Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gyakuten Saiban Blog Entry 10: Run With Everything You Have (2001)

Title: Run With Everything You Have / 「全力疾走」
Source: Gyakuten Saiban official site (down)

Summary: With the team had finally settled on how the game should be after stumbling and getting up again, it was basically a race against the clock to finish the game, as director Takumi and his team were only given a few months to create their game in the first place. In this tenth column originally published on the Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney GBA) website, Takumi explains some of the minor troubles they had as they headed towards the goal.

Run With Everything You Have

Once you have an idea of how the finished product looks like, it’s just working like crazy towards that image. The prologue was finished at the end of February. During the work on that, I had also been writing the scenario of Turnabout Sisters, so there were only two episodes left.

The deadline of the third episode was on April 10th, that of the final episode on May 10th. Work on characters and programming is done based on the scenario,  so I couldn’t not be late with my work. About one month per episode. I don’t know whether it’s fast or slow in general, but to me, that was a ridiculous pace.

But around that time, the characters had started to know each other inside my head, and they started talking with each other. They talked too much, actually. They’d have idle talk, ten or twenty lines long, just for examining a vending machine!  I, the writer, was already in a corner and almost in a panic, while my important characters Naruhodo-kun (Phoenix Wright) and Mayoi (Maya Fey) were chatting about sports day…. You two, go find some evidence!

…The story wasn’t advancing at all, so I decided to leave the dialogues for when they examine something for last. I’d have them talk as much as they wanted then with all the remaining time.

Also, I also felt strongly that each episode should be a level up from the previous episode in terms of scale and contents, and I had quite some trouble with that. The story would of course become bigger and bigger in the final half of the game, and the number of tricks used would also increase. I was really sweating bullets, worrying whether I could ever finish the final episode.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), we could only have four episodes in this game because of the storage space on the ROM cartridge and the schedule. If there had been one more episode… the hair on my head (rumors, I repeat rumors say it’s become a bit thin on top of my head) would have all fallen off.

But everyone all did their best working on the scenario I had written as if my life had depended on it. The characters were all expressive, and the music and sound effects helped set the mood for the story even better than I had hoped for. The programmers too kept on correcting and adjusting details of the scenario until the very end and gave me their best.

We all ran with everything we had for three months. And on May 15th, Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney GBA) was finished according to schedule. The last month we’d use to correct/adjust for programming and scenario mistakes.

These were raven-black three months, dense like a black hole.

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