Zero Reverse was an effect caused by Roman Goodwin overloading the Ener-D system 17 years prior to Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's pilot episode. The result of the system overloading was a massive blast of dark energy hitting the earth, causing a huge tectonic shift that tore Satellite away from New Domino. A channel was opened, leading to the underworld where the Earthbound Immortals had been sealed, meaning they could spread their influence over the Signers.
It was later revealed as a plot by Yliaster to destroy all traces of the Ener-D, saying it was a mistake of human evolution. They also tried to destroy New Domino in an event similar to the Zero Reverse using a device known as the Ark Cradle. In the future that Yliaster hails from, another, more powerful disaster occurs with a more advanced Ener-D reactor, only this time it destroys most of the world.
It is revealed over the course of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's that the people at the head of Kaiba Corporation's R.R.D. were Yusei Fudo's parents, and were both killed during the Zero Reverse Effect. The man who leads the Dark Signers, Roman, was involved in the project, along with his brother Rex Goodwin who were assitants on the program. Later, Roman tells Yusei and company that Professor Fudo, Yusei's father, had concerns about how the reactor was working as the system was quite unstable, and requested that the program be shut down. He was refused by the sponsors.
With Professor Yudo refusing to cooperate, the research control was handed over to Roman, and he was made the new head developer. This led to the Zero Reverse incident as Roman at the time was one of the Signers, but he had chosen to take the path of darkness, meaning he chose to become a Dark Signer. But in order to be reborn as one, Roman overloaded the system, ultimately causing the entire disaster.
The incident also led to the seperation of New Domino from Satellite, with Satellite being severely damaged by the huge release of energy. The general public was told that the events had been caused by a natural disaster, to cover up the true cause. One of the R.R.D. leaders survived and went on to lead the Public Security bureau. The story was created by them, with them taking as many measures as possible to ensure no one would discover the true cause.