Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (known as Gyakuten Saiban 4 in Japan) is a adventure visual novel game developed and published by Capcom and the fourth main installment in the Ace Attorney series of visual novel adventure games.


Apollo Justice Ace Attorney English Trailer

English trailer


It is the first game in the series to be specifically built from the ground up for the Nintendo DS, since the previous titles were remakes of Game Boy Advance games. It was released in Japan in April 2007, and North America and Europe in 2008. A iOS and Android port was released in December 2016. A Nintendo 3DS port was released in November 2017. Character designs and promotional art were done by Kazuya Nuri and Tatsurou Iwamoto.

The game, which takes place seven years after the third game, features a new protagonist called Apollo Justice and features a new gameplay gimmick; Apollo's bracelet, which has the ability to "zoom in on witnesses to gather information regarding them". This is denoted as the "perceive" function in the game, the bracelet is used in court to spot actions made by the witness that show nervousness.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Like the rest of the Ace Attorney series, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is a cross between the adventure game and visual novel genres. The player's goal is to defend their clients in four cases, and prove their innocence. The gameplay is separated into two types of situations: Investigations and trials.

During the investigation phase of each case, the player explores the game world by either using the stylus or the D-pad to select the actions they wish to engage in: Examine, Move, Talk, or Present. The player converses with non-player characters by selecting dialogue and can move around the game world by selecting the locations they wish to travel to. Information gained during Investigation Mode can be used during the Trial phase of the game and items picked up can be used as evidence. The player cannot progress without completing certain actions. Ema Skye (a character from the DS remake of the original game) often provides the player with opportunities to use DS features such as the microphone to perform actions such as dusting for fingerprints.

The trial portions consist of listening to and cross-examining witness testimonies. The player is given the option to either Press or Present evidence in response to statements made by witnesses. The player can either select their choice or yell into the microphone. By choosing Press, the player questions the witness's statement, which sometimes causes the witness to change their testimony. When finding inconsistencies in the testimony, the player may choose Present in order to show a piece of evidence that they think contradicts the testimony. The player has a health bar, representing the judge's patience. If the player presents incorrect pieces of evidence or choose incorrect answers to questions in court, health is lost. If the health bar reaches zero, the player loses the game and their client is declared guilty.

A new system, known as the "Perceive System," can be used to look for motions or actions made by witnesses that show nervousness, similar to a tell in poker. The game also includes a "Crime Recreation Mode" that models evidence or the crime scene in a 3-D rendition and allow the player to explore the recreation to look for clues. Additionally, the game often recreates the crime in cutscene sequences, allowing the player to observe the action and find contradictions.

Characters[edit | edit source]

Promotional art.

Episodes[edit | edit source]

Episode 1: Turnabout Trump - Apollo's first case involves him defending Phoenix Wright in the murder of Shadi Smith.

Episode 2: Turnabout Corner - Apollo defends a member of the Kitaki family, a family of feared gangsters in the city.

Episode 3: Turnabout Serenade - Apollo has to defend a teenage pianist in the murder of a singer's manager.

Episode 4: Turnabout Succession - This episode introduces the Jurist System, in which the verdict is decided by the consensus of six average citizens.

Story[edit | edit source]

The game takes place seven years after the third game and stars Apollo Justice, a rookie defense attorney who is hired to work in the offices of disbarred attorney Phoenix Wright, who has been forced to turn to professional gambling to support his adopted daughter Trucy Wright, a young magician who becomes Apollo's trusted assistant and fellow investigator.

Apollo and his mentor Kristoph Gavin, a perfectionist and old friend of Phoenix's, are called to represent Phoenix against charges of murdering one of his customers, a mysterious man named Shadi Smith, in a rigged game of poker. In the middle of his testimony, Phoenix inadvertently names Kristoph as a witness, and with the help of a falsified piece of evidence provided by Trucy, exposes him as the real murderer. Impressed by Apollo's performance, he invites him to start his own practice out of Trucy's talent agency.

A few weeks later Apollo accepts the offer and is assigned to investigate three seemingly separate incidents: a hit-and-run involving Phoenix, the theft of a noodle vendor's cart, and the disappearance of Trucy's favorite pair of "panties" (one of Trucy's props for her shows). At the same time, the Kitaki crime family hires him to defend one of their own, Wocky Kitaki, in a murder trial concerning the death of doctor Pal Meraktis. In court Apollo goes up against Kristoph's younger brother, prosecutor Klavier Gavin, who was also the prosecutor in Phoenix's last trial. By connecting the incidents to evidence recovered with the help of Detective Ema Skye, Apollo discredits the case against Wocky by proving that his fiancée, Alita Tiala, was the only one who could have committed the crime.

