Monday, October 3, 2016

Gyakuten Saiban Blog Entry 21: The Final Episode (1) (2001)

Title: The Final Episode (1) / 「最終話 (1)」
Source: Gyakuten Saiban official site (down)

Summary: In the twentieth blog entry for the original Game Boy Advance release of Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney GBA), Takumi talks about the final episode in the game: Turnabout Goodbyes. Earlier in the development process, he hit upon the idea to make the episodes interconnected (thanks to advice by a certain team member), but now he actually had to write the final episode that would get everything together. The problem was that he had no ideas whatsover left for this final murder mystery. A somewhat lucky news item however would turn into one of the defining moments ot eh game.

The Final Episode (1)

(I will talk about the trick behind this story again. Please read this column after completing the game).

It was while I was working on Turnabout Tonosaman (Turnabout Samurai), when I was getting to the good part of the final trial part, when I finally had to face reality. The final episode… all I had prepared for that was an empty idea notebook. The only thing I had decided on was the outline of the story surrounding the defendant.

Luckily, I thought of an idea for a murder on a lake while I was writing the plot of Tonosaman. So I used that and started working on plotting the last episode.

Turnabout Goodbyes
. I had to resolve all the hints and foreshadowing I had left at random in the previous episodes and make it all come together. If I couldn’t get this focal point right, all the trouble I went through would’ve been for nothing. It would have resulted in the most awful and pitiful failure of a game. During the day I’d be writing Tonosaman, at night I’d desperately work on the structure of the final episode…

The fragments of the story I had in my mind were heading towards a point that only meant more trouble. In this story, a photograph of the lake would serve as a piece of evidence…so that meant I needed a photographer…. A photographer and a lake, that could only mean a mysterious monster…. A mysterious monster in a lake: that too would need a story behind that…

Once I started thinking about it, I couldn’t help myself but decide I'd need a mysterious monster in my story. But in realistic terms, I needed to write this thing within three days, or I wouldn’t be able to make it! But the story was still a mess. I didn’t even had a trick for the monster. I also didn’t know how to connect all the ideas I had for the trial parts together. A real crisis. I was sweating bullets like Naruhodō (Phoenix Wright).

…I wonder if you all still remember this? I once told you that it happened twice during the writing process of the scenario that my mind would be blinded by a bright spark, and that the next moment, an idea I had never considered before, would suddenly make its way in my mind in a complete form.

That is what happened. Amidst the chaos, in my final and greatest pinch, that second miracle resolved all of my problems for me.

What started it was an amusement program on television. It was a corner that introduced funny news from all over the world, and they talked about a certain incident. A ○○○ flew 70 meters through the sky with a big bang, and flew through the window of a home…. That was funny. It was definitely funny, but it made me think…

A “bang” and “flight”. These two keywords gave my brain a strange nudge. The next moment, a flash in my mind! … I had solved the problem of the monster. It didn’t take long to connect all the parts into one story. The “bang” connected to a “gunshot”, and that lead to “the machine hooked up to the camera” and “the testimony of Yahari (Larry Butz)”.  And if I’d use that one thing to find the evidence for that, I could make the perfect hint for that one final scene.

My heart was pounding. I could really feel that I had something good here. No doubts about it.

Turnabout Goodbyes. I had been really lucky and I could finally start writing the story with more confidence than I ever had. I’d finally start my final journey towards the conclusion.

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