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Ace Attorney Series Writer Shu Takumi On The Trials & Tribulations Of Writing A Trilogy


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Recently, Capcom Unity posted a blog post for the release of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4, written by series creator Shu Takumi, and talking about the hardships he went through while writing the games.


On writing the original Ace Attorney:

Shu Takumi, series creator: “To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have a lot of video game story writing experience when I initially came up with the first game’s design document in the summer of 2000. So, you could say that everything was difficult and a challenge for me back then. I’m often asked if I had the entire narrative for the trilogy mapped out in my head from the very beginning, but it was nothing of the sort. In fact, we weren’t even planning to make a sequel at the time, so I’d spent all of my energy focused on creating a single, self-contained story for the first game.”


On writing Justice for All:

Takumi: “The decision to make a sequel was handed down to us around the time we were wrapping up the first game. In fact, we were told, “Why not make it a trilogy?” This… really stressed me out, personally, because I’d just spent all of my ideas on the first game. But a part of me also wanted to take advantage of this great opportunity and write a new story, so for the second game, I focused my attention on that which I had mostly left on the back burner in the first game: the dramatic elements. I wrote a narrative centered around a community that’s steeped in an ancient tradition, and another story about a ragtag bunch of circus performers who come together as a troupe in the end. It was through tales like these, in addition to each case’s big mystery, that I was able to give the characters more depth and the second game’s stories a different feel from the first game.”


On writing Trials & Tribulations:

Takumi: “Finishing the second game, we immediately started on making the third, and this time, I really used up every last idea I had. Even knowing that I’d have to make an “Ace Attorney 3,” I wasn’t clever enough to save some ideas for later when we were making the second game. In fact, I had originally wanted to use the outline of the last episode of “Justice For All” as the basis for the final episode of the third game. The theme of “What are lawyers really supposed to protect?” would’ve made for a good story to end the series on, I thought. But since I’d already used that theme in the second game and I couldn’t come up with another good narrative related to that theme, I was really at a loss as to how to conclude the last episode of the third game. I had an especially tough time with how the characters were going to bring the culprit to justice. After all, due to the culprit’s “unique nature,” there was no way for the protagonists to do it the normal way through the legal system. But humans are strange creatures, and the more stress we are placed under, the more likely we are to come up with something. I managed to finish the story eventually, and when I turned around to take a look back over it all, I found myself in a place that the younger me from the year 2000 could never have imagined.”


You can read the full blog post here.


The first three Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games originally appeared on the Game Boy Advance in Japan. They then appeared on the Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Apple iOS devices worldwide. They will come to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on April 9, 2019 in North America and Europe on April 9, 2019 as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy. They are already available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in Japan, with physical copies available for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

Alistair Wong
Very avid gamer with writing tendencies. Fan of Rockman and Pokémon and lots more!