Kotaro Uchikoshi, the director of the Zero Escape series (999: Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors, Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, Zero Time Dilemma) and AI: The Somnium Files, has asked fans an important question: Is Snake, one of Zero Escape’s most beloved characters, gay?
On Feb. 14, the director posted the question along with a poll on Twitter. He had retweeted art of Alice from Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward that was fairly unsafe for work, leading fans to tease him in his mentions. It wasn’t long before fans banded together to tease him even more by asking him if Snake is gay. After liking a funny tweet about the situation, he tweeted a poll and asked, “Do you think Snake is a gay?”
Do you think Snake is a gay?
— Kotaro Uchikoshi Eng (@Uchikoshi_Eng) February 14, 2021
As of the writing of this article, the poll has accumulated over 23,000 votes in 12 hours, which honestly isn’t unexpected. 999: Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors is a masterpiece in video game storytelling, so I’m firmly against elaborating on the specifics of why Snake is so popular in the Zero Escape fandom. But just know that he is a fairly beloved character. And, while Uchikoshi has certainly presented this question in a fun way, many fans have wondered this very question for a long while.
The Zero Escape games aren’t devoid of queerness, and it’s something Uchikoshi has been open about for many years. He has heavily implied several times that Santa, another popular character from 999: Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors, is bisexual or pansexual. As they stand in the 1st class cabin serving as an escape room, Snake famously tells protagonist Junpei: “I cannot help but notice your interest in the bed. Perhaps you are hoping we will spend time on it, together.”
Last year, Junpei’s English voice actor seemingly revealed that Junpei is bisexual. “Happy Pride!” he tweeted on June 28. “My beautiful baby boy Junpei is bi, but since the game is set in the future- it’s kind of glossed over because nobody gives a shit, which can only mean homophobic bigots are currently going extinct. You are loved! #zeroescape.” He went on to clarify in the replies that he cannot speak for Uchikoshi. However, his recordings for another game in the series prompted him to ask the localization team about the subject. “Will die on this hill if need be,” he said. And while a character’s voice actor can’t speak for a series’ creator, it’s at the least a headcanon with some weight to it.
— snow @ GAY SNAKE POLL? (@_keycrash) February 14, 2021
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I’ve been a dedicated fan of Uchikoshi’s work for over a decade now, and have become familiar with his writing, sense of humor, and — perhaps most importantly — willingness to create chaos. As a result, I can’t say I’m surprised he would become the first series creator I know who leaves one of his characters’ sexuality open to a Twitter poll. From another creator, it might come across as questionable or even poor taste. And it can’t be said Uchikoshi has never missed the mark on LGBTQ+ representation — it’s difficult to say that of anyone in general. But this is all just an extremely funny thing (one without ill intentions) to me as a queer fan of his work.
When I think of LGBTQ+ representation in Uchikoshi’s games, I often think of a specific scene in AI: The Somnium Files that went viral on Twitter.
For anyone going “Hey did the localization add this >:U???”
— cullen; B·L·M (@DrCullenPHD) September 18, 2019
In it, protagonist Date sits with Mizuki at the Snack Bar Marble as they chat with Mama, Date’s friend and the owner of the establishment. It’s the first time Mizuki meets Mama, who is non-binary and prefers feminine pronouns. Upon seeing Mizuki’s shyness, he asks Mizuki if she’s uncomfortable with gay people.
“No, not at all. I see gay people on TV all the time, so it’s not weird to me,” replies Mizuki. “The LGBTQ community is rich in sensibility, has excellent taste, and is full of talented, artistic people. And they share a common struggle… It makes them more sensitive and capable of sympathy. That’s why so many of them are kind and caring. And they choose how to live their lives on their own terms. It means they have a strong backbone. So because of all that, I really respect them. They’re even kinda cool… And that means you too, Mama!”
Anyway, although I just said I think it’s all quite lighthearted humor, I must make this clear: Snake is absolutely queer. Always has been. If you don’t believe the poll, then believe science and facts. I know them, and they say there is no way Snake is a heterosexual. You love to see it — and you should also go play the Zero Escape series if you somehow haven’t yet.