The Great Ace Attorney Director On Why They Chose To Go Back 100 Years

By Sato . April 25, 2014 . 5:33pm

Earlier in the week, we got a first look of the new Ace Attorney game taking place in 19th century Japan, and its protagonist is an ancestor of Phoenix Wright’s. During an interview with Famitsu magazine, series creator Shu Takumi talked more about the game, and the reason behind choosing Japan’s Meiji Era as its setting.


Famitsu begins the Great Ace Attorney discussion by asking Takumi to share a little bit on the concept behind the game.


“While making games, I usually think ‘to make what I currently think is the most fun thing in the best shape possible,’ which is the major premise,” replies Takumi. “This might be a bit different from the rest of the series, but our concept this time around is about making a new Ace Attorney for fans and those new to the series [as well].”


Next, Famitsu asks when Takumi began thinking about starting a new project in the series.


“When we finished Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, there were voices within the company that said ‘we’d like you to make a new Ace Attorney’ and it started out with the thought of putting together ideas we’ve had up until now.”


After that, Takumi says, it was decided that Shintaro Kojima would take on the role of the game’s producer.


“Yes. We talked about the challenge of taking on a new Ace Attorney game that is not part of its main numbered series,” says Kojima. “The base of it is still Ace Attorney, but I was interested in the new possibilities and approaches, so I decided to join.”


Famitsu asks Kojima if he has any thoughts as a producer, considering that it’ll be his first time working on the Ace Attorney series.


“I’d like to make an environment that would allow director Takumi to think of all kinds of ideas in full-swing,” responds Kojima. “While it is an Ace Attorney game, it’ll also be a new project, so while we would naturally want Ace Attorney fans to find it interesting, I also believe that it will be important to show its charm off to those who’ve yet to play an Ace Attorney game.”


It was previously mentioned that The Great Ace Attorney will be different from past games in the series, partly due to its setting. Now that we know it’s set in the 19th century, Famitsu asks how this decision came to be.


“A big part of it came from wanting to make it different from the main games,” replies Takumi. “When we first started this project, we thought about all kinds of ways as to how we could make it different from the main games. At first, we thought about having civil trials, but that would have made it difficult to show a decisive victory or defeat.”


“That would have made things about compensation instead of guilt and innocence, so in the end, we thought that [having them say] ‘court established settlement!’ would have been a bit too much,” Takumi continues with a laugh. “In the end, we kept the focus on the mystery part of it, and thought that simply changing the era would be good enough.”


Takumi concludes, “I also grew up reading classic mystery novels that were written about 100 years ago, and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to pull things out that we’ve yet to use, so we decided to go with this era.”


The Great Ace Attorney is currently in development for Nintendo 3DS.

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  • With Takumi-San at the head, this game is destined for success.
    Oh, and that moment when Maggey accurately displays your fangirling for this game.

  • Aaron K Stone

    Since they finished Prof Layton vs Ace Attorney what I want to know is whether they’ll use that games graphical style or go with much better one used in Dual Destinies.

    • Ethan_Twain

      This will look more like Dual Destinies – the crossover game made a point to try and compromise the simplicity of Professor Layton art with the more dense linework that comes from Ace Attorney’s heritage as GBA sprites.

      I actually think that Prof Layton X Ace Attorney looks pretty rad when considered in the context of the very different artistic styles it’s trying to merge, but the Ace Attorney look definitely works best for Ace Attorney. This is Capcom, they’ll be reusing the engine from AA 5. They’re cheap like that, don’t worry :)

      • Tarkovsky

        “This is Capcom, they’ll be reusing the engine from AA 5”

        And what exactly is wrong with that, especially since DD already uses a different engine from previous AA games. Creating a new engine for every new game is development suicide.

        • Ethan_Twain

          Nothing at all. I think that reusing the AA 5 engine for future 3DS releases in the franchise is the right decision. AA 5 looked pretty good!

          Doesn’t change the fact that Capcom is cheap and would reuse the AA 5 engine for this even if it wasn’t a good decision. They’re reliable in their stinginess.

          • Tarkovsky

            Wait I still don’t get it. How exactly is it cheap when every major game company only has one internal game engine per generation. It’s highly unlikely that a scenario you described would happen as Capcom would use their latest engine regardless as long as the hardware permits it.

            Since the introduction of MT Framework for the Xbox 360 and PS3, they’ve not had a single internally developed game running on a PS2 or Gamecube era engine. And this trend will continue with PS4 and Xbox One games running on Phanta Rhei.

            If they really wanted to be “stingy”, they could just scrap R&D for in-house engines and license Unreal instead. So much cheaper that way.