As a token of respect, Klavier invites Apollo and Trucy to attend a concert for his rock band, the Gavinners. During a guest performance by the mysterious diva Lamiroir, her manager Romein LeTouse is shot and killed in her dressing room. When Machi Tobaye, Lamiroir's pianist, is accused for the killing, Apollo goes through an extensive investigation and discovers that Machi and one of the Gavinners members, Detective Daryan Crescend, conspired to smuggle contraband into the country, and that Letouse, in reality an undercover Interpol agent, was murdered to cover it up. The case nearly falls apart due to a lack of decisive evidence, but Apollo is able to squeeze a confession out of Daryan by threatening to have Machi testify.

In the final case, Apollo is selected to serve as the defense in an experimental jury trial organized by Phoenix. His client, painter Vera Misham, is accused of poisoning her father Drew. During the trial it is discovered that Vera is a professional forger and after she succumbs to poison while testifying, the player is instructed by Phoenix to investigate the circumstances leading to the case. Seven years earlier, while representing magician Zak Gramarye in court as his second defense attorney, Phoenix was tricked into using false evidence created by Vera, costing him his job and reputation. Zak subsequently disappeared, leaving his daughter Trucy in Phoenix's custody. Over the years, Phoenix uses his experience and connections to gradually uncover the truth: Trucy and Apollo are half-siblings gifted with a unique power of perception by their mother, magician Thalassa Gramarye. Furthermore, Zak was forced to abandon Trucy in order to honor the wishes of her grandfather Magnifi Gramarye, who passed the legal rights to his magic to her side of the family. It also transpires that Zak is Shadi Smith, the victim in the first case, who stayed hidden from the public for seven years (since a missing person is officially considered deceased once those years has passed) and had come to give the rights to Magnifi's magic to Trucy before being killed by Kristoph when the latter recognized him.

The whole matter takes a surprise turn when Kristoph is summoned to testify and Apollo not only points him out as Zak's original defense attorney but, with Klavier's help, also accuses him as the true culprit behind Drew's murder and for setting up Phoenix with the forged evidence (which Kristoph bought from Vera) out of jealousy and then secretly keeping watch and nearly killing everyone related to the case out of fear of being found out. While Kristoph admits to being Zak's first defense attorney, having been turned down after a loss over a poker game (unaware that Zak just wanted to see Kristoph's true nature) as well as his dislike of Phoenix's reputation as a lawyer, he points out that both Apollo and Klavier lacks any decisive evidence to back up their arguments against him. The dou are however able to psychologically break Kristoph down when they notify him about the jury trial.

Following the final arguments, the player takes control of a member of Phoenix's jury and must decide whether or not Vera is guilty. If "Not Guilty" is chosen, then she is declared innocent by unanimous vote and ultimately recovers from the poison. With his name cleared, Phoenix assures Lamiroir, who is really Thalassa in disguise, that he will watch over Apollo and Trucy, and decides to apply for readmission to the bar. If "Guilty" is chosen, it triggers an alternate ending in which a hung jury forces the court with no choice but to delay the verdict. Vera's sudden death occurs soon after, resulting in an uncertain future for the Wright Anything Agency.

Development[edit | edit source]

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney was developed by a team of 28 staff members.[1] It was produced by Minae Matsukawa and directed by Mitsuru Endo, with character design and art by Kazuya Nuri, while series creator Shu Takumi wrote the game's scenario and took on a supervisory role.[2][3] Takumi had wanted the series to end with the previous game, as he felt its main character, Phoenix Wright, had been fully explored and that his story had been told; he said that it is important to know when to end a story, that he did not want the series to become a shadow of its former self, and that he did not see any reason to continue it. When it was still decided that a fourth game would be made, Takumi wanted it to have a new main character and a new story; he did not plan to have Phoenix appear in the game, but the corporate higher-ups at Capcom[4][5] as well as Takumi's colleagues wanted him in the game in some form, which led to him being the accused in the first case in the game.[6][7]

Characters[edit | edit source]

The character and personality of Apollo Justice were difficult to create in terms of differentiating him from Phoenix;[8][5] one of the reasons was because the latter was written to mainly reflect Takumi's own thoughts and reactions to various situations in previous games, thus Takumi felt that the "most natural parts of [him]" had already all been used up by the character. So he tried to take everything about Phoenix's personality and "turned it upside-down". Apollo then became a character who is aggressive, passionate, and youthful.[5] The character of Trucy Wright was also the "opposite" of Phoenix's assistant Maya Fey in a sense, though the magician aspect came from Takumi's love of magic, which is a hobby of his since college.[5]

