Zero Escape 3 confirmed for 3DS and Vita, coming next summer

The next chapter in developer Spike Chunsoft's Zero Escape franchise is headed to the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita next year, offering fans closure following a cliffhanger ending featured in the previous series entry Virtue's Last Reward.

While the future of the Zero Escape series was previously uncertain, publisher Aksys Games put fears to rest, announcing development of a sequel at the recently concluded Anime Expo event in Los Angeles.

The Zero Escape series launched in 2010 with the release of the Nintendo DS game 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. Blending elements from the visual novel genre and "escape the room"-styled puzzlers, 999 featured a twisting storyline and a distinctive cast of characters. Guided by the whims of a murderous mastermind known as "Zero," characters turned against one another in a series of taxing "Nonary Game" challenges, with deadly consequences for failure.

A direct sequel, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward followed in 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita, upping the narrative stakes with new characters and deadlier traps. Despite teasing a sequel during its conclusion, news of a Virtue's Last Reward follow-up was scarce in the months after its release, leaving fans uncertain whether the series would see a finale up until this week's announcement.

Series director Kotaro Uchikoshi returns for the tentatively-titled Zero Escape Volume 3, which is currently in the works for the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita. Publisher Aksys Games notes that the forthcoming sequel will feature returning series characters, voiced cinematics, and multiple endings depending on how players approach its story. The game will also offer both Japanese and English-language audio tracks.

Aksys additionally stated that Zero Escape Volume 3 will be available via the PlayStation Store and Nintendo eShop, though a retail release has not been confirmed. Zero Escape Volume 3 is due to launch in the summer of 2016.