The Resolve of a Producer

Jul 28, 2021
Jul 28
Janet Hsu

Hi Everyone! Nice to meet you! I’m the main producer of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, Yasuyuki Makino. I can’t believe the game is really, finally, almost here. What a long road it’s been, truly.

As we approach the launch of my first title as a producer, I thought I’d share a few of my personal thoughts and fond memories of the Ace Attorney and The Great Ace Attorney series, along with a history of my work on the series. I hope you’ll join me on this trip down memory lane.

Before I joined Capcom, I’d worked in the promotional business for about 10 years. In my last year in that field, I had the good fortune to work on the promotional campaign of a famous anime, one that I’d wanted to be involved with since my university days. So, I really gave it my all. It was then that I felt I’d done everything I wanted to do in promotions, and after the end of the campaign, I started to look towards the next thing I wanted to try in life: making a game. When I began to consider where I’d want to go, the first name that came to mind was “Capcom”.

Why Capcom, you ask? It’s because I’m originally from Osaka…although that really only accounted for 5% of the reason why. The real reason is because, more than anything, I’d always thought of Capcom as this remarkable company that consistently develops and releases game after crazy game (I 200% mean this as a compliment!). Ghosts ’n Goblins, Mega Man, Final Fight, Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Onimusha, Devil May Cry, Monster Hunter… the list of hit series goes on and on. But the one that stood out to me the most is Ace Attorney.

I played my first Ace Attorney game as an adult, and though I started with the fourth entry in the series, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, it managed to really surprise me in many ways. I couldn’t imagine what sort of game it would be at first from words like ‘courtroom trials’ and ‘lawyers’, but I had far more fun than I thought I would, and the game design and characters blew me away. It had never occurred to me until then that I could become a lawyer and experience a legal battle through a video game, and I bitterly regretted not picking the series up sooner. The day after I finished Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, I rushed out to buy all three of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games that came before it. Courtrooms and trials sound very stuffy and unrelatable on the surface, but as I played those games, I came to strongly feel and think, ‘It’s mind-blowing how Capcom’s taken such a boring-sounding concept and turned it into something so fun and appealing. It’s so fresh and groundbreaking… What a super creative company…’

The Japanese jacket art for the Nintendo DS version of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney

And so, with thoughts of wanting to make (and release) an incredible series like Ace Attorney in mind, I decided to knock on Capcom’s door. Even with virtually no knowledge of how to make a game, I strongly stated during my job interview, ‘I love the Ace Attorney series and hope to have the change to produce an entry in it someday!!’ Thanks to my passionate plea (or not – I don’t honestly know…), I was hired, and from that day onwards, I was always on the lookout for a chance to work on the series.

My first chance came with the first game, The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures for the Nintendo 3DS. My job back then was to assist in the promotion of the game, so everything I did was behind the scenes. I picked and adapted 100 difficult brain teasers and created the web assets for the ‘The Great Ace Attorney 100 Quiz Questions Challenge’ by myself, worked to make hands-on demo events happen, came up with ideas for the ‘Ryunosuke Naruhodo’s Seven Days of Sin’ videos, and various other promotional activities. I even had the chance to play up to the climax of the story (and only up to the climax, which is connected to the tragedy that’s to follow). I thought the characters and the game’s world were the most charming of the entire Ace Attorney franchise, and the mysteries themselves! They were incredibly intriguing as well! The Dance of Deduction and Summation Examination systems were also really well made, I thought, as I waited with great anticipation for the day when players would get the chance to enjoy it for themselves.

These are just two of the 100 brain teasers that were part of the promotional campaign in Japan for the original 3DS version of ‘Adventures’. The answers are at the end for those who are curious.
1) The table below refers to things that exist in Japan, but there is one mistake. The answer is 3 digits long. Hint: the symbols on the right-hand side represent the numbers on the left-hand side.
2) The word you arrive at when you solve the following riddle in 9 katakana letters. Hint: What if you pressed where the red dots are??
This page was my proposal for ‘Evening of Day Three’ of the ‘Ryunosuke Naruhodo’s Seven Days of Sin’ videos. It’s about how ‘Ryunosuke’ made his Japanese voice actor yell ‘Objection!’ too many times during voice recording.

