The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is finally out in the west, and I’m thrilled to announce it continues the Ace Attorney tradition of including an intensely weird journalist. Sure, all Ace Attorney characters are weird in their own ways. That’s why the games are so good! But the franchise is now up to five journalists across nine games and they’re still some of the most eccentric (and therefore lovable) folks our lawyer protagonists ever run into. It’s time for them to team up, I say, and form their own worker co-op. It’s time they get their own game based on their exploits.
Like all Ace Attorney main casts, these weirdos would be a chaotic but effective team. First we have Lotta Hart: a paranormal investigator and later celebrity gossipmonger. She’s the first journalist to appear in the games, hoping to publish an exposé on the local lake monster in the very first Phoenix Wright outing. But she’s not going to be our protagonist. That honor goes to her protégée, the determined reporter Nicole Swift from the Ace Attorney: Investigations series. (This is my official plea for everyone to play both Ace Attorney: Investigations games.) Nicole is more of a blank slate. She still needs to come into her own — like an early Phoenix, Apollo, or Ryunosuke.
You might think that automatically makes Lotta the mentor figure. However, that puts her in way too much mortal danger for my liking. Capcom loves to kill off early advisors. Instead, we’ll hand over responsibility on that to toothpaste-obsessed freelancer Spark Brushel from Apollo Justice. Spark is, quite simply, one of the most out-there characters in the entire series… which is really saying something. I can only assume he’s going to have plot armor to preserve that. At the very least his death would make for a really interesting mystery to kickstart an interesting game.
So where does Lotta come in? Well, this is an Ace Attorney game, so we need a really intense rivalry. She’s already convinced that any lawyer vaguely existing around the same spot as her is trying to steal her scoop, so that gives us some great tension when her student begins to improve her skills. And we know Lotta has a heart of gold at the end of the day, so of course she’ll end up coming around and helping. Just like all the best prosecutors in the main series.
Obviously, we also need a plucky assistant. This role can go to no one else but the lone member of the student newspaper club: Dual Destinies’ Myriam Scuttlebutt. She’ll have a heartwarming arc learning to come out of her shell — figuratively and literally. (We’ve absolutely got to dump that cardboard box you wear, Myriam.)
Finally, there’s The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles’ newest entry to the journalist club, Raiten Menimemo. I’m not sure what time travel shenanigans will occur to get him to the modern day. However, this is a universe where literal spirit channelling and psychic powers exist without much fuss. It’s not that far-fetched. Obviously, the “nice guy of news” with all his advice will take the “police detective who’s way too free with giving away information” role.
With everyone in their place, it’s not that hard to transform the series from trial-centric to press-focused. We’re still out there investigating crime scenes; all these journalists have been doing that as side characters anyway. Ace Attorney: Investigations 2 even already introduced an interview mini-game, where you have to react to the flow of conversation to pull information out of your interviewees while time ticks away. (Look, I promise, the fan translation of that game is good. Please play it!)
More importantly, these journalists already fit into Ace Attorney’s key themes. In the regular games, our lawyers are more dedicated to finding the truth than strictly following their profession. The only other characters who come close to that drive are Nicole and the gang. Time and time again they find conclusive evidence missed or deliberately ignored by the police.
In fact, the series has a much more positive view of the press than it does the legal system. Practically at the start of the first game, the only way to hold a corrupt millionaire accountable is by threatening to release details of his crimes to the newspapers, since he holds the courts in his hand. And while it’s certainly not that straightforward, we’ve had nine games examining the contradictions of good people working in terrible systems while being failed and falsely accused by the police. There’s plenty of that to dig into in journalism!
Finally, it’s really important that Ace Attorney be cheesy as hell. It’s practically founded on the principles of “have fun and be yourself.” I don’t think any characters embody that better than the genuinely gonzo journalists. If they weren’t loud and chaotic and eccentric, they wouldn’t be as important as they are to unravelling the mysteries and injustices of the cases.
I grew up wanting to be a lawyer because of these games. It’s not that I need Capcom to validate my life choices, but regardless, I think these five characters already have. Ace Attorney’s journalists are brave, tenacious, and extremely weird. I’m pretty happy to share a profession with them. Now all they need is their own spotlight.