Official GS4 Blog Translations

You can find the original Japanese blog on the GS4 Official Site.  Go comment!

These translations were contributed by Onamida. 

GS4 Developers' Blog Translation
Entry #1 (Tues. 3/20)

< Greetings >

Hey everyone.

This is Shu Takumi from the Gyakuten Saiban team.
As you may know, I scribbled together the story for all the games -- which I guess makes me the main culprit behind it all. (<- I've finally decided to turn myself in.)  Starting today, we'll be using this blog to post exclusive information straight from the development team.  We hope you'll stick around.

Man... "Gyakuten Saiban 4." Who would've thought that I'd have the chance to do this all again?  When we were working on the first Gyakuten Saiban, it was still the year 2000... last century.  "'Gyakuten Saiban' begins and ends with this one game, so let's give it all we've got!"

I dove into the project with a burning passion, and we were able to put together a story which couldn't be topped (or so I thought at the time).  Then the game came out. We got good feedback from all of you who played and enjoyed it, which led to a green light for the sequels. (Although the first game didn't sell as well as we'd expected.)  "Well, looks like 'Gyakuten Saiban' will be a trilogy after all. Let's go all out!"  Our passion burning even more, we managed to bring the series to a perfect (or so I thought) conclusion.

But it seems that this wasn't the end of the story.  Now I'm here again today, as we prepare to open court again with our new protagonist, Housuke Odoroki.  When I think about it, what always strikes me is that the energy to come up with new cases time and time again -- it all comes from the support of fans like all of you.  I really can't thank you enough.

So anyway, here we are... "Gyakuten Saiban 4."  Our goal this time around is the same as it's always been... to make a good mystery.  We think you won't be disappointed.

For this new chapter, we had two aims.  First, we wanted it to be an entirely new story, one that even newcomers could enjoy to the fullest.
At the same time, though, we wanted it to be a *familiar* new story that would appeal to series veterans as well.  So we put in a number of things to strike a balance between these two seeming contradictions.  Did we succeed...? I hope you'll take the opportunity to judge for yourself.

Three weeks until release.  The team and I -- our collective hearts are pounding in anticipation.

With the series turning over a new leaf, we've seen major changes in the development team as well.  The scale of the game is larger than ever this time around, and I had a number of new colleagues helping me out.  Now, I'm going to have them help me out with this blog as well.  Our next entry will be from Mr. Endo, our "director" who took charge of the GS4 production office for me.

I think back to ten years ago...  I was working on "Scary High School Rumors: Here Comes Hanako!" (Gakkou no kowai uwasa ~ Hanako ga kita!) -- my first game -- and a new staff member joined our team. This was Endo.   I'd come to work here with the goal of making an interesting mystery, and Endo was my "comrade" with the same goal.  Back then, Capcom was in its golden age of fighting games -- the "jock" of the video game industry -- and how two skinny little nerds like us got in is a mystery in itself.  But anyway, I have vague recollections of a late night at the office, when -- over a single bowl of instant yakisoba noodles that we shared between the two of us -- we made a vow:  "We're going to make a mystery!"  (Just recently, I came across an old photo from back then. I had a bowl of instant yakisoba for the first time in ages, and it brought a tear to my eye.)

So, how about Endo? Does he remember our promise of that day long past...?  All this and more will be revealed... next time!

So with that, I'll pass the baton to him.

See you again soon!

GS4 Developers' Blog Translation
Entry #2 (Fri. 3/23)

Topic: New gameplay features

Pleased to meet you all.  I'm Endo, a newcomer to the series this time around.

I still remember the day when, having heard that they were going to start development of GS4, I went to plead with the bigwigs here at Capcom to put me on the team.

Endo: "Please... I really want to join the GS4 team!"
Bigwig: "Eh... but..."
Endo: "Ah... here! You know, I shared a bowl of instant yakisoba noodles with Mr. Takumi once. See... here's a photograph!"
Bigwig: "Um... Endo."
Endo: "Yes, sir?"
Bigwig: "You really shouldn't show that picture to strangers... It might -- er, how shall I say... -- lead to misunderstandings.

