The perspective of writing in articles can be said to fall into two categories: "in-universe" and "out-of-universe". An article or section written in an "in-universe" perspective presents itself as if a person from within the Ace Attorney universe wrote it. An article or section in an "out-of-universe" perspective is presented from outside the AA universe, as if the author knows that AA is fictional. Consider the following:
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix is framed for the murder of Doug Swallow, who is a former lover of his girlfriend Dahlia Hawthorne.
The above is written "out-of-universe". The term "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations" is a "real world" term. The sentence is also written in the present tense, as someone describing a fictional plot. In addition, the main character is referred to by his first name, which could imply something like a personal connection from a fan of a fictional game, or the fact that text boxes communicating what he says are labeled "Phoenix".
If one wanted to write the above example from an "in-universe" perspective, one might try the following:
- In his third year, Wright was framed for the [[Turnabout Memories|murder]] of [[Doug Swallow]], who had been a former lover of his girlfriend [[Dahlia Hawthorne]].
This becomes the following:
- In his third year, Wright was framed for the murder of Doug Swallow, who had been a former lover of his girlfriend Dahlia Hawthorne.
When to use which styleEdit
The general rule is that content about the world within the plot (i.e. the "lore") should be written from an in-universe perspective. More specifically, this content should be written from the perspective of someone living at the latest date in the universe's chronology. The content should ideally be presented like historical accounts, like files in an online court record. Other content, such articles about the games themselves, should be written in an out-of-universe perspective.
It could be argued that, ideally, in-universe and out-of-universe content should reside in separate articles. This is because in-universe and out-of-universe content serve very different purposes, and a visitor is probably looking exclusively for one or the other at any given time. Having elements of both on the same page can be hindering to navigating the site. The reality, however, is that most articles about subjects of the lore do not have enough content to justify splitting them into in-universe and out-of-universe pages. Because of this, many articles will contain a mix of the two; character pages, for example, have in-universe biographical sections followed by out-of-universe sections such as name origins and development facts.
More on in-universe styleEdit
In-universe articles should be written in the past tense. For example:
- Mia Fey is quite nervous about this case. This is her second time in court, the first occurring a year before and resulting in a traumatic experience for her.
This would be inappropriate since the event that the sentence refers to has since happened. It would be better as follows:
- Mia Fey was quite nervous about this case. This was her second time in court, the first occurring a year before and resulting in a traumatic experience for her.
In general, people should be referred to by their full names upon initial mention and then by their family names in all other instances. Referring to people by their given names introduces bias in favor of "main characters" and "major characters", which are out-of-universe concepts.
- In the defendant lobby, Mia Fey was very nervous. She met with her client Terry Fawles, who insisted that he was innocent. [...] Terry admitted that she was the reason he had escaped and that he had met with her on that day. However, Terry told Mia that when he left, she had still been alive.
- In the defendant lobby, Mia Fey was very nervous. She met with her client Terry Fawles, who insisted that he was innocent. [...] Fawles admitted that she was the reason he had escaped and that he had met with her on that day. However, Fawles told Fey that when he left, she had still been alive.
Exceptions include instances in which multiple people have the same family name. In this case, given names may be used to avoid ambiguity.