999 Gush Part 4: All Is Explained In The End(s)

Apr 22

Warning: the following article contains massive spoilers for Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. The intended audience is a) people who have reached the True End and b) people who have no intention of ever playing 999 but want to learn more about it anyway.

This article will be broken into seven sections. The first six sections will be one for each ending, including a brief explanation as to how you attain that ending, and a summary of what happens in that ending. At the end of the article, I offer my speculation on unsolved mysteries, parts of the game’s plot open for interpretation, and potential for a sequel. Another warning… this article is 5000 words long, and I’m too lazy to intersperse pictures (credits to Aksys for the motivational spoof image). Go forward at your own risk… I tend to be wordy!

Sources include: 999 itself and Aksys Games’ Q&A with Kotaro Uchikoshi

THE SAFE/LETTER ENDING

Numbered Door Path: 5, 8, 6

Other Conditions: When completing the first puzzle behind Door 5, be sure to examine the safe (you’ll probably examine in naturally while trying to solve the puzzle). Also, the dialogue sequence with Lotus behind Door 8 must include her explaining morphogenetic fields, and not result in you angering her by making a comment about her age. I’m not sure, but some walkthroughs suggest this requires you answer at least on question during the opening wrong (the digital root of 22 is 2 instead of 4, for example).

What happens: As you play through this path, some peculiar things occur that you should note. In the Door 5 path, you notice that Seven keeps the doors propped open. Behind Door 8, Clover has flashbacks of her experience in the previous Nonary Game. And behind Door 6, Santa claims his sister died nine years ago. You learn of Ace’s prosopagnosia behind Door 6. There’s also the matter of that gun, and June’s frequent fevers behind Door 6. In successfully completing this path, the team finds not one, but two doors labeled “9″ in the chapel. However, Clover is missing! The team goes to search for Clover, and they find her dead in the bathroom behind Door 5.

Who killed her? Junpei finds out by snooping around, alongside Seven’s help. They find a piece of paper folded up in Clover’s hand, which recites a poem. Junpei also notices that the knife carried by the 9th Man, as well as his bracelet, are missing. Eventually, using a hint from the poem, Junpei tries hitting the little knobs on his bracelet in the pattern: Left, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right. When he does this, an eight-digit code appears on his bracelet: 14383421. Using these numbers on the safe, they find that the safe opens! Inside is a letter from Zero explaining his (actually, her) true intent: to bring about justice/revenge on the people of Cradle Pharmaceutical who ran the previous game. At this point, Seven’s memory returns even more as Ace reveals that he is Gentarou Hongou, Cradle Pharmaceutical CEO. Everyone pieces together the truth, and Ace calmly reveals all he’s done, including the fact that he killed Snake. But, Ace has a “an ace up his sleeve,” in the form of weapons. He has the gun from behind Door 6, and he puts it to Lotus’ temple, taking her hostage. With her bracelet (8+1) alongside The 9th Man’s bracelet, he runs off to the Chapel and takes the smaller of the two 9 doors. Everyone else chases him, but when they get to the Chapel, things get even uglier: Santa and June disappear! Great… now what? Junpei and Seven are stuck in the chapel, and Clover is dead. But there’s a big coffin with a keypad on it, and they hear a knock. Knock. Knock.

Using the same code as on the safe, the keypad works, and the coffin opens. Inside is… Snake?! Yup, he’s alive. But now, there’s the immediate problem of telling him about Clover’s death. Junpei and Seven are too frightened to reveal it, so they just say “everyone’s gone ahead.” How will they get through the doors now? Well, it turns out they have the 0 bracelet from “Captain Zero,” which Clover was holding alongside the note (Junpei pocketed it). However, it turns out the value of the bracelet isn’t 0 at all, but 6! After trying some combinations of the remaining bracelets, the large 9 door opens when Junpei, Seven, and the 0 bracelet are scanned (5+7+x=18). x=6. Because of Snake’s prosthetic arm, his bracelet is now gone, so he’s bracelet-free. The three of them rush through some hallways and eventually reach an incinerator. Seven regains more memories here, remembering how he rescued Snake, Aoi (Santa) and others from this very incinerator 9 years ago. They enter the incinerator, and things look bad. Ace is still holding the gun to Lotus’ head.

The group reveals to Ace that Snake is alive (by presenting him), and it’s explained that the man who died in Snake’s place was one of Ace’s friends that was part of the Cradle Pharmaceutical team! This angers Ace, but he retorts that he got his revenge by killing Snake’s sister Clover. Uh oh… “oh no you didn’t!” Snake goes absolutely stark raving mad, and lunges at Ace. Ace shoots Snake with all the bullets left in the gun, but somehow it doesn’t stop Snake (the visual presented suggests Snake has gone Super-Saiyin). Snake holds Ace down in the incinerator as the countdown starts, and everyone else escapes: but not forwards. They can only go backwards. Snake pins Ace down and they die together in the incinerator. Junpei, confused and sorrowed, hears over the loudspeaker that the 9 hours are up.

As he returns to the chapel, he finds Akane there, fevered and limp. She says that she is about to die, and uses much of the same sentimental speech you hear in the Submarine Ending. You leave, and return, to find that she is gone. Someone (Zero? Santa?) then drops another white smoke bomb and says that they have failed. Not that you (Junpei) have failed, but that they have failed. You fall asleep. The end.

THE TRUE ENDING

Numbered Door Path: 4, 7, 1, 9

Other Conditions: You must complete the Safe/Letter Ending first, or you cannot get this ending. In place you’ll get a dummy “To Be Continued…” ending (see “Coffin Ending” below). Do not even bother pursuing this ending until you’ve first gotten the Safe/Letter ending. Furthermore, certain dialogue options must be chosen in order to get this ending. You must choose to take the 4-Leaf Clover bookmark from Santa behind Door 4. You must listen to the full conversation about [Ice-9] when locked behind the freezer. You must suggest the idea of [Ice-9] to Seven behind Door 7. You must give the bookmark to Clover behind Door 4 and talk to her about Locke’s Socks. Behind Door 1, then, you should have a conversation with Clover that reveals it couldn’t have been Snake’s body behind Door 3 (this should be prompted when examining the “I Am Zero” computer monitors). Ace talks to you about cryogenic freezeing as well. If you meet all these conditions, you are on the path to the True End.