Was it the power of the yakisoba photo? Who can say... but here I am on the GS4 dev team.

So a word of advice to all of our new employees: If you have lunch with your bosses, make sure you get "photo evidence" -- you just never know when it may come in handy.


So, let's talk GS4.

A new gameplay feature worthy of a new "Gyakuten Saiban" game... How did we come up with this? Let me try to piece together my sketchy memory and tell the story.

Production had just started, and we had three planners on the team. All three of us were big mystery buffs with an aversion to physical exercise -- typical "humanities" types. In a company like Capcom filled with martial arts sort of guys (just my personal impression) we were about as out of place as you can get. We'd have these heated debates, with ideas for new gameplay features pouring out one after another:

"We could have a case where multiple shots were fired from a gun in a short period of time, in a small room..."
"Yeah! If we could show the paths of the bullets in 3D... that might look pretty neat!"

"How about a composite photo... where you gradually put together the face of the culprit?"
"And when it all comes together... it turns out to be someone you didn't expect!"

"It might be interesting if we had a sort of sixth sense to 'see' the monetary value of things...
"Like you look at a lighter in a dollar store, and... 'Wait, this is actually worth $5000!" Then you turn it around and see there's suspicious fingerprints on it."

From typical mystery concepts to some seriously wacky, off-the-wall stuff.  The flow of ideas was endless.

As each of these came up, we'd discuss them in more detail. "What kind of rules, what kind of controls would we give this?" "Does it fit with the story?"  "Would it actually be interesting to play?"

In the end, the "See-through" (Minuku) system is what finally made it into the game.

This was something new, so we had to experiment a few times.  As it is now, the "See-through" system is in black-and-white, but actually, earlier in the development cycle we were doing it in color.

Black-and-white, or color?

We took a poll among the team members, and the consensus was that it would work better in black-and-white. If there were just a few more votes the other way then, the "See-through" system might have taken on a completely different look.

We also debated a bunch of ideas about how to handle the visual presentation.  How about adding an animation of Odoroki before he goes into "See-through" mode? and so forth.

This was the sketch that Mr. Takumi drew at that time:

Endo: "Wow... that's pretty, um, intense."
Takumi: "Well, this sort of thing needs to have impact, you know."
Endo: "Yeah, with this glare, he'll knock the stuffing out of those witnesses!"
Takumi: "Uh, Endo...?"
Endo: "Yes?"
Takumi: "You use some pretty cheesy expressions sometimes, you know." how did the "See-through" system turn out? I hope you'll experience it for yourself on release day.

When you run into a witness for whom "pressing" and presenting evidence doesn't get you anywhere, see through their lies and knock the stuffing right out of them.


Anyway, for our next entry, I'm going to pass the baton (to use another cheesy expression) to Yamazaki, one of the game planners who joined our team back for the first DS "Ace Attorney."  GS4 was my first chance to work with him, so we've only known each other for a short time... but we've already been through a lot together.  Though he drives me absolutely nuts sometimes (for example, even though we like the same authors, the parts of a story we connect with are just ever so slightly different) -- when all is said and done, he's an invaluable colleague.

We aren't yet close enough to share a bowl of instant noodles, but he's a guy that you can trust, and I'm sure that he'll give you some passionate insight into GS4 from his fresh, young perspective in our next entry.

Well, that's a wrap for today.

GS4 Developers' Blog Translation
Entry #3 (Tues. 3/27)
"Gyakuten Saiban Meets Jazz Soul in Taiwan"

Hi everyone.
This is Takashi Yamazaki, one of the planners on the Gyakuten Saiban team.  I've been with the series since the first DS game.

I came to Capcom three years ago, and I've been working on Gyakuten Saiban the whole time.  But really, before getting this job, I was just another GS fan.  At my job interview, I remember shouting out "I love Gyakuten Saiban!", and the very first
time I met Mr. Takumi, I went up to shake his hand, saying "I'm a huge fan of yours!"  How I ended up here, writing an entry on the developers' blog... it's just a strange feeling.  Am I dreaming?

