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Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (逆転裁判 4, Gyakuten Saiban 4; lit. "Turnabout Trial 4") is the fourth game in the Ace Attorney series. It represents several firsts for the series, being the first to be released on the Nintendo DS other than the ports of the original Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy. It is also the first full Ace Attorney game for which Kazuya Nuri contributed original art assets, having previously done so for the bonus episode Rise from the Ashes of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Additionally, the game is a soft reboot for the series, featuring a new protagonist named Apollo Justice. Because later games in the main series reinstate Phoenix Wright as one of the main protagonists and reintroduce some of the characters from the original trilogy, this is the only game in the main series not to have Miles Edgeworth or anyone from the Fey clan mentioned by name, as well as the only game in the main series not to have "Phoenix Wright" in the English title.

In December 2016, it was ported to iOS and Android smartphone platforms as Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney HD with updated character graphics in a similar manner to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy HD.

The game was also released for Nintendo 3DS in November 2017, where it was exclusive to the Nintendo eShop outside of Japan. This version featured updated graphics (including stereoscopic 3D compatibility) and sound in a similar manner to Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.

It released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam as part of the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy alongside Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice on January 25, 2024.


Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is set seven years after the events of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations. It stars a new protagonist, Apollo Justice, an upcoming rookie attorney working for Kristoph Gavin at Gavin Law Offices. After a series of events, he comes to work for a mysteriously disbarred Phoenix Wright (now a gambler and piano player) and his magician daughter Trucy. He also meets Klavier Gavin, an easygoing rock star who moonlights as a prosecutor who acts as Justice's main rival. Over the course of the game, Justice and Trucy (who inserts herself as Apollo's "assistant") investigate and solve crimes in an effort to achieve a "Not Guilty" verdict for their clients in court.


  1. Turnabout Trump: For his first trial, Apollo Justice (assisted by Kristoph Gavin) must defend the disbarred Phoenix Wright on the charge of murdering a drifter called Shadi Smith in a poker game.
  2. Turnabout Corner: After joining the Wright Anything Agency, Justice is soon put to work investigating three seemingly unconnected petty crimes that are soon revealed to be tied together by a murder. When Justice takes the defendant's case, he faces Klavier Gavin at the prosecutor's bench.
  3. Turnabout Serenade: After a murder at a Gavinners concert, Justice finds himself defending the Borginian pianist Machi Tobaye for the crime.
  4. Turnabout Succession (partly takes place seven years before Turnabout Trump): The case that caused Phoenix Wright's disbarment and another case involving a murdered artist must be solved to reveal the truth behind them both.

Main characters[]

A New Court is in Session!

Clockwise from top: Klavier Gavin, Kristoph Gavin, Ema Skye, Apollo Justice, Trucy Wright, and Phoenix Wright.

  • Apollo Justice is the protagonist of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Envisioned as a younger, more passionate hero compared to previous protagonist Phoenix Wright, his personality is more emotional and serious. He tends to be more deadpan in the face of wacky situations, and often cynical towards the eccentric people he meets. He also develops a loud voice to build his own self confidence and ego, described as his "Chords of Steel".
  • Trucy Wright is Wright's adoptive daughter. Trucy is a bubbly, energetic magician, who is highly skilled at performance and magic tricks. From Turnabout Corner on, she acts as Justice's investigative partner, assistant, and co-counsel.
  • Kristoph Gavin is Justice's mentor up until Turnabout Trump, when it is revealed that he hides a dark secret behind his pleasant demeanor.
  • Klavier Gavin is a prosecutor who faces off against Justice in the latter three episodes and Phoenix Wright in the flashback of his last trial in Turnabout Succession. He became a prosecutor at 17, and unlike previous prosecutors in the series, he is honest and friendly when first introduced. Klavier is also Kristoph Gavin's younger brother and the lead singer of the rock band, the Gavinners.
  • Phoenix Wright, now disbarred from law, has taken up a job at the Borscht Bowl Club as an (awful) piano player and undefeated poker player. He becomes Justice's on-again-off-again mentor after the events of Turnabout Trump. Due to his new life, Wright's personality has become sardonic and sarcastic, and he often gives Justice cryptic advice in a droll manner.
  • Ema Skye returns as the detective in charge of the latter three cases in the game and is Apollo Justice's main contact in the police department. She is much moodier and less friendly than she was in Rise from the Ashes, disappointed that she was not assigned to the forensics department. However, the prospect of conducting a forensic investigation excites her just as it did in her younger days. She plays a similar role to Dick Gumshoe from the first three Ace Attorney games.
  • The unnamed judge who presides over all the cases in the game. He continues to be as naive and affable as all his previous appearances.

Characters by episode[]

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney features the lowest number of returning characters in the Ace Attorney series to date, with only seven characters from previous games making a reappearance.

Turnabout Trump[]

Turnabout Corner[]

Turnabout Serenade[]

Turnabout Succession[]


Apollo Justice Ace Attorney logo

The Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney English logo.

