Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, released in Japan as , is a visual novel-type adventure video game published and developed by Capcom in Japan, North America, and Europe, and published by Nintendo in Australia. It was first released in Japan on September 15, 2005, and was later released in North America on October 11, 2005, in Europe on March 31, 2006, and in Australia on March 8, 2007.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a remake of the Game Boy Advance video game Gyakuten Saiban (originally released October 11, 2001), which was never released outside of Japan. The Nintendo DS version features touch screen, dual screens, and microphone support as well as adding a new fifth episode called "Rise from the Ashes," exclusive to the Nintendo DS version.
A PC version of Gyakuten Saiban was released under the title Gyakuten Saiban PC. It was published by the Japanese company SourceNext on December 23, 2005. It is an emulation of the original Game Boy Advance game compatible with Windows-based PCs. It was only released in Japan, and there have been no plans to release it anywhere else. A mobile phone version of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney was released in North America in January, 2007. Only the first case has been released; the rest of the game will be available for download in the future. It plays more similarly to the Game Boy Advance version, as it lacks touch support, two screens, or microphone support, and it will not feature Episode 5.
Phoenix Wright / Ryūichi Naruhodō (成歩堂 龍一 Naruhodō Ryūichi) - Age 24
The protagonist, who is known for his spiky hairdo. He has only been an attorney for three months when he went into his first trial (episode 1). He is a very bright attorney but inexperienced, leading him to often win a trial by the skin of his teeth. However, he seems to not know about things like rifling marks (things of that sort need to be explained by the Judge or Prosecutor, usually). His nickname is "Nick", which is used by his friends, and also is once referred to as "porcupine head" by his opponents. Phoenix is generally cynical, yet clumsy. His Japanese name is a pun on the Japanese for "I see", naruhodo (成程). In English, there are frequent instances such as, "Isn't that right, Wright?"
Mia Fey / Chihiro Ayasato (綾里 千尋 Ayasato Chihiro) - Age 27
A highly competent lawyer and Phoenix's boss and mentor. Her first meeting with him was in her second case. He was impressed with her constant belief in his innocence, and vowed to work hard to become a defense attorney for her sake. She tragically meets her end in the second case of the game. Even after death, however, she continues to provide assistance to Phoenix, by channeling her spirit through her little sister, Maya. Her mother, Misty Fey, was double-crossed by Redd White in a case many years ago, and Mia became an attorney with the sole intention of one day putting White behind bars. She is extremely professional and calculating, but friendly and warm towards Phoenix. She often saves Phoenix at the eleventh hour, though on rare occasions even she gets stumped. Her Japanese name is a pun on the Japanese for "know everything", chihiro (千尋).
Maya Fey / Mayoi Ayasato (綾里 真宵 Ayasato Mayoi) - Age 17
Mia's little sister, Wright's assistant and a medium-in-training. She can channel her big sister's spirit into her body for a limited amount of time, via a method similar to possession, but can only do so in desperate situations. Otherwise, she is like any teenage girl and is fan of Tokusatsu shows and films, particularly the Steel Samurai and Pink Princess. Maya is usually kind and sweet, though she has a tendency to overreact and has a strong love of food, often saying she has a "second stomach" for foods she likes. She seems to treat Phoenix in the same way as she did with her older sister. Her Japanese name is a pun on the Japanese for "perplexity", mayoi (迷い).
Detective Dick Gumshoe / Keisuke Itonokogiri (糸鋸 圭介 Itonokogiri Keisuke) - Age 30
Dick Gumshoe is a police detective from the homicide division. Hot-headed and overzealous at times, he often leaps to conclusions and makes wrongful arrests, but is generally apologetic afterwards. He holds a deep respect for Miles Edgeworth, almost to the point of hero worship. Gumshoe also has a habit of interrupting conversations at inappropriate moments. He tends to be gullible, brash and definitely isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he means well. In a humorous short comic in the Trials and Tribulations instruction booklet, it is revealed Gumshoe makes and throws confetti at the end of every case, though it is uncertain whether or not this is canon.
Winston Payne / Takefumi Auchi (亜内 武文 Auchi Takefumi) - Age 52
The prosecuting attorney Phoenix Wright encounters during his first murder case (Case 1). Known as the "Rookie Killer" in his profession, he is in fact very self-conscious of himself and often extremely frail as an attorney. He is known for his rather screechy voice (his Objection voice is considerably high) and his tendency to flick his forehead whilst thinking. Phoenix easily defeats Payne and solidifies his ability as a defense attorney. Payne returns as the prosecutor in the introductory cases of the next three games in the series.
