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#1 Edited by patrickklepek (6019 posts) -

Planning to record my one-man VLR spoilercast this evening, so if you have any questions you want brought up/discussed/answered, drop 'em in here, send me a PM, etc.

I'm also willing to revisit some issue from 999, given how connected the two games are.

#2 Edited by TooWalrus (13255 posts) -

I loved the first one-man Spoilercast, Patrick. Here's some stuff It'd be fun to hear about.

  • What platform did you play on?
  • Does it annoy you that the player character is silent? (until the very end, of course)
  • What twists did you see coming, and what took you by surprise?
  • Were you satisfied with the explanations they throw at you near the end? Or did you fell like they were... silly? I'm talking about stuff like (You're on the moon, but nobody notices because Radical-6 happens to speed everything up.)
  • Are you looking forward to Zero Escape Vol. 3, or were the obvious cliffhangers enough to make you not care? (I'm talking about stuff like 'how are Clover and Alice going to return to the past, bodies and all?' and 'who's consciousness was inside of Kyle's body?).
  • I'll add one personal thing. I feel bad for Tenmyouji/Junpei. He's been looking for Akane for so damn long, I just want them to be happy together in SOME reality, damnit!

That's it. Oh, and Alice is a fucking liar, isn't she? I don't believe her story! I choose to believe she's made of Ice-9...

#3 Posted by TyCobb (1976 posts) -

I'm extremely bad at acronyms... VLR?

#4 Posted by mrfluke (5317 posts) -
#5 Posted by Coafi (1490 posts) -

I would ask some questions, but since this is premium only content, why should I bother? :(

#6 Posted by tumes (206 posts) -

I read one interpretation of the story that the unidentified entity that found its way into the timelines is you as the player. Do you feel that strengthens or weakens the ending?

#7 Posted by hollitz (1596 posts) -

How heartbreaking in retrospect is K's ending? Overall did you find VLR more emotionally resonant than 999? Also did you ever feel like a piece of shit when choosing betray? Even when it was warranted?

#8 Posted by mrfluke (5317 posts) -

@Coafi: its not premium content, the last one was not premium only,

so ask away!

#9 Posted by TyCobb (1976 posts) -

@mrfluke: Thanks. I would have never guessed that as I have never heard of that game. May have to look into it though since I do own a 3DS.

#10 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

What Ending did you get first. Did you piece it together before the big reveal and if so, at what point?

#11 Posted by patrickklepek (6019 posts) -

@mrfluke said:

@Coafi: its not premium content, the last one was not premium only,

so ask away!

Actually it is/was. :\

#12 Posted by dekkadekkadekka (740 posts) -

Who the hell, in your opinion of course, is Phi?

Do you think, given the events of VLR and 999, that Akane and Junpei ever get their happy ending, or will Akane forever be corrupted as Zero?

#13 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

Who is your favorite character from VLR?

P.S. Thank you for letting me know about 999 and VLR on the bombcast. I love these games thanks to you. :)

#14 Posted by Ducksworth (662 posts) -

@dekkadekkadekka said:

Who the hell, in your opinion of course, is Phi?

Do you think, given the events of VLR and 999, that Akane and Junpei ever get their happy ending, or will Akane forever be corrupted as Zero?

Maybe I should actually play VLR before I start reading through the questions here =P

#15 Posted by Kirbutashi (4 posts) -

Does the twist with Sigma at the end change your opinion of the pervy jokes of his that you weren't happy with in retrospect?

How much do you think fan service helped or hindered this game?

#16 Posted by Dawglet (313 posts) -

How dumb did you think the Sigma twist was?

#17 Posted by SpunkyHePanda (1719 posts) -

Are you at all excited for the sequel at this point? If the game does focus on the mission to prevent the outbreak, do you think there's still enough mystery to make that immediately interesting?

Also, why is Clover dressed like sexy Pebbles?

#18 Posted by notsonic (214 posts) -

Lemme preface this by saying I haven't finished VLR yet, I'm about 25 hours in having seen a lot of dead ends along with Dio's and Clover's.

What was your initial impression of the game like, compared to 999?

VLR seems to go way off the deep end with goofy ass mad Japanese characters where 999 seemed way more grounded in reality. Is this a result of bad/indulgent writing or the series needing somewhere to go to establish a bigger fictional universe?

You also find in a lot of the gold files the game referring to itself as "the game" which really causes a problem with your of suspension of disbelief. 999 passed a lot of the mysticism off as truth/reality/fact where VLR just says "Yo, I'm a videogame". That seems dumb to me. Thoughts?

