Thursday, July 15, 2021

A Long Interview With the Developers: The Core Truth of the Gyakuten Saiban series (2007)

Title: A Long Interview With the Developers: The Core Truth of the Gyakuten Saiban series / 開発者ロングインタビュー『逆転裁判』シリーズの真理』
Source: Gyakuten Saiban 4 Official Guidebook
Summary: The official guidebook for Gyakuten Saiban 4 (Ace Attorney 4 - Apollo Justice) includes a very long interview on the development of the game with three core staff members of the team: series supervisor Takumi Shū, art director Nuri Kazuya and producer Matsukawa Minae. Many questions are asked and answered, from topics regarding how the game was promoted to how characters were designed, how the story of the game was written, to Takumi's favorite mystery stories, how gameplay elements changed the way they had to work, and basically all aspects of the whole development cycle. The three are also asked about their favorite characters and stories in the series, as well as about when things didn't as initially planned. 
This article contains spoilers for the game.
The Producer Is A Jack-Of-All-Trades?
Interviewer: I think that most readers will not know much about the specific roles in the team, so could you perhaps first explain what it is a producer does?
Matsukawa Minae: Sure. To explain it simply… it’s not a job you can explain in simple terms (laugh). It’s a job where you get involved with every aspect of selling a game. I’m of course involved with the development of a title, but I also have to consider in what manner we’ll present the product to the consumer. Game development is called a hands-on job, and that’s also true for a producer. But naturally, I am also involved with keeping in contact with the other departments and other involved companies.
Interviewer: And also with marketing?
Matsukawa: Yes. Sometimes I’ll have to go on a business trip for promotion and arrange things with the external companies involved. And I also have to manage the complete development team too. The extent to what a producer has to do changes per title, I’d say. Anyway, I have a lot to do.
Interviewer: So you’re a jack-of-all-trades in a way?
Matsukawa: Yes, pretty much. I often have to get things going again whenever trouble occurs on the development floor (laugh).
Interviewer: So how do you approach Mr. Takumi and his team whenever trouble occurred on the development floor?
Takumi Shū: Hmm. The development team is a section where we all pour everything into making a game, so sometimes we want to do too much, or take too much time. A game has to be developed within a specific period of time, but sometimes we want to work longer on something. The producer is someone who acts like a cushion, who tells us to just slow down a bit.
Matsukawa: I have the feeling you’re avoiding parts of the problem in your answer (laugh).
Takumi: That’s at least how things go on the development floor, but I think there’s a lot going beyond our place that we as the developers just don’t think of.
Interviewer: So Ms. Matsukawa had to stop you a few times during the development of the game?
Nuri Kazuya: Yes, that did happen.
Matsukawa: All the time.
Interviewer: Because of the development schedule?
Matsukawa: Sometimes it was indeed due to scheduling issues and sometimes it was because of how strongly the team feels about this series. I often had to tell the team that quality and scheduling are of equivalent value. A game has to be done on the day of release. A single game’s release can accomplish a lot, simply by making the release date. But once you miss the best possible window of release, there’s always the chance that a game won’t sell. Even if you do finish the game, if the costs outweigh the earnings, nobody will be happy. The consumers might be happy to just have a finished game, but certainly not all of the people who worked so hard on that game will be happy knowing that their game made losses. That was my biggest worry, or least, it was the thing I wanted the team to keep in mind.
The Hardships of Producing?
Interviewer: Could you tell me about the hardships of producing this game?
Matsukawa: Spoilers and asset deadlines!
Everyone: (Laugh)
Matsukawa: Those two.
Interviewer: What do you mean with spoilers?
Matsukawa: Spoilers. I feel the same about spoilers of course, but they really don’t want to release any information regarding the contents of the game to the public before release. Be it about the characters or the stories. Suppose say I have “5” pieces of information I don’t want to release to the public in advance, Mr. Takumi here would have “10” of them.
All: (laugh)
Matsukawa: He doesn’t want to release a single thing! But in order to convey what’s so great about the game to the public, more information available to the media and our marketing people is better than less. I want to make the most out of these opportunities to reach out to our consumers, so each time I had to talk things over with the team. What about this screenshot, can we use that? If we have this one, that one and that one there, which one can we use? The marketing campaign didn’t go exactly like I had first hoped it would go, but in the end, I think it turned out to be a good campaign.
Interviewer: Because it’s a work in the mystery genre, I imagine you’re quite careful not to spoil the story. In order to promote a game, you need to convey information about it, but if you can’t do that, then…
Matsukawa: I don’t even think this would have been difficult if Gyakuten Saiban were only a mystery series. This series is so built around its characters, so every time a new character appears or a character returns, the fans become very excited. They want to learn more about them as soon as possible. But in the eyes of the creators, these new characters have gone through several phases in which various characteristics are imprinted upon them, and what’s ultimately born from that process, those final characters, they can be enjoyed in the game itself. So then you end up with a situation where you can’t show too much of the two major aspects of the Gyakuten Saiban series: the mystery plot and the characters. That really hinders the marketing for this series. In other mystery adventure games, they can just release information about the protagonists, talk about what kind of case will happen and then tell the players they’ll have to solve the mystery themselves. But we have to talk about the game, while hardly showing the characters in the first place. This is extremely difficult.
Interviewer: And with a character like Kawazu Kyōsaku (Wesley Stickler), it’s about the surprise of his animations and appearance, right?
Matsukawa: Whenever we released information, we had to be very careful about what characters were wearing or the little props they were holding. And we had to go over each line and make sure whether they were safe. It was really difficult figuring out what we could release each time.
Interviewer: Long before the game was released, there was a screenshot of Naruhodō (Phoenix Wright) at the witness stand. You must have hated it that people noticed his beanie said “PaPa”?

Takumi: Yes, of course I did. I think it was overlooked during the check process of that screenshot?
Matsukawa: That screenshot was going to be published in a magazine to promote Gyakuten Saiban 4 in the summer of 2006, late August or in September. It was going to be published in the week before the Tokyo Game Show. So we provided the magazine with publication material. Whenever articles are published pre-release, there’s a “Takumi Check” phase and a “Matsukawa Check” phase and that’s when we make sure there’s nothing wrong with the visual material. My stance is that it’s alright as long as we don’t give out too much information, but Takumi is really strict, and he often disapproves even if it concerns the slightest spoilers. But that one screenshot with “PaPa” miraculously survived his inspection…
Takumi: And it was too late by the time we noticed it.
Matsukawa: And when it was done, he came crying at me: “Why did you publish that shot!?” So I went: “Eh, but you checked it yourself. It was for September publishing.” All he said “No way! I wasn’t told that!” So I was thinking “Oh man” back then.
Nuri: With other media, we were careful to make sure you could only see the first “Pa” in the screenshots. The only time you see “PaPa” completely is when he faces right.
Takumi: We really messed up by leaking that information ourselves.
Nuri: That profile of him is when he acts cool, with his eyes hidden by his beanie or when he points his finger. So the idea was to have that silly “PaPa” there as a joke to counter the cool act. So we had decided to show “PaPa” whenever he stole the scene, but that joke got out much earlier than we had expected.
Matsukawa: Much earlier (laugh). I was of the opinion that if we were going to show off a little bit of Naruhodo-kun anyway, we should show him off in a cool pose. So I asked Mr. Endō (the director) about that…
Nuri: By the moment I learned about it, the screenshot had already been published (laugh).
Matsukawa: When I made the final checks for the article to be published, I asked Mr. Endō whether that screenshot was alright, and he told me that it was fine because it had already passed the Takumi Check. And that’s the story all about how that screenshot got published (laugh).
Sometimes Ideas Just Fall Down From Heaven?
Interviewer: Speaking of the Tokyo Game Show, who came up with the idea to make a trailer for the Game Show with voice actors and have the characters voiced?
Takumi: I think it was Matsukawa who came up with that idea?
Matsukawa: Yes. I have a feeling you won’t like it if I put it like this, but sometimes, it’s like ideas just come falling down from heaven, straight in your head.
Takumi: Huh.
Matsukawa: Look at that foul face looking this way!
Nuri: Perhaps you should just say you suddenly thought of it yourself.
Matsukawa Some people sometimes think of something they normally wouldn’t. Times where it’s a switch suddenly got turned on. “My switch, it went on!!!!” (laugh) Usually, I’m busy working on contracts, managing progress on projects, basically a lot of administrative desk work. But sometimes I have these moments where I suddenly change into a marketeer. A moment where I think of something good that could work. Then I discuss it with the development staff and based on their reaction, I’ll decide whether we’ll do it.

Interviewer: So the idea of the video where Mitsurugi (Miles Edgeworth) and Mayoi (Maya Fey) play news presenters also suddenly popped up in your mind?
Matsukawa: No, that was different. That was a difficult call. The video we showed at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show was received very well, so we wanted to do one the following year too. But at that time, we hadn’t showed off any characters of 4 yet. So we really didn’t know what we should do. So I think I just figured they could probably come up with something if they’d use the established characters, so I told Takumi to decide what to do with it (laugh).
Interviewer: I heard you had originally just used game footage, but that the people in the graphics team wanted to redraw the video to make it look better. That’s touching, it really shows off their love for their work.
Takumi: Ah, that was when we made the 2005 video. Everyone at Capcom’s like that.  Everyone wants to create something great. And that’s not different in our team.
Nuri: I was touched too.
Everyone: (Laugh)
Interviewer: Speaking of redrawing, did you redraw existing locations or backgrounds for Gyakuten Saiban 4?
Takumi: A surprising amount of them actually.
Matsukawa: And because of that, some screenshots we released to the media suddenly became outdated. There’s a scene of the detention center for example we released to the media, but one day, they redrew that location. I hadn’t expected them to redo the detention center.
Interviewer: And I suppose the painting on the wall of the defendant lobby was changed too?
Takumi: Ooh, that painting. That used to be a landscape, but now it’s the profile of the judge.
Matsukawa: And I think it took a while before the OK sign was given to the Naruhodō offices.
Takumi: Yes, I like the model of the plate of spaghetti. The one made of wax. There were other backgrounds that felt a bit outdated, so we redid them too.
Nuri: Yes. Also, the same background can look very different with the brightness of the screen of a GameBoy Advance compared to the screen of a Nintendo DS. The colors and overall impression can be completely different. And just looking at the DS line, the DS Lite’s screen is even brighter, so if we had worked like we had always done, the backgrounds would have looked rather pixelated. So the graphic artists all had a pretty hard job (laugh). The newly drawn visuals were of course adjusted for the DS screen from the very start, so if we had used the old visuals just like that, the difference in quality would have been very obvious.
Producers, Developers and Consumers
Interviewer: Did you, as the producer, give advice regarding the contents of the game?
Matsukawa: This time I only said something about the direction the game should go, what we were aiming for at the start of the project. After that I only gave them a few pointers whenever they got stuck somewhere during the process. That’s basically how involved I was with the contents of the game.