The reason for turning Phoenix into a disbarred former lawyer was because Takumi felt that it would be "boring" if he was seen as a veteran attorney, so he immediately came up with the "dark image" of Phoenix's character in the game.[8] Klavier Gavin was another challenging character to create;[8] coming up with unique prosecutors was the most difficult development Takumi had to work on in previous games.[5] One of the common threads the first three prosecutors all had was "a sense of darkness", which is why Takumi wanted Klavier to be a bright and carefree character,[5] although he once considered him to be a character difficult to categorize or describe.[8] He wanted Klavier to have a "shadow" and, as a result, gave him a brother in the form of Kristoph Gavin.[5] While Klavier was wearing rock clothing at the early stages of his development, he wasn't a musician at first. Kazuya Nuri asked Takumi whether he’d give Klavier some background and he said rock star.[8] The idea for him being a rock star came from nowhere in particular, Takumi needed something interesting to write for the character, Trucy was the magician so after some thinking, he arrived at rock star.[8] Returning character Ema Skye was made more mature and moody for her appearance in the game to prevent her role from conflicting with that of Trucy.[9] Nuri wanted to keep Ema's "cuteness" intact for her facial expressions, however, so when she is expressing anger it is more like an "adorable pout".[9] His favorite Ema animation is when she is munching on her snacks.[9]

Features and episodes[edit | edit source]

Early in development, it was proposed that the game would use 3D graphics, as a way to make a big impact worthy of the start of a new Ace Attorney series; eventually they settled for a 2D style, with a few 3D elements.[10] Apollo Justice was the first game in the series to feature videos created using motion-capture data. A male staff member of the Research & Development team was chosen to be the motion-capture actor for a female character; the producer described him as being "a natural" at it.[11] Voice acting was also provided by Capcom staff members.[12] During development, staff members visited real courts to watch and study the trials.[13]

The story of the second episode, "Turnabout Corner", was based on a idea that Takumi had around 1995 for a unreleated game project.[14] The project got cancelled so he brought the idea back for Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, he considers "Turnabout Corner" to be a very memorable episode for him because of this.[14] The "MASON System" in the fourth episode, "Turnabout Succession", was created because of the then new "Lay Judge System" in Japan.[5][14] As part of the game's promotion, the development team collaborated with the Japanese Ministry of Justice, which was preparing for the official launch of the new system, and gave a presentation of the game at the ministry’s head office.[5]

Localization[edit | edit source]

Alexander O. Smith, who worked as a writer on the localization of the first Ace Attorney game, also worked on the localization of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, as regular series translator Janet Hsu was busy working on the localization of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations.[15] Localization of the game was already in progress by August 2007.[16] The name "Apollo Justice" was decided in collaboration between the Japanese and American divisions of Capcom; it took them twenty-two meetings to decide on it. The name refers to how Apollo fights for justice.[11][17] His first name was chosen to rival Phoenix’s name,[18] other first names that were considered included Arthur and Justin (a play on “justice”). His last name was "at the top of the list" but two other names considered were Swift (as in the bird, and also to imply that justice is swift) and Startel (as a parallel to his Japanese name, which phonetically sounds the same as the word for "surprise").[18]

During the localization, there was some debate about the use of the word "panties" to describe Trucy's magical bloomers, a prop she uses in her magic shows; some on the localization team felt that it was inappropriate to joke about an underage girl's panties, and wanted them to be localized as "magic pants", while some felt that the joke would be lost if the player already knew that they were massive bloomers. Janet Hsu, one of the staff members working on the localization, made an argument for "emotional accuracy", saying that the Japanese version of the game was trying to make the player feel at unease over looking for what they might imagine to be "sexy lingerie", and then let the player feel relief at finding out that it is a prop for a magic show. In the end, they were referred to as "panties".[19]

Music[edit | edit source]

Most of the game's music was composed by Toshihiko Horiyama, with Hideki Okugawa composing three songs and Akemi Kimura and Shu Takumi composing two songs each. A soundtrack album, Gyakuten Saiban 4 Original Soundtrack, was released on June 27, 2007.[20] A concert, based on the music from Ace Attorney and entitled Gyakuten Meets Orchestra, took place in Tokyo in April 2008.[11] A CD of the concert was published on July 16, 2008.[21]

Release[edit | edit source]

The game was announced in 2005, and was originally planned to be released in 2006 in Japan.[12] A demo version of the game was first made available at Tokyo Game Show in 2006,[22] and an English trailer was presented at the following year's Tokyo Game Show.[23] The game was eventually released in Japan on April 12, 2007, with North American, European, and Australian releases following on February 19, 2008, May 9, 2008, and May 22, 2008, respectively.

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney HD, a smartphone and tablet port with high-resolution graphics was released in English and Japanese for iOS on December 1, 2016 and for Android on December 8.[24] A Nintendo 3DS port,[25][26] using the graphics from the HD port, was released at both retail and digital download in Japan and digital-only in West 2017; November 21st 2017 in North America, and November 23rd 2017 in Europe and Japan.

