Summary: In this long interview (dated July 20, 2016) with Gyakuten Saiban 6 (Ace Attorney 6 - Spirit of Justice) producer Eshiro Motohide and director Yamazaki Takeshi, the two look back at their game which was one month earlier. They look at how they thought of the setting of the game, the new and old characters that appear in the game, how the story was told, how they came up with the new game mechanics and basically everything that has to do with the game.
Images are taken from the source article. Copyright belongs to the respective owners.
Reflection on the previous game influenced the new game.
Interviewer: The game has been released for a while now. How are the reactions of the users?
Eshiro: I had an idea of the preferences of the users, but it was much better than I had ever expected. It was better received than the previous game, and there are also people who say: “It’s as fun as Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney) 1 ~ 3.” And the characters, especially Reifa (Rayfa), are very popular.
Interviewer: People who completed the game will know already, but we prepared quite some drama in the latter half of the game. I was happy to see comments like: “It’s been a while since Gyakuten Saiban made me cry!” and “It was so exciting.” On the other hand, we also put a lot of effort in the animations, and we heard people express their opinion about how that influenced the tempo of the game. It’s a bit divided between people who want to follow the story in a speedy way, and people who want to slowly enjoy the game by exploring everything.
Interviewer: What do you think about that, Mr. Yamazaki?
Yamazaki: We took on quite a challenge this time, with a setting abroad, so I had an idea it could be a bit divisive. But despite that, I was very happy that many said that the game was fun overall. About the tempo, there are also people who say the animations look nice, or that the graphics look very good and are fun to watch, so I have the feeling everything has their own prefences.
Interviewer: Did you look back at the comments you got about 5 (Ace Attorney 5 - Dual Destinies) as you worked on Gyakuten Saiban 6?
Yamazaki: We went through the user questionnaires with the team, wrote the comments down and examined the list with the points mentioned most often.
Eshiro: For the last game, “It’s too simple” and “There are too few places to examine” were the most often mentioned. Gyakuten Saiban 5 was a new title in the series in a long time. We wanted it also be accessible for new users, so we kept it simple and concentrated the places you could examine in the 3D Investigation parts, and wanted easy-to-understand tricks for the game, and have the users move from there to the Trial parts. Because of that, we were well received by the new users and people who aren’t that good at the puzzle-solving of adventure games. But for people who have played the games for a long time now, and the people who love adventure games, it wasn’t challenging enough.
Interviewer: I see.
Eshiro: We also got a lot of comments that looking around is what makes Gyakuten Saiban fun. “Why did you make it 3D and all moveable, when we can’t examine anything?” I agreed with that, so we wanted to answer those two points no matter what. And there were many users who said they wanted scientific investigation, so we decided to include that too.
Yamazaki: There were also a lot of people saying they wanted Mayoi (Maya Fey) back.
Eshiro. Yes. “Still no Mayoi?” “Still taking your time?” There was a lot of that, so we decided to have Mayoi appear too.
Interviewer: I felt that Gyakuten Saiban 6 was more Gyakuten Saiban-esque than 5. Was there something that changed in the development team?
Yamazaki: In the team for Gyakuten Saiban 5, there were a lot of people who had never worked on the series before. But the team this time was based on that team, so this time we could build on that experience and also make the game with the users’ wishes in mind. That’s why it’s become a game that’s been received well, I think.
Eshiro: There are parts that Yamazaki himself wrote, but we divided the work for several people. I think it was good that Yamazaki could take one step back and pay attention to the overall balance and the flow of the story.
Yamazaki: It wasn’t just me, we looked over the overall structure with the whole scenario team. How we’d lay down the hints for the last episode, or how we’d show where we were going with the story. I think I paid off that after we had finished writing the scenario we went over it again and again.
6 Could’ve Been About Trials On A Southern Island?!
Interviewer: Could you tell us about the overall concept of Gyakuten Saiban 6 from the beginning?
Eshiro: The concept for the game this time was “revolution.” And also human drama. I also thought this with the Gyakuten Kenji (Ace Attorney Investigations) series, but Yamazaki here likes easy-to-understand human drama. And Odoroki (Apollo Justice) was still not grown out yet, so another concept behind the game was to portray his evolution and the story behind that. Yamazaki: And there is another hidden theme, but it has to do with what happens at the end, so I can’t talk about that here (laugh). I think that people who have completed the game will know.
Interviewer: The main visual art looks very cool, symmetric and with a good balance to the position of the characters.
Eshiro: Thank you. I always have fights with Fuse (art director of Gyakuten Saiban 6) about the main visual. Fuse has a clear concept in his mind when he starts on his work, it takes time to get our minds on the same frequency. But looking at it again, it really is really nice artwork.
Yamazaki: You shouldn’t really praise our own people (laugh). But I think it is fantastic too. There are so many characters, but they are all drawn in their respective positions. I really think he got it all together very nicely.
Interviewer: Was the logo for 6 made after the image of a magatama?
Eshiro. Yes. As color candidates, we had green and purple, but we decided on purple finally. Our reason was because it’s Mayoi’s color. We also decided on the release date July 9th, because 6 and 9 look like two magatama and are easy to understand.
Interviewer: Did you have any special orders about the designs of the new setting of the Kingdom of Kurain (Kingdom of Khura'in)?
Yamazaki: We had an art team with us since the early planning stage of the game this time, so it wasn’t that I had any special orders, we all came up with this together. When we had decided we’d go abroad, we hadn’t yet decided where. There was a moment where we said: “What about an island in the south?” (laugh).
Interviewer: A turnabout on a southern island!?
Yamazaki: Yes. But that idea also featured a priestress who would do something spiritually, like now in the Kingdom of Kurain, so we thought, since it’s an island in the south, why not a shaman? We also had ideas like that there would be no defense attorneys there because the culture wasn’t fully modernized yet. It was amidst that that it was decided that Mayoi would appear in the game. So then came the idea that the foreign setting could be the source of the Kurain Channeling Technique, which would bring it all together nicely. And we thought that the country would need to have an Asian aura, so that’s how we arrived at the current form. We had the team draw illustrations as we followed that route, so we also have a design for the island. Also for when we decided to go Asian. We choose the best one from all the designs we had together.
Special Facial Parts Prepared So They Look Cool From The Defense Bench.
Interviewer: I was surprised at how smooth Reifa’s Dance of Devotion looks in the courtroom, or the magic show Minuki (Trucy) showed in episode 2, Turnabout Magic Show.
Yamazaki: We used motion capturing for both scenes.
Eshiro: Not only for those parts, but we used it in all kinds of places. The animator would use that as a base for their own work.
Interviewer: This was also mentioned on the official blog, but while you had planned to use the character models from the previous game as is, that didn’t work out, so did you have to switch a lot of the models out?
Yamazaki: At first we had no intentions of working on them, but when we put the old models next to the new models they looked too off, so we needed to work on them.
Eshiro: In this game, we have a lot of animations for the characters and the camera also moves around, so to ensure the models wouldn’t clip in themselves, we need to work on the models (wry smile).
Yamazaki: This was because people who worked on Gyakuten Saiban 5 worked on this. They wanted to make a better game, so they added more joints for the models to move, added camera movements… (laugh);.
Eshiro: They did go crazy on that (laugh).
Yamazaki: So there were times where the models would look strange from a certain angle, so we needed to fix all of that.
Interviewer: In the interview for 5, we talked about how you changed the arms for when the characters object. Did you do something similar this time?
Both: Here and there.
Interviewer: What parts precisely?
Eshiro: The arm and face parts are changed at special times.
Yamazaki: We’ve got a lot of facial parts in particular. The defense attorneys are shown from the side at the bench, but also from up front. When I look at it all, I think: “We made quite a lot of these” (laugh).
Eshiro: I agree (laugh). In episode 3, there’s an animation where Reifa goes red and angry, but there are no other games that do animations like that with 3D models, I assure you. It looks just like a 2D animation. But they wanted to do that in 3D. I think they had quite a hard time with getting it just right.
Interviewer: The team was able to do that because they made Gyakuten Saiban 5?
Eshiro: Precisely. They all wanted to make the presentation even better. And they were also influenced by the 3DS release of Dai Gyakuten Saiban (‘The Grand Turnabout Trial’). Another team developed that, but the presentation there is really detailed. Like the eyes of Naruhodō Ryūnosuke, or the weak slap when he hits the bench. That was really well received. 6 was released after that game, so they worked hard to surpass that game in presentation.
Yamazaki: The character models in Dai Gyakuten Saiban are made to look more like 3D, and have been made with the thought you can look at them from any angle. For Gyakuten Saiban 5, we wanted to make graphics that looked 2D at first sight, so we had limitations set for the camera angles. But for Gyakuten Saiban 6, we used camera angles like they did in Dai Gyakuten Saiban, so we could’ve made the models so they looked good from any angle too. But that might’ve changed the feeling of the models. That would’ve be different from our concept of 2D-like 3D, so we stayed with that, but made the extra effort with extra parts so we could still use the camera.
Only Worries Because of Mayoi’s Appearance. The Two Talk About The Announcement.
Interviewer: I’m going to ask you about the important characters. First about the protagonists. Naruhodo (Phoenix Wright) and Odoroki. Could you tell us about how they changed since the previous game, and what they’re doing this time?
Yamazaki: It’s set one year after 5, so in terms of looks the two haven’t changed. But we portray Odoroki’s growth, and Naruhodo looking over him in this game, so the relation between the two becomes more clear and from there, we also see the differences between them. Naruhodo is fighting for Mayoi in a crazy country where they don’t have attorneys, but the only one who can fight in such an unfair place, is the Super Defensey Attorney Naruhodo. So the story of this game could only be made with him. We wated to show the growth of Odoroki by showing how he works hard to pull of a victory in the absence of Naruhodo.
Interviewer: And now something about Kokone (Athena Cykes), who appeared in the previous game.
Yamazaki: In the last game, we often featured the team-up of Naruhodo and Kokone, but this time we have her with Odoroki. I think their senior-junior team up has a similar well-balanced feeling like that of the Naruhodo-Mayoi team-up.
Interviewer: What about Minuki? She’s like a main character of episode 2 this time.
Interviewer: In 5 she was just pulling things from her panties.
Yamazaki: She was like a macotte figure of the agency (laugh). I think that people will get a better idea of her when they play episode 2.
Interviewer: And we also have Yugami (Simon Blackquill). How was his appearance decided?
Eshiro: Yugami is quite popular.
Yamazaki: And we have a lot of staff members of Gyakuten Saiban 5, so everyone wanted him
Eshiro: We showed the relation between Yugami and Kokone in the last half of the previous game, but Yugami became quite popular because of that. So this time his guilt was cleared and he’s free of his chains.
Yamazaki: So we really needed to use him!
Interviewer: It was decided quite naturally then.
Yamazaki: We wanted to use him, but the problem was how. If we used him as the prosecutor for one episode, then the number of Nayuta’s appearances would’ve shrunk, and he would’ve made less of an impression. So we finally hit upon the idea while we were thinking of a good way to use him. Please see for yourself in the game.
Interviewer: Next is Akane (Ema Skye), who last appeared in Gyakuten Saiban 4. She became a forensic investigator this time. Who decided that?
Eshiro: That was Yamazaki’s wish (laugh).
Yamazaki: I wanted her to become a forensic investigator! The first game I worked on was Gyakuten Saiban Yomigaeru Gyakuten (Ace Attorney DS). That was Akane’s first appearance. And she also appeared in Gyakuten Saiban 4 and Gyakuten Kenji, all the games I worked on, so I wanted to make her dream finally come true.
Interviewer: But she’s still on the karintō (Snackoos).
Yamazaki: Yes. People in the team asked me: “Now she’s a forensic investigator, will she stop eating karintō?”. But if she wouldn’t eat them, she wouldn’t be Gyakuten Saiban 4’s Akane! Her eating karintō looks funny, so I wanted to keep that. And because Nayuta is dragging her along everywhere, I could have her eat her karintō.
Eshiro: So she still eats karintō because of stress (laugh).
Interviewer: She looks more adult in her design now.
Yamazaki: She has not changed much from Gyakuten Saiban 4 except for wearing an armband now, but when Fuse drew this illustrations, he said: “She’s finally a forensic investigator now, so I want to show she has grown.”In this pose, she looks a bit more adult.
Interviewer: And now finally, something about Mayoi please!
Yamazaki: Mayoi is a character of whom we decided early we wanted her in the game, but it was hard deciding how to have her appear. She hadn’t appeared in the games since Gyakuten Saiban 3 (Ace Attorney 3 – Trials and Tribulations) and it’s been nine years in the in-game chronology. It was difficult figuring out how she would have evolved since then. I think most users will all have their own ideas about that, so I had a lot of trouble decided how we could address that in a good way. We started writing her with the simple idea that she had grown into an adult woman, but that was still the same inside. But it would be strange to have her personality be exactly the same now she was 28, so there are times where we show how she has grown too as a character, by having moments where she acts like a real adult, and also by showing that her spiritual powers have grown,
Eshiro: She is fated to become the top in the Village of Kurian, so I think they made good use filling in the nine years she didn’t appear in the game.
Interviewer: Had you any worries about having her in the game?
Yamazaki: A lot!
Eshiro: Worries were all we had.
Yamazaki: We also thought like this when we had Hami-chan (Pearl Fey) appear in 5. Fuse, who designed her, was worried that the users might not like her.
Eshiro: We thought people would always complain, no matter how we used the character. But when we tried it, there were almost zero negative reactions to her. It was almost a wonder how Mayoi’s design was received.
Yamazaki: I think we found just the perfect path through it all.
Interview: It’s not like everything stayed the same while time passed by.
Yamazaki: No. We talked about designing her after her mother, Ayasato Maiko (Misty Fey).
Eshiro: The concept of using Maiko as a motif was good.
Yamazaki: I had also trouble deciding how she would talk. I did my best having her speak like Mayoi.
Nayuta’s Sharp Tongue Was Born From Yamazaki’s Offensive Stance
Interviewer: I want to ask you about how the characters from the Kingdom of Kurain were made and the concept behind their names. First about Reifa.
Yamazaki: Reifa’s “rei” comes rei (‘spirit'), like in reibai ('spirit channeling'). For the main characters, we don’t go for puns, but for the image. The Padma from Reifa Padma Kurain comes from the Sanskrit word for “lotus flower”. In the Kingdom of Kurain, the lotus flower is a symbol for the priestress. The motif of a Kurainese butterfly carrying the spirit of the dead resting on a lotus flower, is a symbol of the priestress channeling spirits. Only the royal family has a middle name, and the names are based on their rank, so her middle name is Padma.
Interviewer: What is the meaning behind the middle name of Reifa’s father, and Minister of Justice, “Kalkur”?
Yamazaki: Kalkur comes from the verb karakuru (‘to pull strings’). Because he’s the Minister of Justice who pulls the strings of the legal world.
Eshiro: It looks like he’s holding a cigar, but it’s actually a stamp.
Interviewer: I really thought it was a cigarette!
Eshiro: If you zoom in, you’ll see it’s not. I don’t think most people would notice.
Yamazaki: The design on his clothes is the same as on the stamp, but the designer said: “He looks like a minister, but he really isn’t” (laugh). It’s a Kurain mark, they said.
Interviewer: To go back to the question, could you tell us about the story of Reifa?
Yamazaki: She is an important key person in this game. She is responsible for the Spirit Trials, the core of the court. We had troubles figuring out what kind of character we would have as the heroine at the center of the story, but she is her. The Gyakuten Saiban series has a lot of heroies. There’s Mayoi, and Kokone and Minuki and Akane. We had trouble deciding what kind of character Reifa would be. In the end, she became a heroine who you need to fight as an opponent. We decided it would be interesting if she would be very antagonistic towards Naruhodo at first, but that she would change as they had more encounters.
Interviewer; By the way, the length of Reifa’s skirt was whose idea again?
Eshiro: Fuse’s idea.
Yamazaki: I didn’t say anything about keeping it short, so I guess it was Fuse (laugh). But she dances, so it’s a costume looks good during her dance.
Eshiro: At first it was more like a normal priestress, a bit boring, but now she is more like a princess. The decorations on her clothes, the tiara, her hair…
Yamazaki: Her hairstyle changed quite a lot. We had designs where she looked more like a dancer, or where she looked more like a priestress.
Interviewer: And Bokto Tsuāni (Ahlbi Ur'gaid)?
Yamazaki: From the name boku to tsuā ni (‘on a tour with me’) and also bokutotsu (‘honest’/’simple’). We didn’t touch upon this in the game, but he’s the oldest son of a poor family with a lot of children, so he has to work as a guide besides his monk training to make money for the family.
Eshiro: The names of his brother and sister are Oreto Tsuāni (‘On a tour with me’) and Kimito Tsuāni (‘An a tour with you’). By the way, it was Tsujimoto Ryozō, producer of the Monster Hunter series who came up with those names (laugh).
Yamazaki: No, no, no, the names of his brothers and sisters are just something these two producers made up, it’s not official! (laugh) But putting that aside, we don’t have an Investigation part in episode 1, Turnabout Foreigner, so it is hard to have the users feel like they want to help the defendant. It is important to have them want to save someone right after the trial starts. So that’s why we made Bokto Naruhodo's tour guide, which would give the users a reason for wanting to save him.
Eshiro: The design of Bokto was basically finished during the test development stage. He’s one of the earliest characters, I think. We added his dog Mitamaru later.
Yamazaki: He wasn’t in the first scenario we had, but as he was designing, Fuse said he wanted to add a dog to him to make the character more unique, so that’s how he was born.
Eshiro: Mitamaru’s early name was Nūi actually. The Gyakuten series has a lot of animals of which the names are just reversed names for the animals themselves, like Rūsa for a monkey (saru in Japanese) and Rutō for a tiger (tora in Japanese). So we gave him a similar name (TN: Dog is inu in Japanese).
Yamazaki: But unlike Rutō, Mitamaru is actually part of the story, so we gave him a real name.
Eshiro: We added a ‘ru’ to mitama (spirit), which made it a dog-like name.
Interviewer: And now about Nayuta please.
Yamazaki: His name was based on the sound and image of the name.
Eshiro: Nayuta was a temporary name at first, but in my mind, it seemed to fim him best.
Yamazaki: So we just kept it like that.
Eshiro: In terms of image, Nayuta’s name sounds both Japanese and Western. I think it’s good that his name alone looks like it might be Western.
Yamazaki: “Nayuta” is actually a very large number, and I think it fits his mysterious aura, and his almost godly strength. His family name Sādmadhi comes from the saying hotoke no kao mo sando made (‘Even the Buddha becomes angry if you stroke his face thrice’)
Eshiro: The users noticed that immediately, it seems.
Yamazaki: He does say “even the founder’s face will only take three times” in the game. Deciding who the rival prosecutor will be is something that troubles us at the start every time.
Eshiro: We already did a prosecutor with impact. A prisoner who is a prosecutor (laugh). So then it’s: what can we do now?”.
Yamazaki: This time we had a mysterious setting, abroad and with spirit channeling, so we thought about someone who was very strong, who could read all karma throughout the trial. As our image, we had the Buddha in mind who had Sun Wukong within the grasp of his palm in Journey to the West. As for design, we had an evil prosecutor last time with Yugami, so we went for a holy image this time.
Eshiro: So the base for his clothing is white, and we use the precious color of gold for his accessories.
Yamazaki: From the early concept, we came up with the image of someone who normal humans can’t comprehend, and we wanted a face that transcended gender. His eyes are very characteristic, but Fuse said that: “It was a good breakthrough when I came up with these eyes that appear to look through everything.” He also focused a lot on the animation where a butterfly rests on his hand.
Interviewer: Nayuta has a pretty sharp tongue. How did he become like that?
Yamazaki: It’s important for a rival prosecutor that they’re someone you want to defeat. It’s natural that he’s tough as a prosecutor, but he’s also a high-ranking monk from the Kingdom of Kurain, where they hate defense attorneys, so we created him so he is quite harsh to criminals and defense attorneys.
Eshiro: He was a lot more harsh at first (laugh). I’d say “pig” to defense attorneys. When I test-played it, I thought pig was going a bit far, so I had them change it.
Yamazaki: That was going a bit too far (laugh). First I thought about cutting it all away. But in the end, we settled for “rotten.”
Eshiro: I thought that was bad too, but it was still okay. Yamazaki was reaching quite far this time, both in game mechanics and the writing (laugh).
Yamazaki: I think I tried to reach far with everything this game. A country with no defense attorneys and I even have a trial with spirit channeling (laugh)!
Nayuta Sounds Amazing Reciting His Incantation.
Interviewer: I want to ask about the voice cast behind the characters.
Yamazaki: We specified who we wanted for almost everyone. We held a questionnaire among the team members, made an offer to the names chosen and adjusted our schedules to that. We briefly explained the personalities of the new characters and their role in the story. It was difficult explaining Nayuta. “He’s a prosecutor. But also a monk.” (laugh).
Nayuta: I was amazed when I heard Namikawa Daisuke reciting that strange incantation like it was nothing as Nayuta.
Eshiro: That was really great!
Yamazaki: It was a wonderful performance. We had him read the incantation we had in the scenario, but as you could’ve have guessed, the first time it was pretty difficult and we had to retake it several times. But when we had him come for a different recording session later, he could incite it without any problem. I was really impressed.
Eshiro: The "That's Enough!" of Hayami Saori, who did Reifa, was also very good. A really good “That's Enough!”. I almost wanted to bow down there (laugh). I thinks she sounded strict, or at least she sounded like Reifa should sounds.
Interviewer: What about the voice actors who reprise their roles from the previous game?
Yamazaki: The regular members are all so used to it, I can just watch them without any worry. I didn’t have to explain anything in special and just had them do it like they always do. There were few retakes.
The Balance of Each Episode And The Story Developments Link Up To The Emotions In The Climax
Interviewer: Any difficulties with writing the scenario?
Yamazaki: Problems are all we had (laugh). Each of the episodes had their own problems. For example, episode 1 starts in another country, so I was worried how we would have the users accept the trials abroad. It was difficult because we needed to explain how a trial was held in a country without defense attorneys, and how you could still win at the end. Episode 2, Turnabout Magic Show, is a bit different in structure. Usually, we have two Investigation and two Trial parts, but this was the first time we had a structure where you only play one part of each side. We heard this about 5, but when episode 1 is just one Trial part, an episode 2 with two parts of each side, can feel very long, so we shortened it a bit. It was the first time we tried a structure with only one part of each side, so that was pretty difficult.
Eshiro: In this game, episode 1, 2 and 3 each have more volume than the previous episode, and there’s a resting point with episode 4, after which it goes to the climax in episode 5, so I think it’s structured just right.
Interviewer: We’re surrounded by enemies in both Japan and Kurain, but was that the concept right from the start?
Yamazaki: Yes. The Kingdom of Kurain is particularly unfair and the situation is turned around as you go. We did that on purpose.
Eshiro: It was difficult making Japan an away-match, but in episode 2 we have Yamashino using his underlings to jeer at you, or using television programs to manipulate the psychology of the masses. It’s really like that in Japan, don’t you think? Once someone is being bashed on TV, everyone will go like: “He’s a bad guy!.” So that also happens in a game. But there are also users who thought it was too realistic and didn’t like it. It was that realistic.
Yamazaki: There were also comments that the people in Kurain were also too antagonistic, which made it hard to play the game.
Interviewer: You could say that you poured that much effort in the story.
Eshiro: Perhaps. I think that also links up with the reactions that say that because the game makes you feel bad, it’s easier to empathize with the climax and the story overall becomes really interesting. We wanted to make a game that really touched your emotions once you completed it, and we got a lot of reactions saying precisely that, so we were very happy about that.
Interviewer: In episode 1 the brother of prosecutor Auchi (Winston Payne) appears: Auchi Fumitake (Gaspen Payne). How did you decide on him?
Eshiro: The prosecutor of episode 1 has to be Auchi. But this time the game was set abroad, so we had troubles getting Auchi there.
Yamazaki: And then we remembered that he had been run out of the courtroom in Japan. So we figured that he might’ve arrived in the Kingdom of Kurain then, so we used him. The design also looks a bit off, and the idea that he has become too arrogant because he has won all cases in a country where they don’t have defense attorneys also seemed to fit him.
Interviewer: Speaking about episode 1, Potdīno Nikawas was very impressive.
Yamazaki: His name is precisely what it says: pottode no niwaka (‘appearing suddenly from the sticks’). But it didn’t seem like a real name if we kept it like that, so we changed it to nikawas. You know he’s thte murderer from the start, so we made him as suspicious as possible.
Interviewer: I loved the animations where he plays his instrument!
Eshiro: Potdīno’s animations weren’t done from motion capturing, but made by hand.
Yamazaki: We make the Gyakuten Saiban series in order, starting with episode 1. Because of that, the murderer in episode 1 is the character who will be a sample for the rest of the game and thus very important. The person responsible for Potdīno really worked hard on him and did a really good job.
Interviewer: Episode 2 was the story where you wanted to portray Minuki. Did you put the Arumajiki (Gramyre Torupe) in the spotlight because it’s an important part of Minuki?
Yamazaki: Yes. The largest thing Minuki is carrying is the weight of the Arumajiki Troupe, so we couldn’t ignore that. When you think about what makes Minuki tick, you arrive at her character as a magician and an entertainer. And if you want to portray that side of her, you can’t keep away from the Arumajiki Troupe.
Interviewer: I was surprised to see that the Arumajiki Troupe was used here.
Eshiro: Yamazaki worked on Gyakuten Saiban 4, so I think he has a soft spot for that game. Other characters were the main in that game, so she fell a bit to the background, so he wanted to have a real story about her with episode 2. And she became a lot more popular with the fans because of that. I think that was because it was the first time we saw her cry.
Interviewer: Why did the story involve television media?
Yamazaki: We had both Japan and Kurain, so we wanted each episode to be either foreign-like or Japanese-like. We wanted modern, and Japanese motifs, so we arrived at the television, and the yose ('theater').
Interviewer: There was that TV producer Yamashino who appeared. That dishonest-looking design is good.
Eshiro: The development team is really just negative about me! “This is how all producers are”
Yamazaki: That’s not it! We had him be slightly out of fashion, while he thinks he’s dressed fashionably, that’s what makes him Gyakuten-like. The sweater tied like that, or the fan of money bills, he’s like a producer during the bubble period.
Interviewer: By the way, where does Yamashino’s name come from?
Yamazaki: His name comes from yamashi (‘swindler’). His real name is Shinoyama Kanenari, but in their world, they turn words around, so it becomes Yamashino. He thinks it sounds cool, but he’s actually saying himself he’s a swindler. And if you turn Kanenari around, you get narikin (‘nouveaux riche’).
Interviewer: It might be hard to discuss her, but could you tell us about the magician Mimi?
Yamazaki: Mimi simply comes from a rabbit’s ears (TN: mimi means ‘ears’ in Japanese). Bunnies eat vegetables, so her family name became Nanano (TN: turning the characters in the name around results in yasai, ‘vegetable’).
Eshiro: Her mouth, eyes and nose, they’re all rabbit-like.
Yamazaki: And her legs are orange, following a carrot-motif. I personally like this design. Characters are usually only seen from the waist up in this game, so there are few times you get to see the legs, so I’m happy we got to show them in the multi-angle footage. She’s a magician too, so we came up with all kinds of magic that wouldn’t overlap with that of Minuki and arrived at this.
Interviewer: That Mayoi becomes the defendant of episode 3 is because you followed the formula of the series?
Yamazaki: Yes. You might think: “How often are you getting caught!” It was difficult getting the right balance between Mayoi’s link to the story and the appearance and the other characters. So we figured we could divide the roles by having Reifa become Naruhodo’s partner and Mayoi the defendant. You don’t get to investigate with Mayoi, but I think people will find it nostalgic to stand next to her in the court.
Eshiro: Also, because Mayoi was good enough to get caught, we could have Reifa together with Naruhodo in the Investigation part.
Yamazaki: It was important to have something in her change because she was together with Naruhodo then. That is also a reason why we had Mayoi as the defendant.
Interviewer: Sāra and Marumel were also in episode 3.
Yamazaki: Their names are based on their hairstyles. One has his head ‘marumeru’ (‘to shave a head bald’) and the other has her head sarasara (‘silky’).
Interviewer: Sāra’s animations were so unique, I was really surprised the first time I saw them!
Eshiro: What do you think you are doing with the portrait of your husband!
Yamazaki: She looks like a normal character at first sight, so you don’t expect her to be like that. I think she became like that because she loves her husband too much.
Eshiro: She is one with her husband. But personally, I object to him having such a young and beautiful bride (laugh).
Yamazaki: No, no, no, Marumel is a great monk who is respected by all, so no objections there!
Interviewer: And we have a new tokusatsu hero: Torisaman.
Yamazaki: Torisaman didn’t exist yet when we first plotted episode 3. But we concluded we needed one more idea, so we decided to make a new hero. And then we said: “Wouldn’t it be funny if it was based on that one hero?”
Eshiro: The design might look like Tonosaman (The Steel Samurai), but it’s not stolen, it’s a homage! I thought that was very Asian and good. And the users have already solved the way to read the Kurain script, but if you turn it around upside down, you can read it as hiragana.
Yamazaki: In terms of design, we first had the Bird Princess, and we modeled her to be more hero-like. And of course to make it B-movie like. I told them not to make her too cool-looking (laugh). She’s a very popular character among the team.
Interviewer: What characters left an impression with you?
Eshiro: Yamashino is the one who really gets to you. I got angry with him during the test play (wry smile). As for favorite character, I think it’s Reifa. We had troubles designing her, so I have many memories of her.
Yamazaki: I did my best at him, so I love Potdīno. The murderers all have impact, so they all make an impression. I also like Mimi. I can’t tell you why without spoiling it, so please play and figure it out for yourself (laugh).
Spirit Channeling Visions Were A Series Of Hardships Start To Finish.
Interviewer: Anything difficult about the new game mechanics?
Eshiro: It was all hardships! (laugh) The most difficult were the Spirit Channeling Visions (Divination Séance). I was wondering if they could really pull it off.
Yamazaki: The idea alone was difficult enough already. And after we had made the mechanics for the Spirit Channeling Visions, it was difficult finetuning it so it was easy to control. Spirit Channeling Visions are also part of the scenario, so we had to change the writing too. In Kurain, they can see what the victim saw in their last moments, so thinking of a murder case or contradictions based on that, is very difficult.
Interviewer: How did you come up with Spirit Channeling Vision in the first place?
Yamazaki: When we talked about what we wanted for a new game mechanic, we decided we wanted to focus on spirit channeling once we decided Mayoi would appear. We started to think about a system with spirit channeling, and we thought it might be fun if we could recreate the last moments of a victim before their death.
Eshiro: Showing the memories of a dead person through spirit channeling was actually a taboo (laugh). “If you can just call up the victim, isn’t it over like that?”
Yamazaki: But I wanted to break through that unwritten rule, or taboo and take on that challenge.
Interviewer: I didn’t know what to expect before I played it, but once I played it, I thought it was not realistic, but still Gyakuten Saiban as always.
Yamazaki: That is important, so I’m happy you feel like that.
Eshiro: We now have you find contradictions between the footage and the interpretation of that, but there was a lot trial and error before we arrived at that. It was hard coming up with a control scheme for the Spirit Channeling Visions. Looking at the footage on the upper screen while you’re reading the text on the lower screen and comparing them, usually that is very stressful.
Interviewer: It was a bit difficult indeed.
Eshiro: If the system consisted only of looking for a contradiction in the Spirit Channeling Vision, you could look at the vision alone, but actually, you also need to select the correct oracle, and if you need to point out a contradiction between the oracle and the vision, well, if we concluded that it’d be too hard if you needed to read the text on the lower screen, but you couldn’t control the footage yourself. So we made it so you could fast-forward and select sections at your own free will. But the controls became more complex because of that, so we had to follow up with a tutorial. We have two tutorials, one in episode 1 and one in episode 3.
Interviewer: I had forgotten already, so I was saved by that.
Eshiro: Precisely. It’s easy to forget about it (laugh). In episode 3, the strength of each sense also comes in play for contradictions, so we added another tutorial there.
Interviewer: What do people think about the Spirit Channeling Visions?
Eshiro: We have comments saying it’s difficult, but they don’t say it’s a bad thing. “It was difficult, but therefore challenging.” I am glad they didn’t think it hard to control. It’s been like this since the first Gyakuten Saiban, but that feeling of pleasure when you solve a contradiction, you only have that when there is a challenge. That feeling of happiness when you solve it on your own, without any hints, that’s the most impotant. Once you get that, you’ll understand the pattern and your view on it changes. This part of the oracle is suspicious, so we set the oracle here. And now to look for a contradiction in the vision itself. Users learn to think like that. Once they get used naturally to the Spirit Channeling Visions, I think they’ll have a lot of fun with that.
Interviewer: So you accomplished what you aimed for.
Eshiro: I guess so. But I had quite some fights about it with Yamazaki (laugh). There were more oracles per vision at first. About six. But with that many, it’s difficult to pick out the contradiction.
Yamazaki: And I didn’t want to make the game easier, so we talked it over whether we’d lessen the number or oracles, or change the way it was said, or change the footage of the visions.
Eshiro: I had them work on the size of the words that appear in the visions, and the colors and the fonts, so it was easier to understand. I think the balance is quite good now.
Interviewer: Taling about footage, the multi-angle footage was also new in this game.
Eshiro: That was another challenging mechanic. We used a lot of motion capture for that video (laugh).
Yamazaki: To be honest, I think it went very well. It was hard to make that video. Everyone we did with motion capturing, every moment had to do with the trick, so it had to work out as a fair puzzle to solve. And once you have two cameras from different angles, you need to control everything up to the smallest details. That was really difficult. But in return, I think it’s a really fun system once you figure out what is going on. I think it’s one thing where the game powered up this time.
Interviewer: And what about Thought Route (Revisualization)?
Eshiro: We got comments that the presentation of Thought Route had received a power up too. First we had an idea of like a bloodstream inside the mind that would go deeper and deeper, but the camera would change angles, and it made you sick watching it. So we now had it go straight into the background and getting faster.
Yamazaki: I also did checks there, but Mr. Eshiro was really focusing a lot on that.
Eshiro: I think that Thought Route needs to feel nice, so I wanted it to look better than in the previous game. When I proposed something during the
We Want Many People To Play The Extra Scenario We Worked Hard On!
Interviewer: The DLC Sengoku BASARA costume pack has been the topic of discussion. How did you arrive at this idea?
Eshiro: When the team said they wanted to have a collaboration with Sengoku BASARA, I showed Sengoku BASARA’s Kobayashi (series producer) a sample illustration and asked him if we could do this, and he said: “Yeah, sure.” (laugh). I thought a collaboration to celebrate Sengoku BASARA’s tenth anniversary, and Gyakuten Saiban’s fifteenth anniversary together was a good idea. We had already decided which costumes they’d be from the development stage on. It was all based on their primary colors, but the characters actually matched up too. And when we tried it, it all looked nice on them. We then showed it to the director of the Sengoku BASARA team and it was approved.
Interviewer: What was the concept behind the DLC scenario Turnabout Beyond Time?
Yamazaki: We also had an extra scenario for Gyakuten Saiban 5. We had a crazy story there were you defended an killer whale, so we wanted a story for Gyakuten Saiban 6 that would be at least as impactful. The concept this time was “time travel.” We mixed that with the motif of a wedding, and if you’re interested in seeing how those two themes mix, I hope you will play the scenario.
Eshiro: We have Naruhodo, Mitsurugi (Miles Edgeworth) and Yahari (Larry Butz) here, because we wanted to do something like the first Gyakuten Saiban. Because Mayoi was back already! By the way, all the times Yahari stood in court, Mitsurugi was not acting as prosecutor, so it’s actually the first time these three childhood friends gathered in the court like this. And it’s also important that Mayoi’s there too.
Yamazaki: You can’t investigate with Mayoi in episode 3, but you can in the DLC episode, so I think the users who want to spend time with her will be happy too!
Eshiro: The early purchase Play! Turnabout Theater extras are short stories, but this extra scenario has Investigation and Trial parts and has the length of a proper episode, so I think it can be enjoyed quite well.
Yamazaki: We wanted to something in the DLC we couldn’t in the main game, something like a reunion . And I really wanted to do this story.
Eshiro: So we want many people to enjoy this.
Interviewer; Could you tell us about what happens next?
Eshiro: This is the last of Gyakuten Saiban 6, but in October the Gyakuten Saiban series will be celebrating its fifteenth anniversary, so we’re looking into special events.
Interviewer: One last message for the fans of the Gyakuten Saiban series please.
Yamazaki: The whole team worked hard on this title, and each story has something alluring, and we also have confidence in the overall story. We made it so you can pick up on hints even with a second playthrough, so please play it once again after the first time and also play the DLC. People who haven’t tried it out yet can play the demo. I said in interviews that it all came together in this game, but I think that people who have played the game will understand that. I’d be happy if you could play it through and through. Thank you very much.
Eshiro: We answered the requests we got from 5 in Gyakuten Saiban 6 and made the game while we focused on the scale, depth and denseness of the story. We made it hoping you would like it if we made it this way, so we’d be very happy if you could really enjoy it as we had hoped and tweet or write us your thoughts about the game. It would help motivate us for the next game. We have of course received not only the things the users thought good about the game, but also bad, so we hope to continue the Gyakuten Saiban series with those comments in mind for future development. And like I just said, the series will be celebrating its fifteenth birtday, so we have plans with which we hope to repay the fans that have supported us all this time. Please look forward to that.