Interviewer: So no complaining, just advice about whether they shouldn’t rather do some things differently?
Matsukawa: I wouldn’t complain about the game to them, but for example, once they got a part running as a game, I would point out that which parts were too difficult, things like that. Everyone on the staff is giving all they have on the project, and they are much better aware of the parts of the game that are invisible to me, so I wouldn’t go criticizing them for no reason. But because the team is working on a schedule and they are all focused on all kinds of work, they sometimes miss things that you’d see immediately if you’d just calmly play the game. At those times, I’d tell them that a certain piece of evidence was hard to find, or that the story was a bit vague there, things like that.
Interviewer: So you’d be playing it as one of the consumers, keeping an eye out on the game balance?
Matsukawa: Yes. Gyakuten Saiban is a game that’s praised as a mystery game, and I too thought it was an amazing series before I got to work on it myself. But, I don’t know much about mystery fiction, so I was always worried whether my views would fit in with how Takumi envisioned the game. I was of course also worried that the game could become something that only mystery fiction fans could understand.
Interviewer: Speaking of the consumers, who decided to have a developer’s blog on the official site? It’s been received very well, and I heard there are many fans who read it.
Matsukawa: It was me. As for why, around July of 2005, there were no game companies who had blogs on their official sites. I think it was because they were still afraid to have direct contact with the consumers. I was apprehensive at first too of course, but after a talk with an expert in that field, I decided I’d try it out just to see what would happen. We only have that much readership, because the people on the development team write such great texts. I just prepare their texts for presentation.
Interviewer: And the contents of each blog post of course undergoes a Matsukawa Check?
Matsukawa: Of course! But they’d ignore me or just say that’s it’s fine to talk about that or that. There was only one time I rejected a post completely. That was Takumi’s text.
Nuri: I remember he was angry.
Matsukawa: He was enraged. “That woman doesn’t know a thing about mystery fiction!!” he cried.
Everyone: (Laugh)
Nuri: “Daaaamn, she doesn’t understand my jokes!!” (laugh)
How Was The Marketing For Gyakuten Saiban 4?
Interviewer: This might be a crude question, but could you tell us how Gyakuten Saiban series has been selling?
Matsukawa: That is crude (laugh). When it comes the marketing, we have set a lot in motion. The previous producer who worked on Gyakuten Saiban 1, 2 and 3 taught me a lot, but he also told me that “This is the kind of game people are willing to buy the hardware for.” But times are different now. Children, adult women, grandmas and grandpas, all generations have a DS now. So we don’t have to convince people anymore to buy the hardware. That’s why I felt the time and circumstances were ready for us to go the classic marketing route, to present Gyakuten Saiban as a big game title to the public. That’s what the current marketing campaign is focused on.
Interviewer: So you signed up with a lot of companies for the marketing to sell heaps of the game?
Matsukawa: Heaps, mountains!
Everyone: (Laugh)
Matsukawa: The Best Price! version of Yomigaeru Gyakuten (Ace Attorney 1 DS) was released in June 2006, and combined with the normal and the limited edition, it has already sold for over 300,000 units. Personally, I feel we managed to scale an enormous wall when we reached 300,000 and I could see the DS was making gigantic waves. It was clear to me that Gyakuten Saiban would be able to ride those waves, so the marketing started its assault in the spring of 2006. It all started with that video at the Tokyo Game Show. I reconsidered the marketing and promotion campaign after that. We’d of course rely on the consumers and the game magazines as always of course, but I also decided to contact publishers with magazines aimed at women.
Interviewer: And that was new?
Matsukawa: Not only for Gyakuten Saiban, but for Capcom as a whole. Marketing aimed especially at women (Laugh). They told me that Gyakuten Saiban would be able to reach 20% of the total GBA consumer market, but with the DS that’d be 40%. But I’d have to change the way we promote the game. The previous producer did Gyakuten Saiban 1, 2 and 3, and when I took over, I did my work, praying every day I could pull it off too. When I became responsible for the series, I prayed I wouldn’t make the series fail.
Interviewer: What was the reason you decided to release 4 on DS?
Matsukawa: Yomigaeru Gyakuten (Ace Attorney 1 DS) was made when the DS was released abroad and we wanted to release the series there. It sold very well, so that was one of the reasons. The blog on the official site also allowed us to have direct contact with our consumers for the first time. We got a lot of comments from people who were looking forward to Yomigaeru Gyakuten and who were hoping a sequel would come. A superior had a look at all the consumer feedback, who told me it looked as if it’d be worth it to make a sequel. That’s how 4 as a project got started.
Interviewer: So because Yomigaeru Gyakuten was released on DS, it was decided Gyakuten Saiban 4 would be released there too?
Matsukawa: Yes. When we working on Yomigaeru Gyakuten on the DS, it wasn’t really as if Takumi, Nuri and myself had a real excited feeling, working towards a clear goal. The feeling back then was more of us just trying something out, let’s see what we can make out of this. It was hard work though (laugh).
Interviewer: Do you think a portable system is suited for a mystery game? When you get stuck in the game, you can just put it down for a while and return when you have thought of something. It’s really easy with a handheld.
Matsukawa: Yes. Personally, I also like the “closeness” of a handheld system. Your face is just about thirty centimeters away from the screen, it’s really close. When you get absorbed in the game, you don’t really see anything outside the screen. The way you get all focused on that screen in front of you? I thought it’d be fantastic if we could create such a “dense” 30 cm space.
Mystery Fiction To be Enjoyed By People of All Ages
Interviewer: Do you write the scenario without consideration of people who aren’t very familiar with the mystery genre?
Takumi: No, even I wouldn’t dare that.
Matsukawa: He always comes to me right after finishing writing to ask me what I think about it. He’s the kind of director who really wants to know the reactions of the people around him. If I read the scenario and there are parts I think odd, he’ll immediately come with a different idea, or decide to show it in a different manner.
Interviewer: What’s average age of the audience you have in mind when you’re writing the story?
Takumi: I don’t really think about that (laugh). My intention is that I write the story so anyone can understand it. I also don’t like writing stories people might feel uncomfortable about. About incidents that have happened in real-life, recent affairs, things that feel too real. I don’t like the stories to be a reflection of the ideas and thoughts of actual society. I like stories that can be read by anyone in any time period. So I write Gyakuten Saiban as if it were a fairy tale.
Interviewer: Gyakuten Saiban has to be both easy and difficult as a mystery story. Do you feel like you’re challenging the players?
Takumi: Not at all. The plot structure in Gyakuten Saiban very differently from a normal mystery story actually. Like we let you solve the mysteries, but we also keep things hidden away from you. This is more a topic for the mystery fans, but if you ask me whether Gyakuten Saiban is a fair, or an unfair mystery, my answer is of course the latter. Some mystery novels have a Challenge to the Reader, but in general, the author makes sure not to lose in those books. Because the reader won’t read until the end if they figure it out halfway through the book. But with Gyakuten Saiban, we have to give the player the feeling they solved it themselves, but at the same time also surprise them at the end. That’s vital, I think. Mystery fiction is ‘a fairy tale for adults’, so I don’t like them to be too realistic myself.
Nuri: Ah, you did talk a lot about that this time.
Takumi: We have a new director with 4, but the cases he came up with were all so viscerally realistic.
Everyone: (Laugh)
Matsukawa: Takumi would say: ‘A story has to feel good or else it’s no good!” “What’s entertaining about solving a case like that!?”
Takumi: I don’t like depressing cases.
Nuri: The director’s world view was very global from the planning stages of the project. Coming up with international incidents and conspiracies and things like that. Events played at an enormous scale.
Takumi: It’s hard getting the right balance there with Gyakuten Saiban. But Gyakuten Saiban is very limited in certain ways, so in order to be able to surprise the player within those limitations, there are also aspects that shouldn’t be limited at all. So I think that’s where everyone will have their own views about what goes. A novel probably wouldn’t be received as well if it lacked realism, but that’s not true for games. In that sense, a game has more freedom, and that’s a weapon it can use. Oh, and personally, I’m pretty bad at understanding complex cases or stories. So when I write stories myself, I try to make them easy to understand, so people can directly enjoy it as a mystery story.

