From a Fan : Zero Escape 3 Must Happen and the Struggle of being Niche

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You know what we don’t get enough of? Big figures such as Japanese writers and producers to communicate with western fans.With the times and technology bringing the world even closer together every year, more figures of VN and gaming scene are reaching out to the western fanbase.

This is a good change. I’d love to read and follow what big Japanese writers and producers are saying yet the language barrier has always proven to be something difficult to overcome, for many fans this is the same. Zero Escape sequel being on hold with an unknown future are terrible news. But you know what? I’m glad that Kotaro Uchikoshi is officially speaking out of the dire Zero Escape situation so everyone is aware of it. He has been responding to fans in English a few times in the past about it but right now he has made an English twitter account especially to communicate with the fans.

Is there a new project? How are the sales? What did the writer think of A or B element in the story or character? What are their thoughts? What are some of the plans for the future?

Not enough big figures communicate with the fans as much as they should. Why is the need to speak out key? Fans outside of Japan only know what is going on inside the industry from gaming sites and news. Without communication from the developers the fans are in the dark. More importantly, they don’t know how they can help. That is why more communication is needed. Uchikoshi’s English proficiency might not be perfect, neither is Koijma’s, but they sure try. That really counts. That is enough for a fan to know they care enough to reach out to the fans outside of Japan.

“I’m so sad, but all the companies exist for profit-making purposes. If the profits can’t be expected, naturally, the project isn’t approved. We were not able to present a convincing reasonable basis to the managers.” – Uchikoshi

The reality is that businesses are in the business and there is nothing new about that. That is the way it works and like any business they expect a large return. Without profits they won’t be backing up a sequel no matter how good the story is. No matter how promising it looks. Even when you and I and many other have bought the game even pre-ordered it, because it hasn’t sold well enough in Japan a sequel may not come out. What can be done and what is needed right now is a realistic way to make these type of projects happen. And when there is immediately support it.

There has always been an enormous bridge between Western fans and Japanese developers where hardly one knows what the other is thinking. No one benefits from this. The inability of a project never happening because of lack of funds is a thing of the past. Nowadays more people with great ideas doing this and even those in producers in Japan are realizing that Japan is not alone in the world anymore and that their projects do get considerable recognition outside Japan. As long as there are readers who will put their money where their mouth is, it can work. Uchikoshi himself is looking for a way to make Zero Escape sequel happen.

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“I believe there is still hope. ZE3 will definitely be released somehow, someday! I will continue to seek a way out in cooperation with Allies. So, I would appreciate it if you could wait until then. Thank you!” – Uchikoshi

* If a work is not appreciated somewhere, take it where it will be appreciated.

Yes, there is a fanbase outside of Japan. Call me jaded especially after the news but there is a strong aversion knowing that the Zero Escape Series might be put indefinitely on hold while the average LN and generic titles will get unlimited support because appealing to the big masses is what sells. I don’t expect anyone to agree with this but these are my honest thoughts.

It is not that no one cares for the game. That would be the case if no one would care about the Zero Escape series being canceled. Yet here are many frustrated and outraged that the series would be put forever on hold because it has not sold enough in Japan.

The solution is to find a medium where fans can directly fund the projects they wish to give their support. Right now crowdfunding is the most successful way, which has been proven successful for many. Not convinced? It is real. The most superb example is Mighty No.9 project, MegaMan’s spiritual successor. The project became a reality once the creator took matter on his own hands and reached out all the fans who did want to make it happen. The Kickstarter project was a total success reaching and completely surpassing its goal two dates after the project was launched.

What is beautiful about it is that it also brought many other key players to the project who otherwise would not done. Only after the project proved to be a total success they realized that there is a large crowd out there that wants to play their games and wants them to continue creating them.

That is what the fans need. A strong way to prove that to Japanese developers and studios that there is fanbase out there not limited to Japan. A reliable way to fund exactly what fans want. Not only that but also assurance for the big players in Japan that make things happen that their business will be profitable and for both big and small writers and developers to be reminded that there is a big group of fans that care for their projects and they wish them to continue what they do best, their passion.

What is needed is a way to bring fans from everywhere together so something can actually happen. With Steam greenlighting more Visual Novels and English localization companies going digital to make a profit from niche titles, VN are on the rise in the west, slowly yet surely. As far as I know, Kickstarter is not famous in Japan. Regrettably, a few only have hardly heard of it, and fewer believe this could be the solution they are looking for. But this can change. A resounding success like Mighty No.9 might prove that yes – it can be done. Optimistically, ZE3 won’t be too long after that, with Kickstarter or with a similar method where fans can directly and reliably fund the project. As long as ZE3 and Uchikoshi find a way the sequel can still happen. Any method that works best for the project is welcome, it sure is better than not taking any risks at all. And don’t forget support the project when the time comes to make the sequel happen.

Consider politely sending Uchikoshi a message thanking him for his work, a picture of your 999/VLR game, of your limited edition watch, encourage and remind him there are fans outside of Japan that care for and are excited for his work today. I know I did.

* Update : There is now a Facebook ZE3 Group

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2 thoughts on “From a Fan : Zero Escape 3 Must Happen and the Struggle of being Niche

  1. Hopefully we will see a follow-up game that ties up the loose ends as VLR was brilliant. If it was taken to Kickstarter it would hit its target in no time. The creator however isn’t keen on the idea so he is partly to blame.

    • A conclusion for the series is all we all want. It’d be fantastic to see a full VN like Zero Escape 3 to be funded by crowdfunding too, so maybe others will follow. I’m tired myself of seeing great projects never making it outside of Japan because of arguments such as they “wont’ sell” or “there is no audience”.

      After seeing more of his latest tweets it looks like the creator might be still considering Kickstarter, at least he sure is not completely disregarding crowdfunding like before. The issue seems to be that it has be one method can be safe and one that can fully convince the other Japanese developers/key players to go through with it. They all have be aboard.

      ZE3 might happen after all. I think it will. The West is sure ready for it.

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