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.
— Kyle Prahl (@PaybackPrahl) February 14, 2014