#19 Posted by mrfluke (5317 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

@mrfluke said:

@Coafi: its not premium content, the last one was not premium only,

so ask away!

Actually it is/was. :\

really? i cant find it in the subscribers videos section. thats why i thought it wasnt.

huh, doing some looking, its actually under the features videos section, and 99% of that stuff under there is usually free.

so u might wanna place that under subscribers then,

#20 Posted by JoeyRavn (5007 posts) -

@Dagbiker said:

What Ending did you get first. Did you piece it together before the big reveal and if so, at what point?

  1. I want to follow up this question. The first ending that I got was Dio s, and I felt that I "knew too much", as if the ending had reveal a bit more than I would have wanted, if you get what I mean. Did you feel the same way with any ending? In retrospective, would you have wanted to discover any certain ending in another order? Or are you happy with the way the story unfolded itself?
  2. What do you think about the ending scene with Clover and Alice? What are your speculation and theories about them getting back in time, both mentally and physically?
  3. What was your reaction to the way the game handed Alice's choice(s) during a certain AB game? If you recall, she chooses Ally if you choose Betray, and Betray if you choose Ally I was blown away when she didn't choose what she had chosen in the other branch of that story.
  4. Knowing what you know about Sigma at the end of the game, did you go back and remembered scenes and events where his "condition" was foreshadowed? I'm think precisely about him commenting about trying to finish his medical degree, to which Quark or Clover (either of them, can't remember which one) says something in the lines of "you are taking your sweet time" or "you should have finished by now". I took it as a young person dissing someone who is slightly older than him/her at first, but then... you know. I compiled some more examples of this "fridge brilliance" here, in case you want to have a look.
#21 Posted by Fattony12000 (7594 posts) -
#22 Edited by mutha3 (4986 posts) -
@patrickklepek
Do you think the inevitable VLR sequel should ditch the current framework these games have? Another game with 9 characters forced to play a nonary game seems like it would get stale.
#23 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

So did you see that dog in 999 before it was pointed out in the picture?

#24 Posted by mangopup (80 posts) -

What did you think about the huge megaton Tenmiyouji reveal? Also when did you start piecing together what was really going on? Mine was during K's and Luna's ending. Stuff started coming together in very nice ways.

Also what do you think about the theory that Alice and Clover get sent back to ancient times, creating the myth about Alice and Ice-9?

You responded to a tweet of mine, and you seemed pretty meh about the ending. After having some time to ruminate on the ending, what are your thoughts now? Does the fact that the player is the all-seeing entity dictating crucial moments help or hurt the story going in to Zero Escape 3? Does playing as a character going in to another Nonary Game for ZE3 with full knowledge of what's happening bring something interesting to the table?

Also, WTF is up with Phi? Is she related to Santa? Or is the theory that she may be alternate universe female Santa?

#25 Posted by BBAlpert (1562 posts) -

General question about VLR (and 999 to some extent): Were there any points/twists in either story that happened so abruptly that you thought, even if just for a moment, "alright, now Uchikoshi is just fucking with us. I was on board with the earlier crazy, but this is simply gotten out of hand." In other words, do you think either game stretches itself just a bit too far and crosses the line between genius and bullshit?

#26 Posted by mrfluke (5317 posts) -

with the way how crazy these games stories seem to be,

doesnt it make u get why people love the metal gear games story lines even though you dont like some of them? ( i mean this in no offensive tone btw, just genuinely curious)

#27 Posted by Linkster7 (1043 posts) -

I thought VLR was a big elaborate example of Schrödinger's cat and worked as an explanation of how the twist of 999 could be possible.

The whole who is in K's suit at what time being the biggest example of this.

Wondered if you had any similar thoughts playing through.

#28 Edited by XtremePudim (90 posts) -

Did you get the bonus ending by finishing all puzzles in the hard difficulty ?

I felt that locking that was a poor decision by the developer. The true ending sans bonus ending was so unsatisfying and cliffhangery that i wanted to throw my 3DS against the wall, luckily i went on the internet and found out about the bonus ending, which existence or the conditions necessary for unlocking it aren't hinted AT ALL during the game. I felt that the bonus ending gave a much bigger finality to VLR's story while also setting more things up for the sequel and even hinting at

Akane's ability to exist in 999 even though she is dead before the events of 999, and that Alice and Clover will use this ability, maybe that way being present on the next game. I also feel this ability will be used in the end of the third game to somehow fix everything, making the events of all three games just a means to reach a truest ending where Akane and Junpei get together and none of the events of the three games happen.

