Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice, known as Gyakuten Saiban 6 (逆転裁判 6; lit. "Turnabout Trial 6") in Japan, is the sixth main installment and the tenth installment overall in the Ace Attorney series of mystery adventure visual novel games. It was announced in Famitsu on September 1, 2015 as a title for the Nintendo 3DS, with Motohide Eshiro as producer and Takeshi Yamazaki as director.
The game was released in Japan in June 9th, 2016 and later released in September 8th overseas the same year. Like with the previous installment, the Western release is only available as a online download through the Nintendo eShop.
Spirit of Justice continues the investigation and courtroom gameplay 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. Like previous games in the franchises, chapters are divided into two types of gameplay; investigations, where players gather information from people and search for evidence, and trials, where they must use evidence to find contradictions in witness testimonies. Investigations utilize the 3D navigation introduced in Dual Destinies, allowing players to navigate environments from various angles. Along with returning gameplay elements, such as Psyche-Locks, Perceiving and the Mood Matrix, the game introduces "Divination Séances", which show the final moments of a victim before their death. By paying close attention to the senses that appear in the séances, players must find contradictions in the insights given about them.
Similar to the Professor Layton crossover game and Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodō Ryūnosuke no Bōken, Spirit of Justice uses the "five strike" penalty system. Like the previous game, Spirit of Justice also contain anime cutscenes as well as a new option to skip the cutscenes by pressing the "START" button. The 3D character models from Dual Destinies have also been remade.
- Phoenix Wright - The protagonist of the first three games and the fifth game. Noteworthy veteran defense attorney and the senior practicing attorney of the Wright Anything Agency, who is well-known for pulling off impossible comebacks in court. He is traveling abroad to meet up with Maya Fey.
- Apollo Justice - The protagonist of the fourth game, a playable main character in the fifth and a lead character in this game. A defense attorney practicing at the Wright Anything Agency under Wright. With his boss aboard, it is up to him to take care of incoming cases at home. He possesses a genetic ability (augmented with a special bracelet) to sense nervous tics in others, which he uses to tell if someone is lying.
- Athena Cykes - A main character who debuted in the fifth game. A young energetic rookie attorney who joined the Wright Anything Agency the previous year. She has a specialization in both law and analytical psychology, which she combines in order to better understand witness testimony and identify abnormalities in emotional states, relying on her advanced hearing and a special program called the Mood Matrix on her personal AI companion, Widget.
- Leifa Padma Kurain (レイファ・パドマ・クライン) - The mystic princess of Kurain. She is a spirit medium who can use a water mirror to reveal what a murder victim saw and felt before their demise.
- Nayuta Sadmadhi (ナユタ・サードマディ) - The rival prosecutor in the game. An international prosecutor and respected monk from Kurain who believes that convicting criminals in court will provide salvation for their victims. He has a soft demeanor but hides a sharp tongue. Nayuta was first shown briefly at the end of the extended 2015 Tokyo Game Show trailer as a silhouetted individual holding a purple butterfly.
Other new characters
- Tsuani Bokuto (ボクト・ツアーニ) - A monk-in-training who works as a tour guide. Once he starts one of his tour monologues, there is no stopping him. Wright defends him in court on charges of murder.
- Kurain judge - A man similar in appearance to the judge who normally presides over Wright's and Justice's cases, albeit with more East Asian attire and a beard that ends in two braids.
- Maya Fey - Phoenix's former assistant and the younger sister of his late mentor Mia Fey. She is an energetic spirit medium who can summon souls of the dead using her magatama. Wright meets Maya during his visit in the Kingdom of Kurain.
- Trucy Wright - Phoenix's adopted daughter and current heir to the performance rights of Troupe Gramarye. A stage magician and high school student working out of the Wright Anything Agency, she sometimes accompanies the Agency's attorneys on investigations in addition to her stage career. In the second episode, an incident occurs during one of her shows, placing her under suspicion. Prior to the Famitsu article revealing details of the second episode, posters of her could be seen in in-game screenshots.