What happens: Similar to the Safe/Letter ending, Ace takes Lotus hostage (this time with a knife) and runs off through Door 9. So, too, do Santa and June, this time with Santa holding the gun. This time, however, Clover is still alive. So Clover, Junpei, and Seven are standing in the Chapel, unsure of what to do, when the “Left Right Left Right Left Right” poem suddenly flashes into Junpei’s mind, without any rhyme or reason as to why (in truth, he’s getting a signal from the morphogenetic field). He taps on his bracelet, gets the 14383421 code, and opens the coffin to reveal… Snake! Alive! Brother and sister reunited, hurray! Together, they all go through the small 9 door, which leads to a series of puzzles. There’s a library (which features the books of Rupert Sheldrake, among others), and a room where Zero concocts all of his puzzles. In the library, while Seven and Clover investigate, Junpei pressures Snake into explaining everything he knows, including everything that happened 9 years ago. It is here that Junpei puts together that Santa is Aoi and that Akane was in the experiment, and apparently had died. So how is she still with them?

Behind the other door, they find the coffin that Alice was presumably kept in. However, when it’s opened, they don’t find her. Instead, they find a key to get out of the room and a key to head toward the incinerator. They also find a picture of Gentarou Hongou with his three other cronies (all of whom are now dead, thanks to Zero’s planning and Ace’s actions). Then they head to the incinerator, and things get crazy.

Without knowing where he’s getting all the information, Junpei just starts rattling off to Ace everything he knows: that he’s Gentarou Hongou, that he ran the Nonary Game 9 years ago, that he has prosopagnosia, that he killed all of his cohorts (some by accident, some on purpose), etc. Santa and June escape through a third door marked “9″ on the other side of the incinerator. Ace, wounded by Santa, escapes backwards out the door and sets the incinerator to fire. The remaining people in the incinerator are: Snake, Clover, Junpei, Seven, Lotus. 2 4 5 7 8 are their numbers. Doing the math, it seems 4 out of 5 of them could get through the 9 door (digital root of 2+4+5+7 is 9), and Lotus says she’s willing to sacrifice herself for them to escape. They try scanning these four bracelets, but it doesn’t work! What. The. Eff.

Okay, so now they’re pretty well screwed. They’re all going to die in the incinerator. When, miracle of miracles, through all that’s happened, Junpei makes a direct connection to Akane through the morphogenetic field. But it isn’t to the Akane of the present. No, it’s the Akane of nine years ago, herself trapped inside the incinerator by Gentarou Hongou, about to die. You learn here that the reason she ended up in the incinerator is that, she would have escaped with Seven and the others, but she chose to run back down the steps to pick up the doll that Junpei gave her: a precious item that binds him to her. When she goes back, Gentarou finds her and, intent to see the experiment work, he throws her in the incinerator and locks the door. And here she is, “less than Zero,” ready to die, and crying out to anyone for help. Who does she find? Junpei… an older, wiser Junpei, in the same life-or-death situation as Akane.

A computer panel comes out of the ground for both the present Junpei and the past Akane. They sit down, and together they must solve a certain puzzle. For Akane, her puzzle is a Sudoku puzzle, and Junpei helps her solve it (it’s not timed, but it might as well be … it’s a pretty easy one). As Junpei solves the puzzle for her, special numbers appear on the other screen of your DS: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8. The puzzle is solved, and in Akane’s time, she is saved! She runs into her brother’s arms, and they escape. She lives! But what about Junpei and crew? In the final seconds of the incinerator’s countdown, they all scan their bracelets against the RED, and the door opens. The incinerator discontinues its countdown. All is well, and everyone is safe. Even Ace.

Why did this work? In the epilogue, this theory (probably true) is given. All throughout the game, you face puzzles that force you to think outside of base-10 numbers. There’s a hexidecimal puzzle in the kitchen (0-9 + A-F for 16 unique characters). For the “zero” puzzle in Door 1, you essentially work a base-36 system where “Z” would be the 36th value (26 letters + 0-9 is 36 unique values). So what if that 9 painted on the door was actually a lower-case q? q = 26 in a base-36 system, and 2+4+5+7+8 = 26. But what’s the significance of a q?

You find out as you escape. In the epilogue, you burst the doors open, expecting to find an open sea, but instead, you find an expanse of desert. That’s right! Zero’s Nonary Game took place in Building Q, not the Gigantic! Ace, tied up and presumably on his way to be handed to the authorities by your crew, is thrown in the trunk of an SUV… which has keys waiting in it. Clover takes the driver’s seat, and everyone is happy. As they drive, they continue to talk: “if we drive faster, maybe we’ll catch up to Aoi and Akane!” “I can’t believe what just happened!” “Ace, why did you set up the first experiment in the first place?” “No one understands the pain of prosopagnosia… if I could access the morphogenetic field, I could more easily recognize others.” Lots of talking. Lots of happiness and resolution. But they never catch up to Santa and June.

Instead, in the final scene, they see a naked lady standing in the desert. She looks like Lotus, but she’s not. It’s … ALICE?!

The End!

THE COFFIN ENDING

Numbered Door Path: 4, 7, 1

Other Conditions: This “ending” is counted for you in the icons at the top of the “new game” screen if you get the true ending, so you could just follow that. Else, you’ll get stuck with this ending if you follow all the conditions toward the True Ending but you didn’t yet get the Safe/Letter Ending.

What happens: See the first few lines of the True Ending description above. When the point is reached where Clover, Junpei and Seven are left in the chapel with the coffin, there’s a quick FMV CG scene of the camera focusing in on the coffin (this scene happens in the True Ending path as well). And as it zooms in on the coffin, you get a “To Be Continued…” message in the bottom right, and the game restarts. It’s a non-ending. Lame!

THE SUBMARINE ENDING

Numbered Door Path: End on Door 2 (recommendation: Take 3 first, as it automatically leads to 2)

Other Conditions: None. Just be sure to go through Door 2. I highly recommend Door 3 first, because if you want all the endings, this is the only way to get one unique ending per playthrough and solve every puzzle (Door 3′s puzzle is pretty neat, too).

What happens: Behind Door 2, Junpei gets to know more about Seven and Lotus. Seven recalls his memories of being taken captive nine years prior, though the cells are slightly different, as there’s no ventilation shaft under the bed this time (note: Building Q and the Gigantic aren’t exactly the same on the interior, as this proves). Lotus talks about her kids, and shows her willingness to sacrifice herself in the creepy torture chamber. I seriously thought they were going to make me electrocute her. Fortunately, she gets out safe… there.

