Everything We Learned About Zero Time Dilemma

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

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ZTD Packaging Key Art - Copy

We had the honor of going behind closed doors with Aksys and get our hands on a build of Zero Time Dilemma at GDC 2016. They walked us through most of the games mechanics and explained how this title will make it’s own mark in the series. Here is everything we learned at that meeting:

Zero Time Dilemma will be the third and final chapter for the Zero Escape series. Like the previous games, Zero Time Dilemma will put 9 individuals into a room and focus on puzzle solving mechanics in order to escape. Additionally, like the other games, not every character in the game will make it out alive.

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Zero Time Dilemma will be different, plot wise, meaning that the game does not require you to play the previous two games to understand what is going on. With that said, it is wise to play the previous games as Zero Time Dilemma will answer some unsolved mysteries: like what happened at the testing facilities during New Years Eve of 2028 and what triggered the deadly virus. Zero Time Dilemma is set in the year 2028 which chronologically puts it in the middle of the other installments.

Their are three main modes of play:

  • Cinema: Zero Time Dilemma does away with the text driven stories of the previous games and allows the players to play without reading. Scenes will play out as the characters interact with one another and are fully voiced.
  • Quest: The player will have access to a room in first person and be allowed to search for any clues around them in order to solve puzzles. Additionally, the player will be able to switch between characters in other rooms to be able to see if there is anything there that could help out.
  • Decision: Like the previous games, you will be forced to make difficult decisions. Based on the decisions you make you will be taken to a cinema scene, either A or B. These choices will affect the outcome of the story as you progress.


The watches will make a return to the series, but this time a special drug is injected into each of the participates every 90 minutes. When they wake up they lose all their memories. Because of this mechanic, the player is allowed to play this game out of chronological order. This brings up the new “Floating Fragments” system; past games had a more linear global flow chart but this time around you are allowed to play the game at your own pace from any of one of three teams’ perspectives. Within these teams the group of nine are split into even threes. Each party has a specific leader and you will be able to freely switch between any of these leaders at any time to progress the story.

  • The first team “C” is made up of team leader Carlos, who is an honorable man with a strong sense of justice, Akane, who carries secrets, and Junpei, who is the cynical friend of Akane.
  • The second team “Q” is made up of team leader Q, who is curious, smart, and has lost all his memories, Eric, who is young and quick to panic, and Mila, who is bold and attractive.
  • And lastly, team “D” is lead by Diana, who is a real team player and very optimistic, Phi, who is very blunt and wants to save the world, and Sigma, who has the body of 22 year old, but the mind of an old man.
  • There is also Zero who is the mastermind behind this whole experiment.

Zero_0427 ( Alone)

The teams are being held in a three separate wards and the only way to escape is in the center of the room. But you are being blocked by an elevator that needs six passwords. These codes will only be revealed after someone dies. So at least six people need to die and it’s up to the player to decide their outcome.

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Players will be able to jump in and out of stories and teams at will. Some decision scenes are completely random and there is no way to know if the choice you made will work out the way you wanted to or not. The ability to replay past scenes will grant you other chances, but your path will still be randomized. Within these choices the fragments menu will having opening branches which allow the player to decide whether this is the path they want to take.

oprainfall’s Zero Time Dilemma coverage does not stop there, we have a special interview with series creator Kotaro Uchikoshi coming soon!

Zero Time Dilemma will release on the PlayStation Vita and 3DS on June 28 in NA and EU, and in Japan on June 30.