Anime Expo 2016 – Zero Escape: Machinations of the Maestro Panel

GameStop, Inc.

20160702_155907bOn July 2nd, at Anime Expo 2016, Kotaro Uchikoshi, writer for the Zero Escape series, in association with Aksys Games, held a panel celebrating the series. The panel kicked of with a trailer for the latest entry, Zero Time Dilemma, which had just been released. Uchikoshi thanked all the fan support and the fans that came to the packed panel because without all the fan support, the series never would’ve been finished. Thing then switched to talk about the series’ history. After 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors did well when it came out, Spike Chunsoft decided to produce 2 sequels, which were to be produced at the same time. However, since moving to the 3DS and Playstation Vita consoles, the 2 games and to be separated for budgetary reason, which was the reason for Virtue’s Last Reward’s unresolved story. Even though Virtue’s Last Reward was more critically acclaimed than 999 was, since the game didn’t do as well in Japan as it did in the West, the product was placed on hold. It was due to all of the fan support from around the world that the third entry was finally made, giving the series and fans closure, but what would’ve happened if there were no fan support?


Up next were a series of fan questions submitted to Aksys for the panel. First question was:

“What do you get your inspiration for each game?”

Uchikoshi responded with the first thing he does is defines the theme for each game (digital roots for 999, prisoner’s dilemma for Virtue’s Last Reward, Sleeping Beauty problem for Zero Time Dilemma.) From there he compiles his notes in a professional text editor as opposed to a standard word processor because they are better for a massive amount of text.

“How do you create your characters?”

In order to define each character’s personality, he has six personality traits that can be be broken down into 8 core personalities. From there, he creates an octograph with each trait and uses trial and error to find out which trait works for each character.


“How do you create your flowcharts?”

“How do you create your plots?”

For both of these questions, Uchikoshi’s answer was pretty much trial and error. Once he finds what works, he then goes in and tidies everything up. For the plot, he writes out everything by hand then transfers everything to a text editor for polishing.

The final question for the fan Q and A revolved around a port of 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. For that they answered with a trailer. The trailer showcased a section from the later part of the game. The port will contain full voiceovers. No platforms or release dates have been announced.


Then they ended the panel with a short live Q and A. When asked why he changed the artist from the first two games, he responded that they picked an artist to fit the cinematic tone of the new game. Someone asked about him reusing plot devices in his games, he said that since Ever17 [one of his earlier titles] was not as well known in the west, he reused the plot twist since he felt it was a good twist and wanted more people to enjoy it. When asked if he finds scientific theories to use in the plot or if he writes the plot around a specific theory, Uchikoshi stated that he finds a theory he finds interesting and from there builds the story around it.
At the conclusion of the panel, Uchikoshi once again thanked the fans for their support because without them, Zero Time Dilemma would most likely never have been made.


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