Interviewer: Mr. Nuri, when you working on the graphics, do you pay attention to make the illustrations not too gruesome?
Nuri: Yes, I do. When composing the scene, I make sure that some things aren’t shown directly, things like that. When Mr. Takumi sends his orders, he’ll write notes telling me to hide things during the cut scenes.
Takumi: There was one time in the first game where we painted the blood black afterwards. We do pay attention to the visuals. Because people do die in these games.
Interviewer: A lot of adventure games have multiple routes or multiple endings. Have you ever considered adopting such mechanics?
Takumi: No. Sounds like a lot of work.
Everyone: (Laugh)
Takumi: I’m joking of course. Early in the planning stages of the first game, we did take a look at multiple routes and endings. Just gave it a thought. But practically speaking, we’d never had the time to implement such mechanics. And personally I’m not a fan of “extras” in a game. If you have the time to make extras, I’d rather pour that time into making the main game more fun. There are a lot of people who play games like Gyakuten Saiban only once. I of course want them to play it a second time. I want them to play the game knowing what will happen, noticing clues and foreshadowing they had missed the first time. That’s what I think is important.
Nuri: What’s important is just pure fun! Making people play a second time.
Takumi: Yes. And actually, a fun story is always just one single path. If you make multiple routes and you want ensure each route is fun, you basically have to pour another story’s worth of effort and work into it. You might as well create two different stories then, that’s more fun and Nuri can draw much more.
Nuri: Draw? I have to draw much more?? (laugh)
Interviewer: I think there are a lot of people who do play these games multiple times?
Takumi: That’s great to hear. But as the series goes on, the stories I write become longer and longer for some reason. I can’t seem to write according to plan. Of course, I want everyone to enjoy these stories until the very end. I try to write these stories with ‘ingredients’ that allow players to enjoy the game no matter how often they play them. Like rakugo.
Mystery Recommendations by Takumi Shū
Interviewer: The theme of Gyakuten Saiban is mystery. I believe you love mystery fiction?
Takumi: Yes, I only read mystery novels. The director and the new planner also read a lot of mystery.
Interviewer: What kind of mysteries do you like?
Takumi: I like what is usually called honkaku/orthodox mystery fiction. I started reading from a young age, and at that age, you start with the foreign classics. Lately they haven’t been published new ones anymore, so I read new Japanese releases. Recently, I met an author because of work.
Interviewer: Whom did you meet?
Takumi: Arisugawa Alice. I read his work, so I was glad I got to meet him. It almost feels like he has been my mentor when it comes to mystery writing since my university days.
Matsukawa: Oh, he worked on Anraku Isu Tantei (TN: The Armchair Detective was a television program written by mystery authors Arisugawa Alice and Ayatsuji Yukito. Viewers were challenged to write in who they thought was the murderer and the reason why.).
Takumi: Yes, that’s how they reached me for Anraku Isu Tantei. I got it all wrong though (laugh).
Matsukawa: Hahaha. You see, there’s this television drama called Anraku Isu Tantei, and he was asked for an appearance in the home video release.
Interviewer: Not as writer, but as a guest?
Takumi: As a guest participant. One of the guests who seems all intent on guessing it right, but who gets it completely wrong. I honestly was trying to get the correct answer. But I couldn’t be further off.
Nuri: I laughed.
Takumi: But it was fun. One of those moments you’re grateful for the work you do.
Interviewer: Any recommendations among the mystery novels you have read recently?
Takumi: Recently, I’ve been into the novels by Yokoyama Hideo, who writes books about the police. They were recommended to me by my faithful supporters, the director and one of the planners. The books about professional criminal investigators, from the crime scene investigators to the police officials in positions not immediately situated at the crime scene. Stories that touch the detectives personally, or about how the investigation teams go too far with their actions, people being pressured.  They are super fun. There’s Dōki (Motive) and Daisan no Jikō (The Third Deadline) and more. They’re quite, no, really entertaining. They’re not like the kind of books I’d usually recommend, but I really have nothing but respect for the author. He’s about fifty, but he writes books throughout the year. His health even suffered because of his work attitude. I guess his work attitude comes partially from the fact he’s a former newspaper reporter.
Interviewer: The books you usually read are orthodox mysteries, following the rules of the genre fairly?
Takumi: Yes. But I don’t really care much about fair or unfair as long it’s entertaining. I have read so much that I feel that lately, I’m not really surprised by anything anymore. So it’s less about following the rules for me now, it’s about whether the story is entertaining. Guess I’m quite the fanatic.
Matsukawa: You are (Laugh).
Interviewer: You’re a mystery writer, so are there books you’d like to recommend to people if they play Gyakuten Saiban?
Takumi: There’s this series by Awasaka Tsumao, about the amateur detective A Aiichirō. Those stories are quite close to the taste of Gyakuten Saiban. There are also some homages to that series within Gyakuten Saiban. I love that series. I’m always aware that that series is my basis. As for foreign works, I think the Father Brown series is fun. They’re all short stories, but oh so impressive. My favorite foreign mystery fiction is Father Brown.
Character Design VS Producer!?
Interviewer: Mr. Nuri, as a person who makes the illustrations, are there visuals and illustrations you wanted to show off in the marketing campaign, or vice versa, things you don’t want to show?
Nuri: Yes, that happens. There are animations and facial expressions I want people to see first within the story real-time, as the plot develops. If visuals like that are shown in the magazines first, people will play the games thinking “when will that funny face of Odoroki (Apollo Justice) I saw in the magazines appear?” I think that will leave a different impression on people than I had originally planned. You see the same in trailers and commercials for films. You’ll watch the film, guessing when you’ll see that part from the trailer. I think it’s better to not have those kinds of expectations. It’s basically a spoiler.
Interviewer: You want people to play the games like a blank slate?
Nuri: Yes. Like if you have a character who’s always fooling around, I don’t want to show off the cool expression on their face that occurs after a certain event. I want people to see it when they actually play the game.
Interviewer: When I played the game, I was surprised by Mayuzuki Daian (Daryan Crescend)’s hair. Was he designed on purpose to surprise the player?
Nuri: Yes, that was intended.
Interviewer: Do you keep characters that have very “unique” looks or animations like Daian and Kawazu Kyōsaku (Wesley Stickler) out of the marketing materials on purpose?
Matsukawa: Yes, we kept them out of it. Kawazu wasn’t shown off much either. Only in a Perceive scene. We had to provide screen materials, and he was the only character we could use at that time, so with much regret, we used him. I have a feeling he’ll become very popular.
Nuri: Kawazu is like a classic Gyakuten Saiban character.
Matsukawa: He’ll be a hit with the fans of the series!
Nuri: That character saw a lot of minor adjustments by Mr. Takumi. For some reason he wanted to time his lines and the animations perfectly, so we all saw how much love he had for Kawazu. Give the other characters some love too, I thought.
Takumi: Was there so much love involved?
Nuri: A lot. Really. It was a character you felt very strongly about starting with the sketch phase.
Matsukawa: You kept rejecting the design.
Nuri: Probably because you probably already had an idea from the start what kind of character design you wanted.
Takumi: Perhaps it took so much time because I didn’t convey what I wanted correctly.
Nuri: You first asked for a bishōnen (handsome young boy).
Takumi: Biseinen (a handsome young man).
Nuri: A biseinen. Someone handsome? So before we started on the designs, you said he wasn’t supposed to be creepy.
Interviewer: And if you read the story, it turns out he’s just a panty thief so who could have guessed he was supposed to be a biseinen?
Matsukawa: That’s what Mr. Takumi thinks a handsome young man looks like.
Takumi: Uh, perhaps (laugh).
Interviewer: I heard you didn’t want to draw him because he was creepy.
Nuri: To be exact, the female staff member who worked on him came complaining.
Takumi: Kawazu has biseinen elements to him. Inside. He can’t be just a creepy, bad person.
Matsukawa: But the meeting on Kawazu’s design became chaos and his designer was even changed. But even then you couldn’t make up your mind on his design, so we had another emergency meeting. So I asked you how you envisioned him, and you replied with the title of a certain film. I had seen that film, and I couldn’t envision Kawazu like that.
Takumi: There’s this one scene in a film that’s really great, so I showed it to the designer. That scene was placed on the desktop of her computer for a while. A creepy face, full screen.
Nuri: And the face didn’t fit the rest of the film at all.
Takumi: I’d point at the scene and tell her that was what I wanted.
Nuri: “This is the face!”
Takumi: In the design she first presented, Kawazu looked more handsome than now.
Nuri: But we weren’t sure whether we should change directions again at that point.
Takumi: Yes.
Nuri: So we decided not to. Mr. Takumi has some kind of fixation on creepy characters like that (laugh).
Interviewer: Was drawing the strongly defined face of Hamigaki (Spark Brushel) as taxing as Kawazu?
Nuri: Oh, I wasn’t responsible for him either (laugh).
Takumi: The designs were split among various designers.
Nuri: But it was clear that Hamigaki too enjoyed Takumi’s love.
Takumi: They’re all strange fellows, aren’t they?
Interviewer: Ms. Matsukawa, what did you think of Hamigaki?
Matsukawa: I thought he was really good when he was finished. I was so happy, while I was yelling how creepy he looked (laugh).
Takumi: Is he so really so creepy?
Matsukawa: He is!
Nuri: Some people really hated him. They didn’t think him just creepy, they physically couldn’t bear seeing him (laugh)
Takumi: They hated him!?
Matsukawa: I was glad he was done, while I called him creepy! I was happy we had an amusing character.
Takumi: …Perhaps I should learn from this.
Matsukawa: I think women might hate him.
Takumi: Aha.
Nuri: His motions and expressions are all so… viscerally real? His tics and the sweat… you can almost smell him.
Matsukawa: There’s those teeth right? And his nose? All five senses…
Nuri: They make you think of all five senses…
Matsukawa: Yeah, he makes you sense all of it.
Takumi: Really…
Matsukawa: But I was glad he became a fun character.
Takumi: How unfortunate, I really thought Hamigaki’s a great character…
Interviewer: How do you come up with the animations for characters like Hamigaki, Kawazu and the others?
Nuri: We try to have a good idea already when we first design the characters, but usually, we first decide on the character design and draw their “neutral illustration.” (the basic illustration that is the basis for all animations). We pose them keeping in mind what kind of animations they might have. And then Mr. Takumi will come up with a general direction for the animations or come up with specific ideas for animations. And then there are some things that have to be there because of the story, or other props that have to be included that have no direct connection to the animations.
The Design for Minuki As A Magician Was Difficult!
Interviewer: Were you careful when designing Minuki (Trucy Wright) and the other magicians to not let their designs overlap with that other character with a cape who appeared earlier in the series?
Nuri: I was very careful. There’s Max, and thereabouts. Their themes were exactly the same of course.
Takumi: When writing the scenario, I could just write down “magician” and that’s all I had to do. So when I hand over the scenario, it’s only then I finally realize what I just did and apologize.
Nuri: When it comes to magicians, the silk hat is of course a symbol you can’t go without. And then there’s the cape. I came up with a way to differentiate between them, but that meant the designs of the capes of the Arumajiki Troupe (Troupe Gramarye) are a bit troublesome. In Gyakuten Saiban, you can’t really place distinctive points in the lower part of the body. Only their upper bodies appear on the screen and the screen isn’t tall in the first place.
Interviewer: So you have to place those distinctive points above the waist, or else they won’t show in the window?
Nuri: Exactly. So when some of those markers do end up on the lower side of the design, you have to think of little tricks like making them pose with their arms so they pull the fabric of their clothes up a bit to show off the detail. It took some effort to get that right.
Interviewer: Did you give Minuki a shorter cape because she’s smaller than the other magicians?
Nuri: I wanted to show off the details on her cape too, so at first I just made it shorter to make it fit on the screen, but it looked cute on her and suited her, so that was all right. Oh, and her basic colors were a bit different at first, I seem to remember.
Takumi: Yes, there was the darker variation.
Nuri: At first I heard that Minuki was supposed to be younger than Mayoi from the previous games, and also magician, so I focused on the double theme of her youthfulness and her mysterious side. But there was no scenario yet early on, so I had no idea what her personality was. So at first I focused a lot on her mysteriousness. But when we decided on their primary colors, Mr. Takumi said that black made her feel too dark, so then I shifted to a focus on her young, cute side. The curled pluck of hair on her right side (when facing her) was also to strengthen her young, cute image, while the hair on the left is long, slightly covering her eyes, which can make her look older and more mysterious.
Interviewer: She looks really cute when she lets Mr. Hat out and takes her hat off.
Nuri: (Points at top of his head) If you look at Minuki here…
Takumi: Ah.
Nuri: Those two strands of hair standing up. Odoroki has them too, right?
Interviewer: Ah! Is that because [CENSORED]?
Nuri: That’s why I added that. It’s part of their [CENSORED].  Oh, please make sure to hide what we just said! They’ll kill me for spoiling it (laugh).
Takumi: Yes, officially, this is about as far as we can talk about this.
Matsukawa: Don’t look so difficult at me (laugh).
Interviewer: Are there so many magicians in this game because your hobby is magic?
Takumi: Perhaps. I guess so? I’m not sure myself. I was in a magic club in university. To me, magic and mystery are the same kind of entertainment. It’s just that they show it differently.
Matsukawa: So you took on both themes, sometimes going to the magic side, sometimes going to the mystery side.
Takumi: At first, I hadn’t expected the story to be that much about magicians. Not until Minuki was created at least.
Nuri: We had actually planned for Minuki to do all kinds of minor magic tricks with her hat in her hand.
Takumi: Yes.
Nuri: She’d shake her magic wand and do tricks. In the first visual we released of her, she’s holding a wand, but she doesn’t carry one in the game. Afterwards, Valant was given a wand. We wrestled with the idea until the end though.
Interviewer: Valant conjures up all kinds of things whenever he’s cornered.
Takumi: Yes.
Matsukawa: He looks cute then.
Nuri: That’s because the story said the Arumajiki Troupe were supposed to be great magicians, but I thought, “Hey, they didn’t show any of their magic!!” (laugh) Zak and Valant don’t do any magic tricks in their neutral animations. So at the very least, I wanted them to do something at the very end!
Takumi: Exploding.
Nuri: Showing off everything in one blast! He always has everything prepared there. Even living animals. I wonder if he remembers to feed it regularly…
The Battle Back and Forth For Mr. Hat
Interviewer: That one animation with Mr. Hat is really amazing.
Nuri: That’s one of the selling points this time.
Matsukawa: Selling point? That’s what I want to say! But you didn’t allow me to show even one bit of it anywhere!
Nuri: (Laugh). Personally, I wanted to impress the players with something that hadn’t been shown before in this series, to show how the series had now changed anew.
Interviewer: So Ms. Matsukawa thought it was a selling point, but wasn’t allowed to show it off? That must have been frustrating.
Takumi: We want people to see the animation, but in the game.
Nuri: In the game.
Takumi: It’s a delicate matter.

