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Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (逆転裁判 蘇る逆転, Gyakuten Saiban: Yomigaeru Gyakuten; lit. Turnabout Trial: Turnabout Rebirth) is the first game in the Ace Attorney series. It was originally released in Japan on Oct. 12, 2001 as a Game Boy Advance game under the name Gyakuten Saiban (逆転裁判, lit. Turnabout Trial). The original version of the game is split up into four episodes that follow the first four cases of rookie defense attorney Phoenix Wright.


AA logo

The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney logo.

The Nintendo DS remake, Gyakuten Saiban: Yomigaeru Gyakuten was released in Japan on September 15th, 2005 with an additional episode, Rise from the Ashes. This remake was also localized, translated, and released internationally as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. This version uses the microphone and the touchscreen of the DS as alternatives to the button-based control methods from the original GBA game. For example, the player can select options by touching them like buttons, and the player can press witnesses or present evidence by holding Y and shouting "Objection!", "Hold it!" or "Take that!" into the microphone. The Japanese versions have dual language options in Japanese and English, and the European version has translations for multiple European languages.

The game was brought to the Wii as a downloadable title via WiiWare; its build based upon the 2006 European DS release of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. It was released in Japan on December 15, 2009, and in the US on January 11, 2010, consisting of the first four cases with Rise from the Ashes was released separately on March 16, 2010 in Japan, and on May 24, 2010 in the US. The releases cost 900 and 300 Nintendo Points respectively; for the US release, these costs were changed to 1000 and 100 Nintendo Points respectively.

The game has also been ported to the iOS and was released on May 24, 2010 in the App Store with all cases that were included in the DS edition. The game had a revamped control system, but was otherwise a straight port. The game is also featured as part of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy for the Nintendo 3DS, which includes the game along with the two other original trilogy titles.

Following Tokyo Game Show 2018, a port of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy was announced for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Steam, and Xbox One.


  1. The First Turnabout: In his first case as a defense attorney, Phoenix Wright, with the help of his mentor Mia Fey, defends Wright's childhood friend Larry Butz after he is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend.
  2. Turnabout Sisters: Mia Fey is murdered and her younger sister, Maya, is accused of the crime. Wright must clear her name while facing the infamous Miles Edgeworth in court.
  3. Turnabout Samurai: Wright and Maya defend Will Powers, the star of a hit kids' T.V. show, on the charge of murdering the actor who played the villain.
  4. Turnabout Goodbyes: Edgeworth is accused of murder and Wright finds himself defending him against the legendary prosecutor Manfred von Karma and investigating the DL-6 Incident.
  5. Rise from the Ashes: Chief Prosecutor Lana Skye is accused of killing police detective Bruce Goodman. Although claiming to have done it, Wright agrees to take on her case nonetheless after being asked by Lana's younger sister Ema. Was added in the DS remake and features forensic investigation techniques that use the touchscreen and microphone exclusively.

Main characters


Clockwise from left: Miles Edgeworth, Mia Fey, Maya Fey, & Phoenix Wright.

  • Phoenix Wright - A rookie defense attorney who is the main character and playable protagonist of the game.
  • Maya Fey - Wright's second client and Mia's younger sister. After the events of Turnabout Sisters she becomes his defense aide. She is a spirit medium-in-training who is able to channel Mia after her death in Turnabout Sisters.
  • Miles Edgeworth - The main antagonist for most of the game. He prosecutes against Wright in Turnabout Sisters, Turnabout Samurai and Rise from the Ashes. He is also Wright's client in Turnabout Goodbyes.
  • Mia Fey - Wright's mentor and defense counsel during The First Turnabout. Despite being murdered in Turnabout Sisters, she continues to help Wright out of tight spots via the channeling abilities of her younger sister Maya.
  • Dick Gumshoe - The bumbling detective in charge of the latter four episodes.
  • Larry Butz - A childhood friend of Wright and his first client.
  • The unnamed judge presides over all of Wright's trials in the game.
  • Manfred von Karma - The prosecutor and antagonist in Turnabout Goodbyes.
  • Ema Skye - Wright's defense aide in Rise from the Ashes. She aspires to be a forensic investigator someday and loves forensic investigation. She introduces and explains the final case's DS-exclusive investigative techniques.

Characters by episode

The First Turnabout

Turnabout Sisters

Turnabout Samurai

Turnabout Goodbyes

  • Lotta Hart - A fiery young woman looking for the lake monster "Gourdy".
  • Robert Hammond - The victim who was the defense attorney for the DL-6 Incident.
  • Polly - A pet parrot belonging to Yanni Yogi.
  • Yanni Yogi - The suspect in the DL-6 Incident.
  • Gregory Edgeworth - Father to Miles Edgeworth, veteran defense attorney, and the victim in the DL-6 Incident.

Rise from the Ashes

  • Mike Meekins - A young and overly-excitable police officer.
  • Damon Gant - The extroverted district Chief of Police.
  • Bruce Goodman - A police detective found murdered.
  • Jake Marshall - A police officer obsessed with the wild west.
  • Lana Skye - Chief Prosecutor, Ema Skye's older sister, and the defendant.
  • Angel Starr - A lunch box saleswoman with two sides to her personality.
  • Joe Darke - A deceased spree killer who was convicted for the SL-9 Incident.
  • Neil Marshall - A deceased prosecutor, Jake Marshall's younger brother, and a victim in the SL-9 Incident.