Other than that:

What is your theory, if any, on the identity of Brother, the leader of the Myrmidons?

And on a business side note, am i the only one that feels it's crazy that Square Enix isn’t trying to bring this guy to write for them. The team at Square has shown to be able to build interesting and good gameplay systems (VLR's greatest weakness in my opinion) but has had problems creating great stories to match that gameplay. Uchikoshi, VLR's writer and director, in a Gamasutra interview by Christian Nutt, has expressed an interest in not remaining just a small "cult hit that only core players know" but to make bigger games, and Square has the talent and budget to make that game, which Square need to make to prove it's still capable of providing a great gaming experience.

This post ended up way bigger than i imagined in my head, oh well sorry for rambling.

#29 Posted by BlackLagoon (1474 posts) -

@XtremePudim said:

I felt that locking that was a poor decision by the developer. The true ending sans bonus ending was so unsatisfying and cliffhangery that i wanted to throw my 3DS against the wall, luckily i went on the internet and found out about the bonus ending, which existence or the conditions necessary for unlocking it aren't hinted AT ALL during the game.

They kinda are in the Vita version, since you get a trophy for getting all the files, and another for seeing the extra ending.

#30 Posted by mwng (947 posts) -

Why would you betray Luna? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!

#31 Posted by TooWalrus (13255 posts) -

@mwng said:

Why would you betray Luna? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!

I would just always make the bad choice first. I'd tell myself "I don't mean this Luna! I mean it, I'm gonna make this right, OK!? Just hang in there..."

#32 Posted by BeachThunder (12295 posts) -

Is Alice actually All Ice? Or is that whole thing genuinely supposed to be a coincidence?

Why does Luna bleed in the ending where they're all dead? Does this have something to do with Schrodinger's Cat; ie. she is simultaneously either a human or a robot? Is it an oversight by the developers? Did she intricately cover herself in blood? See the image below for reference:

Do you have any favourite music tracks from the game? Personally, I love:

Who is Phi? Is she perhaps the daughter of June and Junpei? Consider how she looks similar to June's brother, Santa.

Have you seen this? It's like a real life Zero Escape :D

#33 Posted by mangopup (80 posts) -

Junpei's search for Akane is the most heartbreaking thing ever.

#34 Posted by Bocam (3809 posts) -
  1. What did you think about the story justification of the flowchart?
  2. Have your opinions about certain 999 characters changed due to how they act in VLR?
  3. Have you seen the short anime prologue yet? If so, how did you like being lied to?
  4. Are you excited for the third game?
  5. Would you read a visual novel about fighting dinosaurs on the Moon?
#35 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -

Do you think there should have been more of Zero III? 'Cause I do.

#36 Edited by beard_of_zeus (1705 posts) -

Time to dig deep into the craziness of VLR! Thanks for doing another spoilercast!

Looks like some other duders hit upon some of the questions I had for you, so I'll try not to repeat.

1) Favorite/least favorite voice over work? I thought the actress who voiced Zero Jr. was really great, even though you hear a lot of her dialogue over and over. And the whole conversation with the GAULEM was a delight.

2) Do you have any particular thoughts about Quark having a larger purpose, maybe in the sequel? From what I remember, he essentially is just a way to introduce Radical-6 into the story and push things along, and ends up being a source of morality quandaries, especially when it comes to Tenmyouji. It sort of irks me that he just seems so...unremarkable, especially in comparison to the other characters. Admittedly, he does spend many of the story paths being out of commission, but still.

One of the rounds, Dio and Quark are paired up, and they end up betraying, and Dio blames Quark for the betrayal, denying over and over that it was his fault. Dio turns out to be a huge lying asshole, but it leaves me curious if Quark is less innocent than he seems. Maybe he has some relation to Dio or Brother?

3) It's unfortunate that it's not part of the first game, but how to do you feel about the way that the whole Schrodinger's Cat thing from VLR ties up one of the plot holes (or lack of explanation, at least) from 999, that being how Akane was both simultaneously killed or not until Junpei solves the Sudoku. I remember from the first spoilercast you were confused about that, and I think VLR resolves it perfectly.

4) What are your thoughts on June/Akane's character? After playing both 999 and VLR, I find her the most intriguing out of anyone; she lives in a deeply grey moral area. In 999, she tends to be shown in a positive light: trying to escape her death and reunite with Junpei, who she has feelings for, or at least it seems to be that way. You also get some backstory about her parents dying in a car crash, so she's definitely been through some nasty shit.

