Wikipedia:Peer review/Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward/archive1
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If there's one section I'd really appreciate comments on, it's the story section. The story for this game is incredibly complicated (it doesn't help when the game includes branching storylines that can be experienced in any order, and all branches include important info to the story as a whole). What we're really struggling with is the word limit. We're trying to bring the story section under 800 words, so any comments on how to reduce the size, and whether the section makes any sense, would be greatly appreciated. And of course, looking at the rest of the article would be nice too.
In terms of references, I tried to limit the amount of references to Siliconera and Destructoid since there both listed as situational sources (aside from the interviews of course, which are perfectly fine.)
Some points of note,
General: Every time Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors is mentioned, it's written as 999. This is a commonly accepted name for the game, and was used by Uchikoshi himself
1) In the second paragraph, there is extensive use of 2D and 3D. I tried to limit the times there mentioned, but given the context, there was only so much I could do
2) Each time the Q & A with Uchikoshi is referenced, we wrote the number of the question next to the ref, since we didn't know how to include it with the ref
Sequel: There is extensive use of Uchikoshi's Twitter handle, as most of his announcement regarding Zero Escape 3 were made over Twitter. I could try to replace these refs with more reliable refs, but I think it works fine for now
Comments by JuhachiEdit
As most of the article looks very well done at a glance, I'll focus on the story section for the moment. I know a thing or two about writing plot summaries for very complex stories, and the largest one I've largely written by myself was the one on Rewrite (visual novel)#Story, which comes to about 650 words (granted, the story section combined with the setting and character sections obviously exceeds the in-universe stuff from this article, but let's ignore that for the moment). Currently, the story section comes to about 960 words, but instead of 800, I'd recommend trying to shoot for under 700, which (although not directly related to this article) is the max length recommended at WP:FILMPLOT. So, let's look at the first paragraph:
In 2028, Sigma is abducted by an unknown person wearing a gas mask through the use of knockout gas. He awakens trapped inside an elevator with a girl who later identifies herself as Phi. Both persons are wearing irremovable bracelets displaying the number 3. Zero III appears on a monitor and informs Sigma and Phi that they are participating in the Nonary Game and that they must escape the elevator before it falls. They escape through the hatch in the ceiling and find themselves in a warehouse-like facility, where they meet seven other individuals: Dio, Quark, Tenmyouji, Luna, Alice, K, and Clover. Sigma learns that everyone was abducted and forced into the game for unknown reasons and wear similar bracelets. Zero III reappears and informs the group that individuals who obtain at least nine bracelet points are able to open the number nine door and escape the facility; it remains open for nine seconds, after which it is locked permanently. Points can only be earned by participating in the Ambidex Game using the AB Rooms.
I would trim this to be:
In 2028, Sigma is abducted and placed inside an elevator with a girl named Phi. Zero III appears on a monitor and informs Sigma and Phi that they are participating in the Nonary Game and that they must escape the elevator before it falls. Upon escaping, they find themselves in a warehouse-like facility with seven other individuals: Dio, Quark, Tenmyouji, Luna, Alice, K, and Clover. All nine people were abducted and forced into the game and wear bracelets displaying numbers; Sigma's and Phi's bracelets display the number 3. Zero III informs the group that nine individual bracelet points are necessary to escape the facility, and points can only be earned by participating in the Ambidex Game using the AB Rooms.
And here are my reasons why:
- Do we need to know what the abductor was wearing or what he used to knock Sigma out? Or that Sigma was knocked out at all?
- Do we need to know how Sigma and Phi escape the elevator? The fact that they escaped should be sufficient.
- Instead of bringing up the bracelets twice, why not do it later in the paragraph and just do it once? And things like "*Character* learns..." should pretty much be avoided at all costs, since that's very in-universe. I was also tempted to remove the fact that Sigma's and Phi's bracelets display number 3, since it doesn't seem like this is really important to know how close those two characters are getting to the required 9 points. In other words, would it matter at this point of the game whether they had 3 points or 1 point or 4 points?
- I changed "Zero III reappears and informs" to just "Zero informs" because it's obvious that he would have to reappear in order to inform the group of anything, so it's implied that he's somewhere in the room already, even if by a monitor.