Merchandise[edit | edit source]

In Japan, a limited edition of the game was made available. It includes branded headphones, an Ace Attorney dictionary on a DS card, and a series highlights DVD.[27] A keychain depicting Apollo was included with preorders purchased at GameStop and the online Capcom store. A limited edition of the 3DS port was also available.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Apollo Justice received generally positive reception for its story, gameplay and use of the DS's touch features. It did however gain complaints for not completely fixing the gameplay issues of previous installments, and other aspects of the story (such as the treatment of Phoenix Wright and the fourth episode's in-game MASON System) were also criticized.

Sales[edit | edit source]

Apollo Justice sold around 250,000 copies during the first retail week, and had more than 500,000 copies shipped by the end of its second week in Japan. By the end of 2007, it had sold 515,417 units. While not as successful in terms of sales in North America, the game still placed fifth in games sold for the Nintendo DS during its release week.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The first name of the in-game system, "MASON System", in the fourth episode is most likely a reference to the fictional defense attorney Perry Mason, the main character in works of detective fiction written by author Erle Stanley Gardner. Like Phoenix and Apollo, Perry took on seemingly hopeless cases and turned them into victories, often making the true criminal confess on the stand.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Characters[edit | edit source]

Box Art and Merchandise[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20150531082300/http://www.capcom-fc.com/saiban4/2007/04/post_9.html
  2. http://toucharcade.com/2014/08/15/phoenix-wright-ace-attorney-dual-destinies-review/
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20141112131920/http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/107065/QA_Capcoms_Minae_Matsukawa_On_Producing_Phoenix_Wright_In_A_Mans_World.php
  4. http://gyakutensaibanlibrary.blogspot.se/2016/07/gyakuten-saiban-4-blog-entry-6-changing.html
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 http://www.capcom-unity.com/zeroobjections/blog/2017/11/18/the-making-of-apollo-justice-ace-attorney-feat-shu-takumi
  6. http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/14/5507696/why-phoenix-wright-creator-did-not-want-the-series-to-continue
  7. https://web.archive.org/web/20140315175546/http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/57351/phoenix-wright-creator-felt-the-series-should-not-continue/
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 http://gyakutensaibanlibrary.blogspot.se/2016/09/4-isnt-change-from-old-to-new-but.html
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 (2009). "The Art of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney". UDON. ISBN 1-897376-19-7.
  10. https://web.archive.org/web/20131015020406/http://www.capcom-fc.com/saiban4/2007/04/all_we_need_is_1.html
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/06/ace-attorney-producer-big-announcement-at-orchestral-concert/
  12. 12.0 12.1 http://ign.com/articles/2006/06/16/first-details-gyakuten-saiban-4
  13. http://www.engadget.com/2009/07/28/interview-ace-attorney-investigations-producer-motohide-eshiro/
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 http://gyakutensaibanlibrary.blogspot.se/2018/03/celebrating-gyakuten-saiban-4s-nintendo.html
  15. https://web.archive.org/web/20150905110414/http://www.usgamer.net/articles/expert-witness-an-interview-with-alex-smith-the-writer-behind-ace-attorneys-english-debut
  16. https://web.archive.org/web/20150203213800/http://www.siliconera.com/2007/08/23/apollo-justice-ace-attorney-localization-is-already-in-progress/
  17. https://web.archive.org/web/20150203134001/http://www.siliconera.com/2008/02/01/investigation-phase-apollo-justice-ace-attorney-interview/
  18. 18.0 18.1 http://www.capcom-unity.com/zeroobjections/blog/2017/11/11/localizing-across-cultures-with-context----for-your-very-careful-consideration
  19. https://web.archive.org/web/20150915232234/http://www.capcom-unity.com/zeroobjections/blog/2014/11/21/localization-and-ace-attorney
  20. https://web.archive.org/web/20110819155050/http://www.squareenixmusic.com/albums/g/gyakutensaiban4.shtml
  21. https://web.archive.org/web/20090213202630/http://nintendo.joystiq.com/2008/04/20/ace-attorney-orchestra-awesomeness-meets-gyakuten-kenji-trailer/
  22. https://web.archive.org/web/20150926010326/http://www.ign.com/articles/2006/09/08/capcom-announces-tgs-lineup
  23. https://web.archive.org/web/20070925051131/http://www.joystiq.com/2007/09/20/apollo-justice-ace-attorney-trailer-throws-book-at-you/
  24. https://web.archive.org/web/20161121214627/http://www.siliconera.com/2016/11/21/apollo-justice-ace-attorney-headed-ios-december-1-android-december-8-2016/
  25. https://www.gamer.ne.jp/news/201708090053/
  26. http://www.capcom-unity.com/capkel/blog/2017/08/08/take-that-apollo-justice-is-coming-to-the-nintendo-3ds-eshop-this-November
  27. https://web.archive.org/web/20071021031634/http://www.joystiq.com/2007/01/21/objection-phoenix-wright-should-have-bonus-items/

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