Source: Gyakuten Saiban 3 official site (down)
The story of Gyakuten Saiban consists of several episodes. For 3, I added one episode to the usual number, so we have five episodes now. “Which episode is the most important?” To tell you the truth, in my mind I have a ranking of importance to the episodes. It has been the same ever since the first game. I will first explain that ranking.
Rank 1: Episode 1
…This might be a bit of surprise. But I think the start is always the most important, not just with games. You first need to have the people fall in love with your game or else it’s all over. That is why I pay the most attention to the introduction.
Rank 2: Episode 2
My idea here is the same, and if Episode 1 is considered the prologue, then Episode 2 is the first real episode. I always use the ideas I am most confident about in the second episode. And it’s also partly because I think that people who stop halfway through the game, will at least play the second episode…
Rank 3: The Final Episode
I don’t think I need to explain this.
Anyway. What I want to say here is, yes. Episode 3 is not really important… no, no, not that. What I mean is that after writing the crucial first two episodes, I often write an episode where I can relax a bit. Turnabout Tonosaman (Turnabout Samurai), Turnabout Circus (Turnabout Big Top), and now, Turnabout Recipe (Recipe for Turnabout). In general, Episode 3 is the story with the lightest touch.
I had actually prepared Turnabout Recipe to be Episode 4 of the second game. I wrote the original scenario about one year ago. At the time, we had just started with development, and there was a part where there’d be one white pigeon among the flock of pigeons in Vitamin Park, and that pigeon would be one that had escaped from a bird cage of a magician.
In my eyes, the story of Naruhodō Ryūichi is like a hero story. That is why I wanted him to experience all the cliché situations. And the one story every hero needs to have, is the one with the imposter. I remember I started writing the story with that idea. I asked for a “fake Naruhodō” and the designer came up with Shibakuzō Toranosuke (Furio Tigre), who was (of course) like an evil Naruhodō. It fitted the image, but it missed something.
In a world as crazy like this, an imposter who doesn’t even look like the real deal might fit even better...
And so the story of a imposter who doesn’t look like the real one at all was born. As I was writing this, I thought: “Who’s going to fall for that cardboard attorney’s badge!!” and I don’t think I was the only one. In the original version, Shibakuzō was the ‘mastermind’ of the story, and he didn’t appear a lot. But the final design of the character somehow got him to appear more prominently. Also, the chef Hondobō (Jean Armstrong), also turned out to be a pretty amazing character.
I actually studied French for three years when I was in college. That I didn’t manage to use that at all while writing this episode, was a little personal shock. In my heyday, I could even ask people out in true French style: “If the weather is fine tomorrow, would you go out on a stroll by the lake with me?”
Anyway. There was one irregularity to this episode I will never forget. It happened on a day I was writing the dialogue for Yahari (Larry Butz) for the second episode. I was thinking “Ah, I’m hungry. What shall I have for lunch?” when my eye fell on a certain object. It was the bentō box of the programmer ,Kudō, who was sitting next to my desk. A gigantic bentō box had been divided precisely in the middle, and on one side there was rice, and on the other side…it was filled with more weenies than I had ever seen before.
Takumi: Wha-what’s that! That’s just too crazy.
Kudō: But you know, this is easy to prepare.
Takumi: I can't even say which side is supposed to be the staple food there!
Kudō: No, but look, I also have a tamagoyaki here…
I hadn’t noticed it in my excitement, but when I looked closely, I did see the yellow figure of a cute little tamagoyaki tucked away in the corner. Anyway, I had never seen anything like that in my life. That was my encounter with the kudoben. Oh, that isn’t an abbreviation of kudoi bentō (‘irritating bentō’). I meant Kudō’s bentō. Just so you understand me. This excitement, this emotion, this surprise, this was something we couldn’t keep just for ourselves in the development team!
Takumi: Kudō! Make the same bentō tomorrow again!
Kudō: Oh, okay…
Takumi: And lose the tamagoyaki! It’s not beautiful…
The following day. A photograph of the kudoben was gently taken with a digital camera, under the watchful eyes of all of us. The bentō box that is filed away in the game as evidence, is in fact an edited version of that photograph.
Anyway, so I had taken the photograph, but how was I going to use the kudoben?
And so the story was changed a lot and that is how we got that ending. Detective Itonoko (Dick Gumshoe), don’t forget to say thanks to Kudō.