- Do we have to know that it is the number 9 door or that it only remains open for 9 seconds? These seem like very trivial details, especially since these really have no bearing on the later plot further down in the summary.
- Done Very nice suggestions, agreed with just about everything. The only part I'm a little unsure about is how many points each character has to begin the game. It's stated in the gameplay section that if a character's bracelet points number reaches zero, they're put to death. If it's not stated how many points each character has, I don't think it does a good job at illustrating what situation they're in. Also, the reason for the use of nine with the door is that the number nine is a very important theme/symbol throughout the series. Obviously the previous game does a good job of showing off just how important nine is (999 can't get anymore obvious), so I think we felt we needed to include that. But you're right.
Now let's look at the second paragraph:
At this point, the story begins branching into different timelines that can be experienced in any order, depending on the choices made by the player. The participants split into groups and complete the first set of puzzle rooms, where they find a newspaper clipping reporting a pandemic caused by Radical-6, a virus that slows down its victims' cognition and eventually drives them to suicide. Depending on the timelines the player character experiences, the characters either discover the murdered body of an old woman inside an AB room or nuclear fusion bombs planted throughout the facility, with enough power to annihilate the entire building. Additionally, several revelations appear about the other players: Luna is a humanoid robot, tasked with maintaining the Nonary Game; Tenmyouji was incentivized to participate in the Nonary Game after being promised a chance to find the woman he had been looking for for years. He also brought his adopted grandson Quark with him; Alice and Clover are both Department of Defense secret agents who are tasked with stopping the religious cult known as Free the Soul; and Dio is a member of Free the Soul, and a clone of its leader's brother. Sigma discovers that Dio had secretly entered the facility, murdered the old woman, and taken her place in the Nonary Game. His goal was to disrupt the game by planting the bombs. Sigma learns the deactivation code to each bomb in different timelines and, in the timeline leading to the game's ultimate ending, is able to successfully diffuse each one, while Dio is restrained and incapacitated.
At this point, the story begins branching into different timelines that can be experienced in any order, depending on the choices made by the player. While completing the first set of puzzle rooms, the participants learn of a pandemic caused by Radical-6, a virus that slows down its victims' cognition and drives them to suicide. Although dependent on a given timeline, the characters either discover the murdered body of an old woman or nuclear fusion bombs. Additionally, the pasts of the other players is explored: Luna is a humanoid robot, tasked with maintaining the Nonary Game; Tenmyouji willingly joined the game after being promised a chance to find a certain woman. He also brought his adopted grandson Quark with him; Alice and Clover are both Department of Defense secret agents tasked with stopping the religious cult Free the Soul; and Dio is a member of Free the Soul, and a clone of its leader's brother. Dio had murdered the old woman and took her place in the game so as to plant the bombs. In the timeline leading to the game's ultimate ending, Sigma successfully diffuses each bomb, while Dio is restrained and incapacitated.
- Do we have to know they split into groups?
- The fact that the news of the pandemic was on a newspaper clipping seems pretty trivial.
- I removed "eventually" from the description of the virus since that's implied, I feel.
- The next part I totally rewrote to be more concise, and removed some trivial details like where the old woman is, and the fact that the bombs are "planted throughout the facility" (Where else would they be? The characters cannot leave the facility at this point). And the fact that they can destroy the building should be pretty self-evident: they're nuclear bombs. Even a small nuke would destroy a city block.
- Again, the fact that "Sigma discovered" some such information is pretty in-universe. Instead, try to focus on what actually happened, instead of what some character learned happened.
- I think it's obvious Dio was trying to disrupt the game by planting the bombs, especially since we know now that he killed someone and took her place in the game.
- The last sentence I was a bit iffy about, but I figured that it's not that important to know how Sigma got the deactivation codes. The fact is, he diffuses the bombs; whatever way he did it shouldn't really matter at this point.
- Done Once again, great suggestions, nothing to complain about here.
