The Current State of Ace Attorney «

After seven years and five games, we haven’t heard much from Ace Attorney lately. The series that helped introduce Americans to visual novels hasn’t seen an English release since 2010’s Miles Edgeworth, which may have suffered sales-wise thanks to the absence of the series’ central character — this would explain the lack of an Apollo Justice sequel, anyway. Though Ace Attorney appears D.O.A. in America, Capcom’s underappreciated IP seems slightly healthier in Japan, where various projects rife with anime courtroom melodrama are currently under production. Phoenix hasn’t been completely forgotten in the West — the excitement surrounding his appearance in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will attest to that — but for now, we can only speculate as to which of the following creations will make the slow-but-steady transition into the English language. Fingers pointed, then crossed.

Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 2

The original Miles Edgeworth game meandered a bit, but it meant well. Though it dropped the first-person perspective of the main series for a more traditional point-and-tap-style interface, not enough people jumped on board to make localizing an additional 40 hours of text worthwhile. Fans have responded in turn with a petition — as they are prone to do — which may have actually twisted Capcom’s arm a bit. Despite the company’s previous statements, a recent Ask Capcom community event revealed that a full localization could happen, though this may take the form of a digital download as opposed to a physical retail release. Whatever the case, you’ll finally be able to uncover the mysteries of the monocled man holding a penguin ice cream cone, who has undoubtedly haunted your dreams since last year’s Japanese release.

Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney

Developer Level-5 just might save Ace Attorney’s ailing reputation in the West; thanks to a high-budget coat of paint and the addition of their popular Professor Layton, hundreds of thousands more will soon be introduced to the character who taught us the logistics of his wacky legal system so many years ago. Neither Capcom nor Level-5 has confirmed Layton vs.Wright for U.S. release, but if any Ace Attorney game makes it to the States, it’ll be this one. Though it doesn’t have a confirmed American release, it’d be awfully strange for Nintendo to ignore one of their major handheld cash cows — even if they’ve been suspiciously slow in localizing Layton’s year-old 3DS adventure. Crossovers like this have gone wrong in the past, but Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino’s publicly professed love of all things Ace Attorney makes this IP amalgam feel more like a labor of love than a cynical ploy.

Ace Attorney: The Movie

Director Takashi Miike doesn’t seem like the most likely candidate to direct a Phoenix Wright movie; even though he’s a pretty versatile guy, people generally know his work best for its explicit scenes of sex and violence. While he typically handles different subject matter, Miike’s flashy style could mesh well with the over-the-top antics of Ace Attorney, which has focused on turning legal arguments into white-hot explosions of melodrama since game one. Those interested in checking out this movie’s English debut should immediately book a ticket to Anaheim’s AM2 (Anime, Manga, and Music) convention, where Ace Attorney will premiere to a crowd rabid with enthusiasm. Given that this production seems to adapt the story of the first Phoenix Wright, don’t expect too many surprises, outside of discovering if anime hair maintains its integrity in real-life situations. We may never get to see an official release of the all-female Phoenix Wright musical revue, but most will agree that Miike’s adaptation makes for a fine consolation prize.

Ace Attorney 5

You want news about the latest Ace Attorney? Well here’s a logo — and it’s not even in English! That’s basically all we have to go on with Phoenix’s non Layton-based sequel, recently announced in accordance with the series’ 10th anniversary. Though we don’t know anything about it, a true sequel to the original trilogy makes for a tricky propsition; fans of the series know Wright’s story wrapped up neatly at the end of Trials and Tribulations, only to be revisited by a fall-from-grace plotline that left us hanging way back in 2008’s Apollo Justice. Director Shu Takumi has quite a row to hoe, but anyone familiar with his games knows the man is a borderline genius who can find a semi-logical solution to any problem, no matter how ludicrous it may seem. Let’s hope he applies this same process to untangling the confusing web of Ace Attorney fiction.

 

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