To say Capcom has been having a tough time lately would be putting it mildly. After facing a “bespoke ransomware attack,” we’ve seen countless leaks about upcoming plans over the next several years, but among all of these, one particular reveal stood out. Considering this is currently not formally confirmed by Capcom, it showed a confirmation from Ace lawyer 7 Under development and two other collections were also discovered. It is suggested that a sequel to the trilogy is on the way that would include the following Apollo justice, Double destinies and Spirit of justice.
However, the other confirms the news that fans were beginning to believe they would never come: that the two of them Great Ace lawyer Titles are localized for publication in the West. Allegedly bundled alongside the original trilogy as part of a new compilation, fans had long given up hope that we would ever see this obscure entry. For the unknown Great Ace Attorney (known in Japan as Dai Gyakuten Saiban) was released on 3DS in 2015, and while the main entries were made under different directors, these spin-off games were directed by Shu Takumi, the creator of Ace Attorney, who left the series after Apollo Justice.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Takumi set out to create an original adventure with the distant ancestor of Phoenix, Ryūnosuke Naruhodō, an English student who often gets into trouble. After Ryūnosuke was charged with the murder of Dr. John H. Watson has been tried, he travels to Great Britain with Legal Assistant Susato Mikotoba to continue his studies. Eventually, he becomes a defense attorney and has several run-ins with prosecutor Barok Von Zieks. Notably, there have been some crossovers with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective Sherlock Holmes, who becomes a main character alongside John’s daughter, 10-year-old Iris Watson.
Keeping the same basic gameplay from the main entries, you’ll investigate crime scenes to gather evidence and testimony, followed by court battles against rival prosecutors. Contradictions have been exposed to defend your client, and some new elements have also been introduced, including a “joint reasoning” system for investigations alongside Sherlock. The jury system that we briefly saw at the end of Apollo Justice is also returning, and players could also question multiple witnesses at the same time, based on the spin-offs Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, also directed by Shu Takumi. Planned as a new series, it has received good reviews and became successful enough to warrant another 3DS entry in 2017. Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2: Naruho dō Ryū nosuke no Kakugo, a game that, strangely enough, was recently removed from the Japanese eShop.
Even so, neither of the two Great Ace Attorney entries received any western localization. Capcom has never officially confirmed their reasons for this, and during a Gamespot interview for Spirit of Justice, series producer Motohide Eshiro only pointed out that there are “a number of circumstances” preventing this from happening without ever disclosing what they are. Despite the high demand from fans and some accidentally raised hopes, it never happened, but when it did Mother 3 is anything that will never put off an avid fan base. A fan translation was completed last year thanks to Scarlet Study, and this team has since translated the sequel.
There are two prominent theories as to why Capcom didn’t release these two titles in the West, and the first was ascribed to copyright law relating to Sherlock Holmes. This is not the place to deconstruct these laws, but to sum up, while it remains in the public domain in Europe and Japan, things are getting a lot grimmer in the United States. Doyle’s estate has previously argued that the final short stories Sir Arthur published in the 1920s are protected by copyright, and, more broadly, Sherlock – although most of these novels are now in the public domain. Given how prominent our famous detective traits are, not to mention other characters like Tobias Gregson and John Garrideb, Capcom understandably feared a lawsuit. Still, you can’t help but laugh that their supposed plan to counter this is to rename him “Herlock Sholmes”. Amazingly, this approach isn’t unique to Great Ace Attorney either, though it begs the question of why they didn’t do it from the start.
The second reason concerns the niche setting. Unlike the main entries, the Great Ace Attorney takes place in the Meiji / Victorian Age, and both games are particularly focused on British-Japanese relations at this time. There’s an interesting historical background here, but because of the amount of effort required to pinpoint this, it stands to reason that Capcom didn’t see this as a particularly profitable endeavor. This particular argument also has historical priority, as the DS spin-off entry took place back in 2011 Ace Attorney Investigations 2 was not localized for similar reasons and remains officially untranslated – although this entry later received a fan translation as well.
We’d hesitate to call Ace Attorney a totally neglected series, considering last year’s switch port for the original trilogy and a recent (ish) anime adaptation, but it hasn’t had strong Western support in years. Dual Destinies, Spirit of Justice, and the Trilogy may have been released in time in the US and Europe, but they were digital only to minimize losses, while Japan received the full physical package. Since the DS era, Professor Layton Crossover has been the only entry to receive a western physical print, and even that doesn’t really count, considering Nintendo released it. Despite previous successes, Ace Attorney remains a niche franchise and Capcom was clearly reluctant to go that extra mile by putting business first.
However, with this recent development, it looks like internal attitudes are finally changing. While it should never have come to light under such circumstances – and our hearts go out to the staff members who have been affected by the data breach – the day many fans never thought would happen may finally be ahead of us. After five long years, the Great Ace Attorney franchise looks like it is headed west, and while we will wait for formal announcements before further increasing our hopes related to these other announcements, a bright future lies ahead .