and that they should run away. Diana is given the choice to run away or not.
If Diana refuses to run, she stuns Phi and Sigma with the stun gun and dons the protective suit. However, she fails to act quickly enough and the bomb explodes, killing Diana, Q-Team, and possibly Sigma and Phi as well. If Diana runs away, Sigma blockades the Prep Room and attempts to disarm the bomb. This second decision leads to the "Circle of Fate" ending (D-End: 1).
Poison - The Antidote Is?
C-Team has been poisoned and given eight possible candidates (lettered A-H) for the antidote to the poison. With five minutes left until the poison kills them, Zero allows C-Team to sample each container, telling them that the antidote will make their tongues numb after 3 minutes. Akane devises a way to split the eight samples between the three members of C-Team, but is unable to explain it to Carlos before the poison renders her non-verbal. Carlos must figure out her method and the (randomized) result of the sampling to find the antidote.
If Carlos chooses incorrectly, C-Team dies, giving a game over. If Carlos chooses correctly, C-Team survives, and Akane sends the three extra vials from the antidote box to D-Team.
Fire - Gun vs Incinerator
Sigma is trapped in a chair with a gun beside him pointing at his head. The gun contains three live rounds and three blanks, and so has a 50/50 chance of killing him. At the same time, Phi is trapped in an activating incinerator. Pulling the trigger on the gun will free Phi, no matter whether a bullet or blank is fired. Diana must choose between pulling the trigger and risking direct responsibility for killing Sigma, or doing nothing and certainly failing to save Phi. (This is a variation on the Trolley Problem.)
The game continues with Phi dead if the trigger is not pulled. If the trigger is pulled, there is a 50% chance of Sigma living (resulting in a further branch), and a 50% chance of Sigma dying which results in an immediate Game Over as Diana also kills herself with grief. The player may replay the choice to obtain the positive outcome.
Fire - Gift from Gab
After all members of D-Team survive Gun vs Incinerator, Team D find themselves writhing on the ground, apparently poisoned. Gab arrives with vials and a note from Akane saying that they hold the antidote. However, there is no guarantee that the note is true, and Phi believes that there is the possibility that they contain a further poison that will kill them, while the current one only causes them pain. Sigma states that this would be illogical, as the poisoner could have used deadly poison in the first place rather than depending on them ingesting it later.
If Diana does not choose to have the group drink the antidote, an immediate Game Over results.
Ambidex - AB Game
Carlos and Junpei play a simplified version of the Ambidex Game in the Power Room. Carlos and Junpei start with 3 BP each. One player must reach 9 BP for the exit door to unlock. Any player whose BP reaches 0 is executed by their bracelets. Both players allying gives each 3 BP; if an allying Carlos is betrayed by Junpei, Carlos loses 3 BP and Junpei gains 6; if an allying Junpei is betrayed by Carlos, Junpei loses 3 BP and Carlos gains 6. Both players betraying results in no change in BP. Phi and Akane will be executed if Junpei is executed, while Sigma and Diana will be executed if Carlos is executed.
Carlos choosing "Ally" results in Junpei choosing "Betray" and escaping with Akane, leaving Sigma, Diana, and Carlos to die. Carlos choosing "Betray" results in Junpei choosing "Ally," killing Junpei, Akane, and Phi. Before she dies, Akane bashes Carlos' head in. The third option is for Carlos to go back in time and reveal the disastrous outcomes to Junpei, stalling for long enough that Akane can wake up and give them guidance on SHIFTing.
Anthropic Principle - The Three Dice
C-Team is locked in the Rec Room. A new game is announced: Roll 3 dice, and if they don't all show a 1, everyone on C-Team will be gunned down.
Monty Hall - Find the Mask
C-Team is locked in Control, which is rapidly filling with carbon dioxide. They are told to choose one of ten lockers to find an oxygen mask. After the choice, eight incorrect lockers are randomly opened. Carlos is left to decide whether to change his choice or stick with the original locker. The door is set to unlock in twenty minutes, which no one on C-Team will survive until without the oxygen mask.
If Carlos chooses incorrectly, the three members of C-Team die of asphyxiation. If Carlos chooses correctly, he and Junpei give Akane the one oxygen mask and die of asphyxiation. Akane uses six X-Passes and escapes.
Six people are revealed to be dead, including Phi, and Akane has escaped through the X-Door. When Diana despairs, Sigma suggests that they use the transporter to go to an alternate history. If Diana decides not to transport, she accidentally blows up the transporter room and traps herself and Sigma in the shelter forever, resulting in a game over. If Diana decides to transport, the options for her and Sigma split into the Door of Truth and The Stranded Pair.