… and then, it was launch day. ‘Ooh, looks like everyone is really loving it! This is great!’ I thought over that first weekend, and by Monday, there was a sea of online stores reviews. Players brought up all sorts of things, but the one that kept coming up was, ‘This game is the worst of the worst because it’s incomplete.’ Even though I wasn’t directly involved in the game’s development, the storm of terrible reviews was heart-breaking. My boss at the time told me to document all the reviews I could. So, with tears in my eyes for a game that I loved and a dev team I respected, I read each review one by one and collected them into a report. It was so hard, and I was so miserable that it really brought me down. After that, I began my work on a different title, so I wasn’t able to help with the 3DS version of the second game, which came out two years later.

Even though I wasn’t directly involved with Resolve itself, stories of how the dev team was burning the candle at both ends to complete a ghastly amount of work reached my ears. After the game’s release, I had the chance to better know some of the dev team members and work with them a little. It was then that I learned even more of their tale. To a dev team member, I’m kind of like an outsider looking in, but I think I just might be the most knowledgeable outsider there is about what the team was really going through at the time. Happily, Resolve was tremendously well-received by the fans, and I think perhaps players could even sense through their game screens the incredible pains and hardships the dev team went through behind the scenes. But the team had stayed strong through it all. To be able to feel the creators’ immense dedication and strength simply by playing their game is a really rare thing, I think. As for me, I’m pretty sure that the only Capcom game I’ve ever shed a tear over as the credits rolled was Resolve. I don’t mean to brag for the team, but it really is an amazing game.

The key art for the Japanese 3DS version of Resolve

As all you fans have said so many times, I really do think that Adventures and Resolve together forms one complete ‘god-tier game’. In fact, I’d go so far as to call it one of the best pieces of mystery entertainment in the world. Which is why I was so sad that we couldn’t bring it out in the rest of the world, and sad for the people who didn’t pick up the second game, and really, really sad for those who didn’t even pick up the first game. I guess it’s unusual for someone who wasn’t even a part of the original dev team to feel this incredibly sad over something, but that’s how I felt.

As I said, I had chosen to come to Capcom because of my love for Ace Attorney, and after a great many talks with the original dev members, I began to believe that perhaps it was my calling to try to re-introduce The Great Ace Attorney to Japanese players, and finally introduce it to the rest of the world. I’d worked on a few games by that point and gained some experience as a producer, so one day, at a meeting with my boss (the one who told me to write up all those reviews into a report), I boldly proposed, ‘Let me start a project to bring the two games together and port them to current gen platforms! I believe it will absolutely sell, so please give me the chance to show you!’ And…to my surprise, he simply answered, ‘I see… Well, I won’t say no just yet, so why don’t you try and come up with a plan first and we can go from there…’!!! In that moment, I could hear the doors to The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles project creak open.

This is the cover of the very first draft of the proposal for this game.
Working with our localization director, Janet, we put the finishing touches on it in Ver1.7.

The original dev team was unbelievably uncompromising when they created the 3DS version (to the point where the quality of things like the character models were far beyond what was necessary for that platform, lol), making me want to be equally as uncompromising on Chronicles! So I made all sorts of unreasonable requests of this game’s team and had a lot of new features developed and implemented. I really can’t blame our game director, Mr. Kougou, for grumbling about it all in his blog entry, but I joined Capcom for the chance to work on this series, so he was just going to have to put up with me. *laugh*

Adding features like the Special Contents section and Story Mode – I felt that we had to do whatever it took to bring this game out to the world, no matter what! So that’s what we did. I believe the dev team this time has made the game even more beautiful and even easier to play than before, and carefully packaged it all in one highly polished collection. I just want to say, ‘Great work, everyone! And thank you!’

It is truly my greatest wish for as many people as possible to play The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, a game that was made with such love and care by so many dev team members.

I think I’ll stop here for today. Next time, I’ll be talking about the creation of the game’s logo in Japanese and English. I hope you’ll join me again for that. See you then.

Brain Teaser Answers

  1. ‘500’ for the 500 yen coin – the symbols on the right represent the shape of the actual coins, so the monetary value with the mistaken representation is the 500 yen coin, which has no hole in the middle.
  2. ハツゲンニイギアリ – this puzzle is based around the Japanese syllabary and the position of the letters in the traditional layout relative to the phrase (riddle) ひつぜんなきがかり, and then writing the answer in katakana instead of hiragana. (Traditional layout)