Taking to Twitter a couple days ago, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward director Kotaru Uchikoshi told fans that development on a sequel to PS Vita's fantastic visual novel is having trouble getting started--investors and publishers are unwilling to commit.
The heartfelt series of tweets illuminates a situation in which Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (one of my favorite games ever) and its Nintendo DS predecessor, 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, aren't selling very well in Japan. Because of this, "We were not able to present a convincing reasonable basis to the managers," says Uchikoshi. "I have to say that it is difficult to realize [a sequel] 'at this stage' yet, although we have done all we can. . . . I decided to reveal [this news] honestly. A lot of budget is needed to make [the Zero Escape series]. We have to persuade the managers in order to obtain it."
"The managers know that [Zero Escape] is especially valued by many users outside Japan. Some of them think that they want to make a sequel just as we wish. But, 'in Japan,' 999 and VLR are in the red. They are not selling [as much as] people think."
With hope for the future, Uchikoshi asks fans and potential investors for support:
"I appreciate from the bottom of my heart . . . the users who played 999 or VLR. Thank you very much! I have received the messages of encouragement or cheer from many users so far. I am really glad and happy. I offer my deepest thanks! . . . I still haven’t given up. For example, if the title which I make next [brings] about a good result, the wind might shift to another direction. Or, if someone with executive ability (financer, producer, publisher or millionaire!) [proposes] the investment, everything could go well. If there is an great investor who thinks 'Virtue is its own reward,' I wish him/her to send me a message. If you know such a wonderful person, please induce him/her to cooperate. By using Facebook, you can send a direct message to me."
I believe there is still hope. ZE3 will definitely be released somehow, someday!— Kotaro Uchikoshi Eng (@Uchikoshi_Eng) February 13, 2014
With this week's release of Danganronpa and confirmation of Danganronpa 2's Western release, and the critical acclaim garnered by both 999 and Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, a demand for visual novels in North America and Europe--especially on PS Vita--has been demonstrated. Uchikoshi mentioned that he had considered Kickstarter for funding Zero Escape 3, but projects on the crowd-funding site are limited to creators in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Unwilling to accept a reality where the Zero Escape trilogy goes incomplete, I've tweeted at PlayStation's indie champion Shahid Ahmad. With any luck, he's on the case.