A Battle of Resolve (Pt. 1) – Mission Impossible…?

Sep 19, 2014
2014 Sep 19
Janet Hsu

Welcome one and all to another of Mr. Takumi’s dev blogs, featuring “Maya and Phoenix’s Gossip Corner”! This time, we’ll be traveling back to October 18, 2002 – the day “Gyakuten Saiban 2” (or “Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All”) was released in Japan on the Game Boy Advance. What will Mr. Takumi reveal about AA2 today? And why is this entry subtitled “Mission Impossible…?”? You’ll have to read on to find out!

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If I were to be totally honest, developing AA2 was something of a challenge. In fact, you could say that production started for me at the busiest and most intense point in the development cycle. Let me back up and explain what I mean.

It was about a year ago that I took an extended vacation after the production of AA1 had ended. That break was like a much-needed, long, drawn-out bath after a hard day’s work. But like all good things, it had to come to an end, and when I finally got out of said bath, I’m afraid my mind and body had wrinkled into a completely socially-awkward prune. Yet, return to work I did, where I was immediately called into a meeting by my producer.

“Good morning, Mr. Takumi.”

…Thus began the most trying of trying months in the history of Ace Attorney for me.

“I was thinking,” Mr. Inaba continued, “that I’d like for you to write the next game’s entire script before we head into full production.”

What a wonderful, producer-style “welcome back” for someone who was still trying to un-prune himself.

“Um, don’t you think that’s kind of an, uh… unreasonable request?”

“No – it’s all or nothing.”

With the first game, I had thought up the story as we went along, but this time, there were a couple of other factors involved, so it became necessary for me to write everything out in advance.

“I… guess I don’t have much of a choice in this, huh…”

“Nope, but I have faith you’ll pull it off. Five episodes in three and a half months.”

“…Wait, what?!”

What a wonderful, producer-style death sentence for someone who was still trying to un-prune himself.

…Three and half months? And with one more episode than the last time 1…?

It was completely insane.

I knew I had to firmly voice my opposition to this somehow – I mean, there are just some things one has to stand up and say “NO” to in life. Of course, I knew I’d have to delicately dance my way through this negotiation with the power of smiles and laughter.

…Needless to say, I lost my bid and had to give it a try…

The moment I resigned myself to my fate, the theme from “Mission Impossible” began to blare loudly in my mind.

The first thing I did when I returned to my desk was to draft a work schedule.

It had taken me, on average, a little over a month to write each episode for the first game, which meant that I already knew I wouldn’t have enough time from the get-go. Plus, I didn’t have any tricks left to use for the mysteries, and no real story threads to work off of. But the biggest thing working against me was my well-rested, very wrinkly self, as I had yet to settle back into life at the office. It really was like marching off into a battle of resolve with myself.

…And then, just like that, it was three months later.

How did the script turn out…? Well, that’s a story for next time.

Maya: Hey, everyone! I hear it’s mackerel pike season!

Phoenix: I don’t think anyone knows what fish that is, let alone cares that it’s in season…

Maya: I was just trying to start with some small talk… Yeesh!

Phoenix: I’m just saying that that’s not exactly the topic I would’ve chosen. I mean, what about the fact that AA2 was released today?

Maya: What?! No way! That was TODAY?!

Phoenix: Yup. I even got my copy already.

Maya: Oh, wow! Look at how shiny the packaging is! You’re gonna totally have to let me borrow it!

Phoenix: N-No way! I haven’t even played it yet!

Maya: But I wanna play it too, Nick!

Phoenix: Then buy your own copy.

Maya: B-But… I’m $6 short…

Phoenix: Let’s just get this show on the road. The sooner we finish, the sooner I get to go home.

Maya: Sure, so long as you don’t forget to give me 6 bucks before you leave.

——————————————————————

It was about a year ago that I took an extended vacation after the production of AA1 had ended. That break was like a much-needed, long, drawn-out bath after a hard day’s work. But like all good things, it had to come to an end, and when I finally got out of said bath, I’m afraid my mind and body had wrinkled into a completely socially-awkward prune.

——————————————————————

Phoenix: Now, I’m no professional writer, but who in the world writes like that?

Maya: Yeah, that analogy is pretty… awkward, to say the least…

Phoenix: And with the way he’s written it, it’s like he’s trying to imply that he’s usually a pretty normal, socially-acceptable guy.

Maya: …Are you saying he’s not?

Phoenix: Takushu is apparently the same age as Gumshoe, you know.

Maya: Hold it! What the heck is a “Takushu”?

Phoenix: Well, his name is “Takumi Shu” 2 , which is shortened to just “Takushu” a lot, so you might as well get used to hearing it.

Maya: Oh… So what were you trying to say about this “Takushu”?

Phoenix: That he’s actually a pretty terrible person. He’s been especially terrible about forgetting things recently.