          • Ethan_Twain

            You don’t have a lot of Mega Man history do you? Capcom is NOTORIOUS for releasing sequel after sequel in a franchise using the same engine and assets just with remixed level designs and new bosses. Mega Man, Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero, Mega Man Battle Network, Mega Man Star Force, the Ace Attorney Trilogy…

            Capcom likes to make a game for specific platforms, and then to make super cheap sequels to that game on the same platforms by reusing not just the engine but assets and gameplay as well. This is a pattern. So when somebody starts worrying “Oh my, I sure hope that the second Ace Attorney game on the 3DS uses the same engine as the first” I just laugh.

            Don’t worry, it’ll use the same engine. If we’re lucky that’s all it’ll reuse. But you betcha that if there’s an opportunity to reuse character models or environments they’ll do that too. This is what Capcom does – they’re cheap.

            When I say cheap it’s not a condemnation, it’s just a statement of fact. No other developer has the years of experience in making barely iterative quick sequels that Capcom does.

          • Tarkovsky

            Look. You obviously don’t know how games are made. There’s a huge huge difference between reusing assets and reusing an engine. Both are standard in the entire games industry. I’m not denying that Capcom has never reused assets but using the same engine, MT Framework, is in no way “cheap”.

            If you want to say that they’re cheap for reusing assets then go ahead. But cheap for using the same engine? That’s just plain ignorant. A game engine is created to develop all sorts of games in a single generation. Capcom can use the MT Framework engine as many times as they want until they feel a need to develop a new one when a new generation comes. That’s where the new Phanta Rhei engine comes into play.

            Assets are character models, textures, music, environments and etc. They are also, to an extent, commonly reused by many game devs especially textures and various environmental elements. One is not going to model every single tree from scratch is he? Also, in larger games like Skyrim, LA Noire and GTA, NPCs all come from a base model that are just slightly tweaked. This is obviously to cut costs but if you want to call it “cheap” then sure I guess.

            And like I said. If they really wanted to be “cheap”, they would not be developing an internal in house engine at all. Why waste the R&D money when you can just license Unity or Unreal.

            And with regards to rereleasing games, plenty of companies do that. I don’t get why you’re only singling out Capcom. Also, I don’t get why you’re so angry when you are in no way forced to purchase any of the games you mentioned. If you already have the original AA trilogy, are Capcom forcing you to buy that collection? No. The collection is clearly aimed at people who have never played the game but own a 3DS. But hey if you want to get angry at such a trivial thing than feel free to do so.

        • Zoozbuh

          I actually hope they re-use the engine from Dual Destinies… It’s such a gorgeous and smooth-looking game, and it was a shame the story (in my opinion) wasn’t quite up to par with the presentation. It almost felt ‘wasted’, if I want to be really harsh. But re-using those glitzy graphics for a Shu Takumi-written adventure? My fingers are crossed xD

          • Tarkovsky

            There’s actually an extremly chance that TGAA will look different from DD for better of course. I’d think Takumi would want to go in another direction as it is a a start of a new trilogy. In fact, I think I’d be weird if the new game had the exact same art direction as DD. All of this is just speculation of course. I could be totally wrong.

  • Xmas Lopez

    I, for one, would have loved an Ace Attorney game that focused on civil trials. There are some pretty wacky civil suits out there and it’d be super fun to be a part of it.

    • Tom_Phoenix

      Agreed. I love murder mysteries as much as anyone else, but I wouldn’t mind more variety in the types of cases, especially since recent games have been taking steps to mix things up in that regard (PLvsAA had an assault case while AA5 had a bombing case).

      • Haganeren

        I remember AA3 had a thief case too… And i was a little disappointed it resulted on a murder at the end.

    • katamari damacy

      Civil trials don’t have that dramatic element of liberty at stake like criminal trials. You lose a civil trial, you pay up. You lose a criminal trial, you goto jail.
      But civil suits have awesome fact patterns. Sometimes they’re so bizarre they give criminal trials a run for their money.

  • Raine

    I hope there’s a 19th century Godot.

    • DragKudo

      Blind swordsman?

    • Barrylocke89


    • Lusankya

      Personally I hope there won’t be any other ancestors of known characters besides Phoenix. If all other characters are going to be just past versions of the usual suspects then why change the setting in the first place?

      • linkenski

        I have to agree. The best thing would be to have a new cast of characters that stand completely well on their own, and that they won’t get overshadowed by… say “Maya’s great great great grandmother” who was the first spirit medium or something.

        If Apollo Justice would’ve been able to get made without Phoenix Wright in it, then it might have been a much better game in the end.

      • fawzowz

        *cough* that… Judge

      • Zoozbuh

        Also, if there are loooads of ancestors, the localisation will become even MORE unlikely. I can see them getting away with saying “Phoenix’s ancestor happened to be Japanese” but using the same excuse for multiple characters? Not so much…

  • Audie Bakerson

    Can we have a murder on a train?

    • DeadLineDance

      You, I like how you think.