But when you get out of Door 2, bad things start to happen. People split up; Junpei and June find a room with a submarine, and they think maybe they can escape! June stays there to watch over the sub, while Junpei goes to let the others know. But when he returns to the main deck, he finds: corpses! People are dead. Stabbed, actually. As he heads back to the sub, he finds more bodies: Lotus is dead just outside the sub room (her bracelet is missing, too). When he enters the sub room, he finds Akane, also stabbed, and dying. She says how much she wanted to be with you, to experience more of life with you, and then dies. Junpei enters a state of despair and apathy, paces around a bit, and then heads toward the sub. As he goes to lift the door, he, too, is stabbed by a shadowy figure.

(Some people were never sure who stabbed him: it was Ace. Though he’s one of the corpses in the main deck, it seems he hid himself as a fake corpse among the dead bodies, perhaps using a small dose of Soporil to add to the realism. The knife he’s using to kill everyone he got from The 9th Man.)

THE AXE ENDING

Numbered Door Path: End on Door 1 (you can still take 4-7-1 if you choose the wrong dialogue options)

Other Conditions: None. Just make sure not to head toward the True / Coffin ending.

What happens: Behind Door 1, you aren’t able to console Clover over her brother’s death. She believes that someone did it (mathematically, she thinks it’s Santa and Seven who did it, as 3+7+2 = 12 = digital root 3). After Captain Zero is found murdered by the hatchet, Clover stuffs “some things” from that corpse in her pockets, but she doesn’t tell you what she took as you escape Door 1. Your friends inform you that they’ve found the Chapel with Door 9, but before you can go, Ace says to Lotus “hey I have something to show you,” and they casually walk off together, leaving Junpei alone. Behind him, coming out of the elevator, is Clover. She’s holding a bloody hatchet, and she has a wild look in her eyes. She confesses that she’s already gotten revenge on those who killed her brother, and then she says that, thanks to the 0 bracelet she has, she can get out of the 9 door with your help. She even shows you the bracelets of the dearly departed: 3, 7, and 6 (she killed June too, because June tried to stop her from killing Santa and Seven). But she doesn’t give you the option of going with her alive. She attacks you with the hatchet. You’ve been axed. You’re dead. She goes off without you. The end.

THE KNIFE ENDING

Numbered Door Path: End on Door 6 (you can still take 5-8-6 if you choose the wrong dialogue options, but if you want to guarantee this ending, do 4-7-6 or some other permutation)

Other Conditions: Just be sure not to follow the exact path and dialogue options for the Safe/Letter Ending, and you’ll get this one.

What happens: After the events behind Door 6, everyone regroups, there’s talk of heading to the chapel with the two 9 doors. But as you go down the elevator, when you get off, you find Lotus’ corpse (bracelet missing, again). Then you get stabbed in the back with a knife. This is probably the least interesting of the endings: you die pretty early, and you don’t even know who did it (of course, it was Ace).

SPECULATION, INTERPRETATION, AND HOPE FOR A SEQUEL

The first thing I want to point out is the eight digit code: 14383421. What’s the deal with this number, and what does it tell us? Uchikoshi tells us in his Q&A to try multiplying that number by nine. Okaaay … and the new value is … 129450789. OH EM GEE! Do you not see it? Even in the Q&A, Uchikoshi dodges the question about what “true values” are behind Santa and June’s bracelets. The characters in the game theorize that Santa’s is 0 (and that he is zero) and that June’s is 9. In fact, it’s the other way around. Your big hint is that the value for Captain Zero’s bracelet is 6, despite displaying as 0. That, combined with this new mathematical symbol, suggests that the true values are indeed: 1 for Ace, 2 for Snake, 9 for Santa, 4 for Clover, 5 for Junpei, 0 for June, 7 for Seven, 8 for Lotus, 9 for the Ninth Man, and 6 on the “Captain Zero” bracelet. No bracelets had a true value of 3. Ever.

You’ll note that, no matter what doors you choose, Santa and June always go together. Together, they make 9, so no one can know the difference. Also, the two of them could separate and secretly add themselves to any other grouping (and it’s theorized, by some fnas, that June’s bracelet might have been able to naturally open any door at any time).

Now then, let’s get into the hardest topic: the whole “did Akane really die?” scenario.

When I first got the True Ending, my interpretation was that Akane really did die, and the Akane we all saw on the ship was being forced into our minds via the morphogenetic field by young Akane to set this all up. And, yes, Zero herself was just something of a holographic projection. Of course, that wouldn’t allow for her to physicall show up in rooms and kidnap people (though that could have been Zero’s helpers, including Santa/Aoi). This “vision” of her exists to allow her to survive in an alternate timeline. So when you do save her, you’ve saved her in another existence, and you will never again find her in this universe.

But that doesn’t seem to be the interpretation scenario writer Kotaro Uchikoshi gives in his Q&A with Aksys. About a dozen questions all linger around Akane’s existence, multiple timelines, etc. And he brushes off most of them by seeing “see previous answer(s).” But he does give a detailed answer in two occasions, and based on what he said, the best I can piece together is this:

Akane never died. There is only one “past” timeline, and in it, Akane gets out. After she gets out, she and Santa begin to form an underground organization to get revenge and she takes on the identity of “Zero.” It’s possible that Snake is in this organization, as Snake also attested to the fact that Akane died. That Seven thought she died could have either been memory manipulation (remember the amnesia?), or else he too was “in on it” (this seems unlikely to me).

How did Akane get out? Well, she made a connection with the Junpei nine years in the future, in the same life-or-death situation she’s in, and with that she’s able to solve the puzzle and get out. As time passes, she knows that she has to make sure those events take place, or her existence will be a paradox and she’ll disappear. So she has a 9 year time limit to set up the most elaborate puzzle that puts nine individuals in the same frame of mind that those kids were in 9 years ago.

Her organization, detailed by Uchikoshi in the Q&A, had many members (potentially, many of the kids from Cradle Pharmaceutical’s experiment were a part of the group). They were funded by investing early in Cradle’s stock, so money was not an object. After Cradle abandons Building Q, they take up Building Q as their headquarters and use the next 9 years to put together their elaborate plan. In total, they have to kidnap the 9 individuals of the new Nonary game (excluding Santa and June themselves, and possibly Snake), as well as the two members of the four-person Nonary Experiment that wouldn’t be participating (Kagechika Musashidou and Nagisa Nijisaki). The real trick is to pick the right people, and to set up the paths in such a way that they will inevitably lead to Ace killing off his cohorts, everyone else surviving, and Junpei being stuck in the incinerator with Snake, Clover, Seven and Lotus.

Akane’s fevers, thus, are her experiencing a “flux” between existence and non-existence. Think of Marle when she disappears in Chrono Trigger because her lineage is cut off. Here, Akane’s fevers suggest that she is walking a tightrope, and if anything goes off balance, she will disappear.

