News: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright Details

Two men behind the highly anticipated crossover talk story, art and more.

Last year gaming fans were shocked to hear that Capcom and Level-5 would be teaming up to bring together their most popular DS franchises in Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright. Not much has been said since then but Ace Attorney creator Shu Takumi and Professor Layton producer Jun Suzuki have spoken to Famitsu about the highly anticipated project.

It would appear that fans weren't the only ones that were surprised as Shu Takumi was also unsure about how it would work until he was actually shown it. According to 1UP he didn't get involved until it was already underway and initially found it difficult to comprehend what it would look like.

Jun Suzuki was also taken off-guard by the crossover, which seems to have been a corporate idea judging by how both men spoke about it, and hadn't even played any of the Ace Attorney titles. Akihiro Hino, Level-5's president, is a big fan of the series and has frequently told Jun Suzuki that they need to make games that meet Ace Attorney's caliber, however it wasn't until this project was underway that he he played one. He has become a fan however, citing the game's music as effective, the dialogue as good and the gameplay as solid.

The two companies are working on different aspects of the game, with Capcom taking the visual design and art direction. For the first time the Ace Attorney series will be presented in 3D, a decision that Mr. Takumi confessed resulted in an internal conflict for himself. Speaking of the decision he had this to say:

"When you think about the 3DS, though, we really couldn't have done without three-dimensional graphics. Making it 3D also allows us to add more depth and character to the courtroom, letting us present the action from different angles and really expanding the freedom of expression we have."

The process of marrying together these two franchises also had problems from an artistic perspective as their visual styles are different. Mr. Takumi notes that the art in the Professor Layton series is more complex than in the Ace Attorney series so they had to undergo a "long trial-and-error process" to find what works best.

Jun Suzuki likens the process of merging these two franchises as comparatively difficult to the development of the first Professor Layton title, Curious Village. He says that with that title they didn't really know what they were doing but it resulted in strong fan support, which he hopes is replicated with Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright.

Fans of both franchises will be curious about how the two will work together in terms of story. The game is set in the town of Labyrinth City, a Middle-Ages inspired town where magic still exists. A woman has been accused of witchcraft and Phoenix Wright is in charge of defending her. However, the town uses 'group trials', which sees the public having a say and Phoenix is unprepared for this and their mob mentality. Speaking of this aspect Mr. Takumi said:

"When you try to imagine medieval court proceedings you tend to picture these mob scenes with people shouting out accusations at the tops of their lungs. It's a crazy scene, and since this game's set in a medieval city, I wanted to present a court the likes of which we've never seen before."

The title will also use Layton-style puzzles, although details about this are currently unknown. Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright will be released next year in Japan and hopefully in the West too. While Capcom recently confirmed that they have no plans to bring the new Ace Attorney Investigations title to the West it is Level-5 who are handling the publishing deals for this so there is still some hope we'll be able to play it one day.

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