- Ema Skye - A forensics and snackoo-obsessed detective who has previously appeared in several games in the series. Despite her strong interest in forensic science, which she has used to assist various Ace Attorney protagonists in solving crimes, she failed to qualify for her dream job of being an actual forensic scientist. She was instead hired by the Criminal Affairs Department as a homicide detective, much to her irritation. In the intervening time between Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and Ace Attorney 6, she has managed to obtain a position as in forensics as she had originally envisioned. She appears in the second episode. Prior to the Famitsu article revealing details of the second episode, Skye's appearance in the game was hinted at when a tiny sprite of her was shown to appear on the postcards that come with the "limited goods set" of the game's limited edition.
- Simon Blackquill - The rival prosecutor in the previous game, Blackquill is a prosecutor with a dark and somewhat mischievous sense of humor who is known for his use of psychological manipulation in court via flattery, suggestive persuasion, and implicit death threats. He appears in the fourth episode and also in the prologue anime short, where he faces Wright and Cykes in court.
- Miles Edgeworth - Phoenix's old rival prosecutor and close childhood friend, now serving as Chief Prosecutor.
- Klavier Gavin - The rival prosecutor from the fourth game. He is encountered in Apollo's pre-order episode.
- Larry Butz - Phoenix and Miles' overemotional and lazy childhood friend who appeared in the first and third game. He sometimes uses the pseudonym "Laurice Deauxnim" when working as an artist. He appears in the DLC episode "Turnabout Time Travellers".
- Pearl Fey - Maya Fey's younger cousin, also a spirit medium, who first appeared in the second game.
- Jinxie Tenma - A young maid living in Nine-Tails Vale who is friends with Trucy Wright and was a witness in the fifth game. Appears in Justice's pre-order episode.
- Gaspen Payne - A prosecutor and self-proclaimed "Rookie Humiliator" who appears in a Kurain courtroom wearing a yellow suit, gold crown, and a sash. Having been chased out of the prosecutor's office at the end of Dual Destinies, he has made a reputation as an "undefeated prosecutor" in Kurain, rising to the rank of head prosecutor there.
- The Foreign Turnabout
- The Magical Turnabout
- The Rite of Turnabout
- Turnabout Storyteller
- Turnabout Revolution
- Turnabout Time Traveler - (DLC)
- Phoenix Wright: Asinine Attorney - (non-canon)
- Apollo Justice: Asinine Attorney - (non-canon)
Set roughly one year after its predecessor, Phoenix Wright travels to the fictional kingdom of Khura'in, a deeply religious nation in the far east where the art of spirit channeling originates, in order to visit his former assistant Maya Fey, who is about to conclude a two-year period of ascetic training needed to perfect her spirit-channeling abilities and become master of Kurain Village. Upon arriving, Phoenix's tour guide Ahlbi Ur'gaid is accused of stealing the Founder's Orb relic and murdering a guard. During Ahlbi's trial, Phoenix discovers that Khura'in is intensely prejudiced against lawyers. Under a law known as the "Defense Culpability Act" enacted 23 years prior, if a criminal is found guilty, anyone who defends or aids them will be given the same punishment. With the addition of the "Divination Séance", a ritual showing a victim's memories in their final moments before death, and Rayfa Padma Khura'in, the crown Princess of Khura'in as well as the priestess who performs Divination Séances for the High Court of the Kingdom, all trials in Khura'in have led to guilty verdicts, with most defense attorneys having been executed. Despite the stakes of the DC Act and the supposed absolute truth of Rayfa's Divination Séance, Phoenix successfully defends Ahlbi and proves him innocent, earning Khura'in's first "not guilty" verdict since the Act's introduction. He also learns of the Defiant Dragons, a rebel group fighting against the current legal system.
