The Case of the Foggy Logo Creation

Aug 04, 2021
Aug 04
Janet Hsu

Hi, everyone. It’s Yasuyuki Makino, the main producer of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. It’s been about a week since the game’s release. How have you been enjoying it so far?

So, last time, I shared a few of my thoughts and memories of the Ace Attorney and The Great Ace Attorney series with you. This time, I thought I’d talk a little about the creation of the brand new Chronicles logo in both Japanese and English. I hope you’ll indulge me in a little reminiscing.

Designing the Japanese Logo

As some of you may already know, in conjunction with the release of the Nintendo 3DS version of Resolve, we released a special limited-edition double-pack containing both Adventures and Resolve (we packaged them together into one thick box). So when it came time to think about what to do for the package and logo of this multi-platform collection, I initially thought I could reuse the old logo design since the title was going to be the same… but I quickly realized that we absolutely had to use a different design if we were to avoid any player confusion.

This is the logo from the limited-edition Nintendo 3DS ‘1&2’ double-pack

Knowing that we were definitely going to up-res everything, and definitely add some in-game bonuses, and definitely make some quality of life adjustments to the game, the scope of this project was going to be far greater than simply bundling the two games into one and call it a day. As I mentioned last time, this was to be a chance to re-introduce The Great Ace Attorney to the whole world, so as a producer, I approached this as a totally new title – complete with a new marketing campaign! With that intent in mind, I asked our graphics design team to come up with a few different color and design variations for the logo. Broadly speaking, I asked for designs that were reminiscent of the original, and designs that presented the game in a new light (basically, ones that went in a different direction). These are a few of their suggestions.

Initial design ideas for ‘1&2’

And then… after listening to feedback from the game’s director, localization director, and other dev team and promo team members, we struggled through a few iterations to arrive at this. It’s a pretty bold design, really, if I do day so myself.

The final design for ‘1&2’ (until it was scrapped…)

I chose to go with this divergent design because I thought it was more important for the logo to be eye-catching than to stick with the original design. So, we proceeded to use this logo until, one day, I received a simple, “We need to talk” from the original art director and character designer, Mr. Kazuya Nuri. I’d asked him to create a new illustration for the package art of this title, so I quickly set up a meeting for us. Wondering what could be up, I entered the meeting room, where I was immediately blown back out by an intense “What the heck is with that logo?!” In all the time I’ve worked with Mr. Nuri on various projects since the release of the 3DS version of Resolve (and even now after we’ve finished making Chronicles) I’d never been told off quite so soundly by him. But this time, I’d apparently “really gone way too far!!!!”, as he put it. After I explained my rationale to him (about how I wanted to make sure the logo didn’t look too much like the old one and how I wanted to approach the marketing of this game as a new title), he said, “All right, let me see if I can’t strike a better balance”, and took up the job of redesigning the logo himself. The final logo is the product of his hard work, and before long, Mr. Nuri also turned in his new key visual for this game’s box art. In a way, I suppose you could say that I got everything I wanted as a producer out of him. After all, I’m sure you were as dumbstruck as me when you first laid eyes on that illustration, weren’t you? This is an excellent example of how one quack producer’s rational thinking can be defeated by a super talented creator’s sensibilities through his art.

The key visual and the actual final logo for ‘1&2’

Designing the English Logos

Because of the importance of the English version to this project, we obviously had to create some English logos as well. Early on in the development, the localization director and I discussed the English title, and we quickly settled on including the word “Great” in it. As for the subtitles, our overseas offices advised us that the name ‘Naruhodo’ itself is unfamiliar to most players, so it seemed natural that we should simply go with “Adventures” and “Resolve”. With the title squared away, we asked the graphics design team to send us a few ideas based around these three concepts:

  1. Must convey that this is an Ace Attorney game (similar-looking designs to the existing logos were acceptable)
  2. Must convey the Victorian setting
  3. Should feature a stylish steampunk aesthetic (as an extension of concept number 2)

And here are some of the initial designs we received.

Initial design ideas for Adventures
… and Resolve

Ideas in hand, it was a relatively short journey to our final designs for Adventures and Resolve, but the road to the Chronicles logo was very long and winding… You almost have to see it to believe it, but here are the initial design ideas we received. I think you can imagine just how bumpy the path must’ve been from this starting point…

A few of the initial design ideas for the ‘Chronicles’ logo

Along with the graphics design team, we poured over reference materials of all sorts – fonts and typography, Victorian signage, steampunk images, and even previous Japanese promotional materials for the series. The main dev staff, the localization director, and I would send detailed feedback to the design team, and they’d send a few more suggestions our way. Back and forth we went, before finally settling on on the final version you see today. You might think that in the course of creating something, it’s only natural to iterate on a concept over and over, but the process this time was so painfully long… Still, all the pieces fell into place eventually, so let’s just say, “all’s well that ends well”!

The final design for the ‘Chronicles’ logo

And that’s where I think I’ll end this story. Thank you for sticking with me over two blog entries. Next time, it’ll be our localization director Janet’s turn again. I can feel this strong aura of incredible enthusiasm radiating from her desk behind me, like she’s just raring to talk about Soseki Natsume and the Meiji era for those who want to know more about the historical and cultural context behind The Great Ace Attorney’s setting. I hope you’ll join her then!