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney retains the standard investigation and courtroom trial gameplay from the original trilogy, with the addition of several new 3D elements and forensic science investigations. Each case introduces a new gameplay mechanic for the player to use, including making shoe prints and finding fingerprints in episode 2, using a sound mixer in episode 3, and using an x-ray machine in episode 4. The game also allows all evidence to be viewed in 3D, a feature carried over from Rise from the Ashes, which was also made with the Nintendo DS in mind. A more subtle similarity between Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and Rise from the Ashes is that there are no episode selection images to be unlocked after each episode's completion on the original Nintendo DS release, though subsequent releases have them. This is the only game in which this is the case, though fellow DS titles Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth and Gyakuten Kenji 2 are rather minimalist in their episode selection images, each depicting a major character on a generic background.

A picture of Apollo Justice's bracelet, which is a shiny gold and carved with various engravings.

Apollo's braclet.

Like Phoenix Wright and his magatama, Apollo Justice has his own power to use during cross-examinations. When a witness is tense or unsure, Justice can perceive it through the use of his bracelet. Because of the bracelet's special material, it tightens around his wrist, allowing him to accurately sense a witness's nervous habits. During certain cross examinations, the bracelet icon on the top of the bottom screen will slowly spin to indicate that the player must use it, and the player must choose the correct statement to focus on by pressing the bracelet button (emulating Justice touching his bracelet to focus). When Justice focuses on a witness, he is able to watch a statement in slow-motion and inspect the witness in a zoomed in state. When the player finds the witness's habit, pressing the Perceive button will cause Justice to yell "Gotcha!", a new voice bubble exclusive to Justice. Afterwards, Justice must present evidence to discern the meaning of the habit, and why the witness may be nervous about it. Subsequent games involving Justice would limit his bracelet use to investigations and some special circumstances in trials.

The Nintendo 3DS version has the option to play both the English and Japanese versions of the game, as well as an additional save button on the 3DS touch screen. Unlike the original version, which could not save while on the title card for a Testimony/Cross-Examination, the save function can now be used at any time except while breaking Psyche-Locks or while in the Jurist's Chambers at the end of the game. The 3DS version also added the option to disable fast-forwarding on dialogue that the player has not yet read, which was previously used in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Spirit of Justice, though the button for this option is removed upon the completion of Turnabout Succession.


A demo of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney was briefly available to download from the Wii on to the Nintendo DS, or playable through an embedded Flash version on the Ace Attorney website. The demo covers a short section of Turnabout Trump, specifically Phoenix Wright's cross-examination segment. When the player progresses beyond the content in the demo (after the player first successfully presents evidence), Apollo Justice strains his vocal cords from yelling and loses his voice. After this point the demo ends with Justice being assured that it was only a mock trial, and the player being told to buy the full game to solve the mystery. As well as that, a slightly different version of this demo was also available for download from a DS kiosk. This demo features slightly different versions of "Apollo Justice - A New Chapter of Trials!" and "The Truth Revealed 2007".

Demo videos[]


Mitsuru Endo
You managed to connect all four games in a good manner in the end.
Shu Takumi
That's because Yamazaki and you were there too to watch over my work.

Japanese logo

Originally, Shu Takumi, the creator of Ace Attorney, felt the series should not continue after Trials and Tribulations, stating that he felt Phoenix Wright's story was over. When it was decided that Ace Attorney 4 would go ahead, Takumi made the decision that the game should feature a new protagonist.[2] However, Takumi was told to include Phoenix Wright by Capcom executives,[3] as well as to implement Japan's new lay judge system.[4] In addition to this, the development structure was altered from previous titles, with Mitsuru Endo becoming the director while Takumi retained the role of scenario writer. There was also a large emphasis on training new talent and letting them contribute more work and story ideas instead of Takumi doing so much directly himself. According to producer Minae Matsukawa, she was generally hands-off and mostly worked to keep the project on track to being completed.[1]

A rough, hastily drawn sketch of an early Trucy Wright. She's wearing a floppy hat, has a sword behind her back, and seems to be wearing a common Japanese teen's school uniform.

Mitsuru Endo's sketch of early Trucy Wright.

While deciding on the new protagonist for the series, one of Takumi's first suggestions was to have the judge become the main protagonist due to his popularity. However, this concept was discarded for someone more youthful.[5] This design went through multiple iterations, drawn by artist Kazuya Nuri. Some of the early concepts include a prominent scar on the protagonist's forehead, and a formal suit - which went through various different color concepts, such as green and black. The planners unanimously voted for red as the final design.[6][7]

While designing the character of Apollo Justice, Takumi found difficulty in creating a whole new protagonist, stating that "the most natural parts of me had already all been used up by the Phoenix Wright character. So I tried to take everything about Phoenix and turned them upside-down. With this great turnabout, I came up with Apollo: a character who is aggressive, passionate, and youthful." This same principle was used for designing Trucy Wright, who was designed as the "opposite" of Maya Fey.[8]

An early character concept for Trucy Wright was a "ninja-girl-in-training". While the developers thought it had "impact", it was rejected quickly - which Endo attributed to his rough drawing of the concept.[9]

An image of Apollo Justice and Trucy wright at the defense bench in court. Apollo is using his bracelet ability, causing him to lean forward and his eyes to bulge out. Trucy leans back in apprehension.