But this isn't the place for this... I need to keep my feet on the ground.  Anyway, I'll have a few entries here, in which I hope to share with you all various stories from the development of Gyakuten Saiban... so I hope you'll stick around!


Anyway, our topic for this time is the new Gyakuten Saiban Jazz Album, to be released on March 31st. Today, I'd like to bring you the latest news straight from our recording studio in Taiwan.

Our reporter on the scene with Toshihiko Horiyama, composer of the "Gyakuten Saiban 4" soundtrack.

-- Mr. Horiyama! How's Taiwan? I wanted to go, too!

Horiyama: Nice to meet you all! Taiwan's a great place. Most of all, the food is just great.  I had this rice porridge dish which was just unbelievably good.

-- Wow... it sounds like Taiwan's a fascinating place. Personally, I'd love to hear more about that rice porridge... Mr. Horiyama, are you there?

Horiyama: Anyway, our jazz band -- who put some soul in the Gyakuten Saiban soundtrack -- is composed of seven members. Keyboard, bass, drums, and four horns -- tenor and alto saxes, a trumpet, and a trombone.

-- Well, that was an unbelievably impressive dodge of my rice porridge question. So how did the recording go?

Horiyama: Well, as you know, our conductor was (GS3 composer) Noriyuki Iwadare, who did the jazz arrangements of all the songs. The atmosphere was very relaxed, and the band members really got into the music and put on a great performance.

When I heard the "Da da da! Da da da!" phrase of the "Phoenix Wright -- Objection!" theme performed by two saxophones... it was like it a fire in my heart.

They spent 2-3 hours on each song, experimenting with various parts in order to get the sound just right.

Out of all the songs, the one that got everyone the most pumped up was probably "Swingin' Zenitora" (Zenitora's theme from GS3.) The original song already had a jazzy feel to it, so it really sounded good with the horns.

Isn't it perfect, that the theme song for a loanshark company sounds so good with "gold" instruments?  Listening to the sound of the trumpet, I could picture in my mind a swing dancing Zenitora.

-- By the way... what would you say is the attraction of a live performance?

Horiyama: With a live performance, each performer has their own slightly different sense of timing and dynamics, and the transition from one note to the next... each performer brings their own individuality.  The fluctuation that comes from this blend of individual traits gives the music a comfortable flow. I think that's the attraction.

-- I see... I think I understand the feeling... It was the same with the GS4 development team.  Each team member brought their own "flavor" to the project, and I think these individual traits were preserved well.

-- One last question... What would you recommend to our listeners as the highlight of this album?

Horiyama: Well, I think all of the songs have been reborn into something new and exciting, while remaining faithful to the originals. Also, all of our performers have worked in various adlibs in their performances, so I hope everyone will listen for those!

-- Personally, I'm incredibly curious as to how the jazz version of the "Steel Samurai" theme turned out...

Horiyama: Ah, the jazz "Steel Samurai"... in one word? "Adult."

-- "Adult," eh?  A reborn, more "adult" Steel Samurai...  That almost defies the imagination...

This night, in the dark corner of a bar... a lone samurai tilts his glass.  "My lady... be careful if you touch my topknot. It may be... too hot for you to handle.", something's not quite right.

I guess the only way to unravel this mystery is to listen to album myself.  Anyway, thanks for the report, Mr. Horiyama!
And maybe you can tell me about this mysterious rice porridge next time...

The Gyakuten Saiban Jazz Album... in stores on March 31st!


Anyway, for our next blog entry I'll be passing the baton back to Mr. Takumi.  I'm sure he'll share with you some of the innermost secrets of Gyakuten Saiban 4 that only he knows.

See you next time!

GS4 Developers' Blog Translation
Entry #4 (Fri. 3/30)

Topic: Changing of the guard

Good afternoon, everyone.  Shu Takumi from the Gyakuten Saiban team here.

