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 Zero Time Dilemma  director tries hand at writing a real escape room game

Zero Time Dilemma director tries hand at writing a real escape room game

September 11, 2017 | By Alex Wawro

September 11, 2017 | By Alex Wawro
More: Console/PC

Japanese company Scrap has made a business out of creating and running real-world "escape the room" games, and its latest includes contributions from a notable game developer: Zero Escape franchise frontman Kotaro Uchikoshi.

This is somewhat remarkable given Uchikoshi has been making video games for nearly two decades, and is best known for writing and directing the Zero Escape (999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, and Zero Time Dilemma) games -- all of which feature characters trapped in rooms that require solving deadly puzzles to escape.

Now he's credited as a scenario writer on Scrap's latest real-world escape game, which is operating in Japan and soon in the U.S. (specifically, next month in San Francisco) under the name "The Pop Star's Room of Doom."

Unlike Scrap's prior work, this game is being pitched as a "Real Time Loop Game" that gives players ten tries (or "loops") to solve a mystery.

"In my [imagination], everyone will collaborate as they progress deeper into the 'time dungeon.' At first you can only reach the first level, but as you repeat loops, you slowly but surely get closer to the true 'depth of time.' This game provides a different style of intellectual stimulation from the typical Real Escape Game," reads an excerpt of a public comment Uchikoshi made about his work on the game.

"I had always wished for this game to be brought to the US, so it’s great to see that it’s finally happening! Concerns about the cultural differences between Japan and the US were voiced, but I was confident since this game’s experience is universal, the fun will translate into any language!"

This is somewhat in keeping with Uchikoshi's avowed curiousity about working in other mediums; he previously wrote for the anime series Punch Line, and in a chat with Gamasutra last year he suggested he would be open to the idea of working in VR down the road.

However, "just doing an escape room scenario by itself wouldn't be so interesting," he cautioned. "I definitely want to add some kind of narrative on top of that."

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