Suspicion - Who Killed Junpei?
Junpei is found dismembered in the pantry. Akane assumes that Carlos is responsible, while Carlos isn't sure who did it. The player is given a nine letter field in which to guess the killer.
If the player enters ME, MYSELF, I, or CARLOS, Carlos assumes that he is responsible for Junpei's murder. Carlos kills himself with an ax.
If the player enters AKANE or KURASHIKI, Carlos assumes that Akane is responsible for Junpei's murder. After Carlos accuses her, she cuts off Carlos' left hand with the chainsaw before he kills her with an axe.
Pointing the finger at another suspect will not result in a different scene, however several elicit humorous responses from the game.
- GAB, DOG, DOGGIE, PUPPY, and OLD DOG return "HOW WOULD A DOG DO IT?"
- SEAN, ERIC, MIRA, and Q return "NOT LIKELY TO BE Q-TEAM".
- JUNPEI, TENMYOUJI, DIANA, SIGMA, and PHI return "THE DEAD CANNOT KILL ANYONE".
- ZERO and ZERO II returns "DO NOT KNOW IDENTITY".
- DELTA returns "HE IS NOT HERE".
Pop Off - Who Killed Mira?
Eric and Sean find Mira's corpse in one of the pods in the Pod Room. Eric blames Sean for the crime, causing Sean to flee to the X-Door and attempt to enter the six revealed passwords. However, Eric shoots the input panel before Sean can enter the passwords. Eric advances on Sean, demanding to know who killed Mira.
I Don't Know
Letting the timer run out or entering one of the following phrases will lead to Eric sparing Sean's life:
- I DONT KNOW, DONT KNOW, DUNNO, DONNO, WHO KNOWS
- NOT SURE, IM NOT SURE, NO IDEA, IHAVENOIDEA, NO CLUE, IHAVENOCLUE
- WHO IS IT, WHOCANITBE
- BEATS ME, I GIVE UP, CANT
- YOU TELL ME, TELL ME
Eric lowers the shotgun and talks to Sean about his feelings for Mira.
Giving Eric an unsatisfactory answer will lead to him shooting Sean with the shotgun. Some examples include:
- SEAN, ME, MYSELF, and I prompt Eric to say "I see... I knew it was you..."
- GAB, DOG, DOGGIE, PUPPY, and OLD DOG prompt Eric to say "The...dog.... killed Mira...? Uh huh... And how'd he do that?"
- ERIC, YOU and ITS YOU prompt Eric to say "Me...? I...killed Mira...?" and scream with rage
- MIRA prompts Eric to say "Huh. You're saying she took her own life...? By strangling herself...? Don't fuck with me!"
- CARLOS, JUNPEI, TENMYOUJI, AKANE, and KURASHIKI prompt Eric to say "No one from Ward C is here!"
- DIANA, PHI, and SIGMA prompt Eric to say "How could someone who's already dead kill her?!"
- Q prompts Eric to say "That's clearly impossible!"
- DELTA prompts Eric to say "I don't know who the hell that is!"
- ZERO and ZERO II prompts Eric to say "Hmm...I see...Zero...I guess that's true, in an overall sort of way. But you're the one who did it personally!"
Triangle - Three Way Standoff
Upon opening the final safe in the Study, Q-Team finds a note instructing them to "kill one." Five X-Passes have been revealed, meaning that one death would be enough for the remaining players to escape. Sean, Mira, and Eric face off with the crossbow, handgun, and grenade launcher found in the room.
Sean fires a crossbow bolt into the right side of Eric's chest. After he collapses to the ground, Mira calmly stands over him, saying that she's going to kill him. Eric forgives her and tells her that she looks better when she smiles, but his words are cut short by a gunshot to the head. Mira explains to Sean that she's had trouble feeling emotions before carving Eric's heart out with the crossbow bolt. This leads to "Q-End: 1."
Sean fires the crossbow at Mira, but Eric jumps in front of the bolt and is stabbed in the heart. Mira is upset that she will be unable to touch an intact heart from Eric, saying "what a waste." Seemingly upset by Sean's actions, she shoots Sean and Q, concluding that "this couldn't have ended any shittier" before escaping alone.
Sean puts his crossbow down, prompting Eric to fire the grenade launcher. The explosion kills Sean and Q, leading Eric and Mira to escape together. Three days later, Mira kills Eric while they are in bed together.
Several inputs can prompt this ending, including:
- NO ONE, NOBODY
- NO, NO WAY, NOPE, I OBJECT
- IMPOSSIBLE, CANCEL
- CANT, CANT SHOOT
- WONT, WONT SHOOT, WONT KILL, I WONT KILL
- DONT WANNA, DONTWANTTO, IDONTWANNA, IDONTWANTTO, DONT KILL
- WILL NOT, WILLNOTKILL, I WILL NOT
Sean turns to the camera and fires. This leads to "Perceptive End."