Nuri: We figured that with a gimmick like Mr. Hat, Minuki would be able to have her own unique character profile. Oh, and that pochette she uses to keep Mr. Hat and operate him, that’s actually a topit.
Takumi: Topit? Oh, yeah, I did talk about that once.
Nuri: You forgot?
Takumi: I forgot.
Nuri: You told me that a topit is used in magic tricks.
Takumi: Oh yeah, I thought I could use it somewhere. I touched upon it in the game. I wanted to make more use of it, but for various reasons…
Interviewer: And Mr. Hat’s presence was also foreshadowing one of the final mysteries.
Takumi: Yes, I had thought of Mr. Hat from the start, with the final part of the game in mind. If not and we had just used him as is, we wouldn’t have made him move that much (laugh).
Interviewer: Are characters always designed with the scenario in mind? Were there times that resulted in difficulties or elements that had to be cut because of that?
Nuri: When we come up with the first sketches, we propose all kinds of elements. Many of them get rejected. So it hurts the most early on.  Because we lose a lot of potential then. I have a feeling a lot of ideas get rejected even though I feel like we’re almost there. Always when I have confidence in a design, Mr. Takumi says “No comment” (laugh). So early on, my whole desk is covered in design ideas. Whenever I point at something, he won’t even look at it a second time. Sometimes I think I’m just imagining things, but it happens rather often in reality (laugh).
Takumi: Yes, that does happen often (laugh).
Interviewer: Were there designs you really wanted to have been chosen?
Nuri: A lot of them.
Matsukawa: You tried to push another design of Odoroki at first, right?
Nuri: I feel like I always want to present something better.
Matsukawa: You had something different in mind, I think.
Nuri: I wanted to do his hair a bit differently, so I drew a few variations, but in the end, it didn’t change. And Mr. Takumi seemed content with it. Why not go with this, he said.
Takumi: That’s the way.
Matsukawa: I remember Odoroki the most. Mr. Nuri looked happy as he brought the rough sketches, saying “This one is pretty good.” Pretty good, that is.
Interviewer: When you write the scenario, do you fixate on the looks of the characters?
Takumi: Not really. Especially not during the writing process.
Nuri: I have the feeling he picks the sketches that fit how he imagines the characters in his head, and during the process, this image takes on a clearer visual form.
Takumi: That’s often the case. And the scenario and the dialogue lines change too because of that. It works both ways.
Nuri: So often, the initial order is nothing at all like the final design (laugh). I always ask him if he wanted a design like this or that, but often he’d pick characters that didn’t fit the profile he initially asked for.
A New Protagonist: Odoroki Hōsuke
Interviewer: Was it you, Mr.Takumi who decided to make Odoroki the protagonist of this game and to not use the protagonist of the previous three games, Naruhodō Ryūichi?
Takumi: Yes. The three games Gyakuten Saiban 1, 2 and 3 were concluded. So I felt that if we would create new stories beyond that, we’d better change things around. I was of the opinion we could change the protagonist.
Interviewer: Were there difficulties to creating Odoroki?
Takumi: Yes. Well, not so much Odoroki, but the problem was the prosecutor. I had trouble with the rival prosecutor (Garyū Kyōya/Klavier Gavin). And also with setting up the new character relationships. I was not sure to do with everyone around them.
Interviewer: What did you think about the new protagonist from a marketing point of view, Ms. Matsukawa?
Matsukawa: It was pretty hard. But now I also think we were able to do promote the game in a lot of ways precisely because there was a new protagonist.  There are of course fans who were waiting for a sequel who would have been happy to see Naruhodo return after 1, 2 and 3. But because Odoroki became the new protagonist, we could reach not only people who have played the previous three games with Naruhodo, but also people who would play this game as their first in the series. It also allowed us to promote this game in various manners. So personally, I think this resulted in a very rewarding opportunity.
Interviewer: Were the horns in Odoroki’s hair inspired by Naruhodō’s spikey hair on the back of his head?
Nuri: I didn’t think about them directly, but early on, there was the idea to make the protagonist the complete opposite of Naruhodo, turning him 180 degrees around. But most of the existing fans of the series were of course already used to Naruhodo, so if we’d suddenly go with some dandy, cool protagonist, people probably wouldn’t like them or even feel it was completely wrong. And people would have to spend all that time with the protagonist, from start to finish, with those feelings inside them. In Gyakuten Saiban, the protagonist is also the player themselves, so we were unsure whether we should run such risks with the protagonist. So Odoroki was designed in a way that still vaguely invoked Naruhodo.
Interviewer: In his horns?
Nuri: yes. And he looked like a refreshing face, showing his forehead off. We basically decided on a format for the protagonist for Gyakuten Saiban. Those two horns also invoked idea of a plant sprouting, connecting it to the idea of a fresh, rookie attorney. The idea was that he was hot-blooded, so in animations we could brush his horns back to show him more dynamically, or when he was taken aback his horns would go limp. Changeable hair was the theme, hair that would change with his mood.
Interviewer: Do you and Mr. Takumi clash when it came to designing the characters?
Nuri: On rare occasions.
Matsukawa: “Rare”?
Takumi: It didn’t happen often.
Nuri: What I remember the most was when we had to decide on Odoroki’s colors.    
Takumi: Colors? Oh, that.
Interviewer: Odoroki’s image color is red, right?
Takumi: At first, we hadn’t decided between red or green.
Nuri: At one point, I decided green had to be avoided at all cost.
Takumi: You felt so strongly about green!!?
Nuri: Yep. I thought I’d get used to green after a while, but after a few days, I knew it was a no-go.
Interviewer: You preferred red?
Nuri: Yes.
Takumi: Most of the team were in favor of red. I was the only one in team green.
Interviewer: Why green?
Takumi: I just liked green. I had the idea that red was too on the nose for the protagonist. I’m the type who minds things like that. But once you get used to it, red’s not bad at all.
Interviewer: Red is quite rare for a Gyakuten Saiban character. Mitsurugi (Miles Edgeworth) has something gaudy.
Nuri: Mitsurugi’s color is kinda hard to describe in one word.
Takumi: It’s reddish, but it’s not red. It’s like pink or something.
Matsukawa: Mr. Takumi didn’t seem too enthusiastic about the color, not until Odoroki’s colors were finally decided on.
Nuri: And even then we did little adjustments. Just to get the right hue of red.
Interviewer: Why did you think red was the way to go?
Nuri: Actually, at first I thought yellow would be good too. Mr. Takumi seemed okay with that too at first, but then we noticed all kinds of problems: he’d blend in with the browns of the  courtroom, it was hard to make out the attorney’s badge… We tried a few neutral colors, but then he’d look too flashy or that it was hard to read a character who dresses in those colors… He said I needed to pick an easy to understand color for the character. And the only primary colors left were red and green basically. And personally, green made me think of the postman (laugh). It does have a fresh image, like the Wakaba Mark. But it didn’t convey the hot-blooded side of Odoroki. It felt more like a gentle color, and even made him feel a bit weak? I had no problems just going the straight, classic road with the hero, donning him in red. So I wanted red.
Takumi: Yeah.

