Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Gyakuten Saiban Blog Entry 18: The First Turnabout (2001)

Title: The First Turnabout / 「初めての逆転」
Source: Gyakuten Saiban official site (down)

Summary: In the eighteenth blog entry for the original Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney 1 GBA), Takumi Shū looks back at the first episode of the game: The First Turnabout. As we learned in previous blog entries, the first episode Takumi actually wrote was the second episode, Turnabout Sisters, but that episode was considered unfit as the introduction of the game, because it needed to explain too much and it was simply too long as the start of the game. The First Turnabout was written after Turnabout Sisters and its only goal was to provide a quick tutorial to the players, something Takumi knew was vital, because the prototype version of the game was also very harshly critized for simply being incomprehensible (see blog entry 7)

The First Turnabout

The First Turnabout actually took a lot of time. I started working on it on December 6, 2000. I finished around half-way February 2001. Hearing how much time I took might even make you shake your head, considering the Tonosaman (Steel Samurai) episode and the final episode took about one month each.

The theme of this episode was “to the point.”The last time the whole game was pulled apart by my bosses, I realized that being to the point was the most important element to a prologue. “I just need to have the players get right into the game.” That was the only thought I had when I started writing.

But balancing that was difficult. In the first version I wrote, the introduction was too short, and it felt too dry. I thought this wouldn’t work, so I had Yahari (Larry Butz) appear and talk, but this time, it would take too long for the trial to start. … I had to rewrite the start several times to get the right balance.

Looking for the right balance also served as a way to experiment with the inhabitants of the Gyakuten world. Take Yahari for example. At first, he was just a normal young man you’d find everywhere. But when they read that, the Suekane and Iwamoto Team-Up immediately assaulted me with comments. “Objection! …You need to make him more exciting!”

…And the reborn Yahari became, without any real reason, a very unique character. His catchphrase was: “I’m going to kill her!” He’d use it on everyone, from Naruhodō (Phoenix Wright), Auchi (Winston Payne) and the judge, all the way to Mika (Cindy Stone) up in heaven.
“I’m going to kill you if you say that!”
“I’m going to kill you all and myself!”
“I’m going to kill that woman in heaven!”
He’d cry that out to everyone and finally, he’d say to Chihiro (Mia Fey):
“I want to be killed by you….”

…I myself thought the punchline was good, but this time, my superiors came complaining. “Hmm… he says he’s going to kill everyone too often. It’s inappropriate. Think it over.”

…And so I had to try again.
I turned the idea around, and that is how the current Yahari was born, who always cries out he’s going to die.

I also had problems with the culprit, Yamano Hoshio (Frank Sahwit). Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney GBA) is not a game where the fun is not about “whodunit?”, but “how am I going to corner the culprit?”. That means the identity of the target you need to corner must be obvious to the player. That is why I decided to show the face of the murderer clearly in the opening. “This man is the murderer-!”. I also made it clear through his name that he was the murderer.

Yama is police-slang for "a case", and hoshi police slang for "the culprit" and o means "man". The culprit of the case (Yama no hoshi o). Yamano Hoshio.

…I made sure to be considerate to the players, but I think nobody noticed it.

I took quite some time making this story, so I think The First Turnabout is the episode where you can experience the joy of cornering the culprit in the most direct way. In that way, I think The First Turnabout is an episode that really represents the whole of Gyakuten Saiban.

No comments:

Post a Comment