Level 5 and Capcom held a Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney showing at the Tokyo Game Show, which brought Level 5 CEO, Akihiro Hino, and Capcom director, Shuu Takumi, together to discuss the game before a very large crowd. You can watch this below in Japanese, but we’ve noted the important bits of information down in English.
According to the two creators, they wanted to try something completely new with this game. Hino stated that it was a collaboration as big a celebration as having a movie created for either of the two series. Takumi felt that the idea of a collaboration, where the main characters from both series work together and work against each other, is something they’d never seen before.
Hino had been the one to originally bring the idea to Takumi. When Level 5 had originally started creating Professor Layton, the series they had studied and decided they needed to surpass was the Ace Attorney series. Hino even confessed to being something of a fan; he really wanted Layton to be able to join arms with Phoenix and stand up against a “big boss”. This is, of course, in addition to them fighting against each other, as the “vs.” in the title implies.
In addition to having a surge of nostalgia writing Phoenix’s lines, Takumi aimed to make the game in a world where magic still existed; he said that the development team had to work hard to create a gothic-styled game. This is represented down to the style of the “witch trials,” which, unlike the style in Ace Attorney, are called “Mob Trials.”
In this ominous-sounding setting, Phoenix and Layton have to deal with entire teams of witnesses at once, each shouting things like, “I saw it!” and “I saw it, too!” and “Let me talk!”
It is a very chaotic world, which is expected of the medieval setting. This style of trial is said to irritate even the normally cool-headed Layton. Hino stated that they purposely wanted to produce the game this way. Because both of the lead characters are intellectuals, they had to find something that would puzzle both of them.
A few of the game’s character were introduced during the showing, too. The girl seen running away from the witch hunt is Mahoune. The leader of the hunt, the investigator, is a Sir Jiiken Barthlord, seen donning a full suit of armor and brandishing a sword in one of the screenshots. He is intended to be a medieval-styled rival for both the protagonists. On the side, Hino noted that the naming sense with its many puns really made the game feel like an entry in the Ace Attorney series (“Mahou” means magic, and “Jiken” means a case; as in a murder case).
The visuals for the game are surprisingly suitable. Phoenix apparently made the transition to 3D fairly easily (Layton, on the other hand, had already made his great dimensional leap in Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracles, the fifth game in the series on the 3DS). Takumi himself acknowledged that he had had doubts about the transformation, but upon seeing it, felt that it suited the defense lawyer perfectly.
Of course, adjustments needed to be made to both characters. Hino seemed to be especially concerned with Layton’s abnormal growth spurt (as well as his lengthened silk hat), and Takumi replied that Phoenix had to be shrunk a bit, too.
Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney is a game that celebrates both series. It is projected for release in 2012; however, before then, there are two promotional events planned. One is the Level 5 private show, Level 5 World 2011, held this October 15 and 16th in Tokyo, where guests can finally experience the game firsthand.
The other is something temporarily called the “Phoenix Wright 10th Anniversary Memorial Courtroom.” More details on it will be released on the official site on October 12.