An early sketch of Apollo using his bracelet ability drawn by Shu Takumi.

Early in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney's development, a concept named "The 3D Witnesses Project" was proposed to move the series away from its 2D roots. However, because of "various reasons", the team decided to move forward with an evolved version of Ace Attorney's 2D presentation.[9] However, 3D elements were still included in the game, through "The 3D Crime Scene Project", an idea that Mitsuru Endō had wanted to implement into a game for ten years before the development of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.[10]

Some early concepts the planners of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney had considered before deciding on the bracelet mechanic used in the final game included showing the trajectory of bullets in 3D, reconstructing a suspect's face, or seeing the monetary value of testimony and evidence. Another early concept for the game included showing the Perceive mechanic in full color, before it was changed to be only black and white.[11]

While working on the soundtrack for Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, composer Toshihiko Horiyama had struggled with writing the song "Klavier Gavin - Guilty Love". Initially, he had written a catchy J-pop style tune, but was quickly rejected by Shu Takumi. After the song was rejected, Horiyama had a strange dream in which, while waiting for a bus, a woman who was "exactly [his] type" arrived. The two sat down on a bus together, which soon arrived at a tonkatsu restaurant. While the two were eating, the woman asked about Horiyama's struggles with Gavin's theme. After he had said yes, a waiter brought a computer and a music program for the woman to begin writing the song for Horiyama. She finished writing the piece, which was now a hard rock song, and left to go back to her husband. Horiyama woke up, and began writing "Guilty Love", trying to remember the song the woman had presented to him. After showing it to Shu Takumi, who accepted it, Takumi gave the song its official name a few days later.[12]

There was a collaboration with the Japanese Ministry of Justice for promoting the game, and there was a presentation of the game at the ministry's head office due to the inclusion of the lay judge system.[8] Takumi went to the Ministry personally to deliver the presentation, and was told that the police were not as sloppy at conducting investigations as the game portrayed.[13]

In the end, while Takumi intended to create an entirely new Ace Attorney game, the actual result was a fusion of old and new, something he had not expected.[14]


After release in Japan, Gyakuten Saiban 4 has been highly praised, with Famitsu giving it a 9/9/9/9 score (36/40), and selling around 250,000 copies during the first retail week, according to Media-Create. Six weeks after its release, Capcom announced that they had shipped 500,000 copies, accounting for 25% of the series' two million units worldwide.


  • Original Creator/Series Director:



Promotional artwork[]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Ash (2023-06-19). "Celebrating the Release of Gyakuten Saiban 4 - A Discussion with 4 Members of the Team (2007)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2024-03-20.
  2. Gera, Emily (2014-03-14). "Why Phoenix Wright creator did not want the series to continue". Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  3. Takumi, Shu (2007-03-30). "Gyakuten Saiban 4 Blog Entry 6: Changing Protagonists (2007)". Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  4. Famitsu (2017-12-04). "Celebrating Gyakuten Saiban 4's Nintendo 3DS release! We Ask Takumi Shū This And That About Gyakuten Saiban 4 (2017)". Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  5. "Gyakuten Saiban 4 Secret Footage (2007-03-30, originally recorded in October 2005)". Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  6. "Gyakuten Saiban 4 Secret Footage: Episode 2 (2007-03-30, originally recorded October 2005)". Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  7. "Gyakuten Saiban 4 Secret Footage: Final Episode (2007-03-30, originally recorded October 2005)". Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hsu, Janet (2017-11-18). The Making of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Feat. Shu Takumi. Capcom News. Retrieved on 2018-06-04.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Yamazaki, Takeshi (2007-04-10). "Gyakuten Saiban 4 Blog Entry 9: All we need is IMPACT? (2007)". Retrieved (2021-04-06)
  10. Endo, Mitsuru (2007-04-06). "Gyakuten Saiban 4 Blog Entry 8: Return to the Crime Scene (2007)". Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  11. Endo, Mitsuru (2007-03-27). "Gyakuten Saiban 4 Blog Entry 3: About The New Features (2007)". Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  12. Horiyama, Toshihoko (2007), "Gyakuten Saiban 4 BGM: Horiyama (2007)" Retrieved 2021-04-06.
  13. Ash (2022-05-21). "[Mari-Detective Brimming with memory-filled stories the fans had longed to hear! A report of the Gyakuten Saiban 10th Anniversary Special Court, where the new title Gyakuten Saiban 5 was also announced! (2012)]". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2022-10-11.
  14. Ash (2016-09-05). "4 Isn’t A Change From The Old To The New, But A Fusion Between The Old And The New (2007)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2022-11-17.

External links[]