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gdc 2018

The Danganronpa Team's Take On The Survival RPG With Zanki Zero Is Zany And Fascinating

by Brian Shea on Mar 23, 2018 at 12:00 PM

The team behind Danganronpa is making a new survival RPG called Zanki Zero: Last Beginning. The title was previously only announced for Japan, but Spike Chunsoft has confirmed the game is coming to U.S. and Europe.

An apocalyptic event has wiped out humanity. Only eight clones remain on the abandoned planet, each one representing the seven deadly sins (the remaining clone represents the original sin). The clones have various specialties ranging from editor to doctor to florist. These clones only live for 13 days. During this time, the clones go from a young child to an elderly person at a remarkable rate. When the 13 days are over (or enough damage is done to the clone), they die. However, using the Extend Machine, new versions of that clone can be created, and the new versions retain all the skills and memories of the former version.

As the clones age, they acquire new strengths and weaknesses. For example, as a young child you don't have a ton of strength, but you recover stamina more quickly, so your abilities aren't on as long of a cooldown. As your clones age, they aren't able to carry as much. If a clone dies while exploring, you can return home and re-clone them using the Extend Machine. They begin life again as a young child, but with resistance to whatever killed them. This mechanic allows for a morbid kind of collection minigame as you attempt to see all the different ways for your clones to die. Deaths can occur in many ways, from being killed while exploring to eating something a clone is allergic to.

The end goal of the game is to perfect the cloning process so that clones can live full human lifespans and gain the ability to reproduce to rebuild humanity. Using a television show called Extend TV, the retro-style anime hosts give you darkly humorous hints on how to progress further in the game.

As you earn resources and money, you can upgrade the various parts of your house. Upgrading the kitchen allows for you to cook better food, but you can upgrade several other parts of your base as well, all of which provide functional and cosmetic upgrades.

Zanki Zero: Last Beginning feels like it has the right mix of dark humor, compelling mysteries, and fun gameplay systems. I'll be keeping my eye on it now that it's set to come to PS4 and PC in the West.