How did Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright come to be?

hotel duskLet’s face it; if you love a good puzzle, the Nintendo DS and 3DS are the consoles for you. There are so many games to choose from and all of which, can keep you busy for hours with either satisfying or soul-destroying results. There have been three franchises that have stood out for me during my time with Nintendo’s portable, dual screened consoles. First up – Hotel Dusk and it’s sequel The Last Window. Both incredible puzzle and story oriented games ,which embellished a film noir style.

However, the other two game franchises that stood out for me will be joining together later this month in an adventure, which on paper sounds so ridiculous – it just shouldn’t work. These two franchises are of course the hugely successful series Professor Layton and the perhaps not so well known Ace Attorney.

Professor Layton and The Curious Village by Level-5 was released here, in Europe, in November of 2008. Professor Layton became one of the most sought after games that Christmas, with Nintendo shipping pre-bundled Nintendo DS Lite consoles with copies of the game to help reach the ever growing and diverse ‘casual gamer’ market, thanks to games such as this. The success helped to spawn two sequels and then a further prequel trilogy.

professor layton

The Ace Attorney series by Capcom has had similar success but unfortunately nothing to the scale of the true gentleman, Professor Layton. The original Ace Attorney was released for the GBA in Japan back in 2001, but the western world would not get to experience the game until its eventual release on the Nintendo DS in 2006. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney received great reviews and a cult following. Copies of the game, it’s three sequels and spin-off games (featuring his long time rival) can be hard to find in game stores due to it’s niche market. The series is still going strong however, with a recent sequel released exclusively to the Nintendo eShop for the 3DS.

So how do two franchises by two different developers and publishers come together for a title such as this? The game was originally conceived by the brains at Level 5 when CEO of the developer, challenged the producer of the Layton series to come up with something on-par with the Ace Attorney series, as he was a huge fan of the franchise.

The game was then pitched to Capcom and although Level-5 were confident that the idea would not gain any traction or interest with Capcom, the concept was surprisingly picked up and the rest, as they say, is history! Keiji Inafune told Eurogamer back in 2012 when the game was announced, that Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney will be a true collaboration on behalf of both Capcom and Level 5. He also stated that “the game could not appease both parties if either of the developers were not fully involved in its development or if either studio had simply licensed their characters out.”

phoenix wrightAkihiro Hino of Level-5 has also stated that the characters would get the correct amount of treatment and they would reward fans of both games with everything they would want to see. Hino explained that not only would we get to see the two heroes join forces, but we would also get to see them face off against one another with opposing views and directions. Hino also went on to explain that this kind of storytelling was key as the game needed to be full of both elements of these characters.

Presentation of the game was even met with considerations for both series. The game uses the two unique looks of the game in clever ways, by merging 2D/3D animation of characters during gameplay, similar to that seen in Professor Layton, with cut scenes that will be drawn in the Anime Style, produced by the same studio who were behind the cut scenes in last years Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies.

Collaboration has even boiled down to the music of both the Professor Layton series and Ace Attorney series. Composers Tomohito Nishiura and Masakazu Sugimori, will have familiar tracks from both franchises. Each has received orchestral overhauls by the Layton Grand Caravan Orchestra and new tracks have been composed using familiar tones from the two franchises that fans will be able to relate to and hopefully appreciate.

Overall, Layton VS Wright is set to be a very well and cleverly balanced collaboration of two franchises, that appear to be worlds apart. But with two games having more in common than we could initially realise and two studios dedicated to doing justice to both of their properties – this could be one of the greatest studio crossovers any one has set to embark upon!

Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright is set to be released on 28th March for Nintendo 3DS.

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