Maya: You mean like Gumshoe-level forgetful…?

Phoenix: Try “a thousand times worse than Gumshoe”-level. One time, Takushu had this conversation with one of his character designers…

 

Iwamoto: I got your message, Mr. Takumi. Did you need something?

Takumi: Ah, right. Um… What’s your name again?

Iwamoto: It’s “Iwamoto”!

Takumi: Ah, yes! …And what is it you need?

Iwamoto: YOU’RE the one who called for ME, Mr. Takumi!

Takumi: Oh. …What for?

Iwamoto: How should I know?!

Phoenix: And that’s just one example of how things usually went at the office…

Maya: And yet he’s managed to write whole games…

Phoenix: Write maybe, but definitely not remember. One time, when he was in the middle of writing Episode 3, Mr. Iwamoto asked him about something in Episode 2 and…

Iwamoto: About this trick, Mr. Takumi…

Takumi: Huh? Why are you asking me about THAT ancient thing?!

Iwamoto: Because I’m finally working on the Crime Scene Photo now…

Takumi: Ack!

Iwamoto: Wh-What is it?

Takumi: I totally forgot what I was writing thanks to this untimely interruption!

Iwamoto: Are you saying it’s my fault…?

Takumi: I would be if I knew who you were!

Iwamoto: I’m “Iwamoto”!

Phoenix: That’s basically what it was like to be on the team.

Maya: …He deserves a double-slap to the face, if you ask me.

————————————————————————-

“I was thinking,” Mr. Inaba continued, “that I’d like for you to write the next game’s entire script before we head into full production.”

What a wonderful, producer-style “welcome back” for someone who was still trying to un-prune himself.

———————————————————————-

Maya: He’s not being sarcastic at all here, is he.

Phoenix: Oh, no, of course not.

Maya: I wonder if he and the producer didn’t get along.

Phoenix: They say that producers and directors are fated to be on opposite sides of any conflict.

Maya: Well, it doesn’t SOUND like they’re actually fighting…

Phoenix: Maybe not, but it’s definitely akin to a bird pushing its baby out of its nest, if the producer was the bird and the director was the chick, that is.

Maya: So making a game is like forcing a baby bird to learn how to fly?

Phoenix: It’s one way to push things forward… Though not all attempts end in success…

Maya: Just goes to show there is such a thing as “overdoing it”, huh.

—————————————————————————–

The first thing I did when I returned to my desk was to draft a work schedule.

 

It had taken me, on average, a little over a month to write each episode for the first game…

——————————————————————-

Maya: Hey, Nick? If Takushu can write one episode per month, then that means he could write 12 episodes in a year, right?

Phoenix: Uh-huh…

Maya: But this time, he wrote five episodes in three and a half months, right?

Phoenix: Yeah, he got less time this time around to write his rough draft.

Maya: So, at this rate, by the time AA10 rolls around, I bet the producer’s going to say something like, “I have faith you’ll pull it off. Fifteen episodes by tomorrow morning.”

Phoenix: I guess so.

Maya: I’d love to see him pull that off!

Phoenix: I’d love to ask Takushu what song he thinks will be blaring in his mind at that point, myself.

=================================

Thank you, Mr. Takumi from 2002! But what’s this about a fifth episode! Well, I’m sure we won’t be left hanging in the next blog, right?

As for this entry, dear reader, you may have noticed that Maya took the time to specifically appreciate how shiny the packaging for AA2 was. That’s because this was the packaging for the original GBA version of AA1:

A simple design with a touch of pizazz.

As you can see, it’s a plain black box with a slightly-shiny Phoenix silhouette. Well, guess how many times shinier the team went with AA2’s box…

If this didn’t make the game stand out (and/or blind people), nothing would!

The entire front of the box was covered in highly reflective foil, which makes for a great mirror in a pinch, as I’m sure Maya would say.

And just to round out the boxes (because clearly, just being shiny wasn’t going to cut it after AA2’s box), here is the box for AA3:

And then they made the jump to LUDICROUS SPEED!

Join me next time for another episode of “Great People Around Town: Legal Edition!” Having met the members of the Wright & Co. Law Offices, the news show segment will be focusing on the members of the Prosecutor’s Office. Who among them will agree to be interviewed on camera? Tune in next week, same Ace Time, same Ace Channel, to find out!

Until then!

Notes:

1 The original release of AA1 included only Episodes 1 through 4. Episode 5 “Rise from the Ashes” was added later for the Nintendo DS release. That’s why Mr. Takumi is commenting on how he was ordered to write one more episode than the previous game.

2 Mr. Takumi’s name is given in Japanese order here with his family name and then his first name. It is often the convention in English to write Japanese names with the person’s first name first (e.g., “Shu Takumi”), although the practice is beginning to see some variation, depending on the writer.