New Friends

Interviewer: When it comes to the development of 4, I believe that you, Mr. Takumi, took on the role of general supervisor and was again responsible for planning, writing the scenario and direction like with previous games?

Takumi: Yes. To be honest, I didn’t really understand my role myself. In the end, I wrote the whole main scenario myself once again. I did get help though with the sub-scenario text, like the text when you pick the wrong answers or the text you see when you investigate things in the investigation parts. The idea was we’d allow a new director to grow into the role for the future. The idea was that I’d stay behind them to support them, but for one reason or another, I’d always end up stepping forward anyway. But I kept reasonably silent, right?

Nuri: Sure.
Takumi: I know that the person Takumi Shū am reflected rather strongly in the feel of Gyakuten Saiban, so I was curious to see how someone else would take on Gyakuten Saiban and look at it from a distance. I touched upon this earlier, but after writing Gyakuten Saiban 1 until 3, I myself thought: “If I’d write any more like this, I’d just be doing the same things over and over.” So I wanted new ideas. That’s one of the reasons I asked for a new team and a director. But when we got started, it was clear the switch didn’t go smoothly. I think the team had trouble with that.
Nuri: A lot.
Interviewer: Mr. Nuri, you have something to add?
Nuri: No, no. I’m fine (laugh).
Matsukawa: A diplomatic adult (laugh).
Everyone: (laugh).
Matsukawa: It was really difficult. Mr. Takumi has like this “yardstick” to measure Gyakuten Saiban with, and if someone doesn’t know how that yardstick works… I can understand perhaps five centimeters of that yardstick, but certainly not ten. Sometimes people don’t look at the same thing at the same scale and that causes some confusion. And this time, we had a lot of new people on the team.
Nuri: Twenty or so I think.
Matsukawa: It’s like you’re trying to explain what to draw, or trying to convey something, but at first, you were both actually using “yardsticks” with completely different measurement standards. That happened a lot I think.
Nuri: It’s a difficult matter.
Interviewer: When you have a lot of members on the team, they all have things they themselves want to do or for example draw. The director is supposed to bring all of those thoughts and ideas together, but if he’s new on the job too…
Takumi: Yes.
Nuri: But most of the work would find their way to Mr. Takumi in the end in phases.
Takumi: There were issues where I felt it just ended up happening like that because that’s how Gyakuten Saiban works.
Nuri: To make it clear, this time I actually did see Mr. Takumi making an effort to listen to what other people on the staff wanted to do. But in the latter half of the project…
Matsukawa: He’d be ruthlessly lecturing the new director: “You know what mystery fiction is!!?”
Everyone: (Laugh)
Takumi: This time, I had two friends who share my hobby. The director, and a planner. These two love mystery fiction the most within Capcom. They’re very much like me, so I trust them a lot. I don’t know many people like them. I’d say this or that about mystery fiction, and they’d instantly counter back with something else. I think that within Capcom, those two are the only ones capable of doing that.
Interviewer: So you could discuss the scenario with them, from the overall mood of the plot to the tricks used?
Takumi: Yes. I was grateful I didn’t need to explain the mechanics of how the mystery plot would develop further. That’s really important. And they were great people too.
Nuri: They’re very unique. Sometimes, you just can’t help comment on them. Like that one time…
Takumi: Don’t say too much.
Nuri: Well, they were great people. Why are we using past tense? (Laugh)
Everyone: (Laugh)
Revealing The Secrets Behind Writing The Scenario!
Interviewer: The dialogue is amusing to read.  How do you write them?
Takumi: Sometimes the lines just pop up in my mind like a reflex while writing the story. They just appear like that. Like “bad girl” or “Ask the wind.” A character’s personality can change completely depending on word choice, even if the contents are exactly the same. Thinking of how imposing characters like Kawazu and Hamigaki speak is a lot of fun.
Nuri: I like Kawazu myself too. His character and his lines. He can be rather cute.
Takumi: He is.
Nuri: During the design phase, I kept wondering what kind of character he’d be, but when I saw him with his lines and moving in the game, I could feel myself shake in excitement, thinking he was great.
Interviewer: Kawazu appears in the second episode, Turnabout Corner, where several incidents happen at the same time which all connect. Where do you start when planning such cases?
Takumi: Each story has a different approach. Well, I say approach, but all I do is just think hard. Anyway, episode 2 is actually a story I wrote when I had been at Capcom for about a year. So that’s about ten years ago. There had been vague plans for a detective game back then. So when I couldn’t come up with any ideas this time this time, I decided to just take one of my old ideas out of the drawer (laugh). When I wrote it for that detective game, I thought the concept of a few minor incidents connecting would be fun, so I worked that idea out. I just rearranged the story for use in 4. I wanted to started with a minor case first, so that led me to the theft of a ramen stall and after that, it was connecting everything together. I renovated the plot a lot for 4.
Interviewer: So the original idea dates ten years back, but you had to rewrite it from the start for this game?
Takumi: Yes, I redid a lot of the story. There were the three incidents, and then how they’re connected… Yes, I had trouble writing the stories for 4, so that’s why I ended up using an idea from ten years ago.
Nuri: I was quite worried looking from the sidelines. “He’s already having trouble with writing and we’re just at the second episode.”
Takumi: Just at the second episode.
Nuri: “And he still has to do two episodes…”
Interviewer: Like in previous Gyakuten Saibans, there is minor foreshadowing found in all four episodes that all come together in the end. Do you plan that out from the start?
Takumi: That of course is planned out from the start. But I can’t remember how I thought of it. You see, each story is done differently. I think this is the first time that I actually wrote a neatly-planned overall story from the start. When I was working on 1, there wasn’t even any plans for an overarching story until I was halfway through writing (laugh).
Matsukawa: So you improved!
Takumi: I was pretty awful with writing 3 too. I’d have the structure for the overall story  ready and also manage to get the individual episodes somewhat connected, but then there’d still be many parts that didn’t make any sense. This time I had planned out the overall structure first, but as for the individual cases…
Interviewer: Up until now, episodes 1, 2 and 4 would be directly connected stories, and the third episode usually features a case not directly connected to the main storyline, but this time it feels like episode 2 feels a bit disconnected too.
Takumi: Oh, really? Up until Gyakuten Saiban 3, I did work like that. You’d have episode 1, then 2, and the third episode was to provide a break. This time I didn’t think too much about that while writing.
Matsukawa: You kept saying that episode 2 was there to give Odoroki a chance to shine…
Nuri: And there was the pressure from all of us…(Laugh)
Matsukawa: When the scenario for the first episode was done, everyone said that Naruhodo-kun took stole the spotlight.
Nuri: He hogged it!
Matsukawa: Everyone was saying he got the best part. I think that’s why Takumi tried to push Odoroki in the second episode.
Takumi: Perhaps.
Matsukawa: So when the second episode was done, everyone said “the rival prosecutor is so weak, he’s so weak!”
Takumi: So with episode 3, I thought: “Gotta make him tough, gotta make him tough” (laugh). With Gyakuten Saiban 4, I felt I didn’t need to hold onto the traditions I had held onto until Gyakuten Saiban 3. So I didn’t think too much about it. So I didn’t consciously have the second episode disconnected from the main plot this time. But until the previous game, the third episode was indeed intended to be a short break.
Interviewer: The first episode this time is rather long.
Takumi: Hmm, perhaps I poured so much into it because it was the first episode. I’d keep on writing and writing, but I’d never reach the end. I would only then realize the story is just so long (laugh). I didn’t realize it myself while I was writing, but it’s a rather complex, strange story.
Matsukawa: You had to use a whiteboard to sort out the details of the case.
Nuri: I thought it was the last episode already (laugh).
Takumi: It was really difficult.
Interviewer: I had the feeling that this game has more foreshadowing and points to be solved than previous games?
Takumi: Really? I guess I did focus a lot on that. I’m not sure. I didn’t plan to have more of that anyway.
Nuri: Oh, as we mentioned Minuki earlier, it’s perhaps odd to talk about her without mentioning the Arumajiki Troupe, but when I designed Minuki, the Arumajiki Troupe didn’t even exist yet. They weren’t mentioned in the scenario and her father didn’t look like that.
Matsukawa: Her father wasn’t even supposed to appear in the first episode.
Nuri: No, he was.
Matsukawa: There’s was nothing but Minuki in the early planning stages. The main cast had been decided on, Mr. Takumi started writing and only then we got talking about what a poor girl Minuki was.
Nuri: Because her father was suddenly killed. 
Matsukawa: I was lamenting about what a poor child she was, and Mr. Takumi would say: “It’s okay, it’s Gyakuten Saiban.”
Takumi: Well, her father is dead. But is the protagonist Odoroki also a poor kid? I din’t really know actually (Laugh).
Interviewer: There are a surprising amount of unfortunate people in these games, but you still feel happy after finishing them.
Matsukawa: That’s good to hear. After solving several mysteries in episode 4, Minuki even looks like nothing has happened… (laugh)
Takumi: It’s a difficult matter.
Everyone’s Favorites?
Interviewer: By the way, Mr. Takumi, you think of the episode titles every time, right? Is it hard to come up with a Turnabout title every time?
Takumi: I don’t think it’s difficult at all. I even feel at ease, I just have to add the word Turnabout to get a title. But perhaps it is starting to get difficult now. This time, it was the director who came up with the titles for the first and last episode.
Interviewer: Of the episodes you have written until now, which are your favorites?
Takumi: Hmmm, which are my favorites? It’s hard picking one out. Turnabout Circus (Turnabout Big Top), I guess. I also like the final episode of Gyakuten Saiban 3, because I worked hard to make it all work. As for this game, I think I like episode 1. I don’t mean to say to the people they have gotten the best just by playing the first episode and that they’re all done by then though.
Interviewer: And your favorite characters?
Takumi: Characters? I like Godot.
Matsukawa: I like Obachan (Wendy Oldbag) and Missile.
Takumi: Missile?
Nuri: Kirio (Adrian Andrews). Oh, it’s not about her looks. I like her role in the story. I like her in Gyakuten Saiban 2. How her human side is shown there. I also like her manga-esque cuteness in 3 too though.
Interviewer: Who do you like for their looks?
Nuri: The old lady (laugh). The old lady in Gyakuten Saiban 3.
Takumi: The old lady in 3? Ah, wiggly cheeks.
Nuri. Wiggly cheeks. Bikini. That looks so cute.
Takumi: Moving like waves. I see, I see.
Interviewer: And your favorite characters from Gyakuten Saiban 4?
Nuri: From 4? I like Kawazu.
Matsukawa: I like Kawazu and prosecutor Garyū. We worked hard on the prosecutor, you see. He’s a really good guy!
Nuri: And in the end, I do like Akane (Ema Skye). How she’s become a bit cynical.
Interviewer: Why did she become like that?
Takumi: I don’t really know myself. I was just writing like always and before I knew it, she turned out like that (laugh).