I'll do the other three paragraphs if you want later, but that should give you at least some idea of what can easily be cut, leaving only the most important detail that's relevant to the overall plot. Little details like who was wearing what, where they were, or how they did something shouldn't really matter in the big picture, unless there is a very good reason to include them, like removing said details would impede the reader's understanding of the overall plot. That said, the story section made sense to me, although contains a lot of minor details like I've outlined above that I don't think should be there. I'll also add that by estimating how much I cut from the first two paragraphs, I could probably cut enough from the next three to get just about 700 words in total, so I believe my original recommendation for that goal is feasible.--十八 07:12, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
- Sorry for not responding sooner, little busy right now. Just looking at your comments, Holy Cow! This is exactly what we were looking for. I'll respond to each paragraph later today, but seriously, thanks! Famous Hobo (talk) 14:55, 19 October 2015 (UTC)
Here's my take on paragraph 3:
The remaining participants then proceed to the next set of puzzle rooms. As Sigma, Phi, and Tenmyouji complete their room, a pre-recorded holographic message of the old woman appears, who Tenmyouji identifies as Akane Kurashiki, the woman he had been promised. Akane explains that she and Zero Sr. developed the Nonary project in order to train Sigma and Phi to transport their consciousnesses through time. When the message ends, they return to the AB rooms but Sigma and Phi fall unconscious and wake up before the beginning of the game, inside the elevator. They escape the elevator and subdue Dio before he can kill Akane. Akane then explains that the element of danger throughout the game was necessary to speed up one's brain in order to transport one's consciousness through time, and each participant was infected with Radical-6 to amplify this increase. The Nonary Game was also designed to force Sigma and Phi to experience and jump between multiple timelines, training them to retain the information learned in each timeline. Sigma and Phi's consciousnesses are then returned to the present, where they awake to find everyone has cooperated to acquire enough points to escape.
The remaining participants then proceed to the next set of puzzle rooms. As Sigma, Phi, and Tenmyouji complete their room, this uncovers a holographic message of the old woman Tenmyouji has been looking for, Akane Kurashiki. Akane explains that she and Zero Sr. developed the Nonary project to train Sigma and Phi to transport their consciousnesses through time. This occurs shortly thereafter, and this time, they subdue Dio before he can kill Akane. Akane explains that the game's dangerous elements were necessary to speed up one's brain to transport one's consciousness through time, and each participant was infected with Radical-6 to amplify this increase. The Nonary Game was designed so Sigma and Phi could experience multiple timelines and retain what they learn in each one. Sigma and Phi's consciousnesses are then returned to the present, where they find everyone has cooperated to acquire enough points to escape.
- A message by definition is previously recorded, and I don't think it matters that Tenmyouji is the one to identify her.
- The part about Sigma and Phi falling unconscious only to wake up back in time is written vaguely, though it's clear this is what happens, so I think making it clear to the reader about this instead of doing it in a round-about way is better.
- Similarly, I don't think we need to know that they were back in the elevator. The next sentence makes it clear they stop Dio from killing Akane, and that can only happen if they were still in the facility, which they cannot escape at this point.
- Furthermore, the phrase "before the beginning of the game" is problematic. It is of my understanding from reading the plot that the game had already begun by the time Sigma and Phi had been placed in the elevator, since they had to escape it as part of the game to meet the other participants. I opted to write this as "This occurs shortly thereafter, and this time, they subdue Dio before he can kill Akane." because this makes it clear that they traveled back in time, but they have to still be in the facility, or else they wouldn't be able to stop Dio, since we already know that he killed Akane in the facility.
- A couple extraneous words were removed: "in order to" was changed to just "to" and "also" was removed for grammatical reasons.
- The part about what the Nonary game was designed for was condensed, making it less wordy while still retaining the information.
- "awake to" was removed from the last sentence; they have to be awake to see that everyone has acquired enough points to escape.
I've already managed to get it to just under 800 words at this point without even condensing the final two paragraphs, but there should still be room for improvement with those.--十八 00:49, 20 October 2015 (UTC) As for paragraph 4:
The group leaves the facility and emerges in a desert landscape. Quark and Tenmyouji reveal that the facility is actually on the surface of the Moon, that the current year is 2074, and that most of humanity was killed by Radical-6 after it was unleashed by Free the Soul from a Mars mission test site in 2028. Sigma urges the group to go back into the facility to find Akane, and they discover a cold sleep pod. K explains that he grew up in the facility with Zero Sr. and Akane, and each person was brought to the facility to recreate all the events that the two had previously experienced. Some individuals, abducted in 2028, were placed in cold sleep until the Nonary Game began. The pod then opens, revealing a clone of Sigma inside, which in turn reveals that Akane was participating in the game all along disguised as K. Depending on the timeline the player was experiencing, which determines whether or not Akane was rescued from Dio, either Sigma's clone or Akane was occupying K's armor, a quantum superposition.
