The next Ace Attorney game is going to be a little bit different. Series creator Shu Takumi has said that it will take place more than a century into the series’ past. This means that we won’t be controlling any of the characters that we know and love. No Phoenix Wright, no Maya Fey, no Miles Edgeworth. Instead, players will be taking control of Ryunosuke Naruhodo, an ancestor of Phoenix Wright himself.
The last time that the Ace Attorney series did this, it wasn’t received all that well. Ace Attorney 4: Apollo Justice, departed from everything we knew and loved about the series, introducing all new characters and putting Phoenix on the back burner. However, Ace Attorney V, which saw the grand return of Phoenix Wright was far more well received. Even the Miles Edgeworth Ace Investigator games, which departed from the series conventions quite drastically, were well received simply because they starred a familiar character. So one has to wonder, will this be a successful spinoff, or another failed experiment?
The game will come out for the Nintendo 3DS, of course, and will be directed by Shu Takumi himself. Unfortunately, actual details about the production are few and far between. Other than the names of the new characters and the fact that the game will take place during Japan’s Meiji period (from 1868 – 1912), we won’t know what gameplay will be like, how the court’s will function, what investigation will be like, or even if the new characters will have access to Phoenix’s old abilities, such as the Magatama.
There is also a bit of wonkiness introduced to the plot here. According to Phoenix’s backstory, he was never actually looking to be a lawyer. It was an experience in gradeschool with Miles Edgeworth, followed by a trial in college with Mia Fey that pushed him into law. This new game, however, would suggest that Phoenix came from a long line of lawyers, which is fooling around with series canon a bit. Purists might take some exception to that.
The new Ace Attorney game hasn’t yet been given a title nor a release date. Likely, it will come out in Japan sometime next year, which usually means we will have to wait for an American release a whole year after. Localization on these games is no easy task after all. At least we finally have received word that Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, the spin-off puzzler that all puzzle fans have been waiting for, will finally be releasing on American 3DSes sometime this year.
Senior Contributing Writer