Interviewer: Who came up with the idea to give her karintō (Snackoos)?
Takumi: She was eating karintō already in the original drafts. But In the next case, she’d be eating amanattō or konpeitō, things like that. But when she was actually designed and drawn, the bag she was holding actually had “karintō” clearly printed on it…
Nuri: She was also supposed to eat amanattō early on?
Takumi: Yeah.
Nuri: Really? I always thought she only ate karintō.
Takumi: I hadn’t expected the bag would say karintō so clearly.
Nuri: The pixel art is pretty small, so I can understand you hadn’t expected that.
Takumi: It was really well readable. So I figured, why not stick to karintō.
Matsukawa: At first, it was just supposed to be “some bag”. Just that!
Takumi: At first, Akane’d say that whenever she was in a bad mood, she’d eat amanattō, but  I had to change it to karintō
Interviewer: So the idea is she eats sweets when she’s irritated?
Takumi: There’s no deeper meaning to it. I just thought it’d be funny to see her chew on karintō. Like Nuri, who was always licking glucose.
Nuri: I always buy a big stash for 3000 yen. My body craves it…
Takumi: He has like these blocks of glucose. He’s always licking them.
Nuri: I think it’s good for your body too.
Matsukawa: But people don’t work as well with low blood sugar levels.
Takumi: People need sugar.
Matsukawa: It’s better to take sugar, I’m sure!
Takumi: Everyone eats chocolates.
Matsukawa: Me too.
Takumi: Perhaps they;re onto something with karintō. I had one for the first time in a long while, and they’re quite good.
Matsukawa: Let’s have a tie-up with karintō!!
Takumi: Yeah! Sounds like a delicious idea! (laugh)
Interviewer: You’d be forced to use charintō then (TN: charintō is a pun on karintō, charin being the onomatopoeia for the ringing of a bell)
Takumi: Yeah, there was that ringing sound effect too. It took a long time to get that effect right. It was difficult to explain what I was looking for.
Turnabout of the Characters
Interviewer: You don’t have to hate them, but are there characters you don’t really like because of their personality or looks?
Matsukawa: Hmm… I guess Minami (Alita Tiala). I don’t really like her early on, but I can really sympathize with her after she changes in the evil Minami.
Interviewer: Sympathize with her!?
Matsukawa: Once she shows her evil self, she becomes such a fun character (Laugh). You’re really pulled in the world of the developers who worked on her. In the good meaning of the phrase. She’d be so… normal if she wouldn’t change like that.
Takumi: Yeah, I think so.
Matsukawa: So I just think she look so great, when her facial expressions change and her eyes look coolly at you. People get attracted to characters that suddenly change appearances midway.
Interviewer: The theme of Gyakuten Saiban is of course turnabouts. The personalities of characters also make turnabouts.
Takumi: Yes, but there are times where people start to predict those changes because I’m always writing them like that. So you also have to have characters who don’t change. I try to be careful.
Interviewer: Halfway through the second episode, I realized Kawazu stole the panties, but I didn’t know his motive. At this point, you’d just assume it’s a sexual crime, but once the mystery is solved, I realized he was just a very pure person. That’s a turnabout too, I guess?
Takumi: Yes, exactly that!! That’s what’s important to have.
Nuri: When working on Kawazu’s designs, Mr. Takumi would keep saying that he really isn’t some creep. But he seemed like just a creepy guy who stole panties, so we’d draw him with that image in our heads. But Mr. Takumi would keep saying we had it wrong. That he was just a normal guy. But the artists and Mr. Takumi kept working on cross-purposes. He just didn’t convey well what kind of person Kawazu was.
Takumi: It’s difficult.
Nuri: It is. It was only when Kawazu’s design was done I saw what he meant.
Takumi: I’m glad. It’s rare to have a character you can’t explain easily. Kawazu is one of them.
Nuri: He’s one of those characters so typical of Mr. Takumi. He’s so unique, you won’t see many of the same type around (laugh). But that makes it difficult to explain him to others. He can’t really give any clear examples.
Matsukawa: Another of those characters where you need Gyakuten Saiban’s unique “yardstick”.
Takumi: Other characters are easier to explain.
Interviewer: I like characters that seem bad at first, but turn out to be good people. I can’t have enough of them.
Takumi: They are rare though (laugh).
Matsukawa: I think prosecutor Garyū is one of them. In the latter half of the game, he becomes a really good guy.
Takumi: He was hard to work on.
Interviewer: He plays the perfect handsome guy, but has a cute side to him too.
Matsukawa: Yeah!
Nuri: And he can be a bit of an airhead too…
Matsukawa: Just think of it! Who’s crazy enough to play the air guitar in a courtroom?
Everyone: (Laugh)
Nuri: That’s not an air guitar. Mr. Takumi’d always say “It’s not an air guitar!!” (laugh)
Takumi: It isn’t an air guitar. You can actually hear the sound it makes.
Matsukawa: Skeleton Guitar?
Nuri: Shadow Guitar?
Nuri: (Laugh). It’s like Godot and his coffee. But we had already considered the air guitar before it became popular.
Matsukawa: There’s was a real boom in popularity.
Takumi: So then we started hesitating.
Interviewer: So the air guitar became popular before the game was released?
Takumi: Yeah. That was kinda painful.
Nuri: Early on, we had a guitar placed behind Garyū and also a band ready for whenever he was ready to go. But then we talked about whether he’d go that far.
Takumi: Yeah.
Nuri: We wanted him to be more neutral than that.
Takumi: We were careful not to make him too showy.
Nuri: He was in the role Mitsurugi used to have, so it wouldn’t really work to make him such a showy character.
Takumi: He’d be like one of those one-shot manga characters.
Nuri: (Laugh). Before I started on the design, Mr. Takumi offered a lot of ideas. They sounded fun, but I thought that if I’d use them…
Takumi: It’d be bad?
Nuri: Yeah. I was worried how he’d turn out.
Interviewer: Garyū is like an straightforward, handsome man. He’s an overall nice guy.
Takumi: Really? I don’t really know myself.
Matsukawa: At first he seems like he’s showing off, and he’s also older than the protagonist, so he treats Odoroki a bit like a child. But at the end, they fight together. Mitsurugi in the previous games seemed to be fighting within the system in order to find the truth, but Garyū doesn’t seem to care about the system at all. ”Who cares about the organization?” “Give me the truth right now.” I have the feeling he seems someone who cares more about the result.
Interviewer: When it comes to emotion and logic, Mitsurugi will favor logic. Garyū on the other hand seems hot-blooded and all about emotions from start to finish.
Takumi: Really. But I think Kawazu is like that too. Perhaps the characters aren’t that black-white this time. I can’t tell what actions they’d take if they’d appear another time.
Nuri: Garyū for myself was a character I thought was grey, or at least with a lot of parts I didn’t manage to grasp.
Those Familiar Faces
Interviewer: There are a few characters who return from the previous games. How did you pick them out?
Takumi: Good question. There were no particular reasons. We used them whenever they were necessary. I don’t know the details myself, but the role Harabai (Mike Meekins) got was actually meant for another character, but in the end, there was no time left, so…
Matsukawa: And that’s why he was forced to quit the police. Poor man.
Takumi: They say that in this country, the power is divided in three: judiciary, legislature, administration. So the police can’t be working in the courthouse or something like that… I’m not sure if that’s how it works. Anyway, it was safer to make him quit his old job. But he still wants to return to the police.
Interviewer: So if he returns in a future game, he might be back at the police.
Takumi: I hope so for him. And Director Hotta (Hotti) also appears in 4.
Nuri: Yeah.
Takumi: He just appeared because we had a hospital setting. Previously, he was named Hotta after bottakuri (overcharging rip-off), this time his name Hikita came from hittakuri (snatch). He gets around a lot, as a patient.
Interviewer: Are their brothers with different names or just completely unrelated persons perhaps?
Takumi: No, they’re the same person. He’s the same man, and I wrote him as if he always get in somewhere, somehow.
Interviewer: Had you considered using the previous main characters like Mitsurugi and Mayoi?
Takumi: No. Like I mentioned earlier, we wanted to create a story for a new protagonist. If Mitsurugi or Mayoi had appeared, it would all have been meaningless. This might sound like an egoistic act of the author, but I wanted to make something separate from the previous three games.
Matsukawa: I think nobody had even considered going there when making this game. The idea was to start in new territory, so we only wanted to bring the necessary essentials over from the previous games.
Takumi: From the people above we got the order to make the game connect to the world of the previous games, and to have Naruhodō appear, so I wanted to make a fun game within those limitations.
Interviewer: As the rival prosecutor, Garyū and Mitsurugi overlap in terms of roles, while Minuki and Mayoi do the same in the roles of heroines. So I guess that would have made it difficult to use Mitsurugi and Mayoi too?
Takumi: Yes. I think the way barely got away with how Naruhodo-kun was used. Because we want the new protagonist to be the hero of course. Itonoko (Gumshoe) is a different story. He wasn’t supposed to appear at first actually, but because of how the story developed, he made his appearance. He’s fun to write.
Matsukawa: A perfect attendance record!
Interviewer: So the only ones to get an award for perfect attendance are Naruhodo-kun and Itonoko…
Takumi: And Auchi (Winston Payne) and the judge. The judge is the same person too.
Interviewer: Are the characters from the previous games still alive in your mind?
Takumi: They’re all a part of me, so of course they’re still alive. But I don’t think about what happened to them “afterwards.” They just live happily in that world. I don’t like settling on all kinds background stories and story settings. That’d only limit the ways everyone else likes to think about them, and I am bad at deciding on things like that in the first place.
A Taste For Naming Is Important!
Interviewer: The third episode in the game has a lot of foreigners. Lamiroir, Machi Tobyae. How do you come up with their names?
Takumi: They were difficult, because I hadn’t thought of foreign names before. It took me quite some while to make up how I’d name them.
Interviewer: Where do their names come from?
Takumi: Nothing particular. Take Lamiroir’s manager for example. I was checking something while standing near one of the female staff members who likes cooking and I noticed a recipe she had. Ingredients: Romaine lettuce. So I thought, why not.
Interviewer: There’s really romaine lettuce?
Takumi: Yes, it exists. I didn’t know myself until then. I think it’s used in Italian food or something like that? But I thought the name looked beautiful. Anything goes for a name. As long as it has impact, or “flavor.” So I figured, Romein Letouse might work for a guard-like character.
Interviewer: And Lamiroir and Machi Tobaye?
Takumi: I honestly don’t remember where Machi Tobaye came from. Lamiroir basically come from the French la miroir, mirror. I don’t remember why she’s named after a mirror though. Perhaps because she’s a landscape artist? Like a mirror that reflects the landscape on the canvas.
Interviewer: I don’t understand Hamigaki’s name either.
Takumi: Hamigaki’s name was actually meant for another character.
Nuri: He had been in the scenario really early on.
Takumi: Anyway, I rather liked the name Hamigaki, so I wanted to use it. I think the name was first for a rakugo artist?
Nuri: Yes. Something-tei Hamigaki.
Takumi: That’s it! Something-tei Hamigaki. The story I had thought of at that time needed a rakugo artist. But he disappeared after a while.
Interviewer: And Doburoku Ese (Drew Misham) comes from ese, a fake?
Takumi: Yes. No special meaning to Doburoku. I just think it sounded cute.
Interviewer: And Makoto (Vera Misham)’s makoto (truth) forms a set with ese, fake?
Takumi: Yes. Probably.
Matsukawa: Of course it does (laugh).
Takumi: It’s kinda like we’re playing riddles. It’s not like every name has a particular meaning to it. Like Romain Letouse.
Interviewer: What comes first, a character’s name or design?
Nuri: They usually have names already. But they often change later on. I think Machi changed this time?
Takumi: It did?
Nuri: I think he had a different gender too….
Matsukawa: Yeah, he changed.
Takumi: Oh yeah, he was a girl at first. I don’t why, but we made him a boy later on. Sometimes that happens to make a certain trick in the mystery plot work.
Nuri: Yeah. A lot changes during the process, so I try not to work too much of the names. Their roles in the stories are much more important than their names. Ages are much more important when it comes to the designs than names.
Takumi: More than names, yeah.
Interviewer: As we’re talking about names anyway, is it hard to make sure you come up with names for locations or places like Borscht that don’t exist already?
Takumi: Restaurants and other places don’t pose any difficulties. They’re not really important after all. So I just decide on the names on a whim. I’m more careful with names of characters. It’s what gives them life.
Interviewer: Do you base places on restaurants you yourself frequent, or use names of places you know and change them a little?
Takumi: Ah, recently, I went to a place where they had a lot of fancy clothing shops and I was looking at the names of the shops. I often saw the pattern where similar-looking words are repeated. Prêt-à-porter. So I was thinking, what about if you named a new brand Osuto Mesuto (TN: osu to mesu to/male and female). I thought that sounded good.
Interviewer: You like puns, don’t you?
Takumi: Not really puns. Just playing with words.
Nuri: But you always tell us to not call them puns.
Takumi: I do.
Nuri: “They’re not puns!!”
Matsukawa: “It’s my taste in jokes!!”
Takumi: It depends. I don’t use puns for character names.
Nuri: …He’s always like that.
Takumi: Take Naruhodō Ryūichi for example. Not a pun in sight.
Interviewer: Naruhodo! (I see!)
Takumi: … I suppose there’s Machio Mamoru (Dustin Prince. TN: “Machi wo mamoru” means “Protecting town”). But I generally don’t use puns!
Matsukawa: That doesn’t make any sense!
Takumi: Look at Mitsurugi Reiji. I really gave his name a lot of thought. But usually when I say they’re puns, everyone just shrugs at me.
Interviewer: Mitsurugi’s name reflects the sharpness of a sword (tsurugi), right?
Takumi: Yes. Itonokogiri (fretsaw) too. The moment you think of a name like Itonokogiri, you just want to use it. Generally, I like these kinds of names that just suddenly pop in your head.
Interviewer: I suppose it’s hard to come up with object and other things that are mentioned in the story, like Incuritis?
Takumi: Incuritis… that’s one example I wish you hadn’t mentioned (laugh). I mixed the names of existing poisons for atroquinine, making it sound like something that’s bad for you.
Interviewer: Had you considered using a real poison in episode 4?
Takumi: No. To be honest here, the main reason was because I thought there was no poison in existence that met the qualifications the story required of it. The most important quality it needed to had was that the poison could be applied seven years ago and still be poisonous. I didn’t know whether such a poison existed or not. For example, I thought I had heard that cyanide only lasts for six months.  So as the writer, I thought it’d be easier if I invented a poison myself.
Miracles That Go Beyond Human Imagination Are Fun
Interviewer: Thanks to the new mechanic Perceive, we can now look at some characters In detail. Was it more difficult to create the graphical assets because of that this time?
Nuri: If we had worked like we had done before, we could have rough line work in the original artwork, but obviously, we couldn’t have that in the artwork we use in the Perceive parts. The lines of the original pictures would be too obvious for everyone to see… So we had to draw each line perfectly, and also work on all the details. It meant a lot of extra work.
Interviewer: Do you scan in the original artwork once you are done with it?
Nuri: We often draw on the computer right away nowadays to save time. Usually we’d draw the art a bit smaller than for print media for efficiency and because of the resolution, but once we decided on adopting the Perceive mechanic, we had to enhance the resolution of the artwork. If we had drawn the character art at the resolution we used to work with and used that in the Perceive segments, you’d see clearly whenever a line was a bit crooked. It’d make it too clear on the game screen that the art was actually “drawn”. It’d infringe on the reality of the characters, so we paid a lot of attention to that.
Interviewer: So you had to draw artwork at a higher resolution especially for Perceive?
Nuri: Often, it had not been decided yet on which animation cycles Perceive would be used. That’s what really caused a lot of trouble for us. So for all the characters we knew would get a Perceive segment, we had to draw all of the animations at a bigger size and clean the artwork up. All of them could be chosen, so ultimately we had to do all of the animations like that (laugh).
Interviewer: Is it true that Odoroki already had his bracelet as a prop long before it was decided he’d use the bracelet to use Perceive?
Nuri: Yes. I just added it in because I wanted something on his arm, something that’d stand out (laugh). His arm just stands out whenever he points his finger.
Takumi: Yes, it’s right in front of you.
Nuri: Mr. Takumi and I, we trust each other. I was sure he’d do something or just mention the bracelet in the story.
Takumi: Yeah, he sure looked like he was sure I’d figure something out with the bracelet.
Nuri: But I was surprised how much was focused on it actually.
Takumi: Really?
Nuri: Yeah. You hadn’t decided on having that bracelet on top of the screen yet.
Takumi: Oh, yeah, that’s right.
Nuri: That’s why I was happy.
Takumi: That’s good to hear.
Interviewer: Are there other things that were decided upon because of the designs?
Nuri: I think that happened a lot with the main cast this time?
Takumi: Really?
Nuri: We started designing the main characters at the same time as the writing of the scenarios. The story wasn’t there yet, so we had to imagine how the characters would look like before the story was done. I’m sure there were times where you saw the designs first, influencing the story later on.
Takumi: Ah, Garyū and his brother.
Nuri: The tone of his dialogue lines changed a lot.
Interviewer: Mr. Nuri, did you come up with the animation when Apollo’s shocked and the part beneath his nose goes all the way down like this?
Nuri: You mean near the end of that damage animation, right? That didn’t come out of one of my idea drawers. I was just one step ahead of that. You remember?
Takumi: Sure I remember.
Nuri: There’s that animation where he opens his mouth in shock. I was trying a lot of variation, and I was just erasing his mouth. So part of his mouth was already gone and that looked a lot like when the part beneath his nose dives. Mr. Takumi just happened to be standing next to me, and he thought it looked good. So he told me to erase a part here and add something there, and there it was.
Matsukawa: Just a flash of inspiration.
Nuri: When we were done it took me a while to process how this expression actually works myself (laugh). His jaw goes like this… it’s a really funny face.
Interviewer: It’s quite unique.
Nuri: Very. “I have never…”
Takumi: Yepyepyep.
Nuri: “…Seen a face like that,’ Mr. Takumi said. So we added it to the game. So one extra part was added to that damage animation.
Takumi: Precisely.
Nuri: The phase before that was what I had originally intended to be the peak of that animation. I couldn’t link the two expressions immediately, so I had to add an extra face to connect them for a multi-faceted surprise animation.
Takumi: We can time character’s animations and facial expressions down to 1/60 sec. So the moment that face appears, we could time so he’d immediately enter a different animation. I remember we worked a lot on the timing.
Interviewer: Do you work on the timing of those animations yourself?
Takumi: Yes. Other people helped me too this time, but until Gyakuten Saiban 3, I always did it myself.
Nuri: As Odoroki’s name means "surprise", I had plans from the start to make his shocked animation his most unique one. Perhaps we went a bit too far though.
Matsukawa: He looks really odd.
Takumi: I like it when coincidences lend a hand. Like some force’s at work that goes beyond our human imagination. Sounds interesting, right?
Interviewer: Speaking of surprises, I was shocked that Mugitsura (Eldoon) was wearing a w*g.
Takumi: Oh, that was just because we joked around.
Nuri: Yeah. It was just something we came up with on the spot. Let’s give him this bowl, like he’s wearing ramen.
Takumi: That had been there from the start.
Nuri: Characters like Mugitsura are all about the impactful impression they leave, so it’s fun coming up with ideas like that for them.
Takumi: Yes.