The group leaves the facility and emerges in a desert landscape on the Moon. The year is 2074 and most of humanity was killed by Radical-6 after it was unleashed by Free the Soul from a Mars mission test site in 2028. Back in the facility, they find discover a cold sleep pod. K explains that he grew up in the facility with Zero Sr. and Akane, and each person was brought to the facility to recreate the events that the two had previously experienced. Some were abducted in 2028 and placed in cold sleep until the Nonary Game began. The pod opens to reveal a clone of Sigma, who reveals that K is actually Akane in disguise. Depending on whether or not Dio murdered Akane in a given timeline, either Sigma's clone or Akane was occupying K's armor, a quantum superposition.
- We don't need to know who revealed that they're on the Moon; the fact is, that's where they are. Similarly, it is sufficient to just state the facts about the year and the fact of humanity.
- Do we need to know why they go back into the facility?
- Some further condensing, and removing the need for multiple commas in one sentence.
- "Depending on the timeline the player was experiencing, which determines whether or not Akane was rescued from Dio," can be condensed into "Depending on whether or not Dio murdered Akane in a given timeline," since the latter part of dependent on the first part.
And finally, paragraph 5:
In the game's conclusion, Akane reveals that Sigma had jumped from his body in 2028 to his older self in 2074, and he himself had developed the Nonary project in the intervening time, confirming his identity as Zero. Sigma's clone, named Kyle, was created by Sigma as a spare in case his own body was damaged. Akane clarifies that the chief goal of the Nonary project was to transport both Sigma and Phi's consciousnesses, with all their future knowledge, back to 2028 in order to prevent Radical-6 from escaping, and Dio sought to prevent this goal. Akane then attacks Phi and Sigma, transporting their consciousnesses to 2029. In the game's epilogue, Sigma spends the next 45 years developing the Nonary project, while Phi is kept in cold sleep. In 2074, Sigma and Phi jump back to 2028 and infiltrate the Mars mission test site. The events inside the test site remain unknown to the player.
Akane explains that Sigma, as Zero, had developed the Nonary project after jumping from 2028 to 2074. Sigma created his clone, named Kyle, as a spare in case his body was damaged. The chief goal of the Nonary project was to transport Sigma's and Phi's consciousnesses, with all their future knowledge, to 2028 to prevent the Radical-6 pandemic; Dio sought to prevent this goal. Akane then attacks Phi and Sigma, transporting their consciousnesses to 2029. Sigma spends the next 45 years developing the Nonary project, while Phi is kept in cold sleep. In 2074, Sigma and Phi jump back to 2028 and infiltrate the Mars mission test site. The events inside the test site remain unknown to the player.
- I think it's obvious that we've come to the game's conclusion, so you don't need to point it out.
- The next sentence I had some trouble understanding. If Sigma jumped from 2028 to 2074, how could he develop the project in the intervening time? Shouldn't he be in 2074? It makes more sense that he would have jumped from 2074 back to 2028 and developed the project in the intervening time, so what am I missing here?
- Some condensing, and turning passive voice "was created by Sigma" into active voice "Sigma created".
- The next sentence is kind of a run on, so I opted for a semi-colon between the Radical-6 pandemic, and Dio's motive.
- Again, we don't need to tell the player that this is the epilogue.
By my count, that now brings the total word count to 722, and with some further edits, could easily bring it down a little more to 700, but for now, that's a big improvement from the original 960.--十八 01:33, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
- Done For all three paragraphs. There were a couple of things I was a little on the fence about, but after looking over them again, I think they read just fine. If your still confused about the time jumping business in the final paragraph, don't worry, I'm pretty sure that it was meant to be confusing for the player anyway. But I'll try to do a better job at explaining that. Other than that, THANK YOU SO MUCH! Seriously, this was exactly what the story section needed, and now it looks like the article is on it's way for GA, and possibly even an FAN (though a lot more work has to be done fixing the prose for the latter to happen). Famous Hobo (talk) 21:21, 20 October 2015 (UTC)