No other inputs result in additional endings, but several return unique responses from the game.
- ME, MYSELF, and I return "YOU CANNOT COMMIT SUICIDE".
- GAB, DOG, DOGGIE, PUPPY, and OLD DOG return "HE IS NOT HERE".
- ZERO and ZERO II returns "DO NOT KNOW IDENTITY".
- Q returns "PLEASE INPUT Q'S NAME".
- AKANE and KURASHIKI return "CANNOT GET TO WARD C"
- JUNPEI, TENMYOUJI, CARLOS, DIANA, PHI, and SIGMA return "THE DEAD CANNOT BE KILLED".
Reality - Dream or Reality
Sean is left alone in the underground shelter with Zero after Mira's escape. Zero explains to Sean who he is, and offers the choice to create a virtual backup of himself that will be happy or to permanently erase himself from existence. Creating the backup is necessary to acquire Sean's helmet code.
Door of Truth
After exploring the Locker Room post-transport, Sigma and Diana find a yellow door with a password input field. If the password entered is incorrect three times (or the back button is pressed) and theplayer has reached "Yellow Door" with Q-Team, they will see the "Twins' Birthday" hint flash in Diana's mind. Otherwise, no hint will appear. Acceptable answers include 16112029, 11162029, and 20291116.
Q - Helmet Code
The correct input is 61404091, which remove's Sean's helmet.
Eric shoots Sean and seems to ready himself to shoot the others as well.
Q - You are Zero!
Eric points his shotgun at Sean and demands to know Zero's name.
If the player inputs Q, "Eric's Confusion" does not immediately result, but the game prompts the player to "PLEASE INPUT ZERO'S REAL NAME."
The correct answer is DELTA. Sean points to Q and calls him out as being both Zero and Delta.
Any answer besides "Delta" will result in Eric shooting everyone in the transporter room. After the specific response he has for any given name, he says the following:
Specific responses include:
- GAB, DOG, DOGGIE, PUPPY, or OLD DOG
- ZERO or ZERO II
- ERIC, YOU or ITS YOU
- ME, MYSELF, I, or SEAN
- CARLOS, AKANE, KURASHIKI, JUNPEI, TENMYOUJI, or PHI
- Unrecognized inputs
Force Quit: C
Seeing no obvious task and with no deaths so far, C-Team approaches the Force Quit Box. Carlos has a flash of insight, and thinks that he knows the password to open the box. If the password entered is incorrect three times (or the player presses the back button) and the player has completed C-END 1, a clip of Zero II telling Junpei and Akane about the "spell to open Pandora's box" will play as a hint; if not, no hint will play, and the fragment will end. The correct answer is VIVEHODIE.
Force Quit: Q - Quantum Computer
Q-Team notices that the Force Quit Box is open. It instructs them to boot up the central computer to continue. Sean leads Q-Team to the Quantum Computer Dome and realizes that he needs to open the cover to insert the plug. If the code entered is incorrect three times (or the player presses the back button) and the player has completed Q-END 2, a clip of Eric interrogating Q about the code will play as a hint; if not, no hint will play, and the fragment will end. The code for the cover is 38080832.
Force Quit: Q - Helmet Code
After the cover opens, Sean states that he needs to input the right number in his helmet to get the plug. If the number entered is incorrect three times (or the player pressed the back button) a clip of Zero II giving Sean the number for his helmet will play as a hint. The number for Sean's helmet is 61404091.
Force Quit: D
D-Team finds the Force Quit Box open and finds instructions to set "two key items" to initiate the Force Quit Program. The box hints that "each is a mother's memento." Diana has a momentary flash of inspiration, and thinks that she knows what the items are. If the items entered are incorrect three times (or the player presses the back button) and the player has completed D-END 2, a clip of Diana leaving mementos with Delta and Phi will play as a hint; if not, no hint will play, and the fragment will end. The items are BROOCH for the item A and either BLUE BIRD or MUSIC BOX for item B.
After Delta's death, the remaining players are left with two options: remain in the shelter to die when it self-destructs, or SHIFT to the history where they won the coin toss.
- The previous death game was the Nonary Game (Nona is a prefix meaning "nine"). A year later, Zero kidnaps the players to play the next death game, the Decision Game, which contains the prefix "deci" for "ten". This could be a hint of there being ten players in this game.
- The Decision Game involves a lot of "X". X-Doors and X-Passes. X is the Roman numeral for 10, also hinting at this.