Back home, Apollo Justice and Athena Cykes defend Trucy Wright against international prosecutor and devout Khura'inese monk Nahyuta Sahdmadhi when she is accused of murdering a performer during her stage show. After reuniting with Maya, Phoenix must defend her when she is charged with murdering a high priest. During the case, Phoenix meets one of the Defiant Dragons, Datz Are'bal, who reveals that the group's leader, Dhurke Sahdmadhi, is Nahyuta's father and Apollo's foster father. Meanwhile, Athena is requested to defend a soba shop owner accused of murdering a Rakugo performer, aided by Simon Blackquill during the trial.
Some time later, Apollo is approached by Dhurke, who asks for help locating the stolen Founder's Orb. After coming up against Phoenix himself in a civil court battle over ownership of the orb, Apollo learns that Maya has been taken hostage to force Phoenix to win the orb for his client. Upon proving Dhurke's ownership and revealing the secret behind the Founder's Orb, the group return to Khura'in where Justice Minister Inga Karkhuul Khura'in, husband of Queen Ga'ran Sigatar Khura'in, is holding Maya hostage. However, when Dhurke goes in to make the exchange, he is accused of murdering Inga after he is found dead. With Queen Ga'ran acting as prosecutor, Phoenix and Apollo are tasked with proving Dhurke innocent of both Inga's murder and the assassination of the previous queen, Ga'ran's sister Amara, 23 years ago, which led to the creation of the DC Act. Along with learning that Amara survived the assassination attempt, Apollo discovers that Dhurke had already been killed by Inga a few days earlier, having been channeled by Maya to see his foster son one last time. Apollo also discovers that Nahyuta had been blackmailed by Ga'ran in order to protect Rayfa, who is revealed to be Nahyuta's sister and Dhurke and Amara's biological daughter.
With the ties of her father's crime threatening to destroy Rayfa's life, Apollo uses his final gift from Dhurke, a photo of his deceased biological father, Jove Justice, to conduct a Divination Séance, proving that both Jove and Inga's murders and Amara's attempted assassination were caused by Ga'ran. As Ga'ran threatens to use her royal authority to execute Apollo and Phoenix on the spot, Apollo proves that Ga'ran has no claim to the throne, possessing no spiritual powers of her own, thus nullifying all the laws she had passed and ending her rule. As Rayfa is chosen to succeed her as the next queen, Apollo decides to stay in Khura'in to help Nahyuta rebuild the kingdom's legal system. In a post-credits sequence, Phoenix gives Jove's photo to Apollo and Trucy's biological mother, Thalassa Gramarye, and affirms that the time has come to tell the truth to her children.
An additional DLC storyline set after the game's events features Phoenix defending a woman who claims she was attacked just after her wedding, but traveled back in time and is now accused of killing her attacker. Meanwhile, Phoenix's old friend Larry Butz returns, claiming he is the woman's fiancé. Two additional non-canon episodes were released under the name "Asinine Attorney": In the first, Pearl Fey must pretend to be Rayfa with Phoenix’s help to stall for time during a hostage situation; in the second, Apollo and Klavier Gavin help Rayfa find her ideal sightseeing destination in America before she must return to Khura'in.
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. Like the previous title, Spirit of Justice features fully voiced anime cutscenes, this time animated by A-1 Pictures, who also produced the Ace Attorney anime series.
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", as the developers felt that no one could prove a match for Phoenix anymore in his usual setting, and also from difficulties with developing the series further within the Japanese courtroom setting. The developers moved Phoenix to a foreign country with a different court system, which would provide a sense of urgency not seen in the usual games. Communion with otherworldly spirits is a concept previously only used with the Fey clan, which, as Spirit of Justice revealed, is an offshoot of Khura'in's culture. 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 set Spirit 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 short non-canon bonus episodes featuring Phoenix and Apollo, along with three downloadable costumes. This content was later released in English markets; the costume set was released alongside the game and was free for the first week, while the first and second bonus episodes were released on September 15, 2016 and September 22, 2016 under the name "Asinine Attorney", each one packaged with an additional 3DS menu theme. 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. A second costume set, based on Capcom's Sengoku BASARA series, was released in Japan on June 23.An additional episode, Turnabout Time Traveller (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; the episode was released in English on September 29, 2016. The game was later ported to mobile platforms, receiving a worldwide release for iOS and Android systems on September 21, 2017.
