Did you know that Viggo Mortensen, the actor who played Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings movies, broke his toes on-set by kicking a helmet? The take ended up in the final cut, and Aragorn's cry of frustration, grief, and despair is made all the more real knowing that poor Viggo's toesies were probably burning in pain like the fiery pits of Mordor.
But you wouldn't know this fact unless you had watched the LOTR DVD special features, which is quite the undertaking. The movies themselves are very long, so to sit through hours and hours of extra stuff is a big ask — but it's worth it, because you can be That Guy who says "oh, this bit is where Viggo breaks his toes" when you watch it with friends.
Generally, video games don't really have the same kind of special features, since making games isn't quite as interesting to watch as making movies, and the developers aren't usually as good on-camera as professional actors. But The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles does, and it's actually one of the best parts of the game, especially this late in the Ace Attorney series.
When I first played Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, I would have been quite young, and not quite as interested in video game music, development, and concept art — in fact, I barely knew that any of those things really existed. All I really cared about was playing the game. But as the years went by, I became fascinated with the changes in the series: the detailed animations, the upgrade to 3D models, the way the soundtrack grew and deepened with each game. I wanted to know more about how the characters were designed, how the translations worked, and how on earth anyone managed to come up with the incredible theme for prosecutor Godot.
The Great Ace Attorney has a little section called "Special Contents", which at first glance looks like not much: "Accolades", which is the in-game achievements; "Gallery", which is largely concept art; "Auditorium", which is music and voice lines; "Tailor", which allows you to change the characters' outfits in the second game; "Escapades", a bunch of "short extra episodes"; and "Credits".
But dive further into the Gallery, Auditorium, and Escapades, and you'll find a treasure trove of content. Do be warned, though — the special features can potentially spoil some things, like a particular character appearing, or a voice line that they haven't said yet.
The Gallery contains scanned notes and concepts with commentary from the team, unused character designs, and a "Special Exhibit" that unlocks when you complete the game. It's also where you'll find "Moving Pictures", a bunch of promotional animated content which is well worth watching, especially as much of it was untranslated and unpublished until now. "Special Trial 2017" has Phoenix and Maya meeting Ryunosuke and Susato, and it's fantastic; "Ryunosuke Naruhodo's Seven Days of Sin" is all about Herlock Sholmes getting annoyed at Ryunosuke, and it's as weird as it is wonderful.
"From the original Japanese release of ‘Adventures’, we present two special videos that were shown exclusively at events and thirteen ‘Indictment’ and ‘Adjudication’ videos, where players voted on Ryunosuke's guilt or innocence each evening online and the results were posted the next day."
-- Capcom's description of the Moving Pictures
The Auditorium, likewise, contains not just the music and voices in the game, but the unused compositions, too, along with very brief explainers from the composers which are charmingly goofy (they use "lol" a fair bit). You'll get to see how the Ace Attorney soundtrack and audio come together, working through drafts of songs and slowly refining them to get the finished product. My personal favourite is all the scrapped versions of the iconic "dialogue typing" sounds. Who knew there were so many types of type?
Finally, there are the Escapades: eight mini-episodes which you definitely shouldn't play until you've finished the first game. They make for a nice little appetiser between the main courses of Adventures and Resolve, fleshing out a few of the main characters in each case with short, low-stakes vignettes — a nice change of pace from all the life-and-death stuff in the main story.
A small shout-out, I suppose, has to go to the "Tailor" section, too, because even though the alternative outfits are only for use in Resolve, it's rather endearing to see Sholmes solving crimes in a cute pink "Japanese jumble" ensemble. And the "Accolades" bit might be a bit odd — in-game achievements? On a Nintendo console?! Goodness me — but they are fun, especially for long-time fans who'll appreciate the award for talking about ladders.
Some of those achievements will be hard to get, of course, like the one for doing certain things in a certain order, or the one that requires you to examine every single shovel in the game, but The Great Ace Attorney at least lets you skip to certain checkpoints in each case, making it a little easier to be an achievement hunter.
Finally, one last small shout-out goes to the fact that the main menu background changes to represent the case you're currently on. It's so cool!!
I would have said that The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is worth the admission price alone for these two 30+ hour games, but the added value of all these special features is incredible. As a fan of video games, development, or just fun facts, they're unmissable, and I really hope that Special Features become more of a thing in games in general. After all, how will we ever know about the state of Mario's toes otherwise?
@thiz Sometimes it can be used as a motivator to get people to keep playing the game and find extra content they would've otherwise missed. Not sure if that applies to this game though seeing as it's a visual novel.