But in VLR, she is portrayed extremely differently, set up as someone willing to kill anyone or do anything to set forth the events that will get Sigma+Phi+the player to "Point E" to stop the Radical-6 outbreak and save humanity. A noble goal, I suppose, but some fucked up means to get there. But who knows if Akane herself will ever get to this "Point E" possibility herself, she doesn't seem like she can jump around timelines like Sigma+Phi, else she wouldn't have to set up all this Nonary Game nonsense. In that case, she seems to be sacrificing the life with Junpei that she really wants - but in the process, she is sacrificing the lives of others to do her dirty work. She's a bundle of mixed morality & motivations that I find super intriguing.

Sorry for the long post...

#37 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5903 posts) -

I'd heard on the bombcast you mention that this game seems to end as just a sort set up to the next game in the series. Like the first game there's quite a large investment of time to get the True ending. The only reason I stuck through to the end with 999 was because I'd heard the ending was worth it. I've not yet started it and want to know is it still worth playing.

#38 Posted by chickdigger802 (502 posts) -

Did you encounter any freezes or other bugs? I had my game crap out on me like 3 times during my playthrough ;_;

Were you stuck on any puzzles? Did any require a guide for you?

#39 Edited by Branthog (5595 posts) -

@TyCobb said:

I'm extremely bad at acronyms... VLR?

Virtues Last Reward. It's another of those "visual novel" . . . "games".

I've been meaning to check it out, but haven't yet, so I'm treading lightly in here.

#40 Posted by LtSquigs (267 posts) -

Did you ever figure out what Virtues Last Reward actually means? Cause I sure as hell didn't (Great game though).

#41 Posted by SpunkyHePanda (1719 posts) -

@beard_of_zeus said:

4) What are your thoughts on June/Akane's character? After playing both 999 and VLR, I find her the most intriguing out of anyone; she lives in a deeply grey moral area. In 999, she tends to be shown in a positive light: trying to escape her death and reunite with Junpei, who she has feelings for, or at least it seems to be that way. You also get some backstory about her parents dying in a car crash, so she's definitely been through some nasty shit.

But in VLR, she is portrayed extremely differently, set up as someone willing to kill anyone or do anything to set forth the events that will get Sigma+Phi+the player to "Point E" to stop the Radical-6 outbreak and save humanity. A noble goal, I suppose, but some fucked up means to get there. But who knows if Akane herself will ever get to this "Point E" possibility herself, she doesn't seem like she can jump around timelines like Sigma+Phi, else she wouldn't have to set up all this Nonary Game nonsense. In that case, she seems to be sacrificing the life with Junpei that she really wants - but in the process, she is sacrificing the lives of others to do her dirty work. She's a bundle of mixed morality & motivations that I find super intriguing.

I saw it the other way around. In 999, she puts all these people through a traumatic situation (and kills a few out of revenge) just to save herself. In VLR, it's to save the world. And no one even ends up dying in the true timeline.

#42 Posted by LtSquigs (267 posts) -

Oh, and an actually serious question: How did you feel about the twists in VLR compared to 999. 999 had less twists, but most of them were directly relevant to the ultimate reveal/twist near the end (as far as I can remember), whereas VLR has a ton of twists but not all of them seem actually relevant to the story. The one that stuck out in my head the most was Luna being a robot which was a cool twist, but ultimately didn't have a ton of relevance to the overall story (other than to serve as a red herring for you being a robot)

#43 Posted by LtSquigs (267 posts) -

@SpunkyHePanda: There is no concept of a "true timeline" in VLR though. That's the whole point of the epilogue with Tenmyojis Speech. You may have saved another timeline, but that doesn't magically fix the one that's fucked up, and in order to do so you have to basically destroy Clover's, Alice's, and Phi's lives (and of course most of the timelines lead to fates worth than death for most of the characters). To be honest, the whole 'saving the planet' thing is kind of the part that bums me out the most about VLRs ending, because it's not as interesting as a more personal story like 999.

#44 Posted by SpunkyHePanda (1719 posts) -

@LtSquigs said:

@SpunkyHePanda: There is no concept of a "true timeline" in VLR though. That's the whole point of the epilogue with Tenmyojis Speech. You may have saved another timeline, but that doesn't magically fix the one that's fucked up, and in order to do so you have to basically destroy Clover's, Alice's, and Phi's lives (and of course most of the timelines lead to fates worth than death for most of the characters). To be honest, the whole 'saving the planet' thing is kind of the part that bums me out the most about VLRs ending, because it's not as interesting as a more personal story like 999.