Interviewer: I was also surprised by the animation when you point out the contradiction in Hamigaki’s testimony.
Nuri: That was Mr. Takumi. In person.
Takumi: Oh that. I showed them myself, using my own body. Like I was Hamigaki.
Matsukawa: He was all energetic, using his own face as an example. “Like this!!”
Nuri: I burst in laughter.
Matsukawa: When it was decided that Hamigaki would use a toothbrush, Mr. Takumi went to the designer, and showed him in person what he meant.
Takumi: (Moving his hand like he’s brushing his teeth) Like this.
Nuri: Hamigaki was made with Mr. Takumi’s acting..
Takumi: Yes, he has a lot of me. They say I look a bit like him.
Nuri: Hamigaki, you mean, right? He looks like you.
Matsukawa: Hamigaki. He’s the one who looks like you.
Takumi: Eh? No way!
Matsukawa: We’d say he looks a bit like you.
Nuri: His animations.
Matsukawa: When you’re lost in thought.
Nuri: How he nods.
Matsukawa: He looks like you when you snort.
Takumi: I see… I guess he looks like me.
Matsukawa: When I told Mr. Nuri Hamigaki looked like you, he told me to not tell you.
Nuri: Some people said they hated the way Hamigaki nods (laugh).
Takumi: I get it, I get it.
Matsukawa: The women hated him.
Nuri: They all said he irritated them.
Takumi: That was the whole concept behind him.
Interviewer: Is there a reason why Garyū Kirihito has a scar on his hand? Or was that just added mainly for design reasons?
Nuri: That scar was added quite a long time after we had finished his initial design and his original artwork. I discussed the scar with Mr. Takumi. I wanted to have some story for it.
Takumi: I asked for a scar so we’d have a mouth for the skull appearing on the back of his hand. The scenarios had already been finished by then. It does happens a lot that more is added to the story because of happenings like these. But this time… nothing came of it. There was no time anymore.
Nuri: There was no place to add the story to.
Takumi: I was afraid to make the story even longer than it already was by then. Sounds like a bad excuse maybe.
Nuri: If only we had the time.
Interviewer: Is there an important secret behind that scar, connected to his motive?
Nuri: Something like a tear-jerking episode that happened in the past of the Garyū brothers.
Matsukawa: The way Odoroki’s bracelet got written in the story is an example of this process succeeding, in the case of Garyū Kirihito it was all too late.
Nuri: We were already in the last phase of the development cycle when we got working on his Perceive section. When I discussed the scar with Mr. Takumi, he had a pretty good story with the brothers, so it’s a bit sad we didn’t manage to add it.
Interviewer: Are there other character-related story elements you thought of that got in the game, Mr. Nuri?
Nuri: The badge on Naruhodo’s beanie. Quite some time after Naruhodo’s design had been finalized, Mr. Takumi suddenly gave me the scenario for episode 4 and told me to add something to Naruhodo’s head. I decided to use Akane’s badge. Decided that on my own (laugh).
Interviewer: So was Naruhodo given that badge by Akane?
Takumi: That’s what I assume.
Nuri: Perhap Akane gave him the data (laugh).
Matsukawa: As part of her forensic investigation?
Nuri: She might have been helping him with that badge. It’s not just a normal badge. But she wouldn’t know what it would have been used for (laugh). But then Naruhodo made smart use of it, something like that. Oh, about Naruhodo’s beanie, the idea is that Minuki made it for him, that’s why it’s the same color as Minuki’s magic panties.
Takumi: Oh, I didn’t know.
Nuri: I try to come up with all kinds of explanations for the designs.
Interviewer: Does that mean Mr. Nuri thinks more of details like that than Mr. Takumi?
Nuri: I don’t think so… But I do pay a lot of attention to details like that, so I try to come up with ideas as I work on them.

