Source: Gyakuten Saiban 3 official site (down)
In Short, "Irregularities"
By the time you get to work on the third title of the Gyakuten Saiban series, the overall development process has pretty much been settled. So during development, there were few big happenings. But… there was one big problem for the people in the team.
“How are we going to fit five episodes in the ROM cartridge?”
…The plot structure consisted of five episodes. It was something we had also tried with Gyakuten Saiban 2 (Ace Attorney 2 – Justice for All), but we had to give up on that. What you see is what you get, and the universe that resides in a little game cartridge is a bit small.
“This time, we won’t fail at this!”
…To be honest, the actual text of each episode, isn’t that big a problem in terms of data volume. What takes up most of the space, are the art of characters and the backgrounds… so all the graphic assets. That is why we started the project with the following question in mind, and kept fighting with it until the very end: “How can we make the most effective presentation, with the smallest possible amount of data?”
But to be honest, for me the most important is the contents of the story. I really didn’t have the time to think about anything else. So the persons who were the most jittery about this problem, were of course the people in the graphics team. Right from the earliest meetings on…
Iwamoto: You promised us you’d have fewer characters this time, right?
Takumi: Stupid, who do you think you are talking to? Of course we have fewer of them now!
Iwamoto: How do you explain this list then?!
He had bloodshot eyes as he held up a sheet of paper, with a list of all the characters, the longest list of the whole series.
Iwamoto: No “oh!”! Who do you think you think you are talking to?
Takumi: Tha-that’s strange. I’m sure I paid attention to the number of characters…
Iwamoto: You might have paid attention to the number of characters, but not to the number of variations!
Iwamoto: Like this one, their names might be the same, but they wear different clothes!
Iwamoto: No “oh!” And this one, you don’t need a younger version of this one!
Takumi: Wh-why are you saying this or that one! Just say this or that character!
Iwamoto: Don’t try to change the subject!
A hotblooded battle like you’d only see in the climax of a court scene. It really wasn’t the time to tell him I wanted to add two more characters to the last episode. But because they did their best, we somehow managed to get in all the necessary data. … I even added three, four more characters during all the chaos.
Anyway. I also had my own little problem to think about.
“How was I going to create an irregularity?”
The scariest thing that could happen to someone working on a series, is getting used to it.“Oh yeah, we did the same last year.” The moment you start to think like that, you start feel relaxed about working on the game. You can’t have that happen to you. That is why I try to have irregularities. The fact I had nothing written for the last episode by the time we started development, was also because I wanted to enjoy that feeling a little…. But it actually also led to concern. Not knowing what might come next, can in a way to stimulate you.
For the voice actors of the Gyakuten Saiban series, I always choose from the people in the company who nominate themselves for a role. There is no real audition. This also leads to irregularities.
“I'll write this character’s personality based on this person’s ‘Objection!’”
This time too, especially with Chihiro (Mia Fey), I changed the personalities and dialogue lines of the characters after recording their voices. So thanks to little moments like these, the work evolves in ways I myself had never even imagined. This are really welcome events during the development cycle. It makes you feel like you could go places you normally couldn’t reach on your own strength. Of course, I would never allow for irregularities that would lead to a quality level lower than I had imagined.
Anyway, the next time I will look back at the development of each of the five episodes. Please solve all the cases before that.