Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gyakuten Saiban Blog Entry 9: Restructuring (2001)

Title: Restructuring / 「リストラ」
Source: Gyakuten Saiban official site (down)

Summary: In the previous columns on the official website of the GBA version of Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney), director Takumi explained how the project had almost been cancelled because of a lack of team members, and how the initial demo of their game met with harsh criticism within his department, as it was not hard to understand and simply not fun as a game. With little time left, Takumi had address those problems quickly and start on the actual creation of the episodes of the game. In this ninth column, Takumi explains how the original demo was rebuilt to become the game we know now.


Restructuring = building something anew.

A “trial” itself has an image of being “difficult”. So the first thing I had to do was set up a simple-to-understand game mechanic that could turn that image upside down. I learned from my mistake mentioned in the previous column, and restructured all facets of the courtroom.

  • By adding “Testimony” and “Cross-Examination”, the game lets the player know that “now is the time to think”
  • You can’t advance in the story unless you pick up on the contradiction.
  • Command buttons appear on the screen, showing you what you can do.
  • All the information needed to find the contradictions were to be condensed into evidence (thirty characters of text per piece of evidence).
As the person writing the scenario, that last point was really an important decision to make. Could I create enough contradictions to last a whole trial with so little information? The answer is… let’s have everyone who play the games decide how it came out.

Next, I dotted down all the points the people in the team felt were a problem, and I tried to look for answers for all of them. I got enough opinions shot at me to fill my stomach from before my breakfast until after dinner.

“…It takes a bit long for the case to happen.”
“Okay, then I’ll cut the first half away.”
“…Wouldn’t it better if you’d just start with a trial?”
“Hm. Okay, I’ll make another scenario then.”
“…You need a catchy scene right from the start, I think.”
“Okay, let’s start with a video of the murder scene.”
“…This game needs some unique characteristic, pal!”
“Okay, what if we show the culprit’s face in that video?”
“…The characters aren’t appealing.”
“What if we make the client his best friend, and like an incredibly troublesome guy.”

So it was decided that Turnabout Sisters would become the second episode, and that I’d hurry working on a new episode. A story which started with the trial, which would also function as a tutorial. I had already finished the plot of Turnabout Sisters, so I could add some foreshadowing in the story too.

Every time anybody said something, I could really feel the quality of the game becoming better and better. That was a really touching experience.

However, sometimes the gears don’t turn as planned.
“….You listen to everyone except for me….”
“No, but I can’t use hamsters in this game!”
“I get it. You don’t have to bother with me anymore….”
…Beware that things don’t go out of control.

And so the prologue was finally finished at the end of February

No comments:

Post a Comment