    • Agatha Christie was a master when it came to train mysteries, so no one for me can top her stories with train murders. I’d like more locked room mysteries coz I’m a sucker for them.

      • Ritsuioko23

        locked rooms are the bomb, I agree

  • Honestly, I am a little disappointed that Takumi figured a change of setting was good enough for doing something different. I mean there’s no doubt in my mind this will be great, but knowing he isn’t confident in covering “less exciting” areas of the law is a little disheartening. Maybe I’m biased because I study/work in the field, but you don’t necessarily need murder stakes to make the law interesting! You can get a lot of drama out of almost any dispute, civil cases especially can give some very interesting insight into humanity. But Takumi is a mystery guy, so I guess I can understand him not wanting to get too far out of his comfort zone in that sense.

    • Gemlit

      It all depends on how great the writing is. Besides, I feel that in order to continue the series, one must travel back in time to create new stuff to further branch out the series. I think that this is what they’re doing.

  • Buitronthecrazy .

    i know the real reason why they went back 100 years:
    “because we wanted to fuck up the USA localization team.”

    • Anthony Hadow

      Hopefully we get Ace Attorney 123 but that hasn’t been announced either. That would really help me get into the series.

      • If you got an iPad, the trilogy is already ported there. Better than nothing at the moment.

      • keithmaxx

        The AceAttorney123 out now has both Jap and Eng texts. Why not get that?

    • linkenski

      Or rather because: “Fuck the US localization team!”

      They were gonna release it digital and english only either way!

    • Gemlit

      I think it’s because they want to.

    • Ric Vazquez

      I like this reason, time to stop westernizing the franchise so much.

    • fairysun

      Well, they can always choose not to localize it.
      I think one of the reason why 2nd Ace Attorney:Investigation(or 2nd DLC of Dual Destinies) is not localized is because they have a lot of Japanese-culture that do not make sense if it is translated into other culture.
      Of course this route will not end nicely.

    • Augusto Peres

      I wonder what the real thoughts of the creation team about the location team… I Mean nobody nowaday accept this kind of “localization” that looks more like xenophobia

  • Invisbin

    Always murder trials :(

    • God

      Is that a bad thing? And wasn’t the first trial of Dual Destinies about a bomb?

      • Invisbin

        That ended in a death. I’m just a little bummed that everything ends in a murder. I wanna see some thefts! KIDNAPPINGS!

        • SMT

          Well we technically had theft (3-2) and kidnapping (2-4), they just weren’t the main issue… (Both are brilliant cases BTW)

          • Invisbin

            My problem is that there’s not enough of these cases.

        • God

          Maybe, but then we’d need a new lawyer, and i don’t want to part ways with Phoenix yet…

        • Andrew Boyce

          Objection! No one died from the bomb. Only one man was injured: Apollo Justice.

    • s07195

      Case 1 of Layton vs Phoenix.

  • The Gyakuten Saiban game universe!!

    Wonder will there be any crossover in the future?
    Spiritual encounters, age old feuds that carry on to present day, secret ancient rituals that carry on to present day, time travel?

    Layton got his son and Naruhodo got his ancestor :P

  • Tarkovsky

    I foresee lots of butthurt fans when the game eventually releases because of how different the systems are going to be. You get it with every game series trying to go in a different direction.

    • Invisbin


  • shuyai

    but at that time period we dont have DNA testing, fingerprint and other scientific examination method so doesnt that mean it is all theory and no evidence? thats the problem i have with detective novel, the murderer always confess when exposed with circumstantial evidence, if it was me i will just say “nope talk to my lawyer”

    • Lusankya

      Well, Wikipedia says: “Since the late nineteenth century, fingerprint identification methods
      have been used by police agencies around the world to identify suspected
      criminals as well as the victims of crime.”

      So maybe they also used it in Japan back then. In addition there are plenty of other ways to convict a suspect.

      • shuyai

        The use of Fingerprint by itself is very limited as evidence. conviction that time are almost purely depend on witness testimony which is why it will be extremely difficult to prosecute someone especially if they are rich and powerful. there are no way to prosecute them unless they kill in broad daylight.

        but meh this is a game so it will all work out

  • Mugiwara

    Wonder what will be he’s “power”… Phoenix had the Magatama, Apollo the Perceive, Athena Mood Matrix and Miles haad his logic. :D

  • Nirun Rangraengjit

    Spoilers: The Steel Samurai and Evil Magistrate ARE REAL

    • J_Joestar

      but what of the Pink Princess?

    • I bet there will be a Kabuki take on the Steel Samurai show. And it will be epic!

  • Ric Vazquez

    The concept just screams greatness.

  • Slayven19

    I see ingrid symbol in that artwork.

  • wahyudil

    as long it will be localized, everything doesn’t matter

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