is avisual novel adventure video game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo 3DS, and is the sixth main game in the Ace Attorneyseries. The game was released... read more
is avisual novel adventure video game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo 3DS, and is the sixth main game in the Ace Attorneyseries. The game was released in Japan in June 2016, and worldwide in September 2016.
Spirit of Justice continues the investigation and courtroom of its predecessors, in which players take the role of the defense attorneys Phoenix Wright, Apollo Justice, and Athena Cykes, and try to defend their clients. The game continues the 3D navigation introduced in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney − Dual Destinies, allowing players to navigate environments from various angles. Along with returning gameplay elements, such as the Mood Matrix introduced in Dual Destinies, the game introduces divination séances, in which players are shown the memories of victims moments before their deaths and must find contradictions in their five senses to determine what really happened.
The story of Spirit of Justice once again focuses on defense attorney Phoenix Wright and his two understudies Apollo Justice and Athena Cykes. Phoenix is reunited with his longtime friend and spirit medium companion, Maya Fey, while visiting the nation of Khura'in, where lawyers are deemed unnecessary as spirit mediums, such as the young priestess Rayfa Padma Khura'in, are able to conjure up visions of a victim's memories moments before death. As ever, Phoenix and Maya seek to prove out that even a supposedly definitive method of convicting defendants has its own contradictions, while Apollo and Athena stay back home and have their own set of cases to deal with. One of the cases features Apollo defending Trucy Wright, Phoenix's adoptive daughter. A trailer also shows Apollo and Phoenix at opposite sides of the court on one occasion, confronting each other for the first time.
Spirit of Justice was produced by Motohide Eshiro and co-directed by Takeshi Yamazaki and Takuro Fuse; Yamazaki was in charge of the game's scenario, while Fuse directed the graphics and gameplay and was the game's art director. The game's music was composed principally by Noriyuki Iwadare, with additional tracks by Toshihiko Horiyama, who had previously composed the soundtrack for Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, and series newcomer Masami Onodera. Capcom mentioned the game for the first time in December 2013, at which point they had just begun working "full force" on a new game in the series and were thinking up ideas for it. When they announced the game for Japan and the West in September 2015, development was 30% finished. By the end of 2015, development was mostly finished, with the team working on polishing and adding finishing touches.
When developing the previous game in the series, Dual Destinies, Yamazaki had been the only director; after finishing its development, he had become exhausted and wanted to quit working on Ace Attorney. Eshiro had encouraged him to continue by taking him to a press conference in Taiwan and to San Diego Comic-Con International to meet the media and fans of the series; following this, Yamazaki felt renewed enthusiasm over the series, and wanted to work on a sixth Ace Attorney. Thinking Yamazaki's exhaustion stemmed from too much directing responsibility, Eshiro decided to split directing responsibilities between Yamazaki and Fuse; he had at first considered having two equal directors working on the game, but decided against it out of fear that the development team would have difficulty with dealing with contradicting opinions from two directors working on the same aspects of the game.
The implementation of the new divination séance gameplay system was similar to that of the logic chess system in Ace Attorney Investigations 2. It was created to show the events of a crime from the victim's point of view, and to have that character's feelings be potentially important evidence. Initially, the developers had considered using ghosts or puppet possession for this, but they were rejected due to being too creepy and "out there". The divination séance system was tweaked with improved hints in response to feedback from the Spirit of Justice demo at the Tokyo Game Show, where it was seen as being too difficult and taking too long to play. Other gameplay features being affected by fan feedback include the return of features from Dual Destinies that had been well-received, such as the backlog; adjustments to the difficulty, which had been perceived as low in Dual Destinies; and the hint system being possible to turn off.According to Eshiro and Yamazaki, character actions and movements were given a larger focus than in Dual Destinies, with Rayfa's dancing animation given as an example of this. Returning characters from Dual Destinies were given new 3D models to make sure that the quality was higher and consistent with those of new characters.
Yamazaki led a team of scenario writers, who worked to come up with an overall theme and setting for the game, aiming to come up with ideas that feel new and surprising, but that still build upon previous Ace Attorney games. They did this through brainstorming, where no one was allowed to shoot down others' ideas, and also analyzed all previous games in the series to determine what defines the series and what makes it fun. They came up with the theme of "courtroom revolution"; Yamazaki described it as meaning "the oppressed and weak defeating the strong", saying that it also is a kind of turnabout. After this, they decided on each individual episode's overall story; Yamazaki decided on the general direction, after which adjustments and additions were done through discussions with other writers. There was one writer in charge of each episode, who each discussed and solidified the ideas for their episode with Yamazaki.
According to Yamazaki, they focused more on the game's world than in previous games in the series. The decision to do this came from how, throughout the series, Phoenix has been in "a place that lacks enemies", and from difficulties with developing the series further within the Japanese courtroom setting. Based on fan feedback, the development team gave Apollo Justice a larger presence than in Dual Destinies: they felt that Phoenix had been portrayed as the main character in Dual Destinies, with Apollo just being an important part of the plot, so they setSpirit of Justice in two different countries with one equal main character in each location. The character Rayfa was described by Yamazaki and Eshiro as a heroine, but also as an opponent to Phoenix; they thought that this approach, as opposed to having the heroine stand by the hero's side, brought something new and fresh to the series.
The episode plans were reviewed and discussed thoroughly by the team; the discussions took a long time, with the staff often staying in the meeting room until late at night. Each episode's main writer then wrote their episode; as the writers had different strengths, such as dialogue, mystery or comedy, the episodes were then discussed further, with changes done in response to feedback from the staff on the team. After the scenarios were finalized, visuals, music and sound effects were decided upon.
The game was released in Japan on June 9, 2016, and digitally through the Nintendo eShop in North America and Europe on September 8, 2016. Japanese first print copies of the game include two bonus episodes featuring Phoenix and Apollo, along with three downloadable costumes. A limited edition containing a drama CD, a plush toy, a tote bag, and a visual poster card book, was also made available in Japan. An additional episode, Toki o Koeru Gyakuten (時を越える逆転?, "Turnabout Across Time"), was released as downloadable content on June 30, 2016 in Japan, and was free to download until July 20, 2016.
Spirit of Justice received "generally favorable reviews", according to the review aggregator Metacritic. It was the top selling video game in Japan during its debut week, with 196,831 copies sold. It dropped to second place during its second week, with an additional 25,288 copies sold,to sixth place in its third week, with 11,803 copies sold, and to tenth place in its fourth, with 7,543 copies sold.
Four reviewers at Famitsu, Yoshida, Ashida, Honma and Uchisawa, did a jointly cross-review of the game. Ashida and Honma said that they liked how everything comes together in the game's ending; Honma also liked seeing how characters such as Maya had grown up and changed, to the point of investigating everything just to see more dialogue. Uchisawa thought that some plot developments were too "out there", and Ashida noted that the game's occult feeling might be divisive.
Ashida found the divination séance system to be a fresh addition to the gameplay, but also felt that it was "stretching it"; Uchisawa disagreed, finding the game to not feel fresh, but still thought that the game was fun.