I’m a pretty thorough Ace Attorney player, but the achievements for playing Ace Attorney on mobile/PS4 actually got me to do some things I wouldn’t have tried before, like making mistakes in court to see all the different lunch box designs Angel Starr offered in Rise from the Ashes. It’s been amusing and a little gratifying to see the little achievements pop up in TGAAC for going out of my way to examine.
"Finally, one last small shout-out goes to the fact that the main menu background changes to represent the case you're currently on."
I literally just noticed this earlier today. Really quite tickled by my discovery. It's the little things.
My only issue with the extra content is that I'm not sure which ones are meant to be viewed after the first game versus the second one. Wouldn't be an issue if I was playing them consecutively, but I gotta take a break after the first one.
Oh well. I'll just play them after the second game.
@KateGray Just an FYI: two of the image links seem to be broken.
I'll have to take a look once I get my grubby little paws on it.
Star Wars Battle for Naboo on n64 had a very cool cheat code where, when you played a level, the developers would discuss various aspects of it. Sort of dvd ish and, I think, unique amongst n64 games.
Great Ace Attorney Chronicles has made me a fan for life. I love this game to death. And even two days ago I wouldn’t have been saying that. But is soon as I finished that first tutorial case, I was in love.
Such an amazing series. The logic makes sense to me, whereas LA Noire did not. I was constantly wrong in my assertions.
Is this the same appeal of Danganronpa? I hear they’re similar, and I know you’ve been a staunch advocate for that series as well.
Speaking as that person who informs everyone that Viggo broke his toe, no matter how many times they have watched these movies with me, what I'm hearing here is I need this game.
@JaxonH There's undeniable similarities. Both series are structured around murder mysteries. Both series typically feature segments where you investigate environments and crime scenes in order to find evidence to use in a trial. And both series feature dramatic, hours-long trials as their primary set-pieces where your characters will puzzle their way to the truth of elaborate conspiracies primarily by using evidence and logic to shoot down contradictions (quite literally SHOOTING down contradictions in Danganronpa, as you will have to use an aiming reticule to target contradictory/false statements and fire "truth bullets" at them).
There are big differences, though. Ace Attorney games typically feature much more slapstick comedy versus the dark, sometimes transgressive comedy prevalent throughout Danganronpa games. One is a send-up of/tribute to classic courtroom dramas, whereas the other is much more sci-fi/horror-inspired. And while both are adventure game series, Danganronpa leans MUCH more heavily on gameplay, as you'll be actively exploring environments, poking around for secrets, choosing characters to spend time with in order to get to know them better (think something like the social links in a Persona game), unlocking and equipping skills to use in upcoming trials, and engaging in a variety of skill-based mini-games during the trials themselves. Ace Attorney games restrict themselves to pure point-and-click gameplay, and the only thing you really have to do during trials is press people for information and submit evidence to expose contradictions.
In general, though, both series are structurally similar enough that there's probably a big overlap between the fanbases.
I wondered if my pre-order would be worth it, I'm REALLY glad I did so now! Can't wait to continue now we got the official translation! ❤️
@thiz : I think “achievements” are pretty stupid and I never understood why people clamour for them when they could be requesting new content or other improvements instead.
I am also glad that it’s not included on the Switch by default as they’re annoying enough when notifications pop up in games on PC or otherwise on a game-by-game basis.
If anything, I am generally opposed to them because they prey upon compulsive people who could find themselves wasting more than just their leisurely time, and people who feel a sense of “achievement” from such pursuits really ought to reassess their priorities.
Have yet to pick this up, but good to know that this extra content is there once I do - I'm a bit of a fan of this sort of thing for movies anyway.
@JaxonH Yes, they're similar but Danganronpa's theme is more violent. Goofy, but violent.
In Danganronpa there's also some timed sections during the trials that require quick reflexes. Luckily you can change the difficulty of those sections if you're struggling with the action.
Lastly if you like Ace Attorney and/or Danganronpa I highly recommend AI: the Somnium Files as well!
@KateGray Have you watched Double Fine Adventure? It's an amazing documentary by 2 Player Productions about making the game that eventually became Broken Age. It was an amazing experience watching the episodes "real-time" as they came out after the Kickstarter and during eventual development, but I'd say that it should hold up really well today. It's a great dive into all aspects of making a game, from design and programming to finances and studio management; you really get a feel of what it's like for a studio to make a game. Plus it is full of Tim Schafer, who is one of the funniest people alive.
@pinta_vodki Yes! Great soundtrack too!
Great feature! Thank you. In the interest of honesty I must admit I skipped through chunks of it in fear of accidentally running into plot spoilers.
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