Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Seek a Way Out!

Zero Escape 3 is currently on indefinite hiatus. I know, if this were some kind of April Fool's joke, it wouldn't be funny, but unfortunately it isn't. I'm being so sincere right now. In fact, it's old news at this point, but it wasn't way back when I started writing this. This post has almost certainly taken me longer to write than any other, mostly because every time I think about the possibility that there won't be a Zero Escape 3, I get so emotional that I have to lie down and cry for a bit. Luckily, I do most of my writing on public transportation, where this kind of thing isn't out of the ordinary. I've shed enough tears over this to fill an Olympic swimming pool, and it still wouldn't be as salty as I am about this whole ordeal.

Salty enough to kill a man

The reason for this halt in production is that the world is a fundamentally unjust place, and Leibniz is a goddamn liar for attempting to prove otherwise. This is why no one credits you for inventing calculus, asshole. The more superficial reason is that the company that the writer approached about publishing it, “Literally Satan Inc.” is worried that it isn't a sound investment, because Virtue's Last Reward didn't sell well in Japan of all places. The problem with this mindset is that it doesn't take into account the rabbit devotion of American fanboys. Now, I'm not saying that I'd kidnap 9 corporate executives and force them to play a fiendish game to coerce them into releasing Zero Escape 3. I'm not good enough at coming up with bunny puns. But maybe someone out there is. So maybe I'd be on the lookout for people in gas masks, if I were you, Satan.

So does this mean that we'll never see the massive cliffhanger of Virtue's Last Reward resolved? That we're doomed to forever remain ignorant of whether or not Phi is actually a Brahman or a common or a ramen? Perhaps not. The news was first broken on the Twitter account of Kotaro Uchikoshi, Director and Scenarist of the first two games. A scenarist is one who writes scenarios, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and it's different from an author because it sounds cooler. "I believe there is still hope. ZE3 will definitely be released somehow, someday!" He said that he's considered crowdfunding from sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but doesn't see them as likely, considering the huge amount of money that he requires. In response, I would like to point out that a huge amount of money is exactly the amount that I am willing to pay to get this thing to happen, and I'm sure I'm not alone. While my $200 or whatever might not matter much in the grand scheme of things, there is an entire movement devoted to making Zero Escape 3 a reality. Operation Bluebird is a Facebook group devoted to spreading the word and showing support. And if all of its 8000 or so members were to contribute the reasonable amount of $200, we could raise $1,600,000, a number which I had way more difficulty calculating than you'd expect of a math major. Is that enough to make significant progress towards funding the game? I have no idea. Is it reasonable to expect $200 from each person? Hell no. But a lot more than 8,000 people played Virtue's Last Reward, to the tune of [some statistic that I can't seem to find on the internet]. And I don't think it's too outlandish to think that all of them with any semblance of taste would be willing to shell out at least the price of a game to see the story finished. Not to mention all the people who would mortgage their kidneys for the opportunity to own a watch in the style of one of Zero's death bracelets (The offer's on the table, Lou Tennant).

So how can you do your part for the war effort? Well, if you're a vastly wealthy executive capable of single-handedly funding this whole project, it would be greatly appreciated if you went ahead and did that. Or, if you're as untrustworthy as my word processor's spell-check seems to believe you are, you could single-underhandedly fund the project. I don't really mind either way. Failing that, it probably wouldn't hurt buy the game to show that interest in Zero Escape hasn't waned. As luck would have it, this was recently (as of when I first wrote this) made much easier with the release of 999: The Novel, an iOS release of 999 for the incredible price of $4.99. Granted, this release makes the unusual decision to omit all actual gameplay, but it's still worth it many times over. 999 is still an incredible story that you can get for less than the cost of a book or a movie, and if have any Apple device, I cannot urge you strongly enough to check out 999. I can't really think of a better way to spend $5 than on one of my favorite “games” of all time. Then again, paid $5 for the ability to make one of my Skullgirls characters look like King Dedede, which is something I can already do, so my opinion on the value of a Lincoln may be a bit questionable.

You will be prosecuted to the full extent of the jam.

Beyond that, it probably wouldn't hurt to show general interest in the genre of visual novels, so as to send the message that their release in the US is lucrative. Dangan Ronpa in particular is a rather similar game about trust, betrayal, and the juxtaposition of cute mascot characters with gruesome murder. There's an anime adaptation, but you really have to live it for yourself to get the full experience. When you choose who to spend your free time with and learn more about, it really hits harder when they end up getting murdered. Or, even worse, become murderers themselves. If you have a Vita, I'd highly recommend picking it up, and watching out for the sequel this fall. (Consider this an apology for my assertion earlier on this blog that Vitae are for chumps. Vita means life.) Steins;Gate is another visual novel with a popular anime adaptation. According to Wikipedia, it's available for official, legal download right now, but the official, legal website seems to have other ideas. You can have the limited edition shipped to you, but is seems like the pleb-tier version won't be available until the end of this month, so if you $40 trust my opinion, but don't $60 trust my opinion, I guess you'll have to wait until then. And while we're on the subject of visual novels, why not download Katawa Shoujo? It costs nothing, and if you're lucky, you might disturb a prying NSA agent.

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