Zero Escape 3, the long-awaited third entry in the Zero Escape series of visual novels, is in development at Spike Chunsoft and is scheduled to be released next summer on Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, publisher Aksys Games announced this past weekend at Anime Expo 2015 in Los Angeles.
Kotaro Uchikoshi, the director and writer of the Zero Escape series, made a surprise appearance at the Aksys Games "Panel of Absolute Bedlam" July 3 following a teaser trailer that officially announced Zero Escape 3. (You can see the trailer here, starting at about the 30:32 mark.) The game is "escaping summer 2016," according to the trailer.
"I have infiltrated this panel to note for you that Zero Escape 3 has entered development," said Uchikoshi to raucous cheers from the crowd.
Uchikoshi also appeared on the "Art of Localizing Uchi" panel July 4 to discuss Zero Escape 3; "title still pending," he said through a translator, Noba Nakayama of Aksys. Zero Escape 3 will feature "familiar faces" along with multiple endings — a hallmark of the series — and cinematics voiced in both Japanese and English, according to a press release from Aksys.
Danganronpa writer Kazutaka Kodaka joined the panel halfway through to say that he knows a lot about Zero Escape 3's story, including how it ends. "It is probably the most out-of-this-world ending so far," said Kodaka.
Aksys briefly showed the main promotional artwork for Zero Escape 3 at the panel; you can see a photo below from an attendee.
Zero Escape 3 is the follow-up to 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, which debuted in Japan in 2009, and 2012's Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward. Uchikoshi originally confirmed back in December 2012 that he was working on a third Zero Escape game. But he said in February 2014 that the project had been put on hold, partly because the first two titles in the series didn't sell well.
Following the announcement, Uchikoshi said on social media that fan support for the Zero Escape franchise helped bring about Zero Escape 3:
Sorry I don't have enough time to reply, but I just want to say, Thank you very much for all comments! You made it happen.— Kotaro Uchikoshi Eng (@Uchikoshi_Eng) July 4, 2015
If you're looking to catch up on the series, 999 is available on Nintendo DS, while a puzzle-free version is available on iOS. Virtue's Last Reward is out on 3DS and Vita.