Interview With Kotaro Uchikoshi
Location: Anime Expo 2016
Interview Date: 7/3/2016

Kotaro Uchikoshi Headshot 001 - 20160902

I had a bit of trepidation before asking my first question to Zero Escape creator Kotaro Uchikoshi. I had played through a few of his games and had some strong feelings about his work and, while I am a fan, I put him in the same category as Leigh Whannell & James Wan. I had to ask Uchikoshi about his inspiration for such dark games. Simply put, I had to ask him why he was such a sick twisted phoque:

Sick Phoque - 20160902

He was ready for the question and explained that he wants to write about the eternal struggle between right and wrong.

“Death gives weight to your decisions.” -Kotaro Uchikoshi

He elaborated on this,  explaining that while he never studied philosophy, he read a lot. I inquired about his influences, to which he noted that he liked the work of Jiro Akagawa (Midnight Suite, Three Sisters Investigate). He’s not sure if Akagawa is an influence, but that the Calico Cat Holmes stories are among his favorite works.

Uchikoshi's cat, Molly, stares out the window.

Uchikoshi’s cat, Molly, stares out the window.

Uchikoshi was genuinely surprised by the success of Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward was greenlit because of it.

Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma was made primarily for the fans. That said, though, Uchikoshi was clear that he would never alter the story to please his fanbase.

“We can’t keep reusing the same characters. I want to tell new stories.”  -Kotaro Uchikoshi

Uchikoshi went on to note that budget limitations mean he’s unable to everything he wants, let alone everything the fans want. Having said that, he revealed that Akane is his favorite Zero Escape character, and that he enjoyed writing her.

Danganronpa Key Visual 001 - 20150404

With his work on Punchline and the success of the Danganronpa anime, there was some speculation that Uchikoshi would be interested in writing a Zero Escape anime. He shot that down, noting that while he likes his work appearing in additional mediums, he’d need to solve some spoiler issues in terms of how the puzzles and reveals are handled.

When asked how he feels now that his most recent project is finished, Uchikoshi stated that he was sad and relieved at the same time. The follow up question asked about plans for his next project. Uchikoshi revealed that he wasn’t sure what it was going to be, but a Resident Evil style visual novel was something he was thinking about. When asked about possibly re-releasing the games from his Infinity series, Uchikoshi shook his head:

“Some other company has the rights to those games. I am not the one making the decisions to release games in the United States.”

We here at Anime Herald are thankful for his time, and hope we never all wake up in a room together with a watch with one large digital numeral strapped to our wrists.

Editor’s note: Well there goes my plans for the office Christmas party.