The craziest part of all is that you need to experience the Safe/Letter Ending to get the True Ending. Why is this? The best I can figure is that, while there is one fixed timeline in the past (that is, multiple pasts don’t feed into one present), from any point being experienced as the “present” there are many futures. In that incinerator 9 years ago, Akane accesses the memories of Junpei in the Safe/Letter path and gives those memories back to Junpei in the True Ending (a diagram that vaguely suggests such a possibility is shown during the True Ending path). But, indeed, Akane never died… she just had to ensure her survival by making the future she “accessed” the true future.

Next point: does danger have to be real or only perceived to open a path to the morphogenetic field? Remember, it’s epiphany plus danger/crisis that seems to allow people to access it best. But, in truth, the only people that had bombs implanted in them were Ace, The 9th Man, and “Guy X” (who is donned in Snake’s clothes). The rest of the participants, had they gone through a RED in the wrong order, wouldn’t have died. It would’ve broken the illusion. Hence, Zero seems to “set it up,” knowing Ace would use The 9th Man as a test piece to see just how “real” this Nonary Game was. This is all it takes to convince the others (most importantly, Ace and Junpei needed to see this happen). But Junpei doesn’t have a bomb in him. Everyone was fine all along! Well, the innocents were fine, at any rate.

What’s the deal with Alice? Is she really a priestess from ancient Egypt, or did she die more recently and her body was being transported from Britain to America when the Titanic sunk? And why is she standing in the desert? What’s her role in all this? In my opinion, at this point she exists as a red herring: the thing that can never be explained. But she also exists as a way of saying “hey, there’s a LOT more to learn.”

You see, in Uchikoshi’s Q&A, he gives more information about Lord Gordain, the man who started playing the Nonary Game using the Gigantic as the playing field. And he tells us that Gentarou Hongou was the sole survivor of a Nonary Game. In the context of the game, we’re led to believe that Hongou invented the Nonary Game as an experiment to “find” the morphogenetic field. But in fact, he himself learned of it by being kidnapped and forced into it when he was younger. So, villain though he is, he too has suffered abuse at the hands of others.

What does any of that have to do with Alice? Alice made Ace rich. When Cradle Pharmaceutical started, it existed primarily as a cover-up operation that allowed them to kidnap children from hospitals to set up in the Nonary Experiment… kids who, when screened, seemed to have some predisposition to ESP. Ace makes friends with like-minded people who are really into all this stuff: who read Sheldrake’s work and other works and really believe it and want to prove it. “Captain Zero” was the millionaire who funds the Nonary Experiment, because Cradle didn’t have any capital of its own. But in setting up the experiment on the ship, Ace finds something strange in Alice’s coffin (this part is explained in the epilogue of the true ending)… not Alice herself, but a root. A mandragora root. And in making an extract out of that root, Ace creates the world’s safest anaesthetic ever known, which they patent and name Soporil. This turns Cradle into an instantly-profitable company. But what was that root doing in there?

Everyone points to Ice-9 or something else about polymorphs as to how Alice’s body could’ve stayed intact. But if she were alive all this time… how? Well, the fabled mandragora root could’ve put her to sleep for 3000 years. That could’ve been it, right?

The next bit of information is pure speculation on my thought, but… why should we believe that Lord Gordain invented the Nonary Game? If he could invent it, it’s just as conceivable that Ace could have invented it. Uchikoshi skirts the question “how did Ace come up with the idea?” by saing that Gordain came up with it as a form of “survival of the fittest” gladiatorship to entertain his rich friends and bet on individuals they kidnap. But I don’t think Gordain invented it. First of all, I think Gordain had Alice’s coffin before the Titanic voyage, and that he was the one transporting it to America with him. He brought “the mummy’s curse” and is the reason the Titanic sank. I also believe he probably had a fascination with ancient Egypt, and as part of that, he uncovered some cryptic document about a game the ancient Egyptians used to play involving nine individuals running through a place filled with traps and puzzles … say, oh I don’t know … a Pyramid?!

In other words, I think Alice is explicitly tied to the concept of the Nonary Game, and that perhaps the ancient Egyptians, too, did it not for fun but to learn about the human psyche and what we are now calling morphogenetic fields.

And let me tell you what led me to all of these thoughts. Uchikoshi has stated, more than once, that he’s open to the idea of a sequel to 999. But if it happens, it won’t be a direct sequel. It wouldn’t be “Junpei is still looking for Akane.” It would be a new cast of characters going through their own Nonary Game. Sure, they could go into the future, but I far more expect a prequel. And NOT the Nonary Experiment the kids went through: there’d be no surprises to reveal. We already know what happened. They need to go further back, either to a Lord Gordain Nonary Game, or … Ancient Egypt? That, or farther into the future, seem like the only options to me. Imagine a Nonary Game where you play as Alice (she has a different name in this case), and in the True End, she saves herself by entombing herself with the mandragora root, and by doing this “fake death” sacrifice she saves someone else she loves? Think about it. It’s a great idea. I need to learn Japanese and start working with Uchikoshi-san.

Are there any other loose ends? Well, there are Lotus’ kids and the choice to include Lotus in this Nonary Game. Uchikoshi was intentionally vague in his answer, and Lotus seems not to have know how or why her kids disappeared for a week before returning to the hospital. But there has to be something special about Lotus. Including the possibility that she’s a descendant of Alice (based on appearance alone).

And then there’s the fact that Junpei didn’t know Aoi existed. That still bothers me. It’s never explained. It’s just like, “well, he was really good friends with Akane, but didn’t even knew she had an older brother.” I have a hard time swallowing that. But maybe it’s just as simple as “she never mentioned her brother.”

I invite all of you who also played through to the True End, and obsessed over this game like I did, to throw your own theories into the mix in the comments section of this article. I’ve seen plenty of speculation at Aksys’ forums, and GameFAQs forums, but nothing particularly intelligent. So lay something deep on me, people! And keep your fingers crossed for a sequel!!

38 comments

  1. There are a few mistakes in your description of the endings (there are also some passages where you seem to be taking some liberties, but I list only the “factual” mistakes):
    Safe ending:
    - Santa and June don’t disappear when they chase Ace to the chapel. Rather June has a big fever attack and is left behind with Santa.
    Submarine ending:
    - Unless the game includes variants, your 3rd paragraph is wrong: When they get out of door 2, Seven, Lotus and Jumpei are first surprised by not seeing other around, and then move in the direction of the staircase via Jupiter door (which will be unlocked whether or not you unlocked it yourself, just like the Sun door). There they find the bodies of Ace, Santa and Clover, something which seemed to indicate June as the killer (which was particularly disturbing to me as I had just been axed in my previous ending). Then when they move to the submarine room, the only thing Jumpei has eyes for is June dying on the floor, and he only notices the submarine as he is trying to find something to help her while she is fading away in his arms. She finishes dying, he cries, goes back to find Lotus and Seven dead, doesn’t care anymore, then gets killed himself while moving to the sub.
    Axe ending:
    - I think you should mention that Clover isolates Santa, Seven and June by convincing everybody that they might as well explore the remaining door (4+3+7+6=2 mod 9). Ace going out with Lotus takes place after this.
    Knife ending:
    - You should mention that not everybody regroups: Clover is missing. In fact, they then split with the intent of looking for the gal.
    True ending:
    - Ace doesn’t take Lotus prisoner when passing the 9 door. Rather, Santa is the one who grabs June and points the gun at her, and he “chooses” Ace and Lotus to complete the conditions for the door (and both of them show themselves reluctant to go, and only do so at Jumpei’s insistence (he’s fine with it because it means June would be ok after all)).
    - It’s not Ace who turns on the incinerator in the present. Ace is removed from the room at gun point by Santa, after which the doors are closed (June actually leaves earlier, although from Jumpei’s perspective she actually seems like she might have just disappeared), and from dialogue those inside the chamber seem to think Santa is the one who turns it on.

  2. Ok, now onwards to the speculation.

    You mention that you would expect a sequel to be either a prequel or set in the distant future, but I don’t know about that. Personally, I would very heavily prefer a somewhat direct sequel, and though I have trouble seeing how that could be made to work, Uchikoshi’s Q&A suggests this to be his intention (particularly relevant here is his answer to question 53, to a minor extent question 35).

    With that said, I don’t really feel there is that much speculation one can do that has any solid basis.
    To me the only two clear loose ends requiring some resolution:
    Alice is the most obvious one, as her existence ends up feeling unjustified, not to mention her presence in the desert at the end. If her presence there is to be more than a cool cameo then it certainly can’t be a coincidence. Was she “in” on what took place in some way?
    The other, maybe less glaring, is Akane. Since the end wasn’t about her living happily ever after with Jumpei, one has to wonder what is she going to do next, particularly as she essentially spent the last 9 years of her life planning for this very moment.
    In the Q&A, Uchikoshi mentions more than once that she may actually have some bigger plan (questions 3 & 14), and while his vagueness suggests he didn’t think too much about the details of that plan, he presumably has some rough idea what they are. In question 39 he seems to suggest that more than anything Akane wished what she suffered to be made public, and it seems that what she gets from the story of the game may fall short of that. Even Ace seems like he has some room to “walk away”.

    This leads me to wonder (or maybe hope) that a possible sequel may involve some further revenge plans on her part, maybe using some setup inspired by the nonary game, but altered (for gameplay and story purposes I don’t think that playing the exact same game would be the best way to go).

  3. Gameodactyl /

    Hey double-”Me” posts! I love ‘em!

    That’s too much to correct for the endings: I’m just going to let your comments stand and let any other passers-by know that your comments are indeed correct. I got all my endings about 6 weeks ago and clearly my memory started to blur the different endings together. Thanks for the fixes.

    As for the speculation: I would LOVE a direct sequel! I just don’t imagine it happening. Yes, Akane has a larger plan and unfinished business. But can that be revealed in *the next game*? This could become a larger series, and they may not take that step until filling in some loose ends elsewhere. I really have a lot of interest in the Alice character and hope that Uchikoshi directly examines her existence and her purpose. No one likes red herrings that exist ONLY for speculation, and then their purpose is never fleshed out. Hopefully, we’ll see that purpose fleshed out, and soon.

    I can’t imagine “Akane and Junpei live happily ever after” can ever be a possible end to what’s been set in motion. But we’ll see… maybe, somehow, they could. Did you play “Ghost Trick”? I love how everything you do in that game changes EVERYTHING… and that a whole cycle had already passed for one character. That was another very smart piece of DS software. I should gush about that next… hm… :)

  4. I’m a bit sorry about the extensive corrections, actually :P I played the game just this weekend so you can imagine it’s very fresh on my mind. Plus I noticed someone bothered to post the true and safe endings on youtube, and yesterday I was actually reviewing the safe one (the true ending I actually bothered replaying), so I could fact check easily.

    As for the speculation, like I said, I feel we have very little on which to speculate. Somehow I don’t feel that Uchikoshi was trying to leave himself room for a sequel. But I was mainly pointing out, that contrary to your idea of a sequel taking place i different age, Uchikoshi current idea, however vague, seems to be that a sequel should be at least semi-direct, and feature some of this games cast. He may very well conclude that that’s too hard to pull of and go for an idea like yours (assuming that a sequel does materialize). Although like I kind of said, I’m also unsure that he would want to have a sequel be another nonary game, as it might force the structure of the story to be significantly similar to that of 999.

    As for “Akane and Junpei living happily ever after”, I have a hard time seeing what exactly is keeping them apart at the end of the game: they both seem rather crazy for each other, and whatever reasons Akane may have for hiding I don’t think Jumpei would give a shit about them, and it almost seems to me that if he ever found her again she wouldn’t be able to run anymore. How we could have such an event actually occur in a sequel I really don’t see, but if Uchikoshi manages a sequel with past characters the odds don’t seem so bad.

    And nope, haven’t played Ghost Trick. My gaming time is limited enough that I probably don’t play more than half a dozen games a year, usually on vacations, so I normally only bother with games I consider non-optional (basically Zelda, Mario, Metroid, and some lesser known stuff that has a place in my heart :P ). I actually accidentally found 999 when checking an IGN review for Dragon Quest VI to see if it was worth considering when I noticed a game scored with 9.0 that I had no idea about. Read the review, sounded very intriguing, ordered it expecting something refreshingly different but not super extraordinary, and now find myself in the weird position of having found a new favorite (side by side with incredibly different games like Golden Sun and Link’s Awakening). I think I’ll seriously consider giving Ghost Trick a go, but not in the immediate future.

  5. Is there any way to send questions to Mr. Uchikoshi, or is the FAQ closed?

    Anyway, theories. Even though Uchikoshi said that Junpei would spend the rest of his life chasing after Clover. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to catch fleeting glimpses of her, or maybe even have a couple of seconds to talk with her, if you know what I’m saying. There’s pretty much no chance that there will actually be a game based on him going after her, but I still think he’ll be involved.

    Another thing that kind of bothers me is Akane and Junpei’s relationship. Even though Uchikoshi has stated that there were ‘probably other things’ that happened on the ship nine years ago to turn Akane really, really messed up, I can’t see her completely forsaking one of her closes friends and instead pursuing revenge against one company for the rest of her life. Especially since when she dies in the alternate endings, she gives very loving little speeches to him. There wouldn’t have been anything to lose at that point, there wouldn’t have been any reason to keep up a charade against him. I think that perhaps Aoi could be the one keeping her away from him. Just because he says that he’s Akane’s assistant doesn’t mean he is. She could really be out for revenge and all, but he could be the one kind of… pushing her to do some of the darker things. Maybe he’s afraid that she’ll back down if she has time to feel compassion for someone.

  6. Gameodactyl /

    I *think* Uchikoshi Q&A is now closed.

    Certainly Akane and Junpei ought to have interactions again. But a happy ending for Akane? It seems unlikely. If she were to, I think it may have to be through the path you proposed: that Aoi is the true impetus for all the violent/revenge stuff. But the Uchikoshi talks about her as a girl who really gets what she wants … that might be her fatal flaw. :)

  7. I certainly couldn’t find any way to send him questions. I spent way too long looking for a twitter for him/the game/a Q&A on Aksys’ website.

    I’m not saying that she’ll get a happy ending just because she wasn’t entirely responsible for her actions and (perhaps) suppressed emotions. The word ‘tragedy’ comes to mind. However, while I’m not in any way saying that I know the man’s characters better than he does, he himself doesn’t seem to know exactly where he wants to take the series, so I’m not going to rule out a happy ending for Junpei and Akane. I’m nowhere close to optimistic about that possibility, but it’s still a possibility.

    And on Aoi perhaps being the true mastermind manipulating Akane… I kind of see the whole ‘advisor and young king’ story line. Except here, the advisor does truly care for the king… but they can’t let the king’s childhood crush get in the way of their revenge scheme. Akane and Aoi want the same thing… but Aoi might have planted a few things in Akane’s mind that weren’t there to begin with.

    It seemed like he teased Junpei and Akane several times throughout the game about being ‘lovebirds’… and Akane was always quick to say, ‘No, it’s nothing like that’. Almost as if saying, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not losing sight of what we’re here to do,’ or ‘Don’t worry, I’m not getting attached to anyone. I won’t be weak.’

  8. Daniel S /

    After a few minutes of searching, I couldn’t really find your email address, so I’ll just say what I wanted to say here.
    This is a really wonderful analysis. I love that you included the secret of the numbers that flash on Junpei’s bracelet. In fact, I think you covered just about everything worth covering about the game. I am loving the theories, and speculation on what the sequel might have.
    Speaking of a sequel, it has been announced! In case you don’t know, there has been a Japanese trailer for a while now. I am extremely excited, as I’m sure you are too. Go check it out now.

  9. Gameodactyl /

    Daniel,

    Yeah, we’re all excited about “Extreme Escape Adventures: Good People Die” or however you translate it. I’m counting on Aksys to get on the boat for that as well. Looks to be a strange and wonderful title. :)

  10. Daniel S /

    But, Aksys IS on the boat with it. They are the ones making it, right? Or do you mean, they better make it really good?
    Anyway, holy crap at my excitement.

  11. Gameodactyl /

    No, Aksys Games doesn’t develop anything. They localize. 999 and its sequel are developed by Japanese companies (Spike/ChunSoft) and specifically by a team led by Kotaro Uchikoshi. All Aksys did with 999 was translate the text to English and release it in America. They’ve made no official statement that they’ll bring the sequel to the US yet. Given the popularity of 999, it’s possible that ChunSoft knows the good stuff they have on their hand and will try to grant localization rights to the “highest bidder” among localization houses in an attempt to find more money. If they’re smart, they’ll stick with Aksys. The script editor to 999, Ben Bateman, did a great job with it, and I’m guessing their operational costs are low.

    Consider the example of Demon’s Souls being published by Atlus USA, and then its sequel Dark Souls by Namco Bandai. Guess which one had better localization *and* better preorder bonuses?

  12. Stuffgamer1 /

    I just finished the True Ending (after doing the rest) yesterday and found this article whilst searching for insight and theories. I’ve read fully through it, the comments, and the Q&A.

    Regarding Anon’s disbelief that Akane would skip out on Junpei for those nine years…I think that goes back to something Uchikoshi said in the Q&A: Some of the stuff that Akane set up could have been set up for no other reason than she saw it happen in Junpei’s future. I believe the Q&A gave Lotus’s presence as an example for this theory. So if Akane saw that Junpei had been separated from her for those nine years, she would wind up with no other option than to distance herself from him in order to fulfill that future…there may very well have been no other way to ensure her survival.

    Talking about sequel theories seems almost pointless now that it’s less than a month away (can’t wait!), but I noticed whilst attempting to research which system I should get it for that both Clover and Alice are main characters in Virtue’s Last Reward. Looks like Alice is important after all, eh? Man, I wish the game was out NOW…I only got around to playing 999 (which I bought in early 2011, but my backlog is usually large) because of the imminent sequel, but now I almost wish I’d waited a couple of weeks so the gap in new story developments would be smaller. :P

  13. SG1,

    First of all: GOOD CHOICE finishing this game in time for the sequel!

    Second: thanks for reading the article and commenting! I really appreciate it!

    Third: I think that while that’s sort of a cheap storytelling trick: “well it had to be that way because that’s the future she saw,” it is legitimate and consistent within the framework of the plot. In other words, I agree with you.

    Fourth: AHH!! NO SPOILERS! Yes we know Clover is there, she’s clearly part of the character art in all the promotional stuff. But the other name you mentioned, I wish you hadn’t! I knew from our interview with Ben Bateman that she was probably there (check out Jurassic Hour #32 for our interview with Ben, the localization / script editor at Aksys). But still … GAH!

    Fifth: I don’t own either next-gen handheld yet. I will have to make a choice for the sequel. I am currently leaning towards 3DS simply because it’s more budget-friendly … but on the other hand, my PSP is on the fritz and it might be smart to just get the Vita. I only have one more UMD-based game in my backlog (Valkyria Chronicles 2).

  14. Stuffgamer1 /

    Oh, sorry to spoil. The image of her is readily available on the game’s Wikipedia article (a picture that includes all of the main cast, labelled, view at your own risk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Good_People_Die_Characters.png), so I figured you’d probably already know. In point of fact, I saw that image before I finished all my playthroughs of 999, so when I saw Alice in in 999, I got the nagging feeling she looked familiar…had to check back on Wikipedia to confirm, and sure enough, there she was.

