Shall we play a game? In 2010, Chunsoft released 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, which asked gamers to make the choices that affected the life of their character and everyone around them. The story featured an unknown assailant kidnapping nine strangers and trapping them on a ship with only one possible exit. The only way they could win was to work together or face death. To do this, they were outfitted with special watches with a number to play the “Nonary Game”, where they must have the digital root indicated by a door via a combination of 3-5 numbers from the character’s watches, in order to pass through. If they didn’t get the correct combination, they were as good as dead.
The game was critically acclaimed for its storytelling, realistic characters and unique puzzles, easily becoming a cult classic. Its sequel, Virtue’s Last Reward, looks to up the ante with an even deadlier game and more puzzles. It’s also upgraded for the 3DS, featuring 3D character models, as opposed to the 2D sprites from 999, and will have fully voiced dialogue.
The overall story is the same; a group of strangers are kidnapped and forced to play the new “Nonary Game: Ambidex Edition “, which adds psychological strain on the characters, while also playing on betrayal and trust. The Ambidex edition features points (BP) to help or hinder the player’s advancement. Everyone is looking to get 9 BP to escape with their lives, and the only way to do this is to work together or back stab the other person. At the end of each game, two players arrive at a terminal and have to decide whether to continue cooperating with each other or leave the other person to die. If both players choose to work together, they’ll gain points to continue on; if they choose to betray one another they gain nothing. If one betrays and the other cooperates, the betrayer gains BP and the betrayed loses BP, which could result in them dying.
Much like the game before it, the 3DS will prominently use its both screens for the game, with the top screen providing dialogue and the bottom screen used for puzzle solving and anything touchscreen related. Since the Vita lacks two screens, however, players will use the front touch screen to solve the puzzles. While 999 had a mere six endings to discover, Zero Escape boasts a whopping twenty-four different endings that can be revealed which should keep fans busy for quite awhile.
Toying with humanity’s basic instinct to survive, will you do what you can to save everyone, or are you in it for yourself? Decide your fate, and the fate of others, when Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward comes out October 23rd for the Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita.