Executive Office

Below is a list of the producers who have worked on the Gyakuten Saiban games in chronological order. Each entry starts off with a list of the titles they have worked on, their career up until the point they got to work on the series. This is followed by their input on the series and marketing campaigns, as gathered from interviews and blog entries. Each entry ends with what happened to them after they left Gyakuten Saiban, but only right after that (this page is not meant to be a detailed and up-to-date write-up of each of these producers' careers).

Inaba Atsushi
Titles produced:
  • Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney GBA) (2001)
  • Gyakuten Saiban 2 (Ace Attorney 2 - Justice for All GBA) (2002)
  • Gyakuten Saiban 3 (Ace Attorney 3 - Trials & Tribulations GBA) (2004)
Career before Gyakuten Saiban: Inaba worked as a programmer, first at Irem, later at SNK. Inaba later replied to an advertisement in Famitsu where Capcom was hiring for BIOHAZARD NEXT PROJECT and was hired. He left SNK for Capcom in 1998. He got involved with all kinds of projects in Production Studio 4, not all of them released, and his experience eventally allowed him to become a producer. His first game as a producer was Code: Veronica - Complete Version (Resident Evil Code: Veronica X). Besides Devil May Cry, Inaba also produced several small-scale Game Boy Advance titles in 2001, one of them being the original Gyakuten Saiban.

Working on Gyakuten Saiban: Inaba and Production Studio 4 chief Mikami Shinji (of Biohazard (Resident Evil) fame) were the persons who gave Takumi the chance to make the detective game he always wanted to make. Inaba himself said he didn't involve himself too much with the development of the game, as he was producing multiple titles at the time and decided to focus more on coming up with a marketing campaign within the limited budget. Yet he definitely had some noticable influence on the series too. The original version of Gyakuten Saiban was called Surviban and featured a different type of cast and atmosphere, more aimed at children. It was Inaba who rejected the original title, and had the team redo the concept. The original game mechanics of the game were basically unplayable, as per Takumi's own account, and Inaba, and other people like Mikami, rejected this first version. When a team member left the company, the project was on the verge of cancellation, but Inaba and Mikami worked something out by having a Biohazard team member work on both projects. In regards of marketing, it was Inaba who decided on the iconic original box design, and who came up with the idea of putting a playable demo on the website (in 2001), because he was afraid consumers would think this would be a serious title about law.

For Gyakuten Saiban 2, Inaba asked Takumi to write a scenario consisting of five episodes, as well as come up with a new mechanic to spice up the Investigation Modes in the games, which would become the Psyche Locks. Because of storage restraints, one episode had to be cancelled though; this cancelled episode would later become Turnabout Recipe (Recipe for the Turnabout) in the third game. He would also produce Gyakuten Saiban 3.

After Gyakuten Saiban: Inaba passed the series on to Matsukawa Minae, telling her that the series is one which could convince people to buy the hardware especially for it, so she should treat it accordingly. He became CEO of Clover Studio, which had developed out of Capcom's own Production Studio 9 and is now founder of and producer at Platinum Games.

Matsukawa Minae
Titles produced:
Gyakuten Saiban - Yomigaeru Gyakuten (Ace Attorney DS) (2005)
Gyakuten Saiban 4 (Ace Attorney 4 - Apollo Justice) (2007)

Career before Gyakuten Saiban: Matsukawa first worked at a stock company, but had to leave because of a merger. Afterwards, she worked as a game debugger for a while. She then entered a design school, and finally entered Capcom in the production division of the company.

Working on Gyakuten Saiban: Matsukawa was made producer of the DS port of the first Gyakuten Saiban, which was originally only meant for the overseas market. After the Japanese fans made clear they wanted the game too on the DS, it was decided Capcom would release the game in Japan too. Matsukawa wanted to offer the Japanese fans something more than a simple port, and had Takumi add in a completely new episode. She also asked for new DS functionalities, like the microphone use. This project would become Gyakuten Saiban - Yomigaeru Gyakuten (Ace Attorney DS).

Matsukawa was a very marketing-focused producer. It was under her that Gyakuten Saiban saw its first limited release: Yomigaeru Gyakuten's Limited Edition featured a special booklet, a CD, a stylus and a screenwiper. Takumi also got a monthly column in the magazine Dreamaga in the period working up to the release. She'd also do overseas interviews. All of this fits with how she describes the job of a producer: a person who makes a "product" from a "piece of work". Projects like the Special Court skits, nowadays a tradition, were introduced by her.

She was not content with sales for Yomigaeru Gyakuten however and went even further with Gyakuten Saiban 4. While Inaba had told her to take good care of the series, because it was a system seller for a certain group of people, but Matsukawa actually commented that she thought by now, users would have the system already, so she could go all out and concentrate at getting more sales and finding new users through different projects. From the Orchestra Concerts a year earlier, to a serialized manga series and a short (prose) story serialized in a literary magazine, to a series of TV commercials for the game starring Maruyama Kazuya, at the time a well-known attorney: Matsukawa made sure that not only the 'old' fans of the series would know of the games, but also people who usually don't play games. Her efforts led to tremendous sales figures for Gyakuten Saiban 4. She left the series after this game.

Career after Gyakuten Saiban: She remained with Capcom, producing titles like Dragon's Dogma. Her Assistant-Producer for Gyakuten Saiban 4, Eshiro, would take over the series.

Eshiro Motohide
Titles produced:
  • Gyakuten Saiban 2 DS (Ace Attorney 2 - Justice for All DS) (2006)
  • Gyakuten Saiban 3 DS (Ace Attorney 3 - Trials & Tribulations DS) (2007)
  • Gyakuten Kenji (Ace Attorney Investigations) (2009)
  • Gyakuten Kenji 2  ('Turnabout Prosecutor 2') (2011)
  • Gyakuten Saiban 5 (Ace Attorney 5 - Dual Destinies) (2013)
  • Gyakuten Saiban 6 (Ace Attorney 6 - Spirit of Justice) (2016)
  • Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2 ('The Grand Turnabout Trial 2) (201?)
Career before Gyakuten Saiban: Eshiro joined Capcom as a programmer in 1990. He worked on titles like the original Street Fighter II (Guile programming) and the Saturn port of Street Fighter Zero 2 (Street Fighter Alpha). He was a planner for the original Onimusha, and director of Onimusha 2, as well as of Shadow of Rome.

Working on Gyakuten Saiban: Eshiro was the Assistant Producer of Gyakuten Saiban 4 and also the producer of the DS ports of Gyakuten Saiban 2 and Gyakute Saiban 3. After that was done, he planned to do a spin-off title of the series and got Yamazaki, a planner on Gyakuten Saiban 4, as the director for what would become Gyakuten Kenji (Ace Attorney Investigations). Their team-up has been succesful, and they have made four titles together now, with 2016's Gyakuten Saiban 6 (Ace Attorney 6 - Spirit of Justice) being their most recent title.

If Matsukawa's work on the series is marked as being focused on reaching new markets, then Eshiro's way of producing can be viewed as more focused on existing users. Eshiro often refers to the user feedback for decisions. For example, Gyakuten Kenji was always to be a game about investigating the crime scene. Director Yamazaki thought Akane (Ema Skye) would be perfect as the protagonist, as an expert on forensics, while Eshiro decided Mitsurugi (Miles Edgeworth) would make more sense, because he simply has more fans. He also often considers new characters and mechanics 'thinking like one of the fans'. If he thinks something won't appeal to the fans, he will reject it. For example, early designs of Gyakuten Kenji 2's Mikagami have been rejected because of such reasons, as well as 200 names the team came up with for Gyakuten Saiban 5's Kokone (Athena Cykes).

In terms of marketing, Eshiro's way of working matches that of Matsukawa, with many Limited/Special Editions for the games, extra projects like collaborations with restaurants, amusement parks and more and the Special Court skits. Because he noticed how hype slowed down because of the long development cycle of Gyakuten Kenji and their early reveal of the game, Eshiro has been using a marketing schedules since Gyakuten Kenji 2 that can be described as 'short, but focused'. He reveals a lot of information in the weeks building up to the release, revealing as many returning characters and as much mechanics as possible, in order to hook in fans. This often leads to friction with the development team, who prefer that Eshiro'd reveal as little as possible, instead of as much as possible.

Eshiro and Yamazaki also are open about the friction that exists between them as producer and director. It is a theme often featured in interviews and their development blogs. This was especially so in the early years, when Eshiro was quite hands-on and often on the development floor, probably because of his past as programmer/planner/director. In recent years, he has learned to stay away from the development floor more.

Career after Gyakuten Saiban: As of now, he is still the main producer of the series, overseeing all the main and side-projects. He does work on other titles in between at times, like 2013's DmC - Devil may Cry.

Kojima Shintarō
Titles produced:
  • Dai Gyakuten Saiban ('The Grand Turnabout Trial') (2015)
Career before Gyakuten Saiban: Joined Capcom in 1998 as a planner. Worked on Street Fighter Zero 3 (Street Fighter Alpha). Has worked on the Monster Hunter series since the beginning, and became Assistant Producer in 2009. 

Working on Gyakuten Saiban: As Eshiro was concerning himself with the main series, Kojima became the producer for Takumi's own side-project Dai Gyakuten Saiban. Kojima's work as a producer is somewhat hard to detect in the game itself, as little has been commented on that in interviews. In a post-release interview, Kojima remarks that the original story of the game was too long, and that they had to made changes along the way to finish the game, but besides that, it appears that Kojima was more focused on making sure the project ran on time and on budget.

As for the marketing campaign, Kojima's style mimics that of Eshiro, with lots of information presented to the public in advance through game magazines, and many collaboration projects to promote the game. Kojima however had the advantage of also being producer of Monster Hunter Cross, so he often organized local demonstrations of both Dai Gyakuten Saiban and Monster Hunter, with playable demos. This includes the "five city tour" of both games, for which Takumi wrote a special short comedy sketch for each of the five cities (Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka). He is often a very 'accessible' producer, in the sense that he's often at shows, local demonstrations and more events where he can meet the users.

Dai Gyakuten Saiban was also very much aimed at mystery fans: whereas the websites of Gyakuten Saiban usually featured development blogs, Dai Gyakuten Saiban's site is actually the first time they didn't have that. Instead, the website featured interviews with famous mystery authors, with Takumi and the authors talking about mystery fiction and the game.

Career after Gyakuten Saiban: Kojima is not the producer of Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2, but remains a producer on the Monster Hunter series.

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