Creator Shu Takumi Testifies on Ace Attorney Writing Process
Posted by Tim Latshaw
And how the popularity of a certain prosecutor shook things up
In honor of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy being announced for the 3DS eShop later this year, Official Nintendo Magazine has published its full interview with series creator Shu Takumi on its website.
The interview is a meaty read for Ace Attorney fans, offering plenty of insight into Takumi's methods. He reveals that the first Phoenix Wright title was his first foray into scenario writing, and the character of Phoenix developed rather organically based on Takumi's own thoughts and feelings:
As a first-time writer, I neither thought about developing characterisation before writing the story, nor had the capability to do so. I wrote without thinking too much about it, which means that the things Phoenix says are pretty much what I would say in those situations and his way of thinking is very close to mine.
It's safe to say that Takumi went into the second Ace Attorney title, Justice for All, with more experience under his belt. However, he also had to deal with audience reaction to the original game, and the way fans took to the smooth, gentlemanly prosecutor Miles Edgeworth resulted in a large change of plans mid-write to save Phoenix's rival some face:
The stories for that title as I originally wrote them all featured Edgeworth as the prosecutor. However, during development of the second game, the first one was released and it became clear that Edgeworth was an extremely popular character with fans of the game.
This made me wonder if, given that Edgeworth was supposed to be such a brilliant prosecutor, it wouldn't be rather sad to have him lose case after case to Phoenix. This prompted me to create a new rival prosecutor character in the form of Franziska von Karma. Of course, this meant that I had to rewrite most of the dialogue in the game completely.
Capcom did not allot a budget for professional voice acting for the trilogy, leaving the staff to record the lines themselves. Takumi served as the voice of Phoenix in the Japanese version of the game, but an amusing sidenote is how Hideki Kamiya, the outspoken director of The Wonderful 101 and the Bayonetta series, landed the Japanese voice of the mysterious prosecutor Godot in Trials and Tribulations:
As for Kamiya, we joined the company at roughly the same time and our desks were near each other, too, so ever since the second Ace Attorney title he'd been pestering me to let him do one of the voices. I eventually relented and offered him the part of Godot. In the recording studio, I explained the character to him as a hard-boiled kind of guy and he took that on board and decided to adapt the dialogue, shouting out, "Objection, baby!" It was a good take, but the in-game graphic just says, "Objection," so we couldn't use it.
The rest of ONM's interview is well worth reading, with Takumi waxing on sidekicks and managing tutorials. Potential spoilers have even been pushed to the final page of the interview, so it's safe for first-timers who are thinking of getting their hands on the trilogy later this year.