    I’ve been agonizing over system choice because of what Uchikoshi said about how 999 was designed specifically for the DS with the top/bottom screen thing (and wouldn’t you know I only suddenly realized last night AFTER reading all that stuff that Akane was the narrator the whole time…amazing stuff). But a demo for the Vita version is releasing on PSN today, and comments on the PlayStation Blog suggest that this game is designed in such a way as to work on either machine…so we won’t get that awesomeness again, I guess. Oh well, it wouldn’t seem as cool a second time anyway.

    On a side-note regarding my experience playing 999: I found the submarine ending first. I blame this on morbid curiosity, since that ending is unavoidable if you insist on going through door #3 and it seemed…oddly suspicious to me (I’d also insisted on #5 the first time…gotta see those dead bodies!). But it just bloody well figures I found what is arguably the worst (not counting the stupid coffin) ending on my first playthrough. :P

  15. Wait… For the submarine ending, Ace is dead…

    Wouldn’t it be likely that since Ace couldn’t have gone through door 1 on his own in order to kill “Captain Zero” in this ending that “Captain Zero” was able to escape the captain’s quarters before the other group found him… and he kills everyone…? Think about it; there is no mention of finding a corpse or person in the captain’s quarters if Junpei does not go through door 1.

    “Captain Zero” probably would have wanted the other Cradle Pharmaceutical people dead (just like Ace), so he got another knife or took the one Ace had when he saw Ace, killed him, then killed the other witnesses. Actually, “Captain Zero” also would have been able to identify some of the other kids who played the game before (Santa, June, possibly Clover) and would want them dead. Remember that Ace wanted Snake and the other Cradle guys dead because they could identify him. “Captain Zero” would think similarly.

    This theory also holds for the knife ending.

    Now, for the safe ending, when Clover goes missing, perhaps while wandering Ace finds “Captain Zero” and kills him this time…

    Essentially, I think that unless you go through door 1, “Captain Zero” stays alive and takes part in the murders.

  16. Daz,

    It’s a neat theory, minus the problem of how exactly Cap would have escaped …? Wasn’t he completely bound?

    The theory is also rendered completely false since the game’s creator and lead writer, Kotaro Uchikoshi, answered this in question 22 of the 999 Q&A page:

    ~~
    22. Who killed me in the submarine ending? It’s the only one I didn’t understand, though I do admit I may have missed something.
    A: It’s Ace (Gentarou). Lotus’s missing bracelet was a hint for you guys.
    ~~

    So there you have it.

  17. Noriaki /

    Just a theory about the door labeled with a ‘q’: a symbol ‘q’ and a digit ’9′ are sharing the same reading in Japanese: “kyu”.

  18. Noriaki — this certainly helps tie it all together! They present the q = 26 (base 36) = 2+4+5+7+8 deal in the game. But I like your idea there as well. :)

  19. Sunkenship /

    129450789, the code of coffin you mentioned multiplied by 9… I was just looking at it wondering what it meant.

    The true number of each of the bracelets of the participants, in order?

    Ace 1, Snake 2, SANTA 9, Clover 4, Jumpei 5, JUNE 0, Seven 7, Lotus 8, 9th man 9.

    So two 9′s and no 6 at all (I wondered why they didn’t make the 9th man’s be 6, June’s 9, Santa’s 0… would have seemed NEATER but would have meant making June accomplice rather than leader).

  20. Sunkenship — yes, that’s right, the true number of all participants.

    In fact, it’s two nines and no 3. There was in fact a 6. The “Captain Zero” bracelet that appeared as a 0 was actually valued as a six. One can imagine that this means the values of 0 and 6 were switched.

    Another way to think about Santa’s bracelet, also, is to say “okay, Santa is 3 and June is 6, and together they are always 9.” And then they ALWAYS move together. So Santa takes on the value of June’s bracelet and she is left as ZERO.

  21. Hey there, just finished watching a walktrough trough the safe ending and true ending, had two things to mention.

    1) You mentioned that only Ace, the ninth man and Mr. X had bombs implanted in them, but I doubt that’s true (do you have proof?). In the axe ending, I find it hard to believe that Clover killed Santa, Seven and June all by herself with an axe. Isn’t it more likely that they open the numbered door, then Santa, Seven and June walk into the door, but Clover doesn’t? That way Santa, Seven and June will die because of the bombs within them that are being set off by entering the door. They try to chase after Clover, so jump back through the numbered door, maybe in an effort to chase after Clover, but they die from the bombs within them after 81 seconds. Then Clover collects their bracelets. I might be completely wrong here, but I think that’s more likely.

    2) I think there ARE multipile pasts but they don’t interfere with each other. My theory is that when Akane in the past tries to contact Junpei in the future through the morphogenetic field, the timeline splits in two, pretty much like in Virtue’s Last Reward, or the Schrödingers Cat principe:

    Timeline 1:
    Akane fails to contact Jumpy in the future. Therefore, Akane dies. The second nonary game will never take place.

    Timeline 2:
    Akane succesfully contacts Jumpy in the future. Therefore, she survives, and tries to recreate what she saw in her vision trough the morphogenetic field as good as possible in the second nonary game, to ensure that that timeline does not become a paradox.

    In Virtue’s Last Reward there’s more explanation about splitting timelines and Schrödinger’s Cat and that stuff, but the point here is that when past Akane tries to acces the contact with Junpei in the present, these two timelines are both timelines that are not paradoxal, therefore they both happen. The second one is not paradoxal because of Akane’s drive to save herself and not trying to mess with nature’s laws after it happens. Maybe any other person would be like “Screw it, I’ve already been saved, why would I recreate it?”, but Akane knows not to mess with them and actually make sure that future happens, so that’s why that is not a paradoxal timeline.

    At any rate, there is not a timeline where Akane dies and the second nonary game happens. So yes, Seven’s memories must have been manipulated, or Seven must have been in on it, and I think the latter is the correct one, based on one of the last scenes where Junpei suspects Seven has been lying and he gets no real answer to that. I think that’s an obvious hint in that direction.

  22. I’ve overthought my theory, and it’s actually not really explainable why either Akane is there in the first place in the bad endings, or why she suddenly dissapears.

    I mean, it’s obvious that the creators are using the alternate timelines theory as base for their story. There are two possibilities for Akane’s morphogetic abilities in the past:

    1) She can only connect to the future that is “really” going to happen. If this is the case, when you are heading towards a bad ending in the game, Akane couldn’t possibly have survived nine years ago, so then why was she there in the first place? Impossible.

