Source: Gyakuten Saiban 2 official site (down)
Summary: In the fourth column posted on the official site for the GameBoy Advance release of Gyakuten Saiban 2 (Ace Attorney 2 - Justice for All), director Takumi explains the basics of writing a mystery story, and about how hard it was coming up with the basic plots for this second game in the series, as he was given little time for writing the scenario. As always for the columns for this game, the column is followed by a backstage segment where Naruhodō (Phoenix Wright) and Mayoi (Maya Fey) comment on Takumi's column, this time revealing Takumi's rather troublesome love for the bottle.
Anyway, I had to think hard about how I’d use the three and a half months I was given. I’d need at least half a month per episode for the writing process itself, so that meant two and a half months for five episodes. That in turn meant I had about one month left to think about the plot for each of those episodes. So I had about one week per episode to come up with a plot.
One episode per week. These were some very difficult circumstances. The plot is basically the heart of the scenario, of Gyakuten Saiban itself. The most crucial and important elements of a plot are:
- the “direction” of the mystery,
- the necessary “tricks” to bring that direction to life,
- the “clues” to solve those tricks,
- a “story” to place those clues in
- and “characters” to tell that story….
…One month later.
I had thought it would be impossible, but I had somehow managed to come up with five plots. And another two and a half months later. I had thought it would impossible, but I managed to finish all five scenarios without any problems. This “original script” was six bulky folders large, each of them basically a novel. It was 1500 pages long. That was what I managed to do in three and half months.
During the plotting and writing, I also kept a daily “scenario diary.” Going through the pages now really brings up some tears. When you are concentrating on one plot, it becomes hard to really see whether an idea is amusing or not. In my diary you find fragmented, but lively descriptions of my strong anxiety and my fear etched into my mind for the approaching deadline. The driving force that allowed me to go make it to the end… was that I simply love Gyakuten Saiban.
Anyway, lately, I’m often asked how I come up stories like that. It’s a difficult question to answer, and there is no one right answer. Each episode comes from a different source, developed in different orders, and ended up at the goals in ways I could not have imagined.
I will tell you about how each of the episodes of Gyakuten Saiban 2 were made some time later in these columns. Please do your best and solve all of the cases before then.
Battlefield (2) (Backstage)
I’d need at least half a month per episode for the writing process itself, so that meant two and a half months for five episodes. That in turn meant I had one month left to think about the plot for each of those episodes. So I had about one week per episode to come up with a plot.
Mayoi: Perhaps I should try write a scenario myself. I think I’d be good at it.
Naruhodō: Try it.
Mayoi: But how do you come up with tricks?
Naruhodō: How? Think. Just think and think. And think.
Mayoi: I heard rumors that TakuShū walks around while thinking?
Naruhodō: I heard that flowers bloom wherever he walks.
Mayoi: …Wait! You haven't given me any serious answers!
Naruhodō: Hahaha, sorry. I wonder whether there is some method to come up with ideas.
Mayoi: Oh, but you often hear that people get great ideas whenever they are in the bathtub or on a stroll or just relaxing.
Naruhodō: That’s not true. I heard TakuShū say that work is not on his mind in the first place when he’s relaxing.
Naruhodō: Who’s going to take a bath or go on a stroll if they have a deadline tomorrow? You’d be like: “I need something, anything!”
Mayoi: Oh…. I might not be suited for this after all.
And another two and a half months later. I had thought it would impossible, but I managed to finish all five scenarios without any problems.
Mayoi: …So he did manage to write it all.
Naruhodō: Keep this between us, but I heard TakuShū is regretting that a bit now.
Mayoi: Regretting it?
Naruhodō: He said he did his best too much.
Naruhodō: You see, he has now proven himself that he can write that much in that period of time. But if he’ll have to work at that pace from now on, well, it’s not going to end well.
Mayoi: No, a true man shouldn’t worry about what’s ahead. Shine with everything you have at this very moment. That’s important.
Naruhodō: …Well, a candle does burn brightest just before it dies out.
Mayoi: Yep, precisely like that!
Naruhodō: I heard him say he could feel the pressing power of concentration and tension from finishing the scenario just in time oozing from himself. He was praising himself because nobody else did.
Mayoi. Hmm. But I think it’s better than having too much free time.
The driving force that allowed me to go make it to the end… was that I simply love Gyakuten Saiban.
Naruhodō: That’s what he says here, but there was another driving force at play.
Mayoi: Really? What is it, what is it?
Naruhodō: Keep this between us. It’s an absolute secret.
Mayoi: Sure, I won’t tell, I won’t.
Naruhodō: It’s his fuel. He always takes it straight just before he starts writing.
Mayoi: Wa-wait! How can he drink during work?
Naruhodō: He doesn’t drink during office hours of course. But on his days off, or when he’s not at the office or at nights, he has some.
Mayoi: Eeeeeeh! But what about the other staff members near him?
Naruhodō: You see, there he shows his cunning. For example, he’d pretend he’s having some health drink, while in fact, the contents of that bottle is…..
Mayoi: Oh. Well he’s a writer of mysteries, so he also uses tricks in his actual life.
Naruhodō: It helps him get motivated. It gets the blood pumping in his head.
Naruhodō: The more he drinks, the stronger he becomes, he says.
Naruhodō: I heard this happened on a day off.
Takumi: …. (struggling heavily with the scenario)
Division Chief: Oh, Takumi. Workin’ on Sundays?
Takumi: Ah! Chief Mikami! He-he-hello! (Visibly shaken)
Division Chief: Hm? What’s wrong. Ya don’t look good. Feelin’ bad?
Takumi: No, no, nothing wrong at all.
Division Chief: It’s not good for ya, drinkin’ all of those health drinks, ya know?
Naruhodō: He really felt caught at that time.
Mayoi: Hmm. It doesn’t look like he became any stronger. But now you have revealed it here, he won't be able to use that trick anymore.
Naruhodō: But would you believe it? Everyone had already noticed it. That TakuShū was acting suspiciously at night.
Mayoi: Of course.
Naruhodō: So now, whenever he doesn’t feel good and is slumped at work, they yell at him. “Takumi! Are you drinking again!”
Mayoi: …Nobody to blame but himself there….