Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Gyakuten Saiban 6 Blog Entry 5: Revealed For The First Time! The Secret of Creating Gyakuten Saiban 6's Scenario! (2016)

Title: Revealed For The First Time! The Secret of Creating Gyakuten Saiban 6's Scenario! / 「本邦初公開!逆転裁判6シナリオ作りの秘密!」
Source: Gyakuten Saiban 6 official site

Summary: This blog entry on the official site of Gyakuten Saiban 6 (Ace Attorney 6 - Spirit of Justice) was posted on June 6, 2016 and details how the scenario (story) of the game was written. Writer Fukuda, who also worked on Gyakuten Saiban 5's scenario, writes about the processes the team goes through as they first think of an overall theme for the game, and then work it out to a plot and finally write down the actual script of the game.

Revealed For The First Time! The Secret of Creating Gyakuten Saiban 6's Scenario

Fukuda here, who worked on both planning and the scenario. I was asked to write something about writing a scenario, but if I were to write about the contents of the game I'd spoil all kinds of things, so I want to write about how a scenario for Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney) is created.

I will reveal for the very first time the probably-never-before-seen secret behind how the Gyakuten Saiban 6 team creates its scenarios!

Is it really okay for me to reveal all of this?

Once the team has started on its job, the team first decides on the theme, location and setting of the whole game, under the leadership of director Yamazaki.

"What about a case set at the Olympic Games?"
"Let's have Naruhodo fight in an underground trial!"
"Let's have the victim on the witness stand as a zombie!"

We all come up with our ideas like that. It's brainstorming and we talk about our ideas without any hesitation. We don't shoot each other's ideas down, on the contrary, we take them and go even further... Once you start to feeling embarrased about your ideas, you lose the game. Because sometimes fantastic ideas are born from these thoughts flying around freely.

And then there's the fate of any sequel: It needs to build on the history of the series and have the taste of the previous games, and comply with the wishes and expectations of the fans, and go even beyond to really satisfy them.

So what we're aiming at is a completely different and unexpected game, that still builds on the foundation of the previous games. That's really difficult! You look for originality in an idea. But we can't let go of what actually makes the game. Something like that.

We did this not only for Gyakuten Saiban 5 (Ace Attorney 5 - Dual Destinies), but also for this game: we do research and analyze the previous games, and look at the reviews of the users, as we think about the theme of the game and the overall concept.

"What makes Gyakuten Saiban, Gyakuten Saiban?"
"What makes Gyakuten Saiban fun?"

We all take a good fresh look at these fundamental points. Once these big elements (like the theme) have been decided on, we can finally start thinking about each episode in detail.

But we don't start writing like that, first we have to make a plot. Think of it as the building plans of the game and the story. Gyakuten Saiban is in the end a game, so we need to make it feels nice to see through a lie, and that there's a sense of excitement when you take down the criminal.
  • How should the level design be? (i.e. difficulty)
  • What will happen when and where, and how does this develop the story?
  • Where will we pull the player in and surprise them?
 Things like that are decided in the plot. So by looking at it from above, we can see the flow of the whole game. It makes it objectively easier to control the quality.

Once the plot is ready, we review them within the team, analyze the bottlenecks and have discussions about it to really polish it up. We stay at this process working on the plots until we are confident that this is really good.

We often stayed in the meeting rooms until the middle of the night having heated discussions... I often saw director Yamazaki staggering through the company, like Nishida Kitarō on the Philosopher's Path, working on his ideas. It was a very busy time, where we'd stay cooped up in the meeting room for days.

Once the plot is ready, it's finally time for writing. Here the individual talents of each writer come alive. Some are better at coming at a mystery plot, some are better in conversation writing, some better at comedy. That's why the scenario writing isn't finished when the main writer is finished: many lively discussions follow.

It's this 'chemical reaction' with the others which helps make the scenarios better. 

After going through the process of rewriting, the scenario is finished. But it isn't over yet just because the scenario is ready. There's more. That's presentation.

Gyakuten Saiban is an adventure game that has no equal when it comes to having unique presentation. It's this presentation that is incredibly important. The scenario is just text, but by adding graphics, moving characters, music and sound effects, it becomes muuuuuuch more fun. And the more potential a scenario has, the higher levels the presentation can reach.The person responsible for this will probably write about this on the blog.

And this was the basics of how a scenario of Gyakuten Saiban is created. I think we write the scenario in a very orderly way. Director Yamazaki's Gyakuten Saiban 6 team makes its games in a logical manner. There is actually a certain logic to what makes a good scenario. Like how karate has basic 'kata', there are also basic 'kata' to master when writing. So a fun scenario can be made with logic.

On the other hand, we aren't just mass producing something, but are aiming to make a unique work. To present the players with a game that is filled with fun and shocks, we also need to hit upon great ideas, and have the passion to make a good game. Perhaps that is the most important.

And what was the result of this process? "Tell me honest, is it fun?" you might ask, and I say: "That all depends on what the fans will think of the game."

Just thinking about how people will start playing the game makes my heart go wild, both in a good and bad way. "I want the users to play the game and have fun with it as soon as possible!" That is the one thought that is now inside the heart of this game developer.

...Which sounds kinda serious, the game itself is still light with a well-paced comical touch, so don't worry!

I'm looking forward to the day you can all play Gyakuten Saiban 6, which the whole team has worked on with all their hearts with a lot of falling and getting up. The next update will be on the release day!  Producer Eshiro will be here again! What will he talk about? Look forward to it!

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