    2) She can connect to alternate timelines in the future. This actually seems more likely, because Junpei also uses the morphogenetic field to interact with alternate timelines. If this is the case, when you are heading towards a bad ending it should not matter to Akane. In an alternate timeline Junpei in fact does save the Akane from 9 years ago, and that is the present that Akane in the past connected to. In other words, Akane is safe anyway, even though Junpei doesn’t save her in the past in that specific timeline. Therefore, there is no need for her to suddenly “dissapear”. She was saved nine years ago anyway.

    It’s just an error in the storyline of 999, but it’s one we have to accept to make the game more enjoyable. It’s way cooler that Akane tragically dissapears in the game than that she just lives on anyway in the bad endings.

  23. Rob,

    I haven’t played VLR yet, but I don’t see this as an error per se. I think option 2 is the only logical conclusion. Akane being “safe” even if Junpei doesn’t make it might not matter. The morphogenetic field, the connection, may be more than just what it took for her to survive at that point in the past. Perhaps her connection to Junpei matters more than anything.

    Y’know, like when Padme in Star Wars dies “of a broken heart.” Okay, maybe I just lost all credibility by making such a suggestion. But that’s how I see it. :)

  24. Hey Gameodactyl,

    Just finished reading your 999 series, and had a damn fine time doing it. I’ve included links to your four part series in the “Resources” page over at my own site, Game Theory, where I’ve also done a little write up on Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. Link:

    http://caspiancomic.com/gametheory/?p=238

    Just thought I’d let you know I really enjoyed reading what you had to say about the game, and that I consider your writings a valuable resource. This game is a little underrepresented online, and there isn’t much heady, probing insight to be found about it online, so every bit of writing helps.

    (Also, you should fully play Virtue’s Last Reward if you haven’t yet. I just finished it the other day and my head is still spinning.)

  25. Thanks for citing these articles! :)

    I haven’t played VLR yet. It’s insane that I haven’t … but I have this super paranoia about that save-erasing glitch that is TOTALLY avoidable, but I’m sure I’d accidentally bump into it anyway. The 3DS version is the real danger (I think they patched it on Vita?). But I don’t own a Vita, I only have 3DS. So that’s the real dilemma.

    999 deserves all the attention and press and praise we can throw at it. :)

  26. Matsuri /

    I found your series on 999 a week ago when I wanted to read about ice-9 and some background information. But I was still on my first playthrough so I saved the link for later. Today I finished with the True ending and finally got to read what you wrote. I was really confused about Akane being alive being a paradox or not. At least now I know that it seems to work out.
    I stumbled over 999 when I saw a review about VLR on TV….. though they mentioned the save bug which kinda still puts me off buying the game. Instead I decided to play 999 first and decide about VLR later. I barely could put 999 down but still hte savefile bug makes me unsure about wheter to buy it or not.

  27. Matsuri — so glad you were able to enjoy 999 over the holiday break!!

    Also, great news about VLR … the save glitch is *only* in the 3DS version, and for that matter, it’s only in the physical copy of the 3DS version. So if you don’t have a Vita and only have a 3DS, you can buy VLR from the eShop and the save glitch is fixed in that version. I’ve actually been meaning to resurrect this blog to write exclusively about how great VLR is. If you thought 999 was great, and you want to know more about Junpei and Akane, let me *assure you* that there’s plenty more in the sequel, even though you wouldn’t know it on the surface.

  28. Matsuri /

    They finally fixed it?! This is great! I’m so gonna buy it now! Thanks for telling me! *_*

  29. Matsuri /

    Seems they only fixed the NA version :(
    Jist started, ended up in the crew quarters and first I could not open any menu screens / select items and than I tried to touch a locker to have the game freeze on me :(

  30. OH NO! I feel so stupid! I should’ve seen from your email that you were a European gamer.

    Just do all the reading up you can to avoid crashes. I wish you the best. VLR is truly amazing, so long as you can avoid bugs and whatnot.

  31. Matsuri /

    Don’t worry, probably would have caved in and bought it anyway. I really enjoyed 999 so playing the sequel was kinda non-optional. Sadly there was no information on the internet if they patched the european version or not. At least I only had to replay something around 20 or 30 minutes. And I got through the room quicker on the second try (I used a walkthrough because I read that Crew Quarters and the Pressure Exchange Room can crash if the puzzle is done in the wrong order)

  32. Matsuri /

    Hi! Are you still writing about games / involved in gaming communities? (I ask since the last entry on this block is a bit older). Anyway, it seems as if ZE3 maybe won’t be made, because Chunsoft denied funding the game. Fans are now trying to help get this game made. There is a facebook group called Operation Bluedbird (https://www.facebook.com/operationbluebirdze3) that is trying to get this done. Kotaro Uchikoshi also liked the group and is happy because of the support. It would be great if you could help in this matter. It would be such a shame to have the story end with VLR.

  33. Hey Matsuri,

    The site itself has gone inactive but I still watch comments.

    I’m plenty aware of Kotaro Uchikoshi’s dilemma and I already sent him a bunch of tweets with my own half-baked advice. I’ll be sure to join the FB group and tell people about it. ZE3 will happen. :)

  34. Flannery /

    Hey,
    Does one have to get all of the endings from 999 in order to play the sequel? My friend asked me and I haven’t played the sequel, so I don’t know. I think she intends to get the true ending as quickly as possible so she can move on to vlr and then maybe go back and play the other endings. Will the game make sense if she doesn’t know what is discovered in the knife, axe, and submarine endings? Thanks!!

  35. Flannery,

    No. While getting all the endings is fun, and playing through all the rooms is very fun (Rooms 3 and 2 have some great content and they’re both entirely skippable), the true ending is all you’ll need to follow VLR.

  36. Coquillage /

    Hey Gameodactyl, first I want to thank you for your work here. It’s really amazing. And then I want to ask you if you consider doing the same thing with VLR maybe? I know you said the site has gone inactive but one can only hope right? ^^ I have nearly finished the sequel by now (only one time line to explore) but with all that branches and forks I’m pretty lost/confused ie it’s hard to remember who has done what in which timeline or

    SPOILER

    Who is killed by whom in which time line, mind you.

    End of spoiler

    So a recap like what you have done here would really be helpful.

    Anyway, thanks again for your work!

  37. Coquillage,

    There’s a part of me that would really like to devote some time to laying out what happens in what paths of VLR. I suspect there must be someone else out there who’s already done that. If they haven’t, it needs to be done. I’m not sure I have the drive to document it all! It’s quite a bit!!

    Should I work up the motivation, I’m sure you’ll all see it, as it would be our first post of 2014. :P

  38. Coquillage /

    Then I’m going to keep my hope alive then, lol. Thanks for the answer!

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