Miles Edgeworth / Reiji Mitsurugi (御剣 怜侍 Mitsurugi Reiji) - Age 24
Wright's rival, he became a prosecutor at the age of twenty and has been called a "genius" by many. Cold and calculating, he will use any means necessary to get a guilty verdict, and has rumors surrounding him regarding the use of forged evidence and tampered testimonies. He, Phoenix, and Larry Butz were once friends in grade school after he and Larry defended Phoenix during a "class trial." Edgeworth is the prosecutor in Chapters 2, 3, and 5. He is the defendant in Chapter 4. In the English version of the game, Edgeworth is given both the nicknames "Edgey" and "Worthy".
Manfred von Karma / Gō Karuma (狩魔 豪 Karuma Gō) - Age 65
Karma is a ruthless prosecutor, in office for over forty years. He believes only perfection can be tolerated and it is said he'll do anything to get a guilty verdict. Karma never loses his cool and has even the judge under his control. Karma was also Edgeworth's mentor; he prides himself on his perfect winning streak and clean record in court. Karma is the prosecutor in Chapter 4, in which Edgeworth is the defendant. His Japanese name can mean 'The great demon which hunts' or 'The fires of hell', depending on how the kanji is interpreted, and is a reference to the effects of karma.
Larry Butz / Masashi Yahari (矢張 政志 Yahari Masashi) - Age 23
Larry has been Phoenix's friend ever since they were in elementary school. Perpetually in the wrong place at the wrong time, (The running joke about him during the game is; "If something smells, it's usually the Butz.") Larry is the defendant in "The First Turnabout", as well as a witness in "Turnabout Goodbyes". Not much is known about him, however, he's generally quite emotional, and somehow manages to date models, even if they don't seem to think much of him.
Larry's Japanese name, "Yahari", is a pun on yappari, for "I knew it".
The Judge - Saibanchō (裁判長 presiding judge) - Age unknown
Presiding at all 5 cases (and for almost all of the cases after), the white-bearded judge generally maintains the proceedings and order in the court, but seems to be easily influenced through favors, flirting witnesses, or by those with strong wills, particularly by von Karma in "Turnabout Goodbyes". However, when faced with factual contradictions, he will make sure justice is served. He's initially highly skeptical of Phoenix's ability to defend though comes about in later cases. He appears to have been on the bench for a long time, and seems to be good friends with Police Chief Damon Gant (Kaiji Ganto (巌徒 海慈 Ganto Kaiji)), who calls him 'Udgey'.
The first case of the game presents defense attorney Phoenix Wright at his first trial under Mia Fey's watchful eye, successfully defending his childhood friend Larry Butz for murder. However, in the game's second case, Mia is murdered for being aware of corporate blackmail, and her younger sister Maya Fey is charged with the crime because her name was found on a piece of evidence. While defending her, Phoenix is reintroduced to another childhood friend, Miles Edgeworth, who is the prosecutor for Maya's case and has established himself as a "genius" for the prosecution system. Maya is found not guilty of the crime, and becomes Phoenix's assistant in further cases, offering her channeling ability as a "Spirit Medium" of Kurain village to bring the spirit of Mia to help at critical times. Phoenix and Miles find that while they have their friendship from their youth, they continue to face off against each other in the courtroom.
In one case, Miles is charged with murder, and Phoenix steps up to defend him. It is discovered that Miles was set up by his old mentor, Manfred von Karma, who several years before had shot and killed Miles' father (which a young Miles witnessed while they were trapped in an elevator after an earthquake, though Miles had thought he himself had done it) for ruining Manfred's perfect record in court, and who was making sure that all those that knew of this were dealt with. Phoenix is able to expose Manfred's cover-up and achieve a "not guilty" verdict for Miles. After the case, Miles thinks about taking time off from his position to consider the events, while Maya announces she is going back to her home in Kurain Village to train more.
The fifth case, exclusive to the DS version, has the scientifically-minded Ema Skye begging Wright for help to defend her older sister Lana, who claims she murdered someone. Using Ema's scientific help to establish evidence and the surprising prosecution help of Miles during the trial, Phoenix is able to learn that Lana Skye was blackmailed by the Chief of Police Damon Gant into covering for a murder she thought that Ema had committed several years before, labeled the SL-9 Incident (the common name among civilians in the game is "The Joe Darke Killings"), when in actuality Damon himself had committed it and pinned the blame on Ema.
The five cases within the game are:
The game received generally favorable reviews, most of which cited its interesting stories and enjoyable characters as strengths, though the reviews were often accompanied by "satisfactory" or "good" numerical scores due to extremely linear plot design, limited opportunities for failure, and the court system depicted. IGN gave the game a 7.8 "Good" score, while 1up.com awarded the game a B- Gamespot bestowed a "great" 8.8 score.