Takumi: (Snort)

Everyone: (Laugh)
A New Challenge, With the Same Old Feeling
Interviewer: We’ve reached the end of this interview. Do you have any messages for all our readers?

Matsukawa: Thank you for buying the official walkthrough!

Takumi: The Gyakuten Saiban series has now seen its fourth entry, but the one thought I have when I work on these games has not changed in all this time. It’s one thing: I want people to have fun with an entertaining work of mystery fiction. The protagonist of this series may change, but that one thought will never. This time too I gave everything I had to create this. With the game finally completed, I’m completely empty again, like it always goes. I hope everyone will enjoy the game: that’s the best ending Gyakuten Saiban 4 could have.

Matsukawa: With trial and error, we succeeded in creating this game. I can only imagine that the people who reading this have gone through several phases too before they got this book. I’d be happy if you’d play the game again as you page through this book and take a look at the history of how this game was developed. This book has a lot of information about the development of the game, so perhaps you could play the game again, imagining how a character could also have turned out if things had gone differently. I recommend a second playthrough!
Nuri: As a new chapter in the Gyakuten Saiban series, we have characters with a slightly different taste than before, but also characters that are exactly like you’d expect of this series. I think we succeeded with mixing up the old and new type of characters. So I hope that both old and new fans of the series will enjoy this game. As a new chapter, the animations and facial expressions of the characters are more detailed now, and we gave us all working on those details, so I’d be happy if you’d play the game a second or a third time to take a better look at all the details!

Interviewer: Thank you very much for today.

(April 2nd, 2007. Capcom Development Building)


  1. I was always confused about Takumi's involvement for AA4. Him not being credited as the director made me wonder how his role changed compared to before. Funny that he was also confused about his new position. From this interview, I get the impression he basically co-directed the game.

    Too bad his desire to have a new person take over the series was not successful with AA4. Maybe that is why there was a relatively long gap between the releases of AA4 and AA5? Nobody proved that they could direct an installment in the series except Takumi and Yamazaki, who were both occupied with their own projects in the interim. With both Yamazaki and Kodama now gone from Capcom, and a desire from Takumi to move on from the series (as I understand it), I wonder what that means for the future of the series.

    Also, the Mr. Hat animation was always my favorite in the game. That little detail where Trucy uses her topit to control the puppet was such a nice touch ( ). Too bad they could not replicate that little detail in 3D when Mr. Hat returned in Spirit of Justice ( )

    1. The way how in the other recently posted article where the staff members (including Endo) get to "complain" about Takumi it's indicated they all had to ultimately answer to/get approved by Takumi, it does seem Takumi was basically in his old position again in practical terms, 'outranking' Endo as the series supervisor and making most important calls anyway. Perhaps that's what Yamazaki later in 5 and to a lesser extent in 6 opted for a more clear distinction between two directors (story and game) and their tasks?

  2. Thanks a lot for translating these articles! I beat dgs lately and your translations are filling an ace-attorney-shaped hole in my heart. It's been fun reading about the progress behind making these games.