At the beginning of March, Capcom Japan ran a Twitter campaign to have "#逆転裁判 ６" posted as many times as possible, offering rewards as they passed certain thresholds (6000, 12,000, and 18,000): headshot icons of Wright, Justice, and Cykes; wallpapers; and a special video at the highest tier. Ultimately the campaign reached over 55,500 re-Tweets, meaning all rewards were posted to the official Japanese site, with the promised video being the opening cutscene for the game.
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. The sales matched Capcom's expectations for the title.
Four reviewers at Famitsu — Yoshida, Ashida, Honma and Uchisawa — did a joint 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.
IGN's Tristan Ogilvie as well found the game to not bring anything new to the series, and criticized the Divination Seances, calling them "wishy-washy, and less far intuitive from the more logical cross-examination approaches". He also lamented the investigation sections, calling them "merely point-and-click pixel hunts", and wished they had more puzzles, as were present in the Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright game. He praised the over-the-top characters and engaging courtroom sequences, though, and the visual quality of the game.
- The game is notable for these distinctions within the series.
- It is the first mainline installment since the original game to use the "five strike" penalty system rather than the variable health bar-like "Confidence Gauge" system that has been used since Justice For All.
- It is is the fourth Ace Attorney game to have a culprit appear in the end-credits.
- Excluding trial-only cases, "The Magical Turnabout" is the second episode in the mainline games to have a single trial day, the first being "Turnabout for Tomorrow" from Dual Destinies.
- The twin sisters Bonny and Betty's testimony in "The Magical Turnabout" is the first instance of two witnesses testifying at the same time in the mainline games, with the only other instance occurring in the non-canonical episode "Phoenix Wright: Asinine Attorney". Although Lamiroir and Machi Tobaye also take the stand together in the third episode from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Lamiroir was only acting as a translator for Tobaye in that case and not as a witness herself.
- The fourth episode, "Turnabout Storyteller", is the second non-introductory episode in the main series to not have any investigation chapters, with the first one being "Turnabout Beginnings" from Trials and Tribulations. Coincidentally, both cases are the fourth case in their respective games, both have a female protagonist, both take place in Courtroom No. 4, and in both Phoenix Wright lacks a major role.
- Gyakuten Saiban - Turnabout of the Time Traveller, an Ace Attorney novel written by mystery writer Van Madoy and released in 2017, shares many similarities with the DLC episode, "Turnabout Time Traveler".
- The novel has an almost identical title to said episode's English name.
- Both stories feature a young woman who turns up at Phoenix Wright's office, claiming to have traveled through time.
- In both stories, Wright is assisted by Maya Fey, and his opponent in court in both is Miles Edgeworth.
- Both also feature appearances from Larry Butz.
- The "time travels" that took place were both ultimately proven to have a rational explanation, and in both stories the victims are males who died from blunt force trauma.
- According to Janet Hsu, the kingdom of Khura'in is located near Nepal and is based on countries in the general vicinity of the Himalayas, such as Bhutan and Tibet. The Japanese trailers of Spirit of Justice originally described the country as being located in the far west of Asia.
- "Ace Attorney 6 details - difficulty, remade 3D models, more"
- title=『逆転裁判』の話がしたい!!! |issue=262 |language=Japanese |journal=Nintendo Dream |publisher=Mainichi
- title=逆転裁判6 |magazine=Famitsu |author1=Yoshida |author2=Ashida |author3=Honma |author4=Uchizawa |publisher=Enterbrain |language=Japanese |date=June 2016 |issue=1435