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Virtue's Last Reward director takes to Twitter to speak about series' struggles

Kotaro Uchikoshi, director of Game Developers Choice nominee VLR and fan-favorite predecessor 999 can't get funding for latest title, tweets reveal.
Today, Kotaro Uchikoshi, director of the Zero Escape franchise -- which comprises 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Virtue's Last Reward -- started up a brand new English Twitter account to speak to his fans in the West. In a string of approximately 30 tweets, Uchikoshi explained that his attempts to get a follow-up to the Game Developers Choice Award nominee greenlit have failed to bear fruit, and that the project is in danger of not progressing unless outside funding can be found. He may, he said, have to move on to another project instead before returning to the Zero Escape franchise. He took this extraordinary step because of the series' passionate fan base. "If possible, I'd not like to inform you of the news like this. But I decided to reveal it honestly," he wrote. Virtue's Last Reward, released in 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, ended on a cliffhanger that strongly hinted at a sequel. Of the proposed new game, which he cannot get greenlit -- presumably by his Japanese publisher Spike Chunsoft -- he said, "it is difficult to realize it 'at this stage' yet, although we have done all we can." The series is popular in the West, but in Japan, he revealed, the games "are in the red," or not turning a profit. "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 wrote. In the tweets, Uchikoshi expresses interest in finding an external investor for the title, or even taking to Kickstarter -- though to the latter, he writes that "we figured the idea is not quite persuasive enough." The string of tweets ends on an upbeat note: "I believe there is still hope. ZE3 will definitely be released somehow, someday!" The Zero Escape series is notable for its extremely strong, high-concept narrative, a topic explored on Gamasutra in the article The Storytelling Secrets of Virtue's Last Reward, which features Uchikoshi's insights into development alongside analysis of his game design ideas.

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