You're right, my mistake. These games get a little confusing sometimes. And I agree, the personal stuff is more compelling.

#45 Posted by TAFAE (154 posts) -

Most fucked up twist in the game?

Any thoughts on how the writer will keep the story fresh when we know going into the next game who many of the characters are/that it's pretty much going to be a direct sequel?

#46 Posted by tomatogal (3 posts) -

Hi there!

I finished VLR pretty recently as well, so I had a couple of questions I wanted to add!

1. It's sort of related to the questions about how the plot twists were handled, but how did you feel about the way that the characters were developed in VLR versus 999? I personally felt like the cast of 999 was much less one dimensional, and that the twists helped to really round out each character's personality much more than they did in VLR. For example, Dio was kind of a jerk from the start of the game and stays that way (which made it feel obvious that he was an antagonist), while Ace seemed kind of noble and was really likable before you find out about who he really is.

2. Did the ability to jump around between various timelines (as opposed to following through with a single timeline at a time in 999) make the story easier/harder to keep straight for you? Although I hated replaying the same puzzles all the time, I actually liked being forced to follow through with an individual timeline for the sake of clearly seeing the cause-and-effect of everything, and found it a little harder to keep everything straight with all the jumping. I know that jumping was a very important part of the story, though, and that it would have been a mess to see all the endings without being able to skip around!

Thanks! = )

#47 Edited by Kanpachi (2 posts) -

So, is Akane's plan justified?

She is a character who believes that the one 'true ending' takes priority over infinitely many bad endings. Tenmyouji is the exact opposite, as evidenced in the true ending by his observation that the bad endings are worth something as well, and shouldn't be thought of as failures. In this respect, you could consider the character of Akane a satirical comment on a perfectionist gamer who reloads her save every time something goes wrong. She plays the universe with Ironman mode off.

To Akane, the ends always justify the means. The plan sounds noble on its face, but Akane has no reservations about the kidnapping, torture and murder of people who live fulfilling lives in the 'bad' endings if it serves the construction of her utopian vision. In particular, Tenmyouji and Quark's relationship casts a stark shadow on her. Tenmyouji owned up to the struggle of Radical-6 outbreak, survived, and managed to raise an orphaned child to be his grandson. But it's just not good enough for Akane, so he and Quark are made pawns in the Nonary Game. And in many endings, they are brutally killed. Akane's morphogenetic powers give her such a broad perspective on the possible outcomes of the story that she's lost touch with the lives that are actually lived in those outcomes.

So, uh, I guess it's pretty clear I don't think of Akane as much of a savior. What do you say?

#48 Posted by Flappy (2331 posts) -

Having only played through 999 once when it first came out (saw the submarine ending), looking through these spoilers has me shaking my head. It's all pretty cool and stuff, but damn. This is a Japanese ass Japanese series. I don't have much motivation to actually play through the series myself (as easy as it would be to get my hands on both games), but I do look forward to whatever zaniness comes out of the future entries in the series.

Props to Patrick for trying out new games and following up on that by reaching out to the community.

#49 Posted by Picsl (203 posts) -

Do you think the game would've been better served without the insane amount of plot twists and revelations that occur during the last hour or so? At some point it startet to feel gratuitous and I had trouble keeping up with it all. Some things are better left a mystery.

#50 Edited by JoeyRavn (5007 posts) -

@BeachThunder said:

Is Alice actually All Ice? Or is that whole thing genuinely supposed to be a coincidence?

Why does Luna bleed in the ending where they're all dead? Does this have something to do with Schrodinger's Cat; ie. she is simultaneously either a human or a robot? Is it an oversight by the developers? Did she intricately cover herself in blood? See the image below for reference:

I think it's been officially confirmed that Alice is not All Ice. She even acknowledges the confusion and admits she sometimes plays along with it.

As for Luna, it's said by Akane that she has to look human for the game to continue as planned. I guess that Akane planned for every eventuality, including Luna's possible death. Robots like her have "fake real skin", just like Terminators, to pass as a human even at close inspection. When Clover "kills" her in one of the endings, she then says that she was simply deactivated by Akane, though she remained conscious all the time.

The spoiler tags don't work, so fuck it. It's a spoiler thread, anyway :P

@Branthog said:

@TyCobb said:

I'm extremely bad at acronyms... VLR?

Virtues Last Reward. It's another of those "visual novel" . . . "games".

I've been meaning to check it out, but haven't yet, so I'm treading lightly in here.

There's no need to be dismissive, especially if you haven't played VLR. This whole "this is not a game" is pure nonesense.