Has anyone here finished Zero Escape? Just like with 999 it's taking a little time to wrap my head around the ending. I found the creator's interview Q&A for 999 last year and that helped me with the storyline and the paradoxes a lot, but I haven't found anything as helpful for Virtue's Last Reward yet.
I can wrap my head around the the idea of Sigma's old consciousness and young consciousness swapping places and rotating back and forth on a circuit and the need for it so he can go back and save the world, and I can understand the need for the game and a life and death situation and training his brain in order to develop the ability to jump back in time. What I can't understand is the very first timeline before any time jumping took place. The world went to hell and Sigma decided to do something about it, (with the suggestion of Akane perhaps?), he goes to the moon and makes a clone and works on the AB game. But how do they accomplish the very first jump that makes Old Sigma's consciousness and Young Sigma's consciousness in the past trade places? The whole point of the AB game is to train Young Sigma to be capable of such a jump, and it has to be young sigma's consciousness playing the game and experience the life and death situation. So how do they play the very first AB game in the original timeline before any of the consciousness trading was put into effect?
I suppose this can be answered similarly to the same paradox you have to accept in 999. How did Akane survive the first Nonary game as a child? Because of the help of Junpei in the future Nonary game, which Akane helped design so that she wouldn't die in the past. Very hard to accept, but a fun brain teaser nonetheless. I guess you can say the same thing about Virtue's Last Reward. Phi volunteers to go to the moon and play in the AB game because she did before in the future, and Young Sigma and Old Sigma switch consciousnesses in the end and start the rotation all over again in an attempt to save the world, because those events are necessary to complete the circle of the timeline, even if there is no clear starting point.