This may sound strange, but... you could say that I enjoy being tied down.  When I feel like something's missing, sometimes I'll even tie the ropes myself., some of you out there are probably thinking, "What kind of bizarre confession is this guy coming out with?"  If you stop reading here, this could potentially cause a very serious misunderstanding, so I beg of you... please keep reading to the end.  That, or if you don't have the time, just forget that you ever read those two sentences.  Promise me that.

So, this time I'd like to talk about the changing of the main character.  I'm pretty sure this is the biggest concern about GS4, for those of you who played through the first three games.

From Ryuuichi Naruhodou (Phoenix Wright), to Housuke Odoroki.

For those of you who are new to the series, let me explain. The protagonist of the first three games was a young lawyer by the name of "Ryuuichi Naruhodou."  Though each of the individual episodes stand alone, the whole trilogy comes together to form one complete story.

...that story came to its conclusion with Gyakuten Saiban 3.  I don't want to add any new episodes to it.

This was how I honestly felt when I first heard of the decision to make GS4.  On the other hand, knowing that players are calling out for a sequel is the best feeling in the world for a game designer... this was also my honest feeling.  So I thought it over, and I came to this answer:

"If we're going to make an official sequel, it should be a completely new story."

That way, newcomers to the series would be able to jump right in and enjoy themselves, and we might even be able to come up with some new surprises! 

...and that's how I stated my case. Sounds reasonable, right?  In a way, though, this was selfishness on my part, though, and I was fully prepared for the possibility that I'd be denied. The response?

"Sure, go ahead."

Such compassionate people here at Capcom!  However, they gave me two conditions.

-> You have to bring back characters from the original series... or at least Phoenix Wright.
-> You have to address XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX in the story.

To be honest, both of these orders were extremely difficult for me.  With it being a new story, I didn't just want to bring back Phoenix as he always was.  At the same time, I also wouldn't want him to upstage the new protagonist. So... what to do?  Plus, I need to find a way work XXXXXXXXXXXXXX into the story!

...not a simple task.

By the way, as for what XXXXXXXXXXXXXX is... Unfortunately, I can't reveal this yet...  not before release. I may eventually explain here on this blog, but either way, I think you'll understand if you play the game to completion.

Now, finally... that brings us back to my "confession" at the beginning of this entry:

This may sound strange, but... you could say that I enjoy being tied down.  When I feel like there's something missing, sometimes I'll even tie the ropes myself.

Apparently, many mystery writers (or at least me) have a habit of setting certain "rules" by which they write their stories, in effect "tying themselves down."  For example (and this is just an example):

- No "needle and thread" tricks
- No more than five characters
- The butler didn't do it

...and so on and so forth.

When writing mysteries, you always have to seek out new surprises.  To accomplish this, I feel like my only option is to tie myself down.  Some of you might say, "You sure you don't have that backwards?"  But when I think about it... with all of the stories I've written, I'm almost always telling myself "to make this story work, I can't do ______________"... and struggling against these sort of limitations.  Maybe it's just that I really like being tied down and struggling.

In that sense, these two "conditions" that Capcom gave me for GS4 made for quite a worthwhile and challenging struggle.  I wracked my brain trying to figure out how to clear those conditions, and then, unexpectedly, a new story was born... one that I even surprised myself with.  It truly was a thrilling experience, and I hope that you'll all enjoy it.

Well, let's end it here for today.  When all's said and done, the world of Gyakuten Saiban has always had its own set of "rules" that don't show up on the surface.  Now, after reading what I wrote today, those of you who have played the games might be thinking:

- You have SPIRIT MEDIUMS showing up as if it were nothing... but that's okay?
- You have a completely unbelievable judge... but that's okay?
- You come up with these completely ridiculous gimmicks... are those okay?


These limitations I speak of are just mysterious like that.

Well, next time we'll have one more new face enter the fray.  Yamakawa is our big (especially in terms of actual, physical size) newcomer who just joined the company last year. Working at his own pace, he took care of various important details relating to the development of GS4. He'll share with you guys the sort of fresh perspective that us old-timers have long since lost.

If you have any links to contribute, please send them to courtrecord @ gmail dot com