A portion of a Siliconera interview with Motohide Eshiro, Producer and Takeshi Yamazaki, Game and Scenario Director...
S: Maya Fey returns in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice. Maya is an important character in the series and it’s been a while for her return. Why did you want to bring her back in this game?
Motohide Eshiro, Producer: There were a lot of people who wanted to see her in the previous game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, so we decided to answer their desire by having Maya return in Spirit of Justice. However, we didn’t want to just have her return for no reason, so we made it so that Maya was training in the Kingdom of Khura’in, which ties her appearance to one of the key aspects of this game: spirit channeling and spiritual powers.
S: Spirit of Justice goes back to the five strikes instead of the lifebar introduced in the second Ace Attorney game. Why did you go back to this system?
Takeshi Yamazaki, Game and Scenario Director: The reason there was a lifebar to begin with in Ace Attorney: Justice For All was because the player could receive penalties for making mistakes during the Psyche-Lock segments of the Investigation sections.
In Dual Destinies, we removed the penalties from the Psyche-Lock segments. However, because our goal was to faithfully recreate the feel of the first four games on the Nintendo 3DS, we kept the gauge as part of the overall look. But because you would get a game over after five mistakes, it was not functionally necessary to keep it as a gauge anymore. Therefore, in keeping with the UI design concept for Spirit of Justice of giving each country its own unique look, we decided to go back to the five strikes style with magatama marks and attorney’s badges for Khura’in and the US respectively.
S: Eshiro-san, you have said fan feedback prompted the option to turning off hints and passionate fans energized the team to continue the Ace Attorney series. What fan feedback did you receive that surprised you the most?
ME: I don’t really want to call out any specific feedback as that would be rude to the other fans who have also expressed their feelings on the series, but there were a large number of core fans who felt that the previous game was too easy and that there weren’t enough places to freely investigate, so we worked hard to first and foremost address their critiques when we made this game.