Gyakuten Saiban 1

Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney 15 4695

The game's English language title screen.

  • Concept-Script-Direction:
  • Executive Supervisor:

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Gyakuten Saiban: Yomigaeru Gyakuten)

  • Planning/Script/Director:


Shu Takumi wrote the very first planning proposal titled Attorney Game (Tentative) in August 2000.[1] Having grown up on detective novels and mystery games, he wanted others to experience the "fun" of detective novels in the form of a game, and sought to create a game that could appeal even to people who did not normally play games.[2] He used simple rules and controls in an attempt to accomplish this.[3]

Gyakuten Taizen 2001-2016, describes another game proposal titled Surviban - Bengoshi Tantei Naruhodō Ryūichi-kun (Surviban – Attorney Detective Naruhodō Ryūichi). The proposal contained designs for five main characters, including Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth, but with drastically different designs and backstories from the final product. There were also 40 pages explaining how the game would work, with a 3D model courtroom setting and extensive camera work, something that would not actually be realized until Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. One of the pages contains concept art of April May, the same drawings shown in Gyakuten Saiban 2 Investigate into the TRUTH.[4] The speech bubbles originally were not supposed to come with voice clips, but sound engineer Atsushi Mori insisted on including them.[5]

The title Surviban (サバイバン) was a portmanteau of "survival" and "saiban" ("trial"). The name represented the original game mechanics designed to force the player to be quick and attentive in order to survive. One of these mechanics was a "damage" system in which the witness would recover gradually in real time, compelling the player to perform "combos" by proving the witness wrong in rapid succession.[6] Trials themselves had a strict time limit from start to finish, and any slip-up would result in a guilty verdict. Witness testimonies were also added to the court record, and had to be presented when they contradicted with fresh testimony.

Such was the concept behind the first playable demo that was presented to various higher-ups in November 2000 after two months of development. At this point, all that they knew to expect was a "detective game", and they were shocked and interested in the concept of a game about a defense attorney in a trial. Unfortunately, the game proved too difficult to understand, and nobody was able to do anything other than get an instant game over. At the end of the year, one of the seven staff members working on the game quit for personal reasons.[7][8][9] That loss made such an impact on such a small team, threatening to get the project canceled entirely, until someone from the Resident Evil team was recruited.[10] Some interviews also describe the departure specifically of Masakazu Sugimori, the composer, "near the end of the project".[1] The remaining developers were left trying to implement his tracks into the game, being forced to bring in previously scrapped material, as well as the unfinished "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Ending".[1]

According to producer Atsushi Inaba, the original demo could have worked as a mystery story, but not as a game. Over time, he also critiqued the original character designs, which had to be redone from scratch. As well, the Surviban title was rejected, and Gyakuten Saiban was chosen from hundreds of candidates that Takumi came up with. The game was also originally targeted toward children, but this did not work out, and various elements of the game were subsequently changed to target older audiences.[8] The core gameplay was reworked and finalized by the end of 2000. After that, Takumi worked on the episode scripts, finishing Sisters in February, Samurai in March, and Goodbyes in April.[9]

Takumi was focused on the story and not on the characterization. Kumiko Suekane was involved in the characterizations of all of the characters.[1]

Yomigaeru Gyakuten

After finishing the game, Takumi asked Mikami whether it would be released outside of Japan, to which the latter replied, "Of course not. No way."[11] However, after the release of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations, it was decided that Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney would be ported to the Nintendo DS for the United States. Wanting not to upset their Japanese fans, the plan was eventually changed to add an extra episode and publish the game in both the U.S. and Japan. Because of this, the development of the port took as long as developing a new game. Rise from the Ashes became much longer than any of the original episodes, and Takumi was shocked at how short the original game was when playing it. The idea of shouting into the DS microphone came about during a meeting between the Japanese and American teams. Takumi did not like this idea, but was eventually convinced that the port needed microphone features, resulting in him coming up with fingerprint dusting.[12]

Related soundtracks

  • ​There is an additional unused track in the game which can only be found inside the game's ROM. This track is not found anywhere else and can be listened to here. It is considered to be an early version of the music piece, "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Ending".


Promotional artwork


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ash (2023-11-07). "Gyakuten Saiban, The Meaning of Design (2006)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2023-12-09.
  2. Ash (2016-07-07). "The Development of the Locked Room in the 21st Century - Video Games and Locked Room Mysteries (2010)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2023-06-28.
  3. Ash (2016-07-16). "Gyakuten Saiban 2 Blog Entry 2 : Gyakuten Saiban (2002)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2023-06-28.
  4. Ash (2016-06-29). "From Surviban to Gyakuten Saiban (2017)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2022-06-04.
  5. 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.
  6. Ash (2023-06-12). "Surviban Planning Document (Capcom Town Excerpts) / サバイバン企画書 (2023)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2023-06-13.
  7. Ash (2016-07-20). "Gyakuten Saiban Entry 7: Breakdown At The End Of The Year (2001)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2023-06-14.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ash (2016-08-18). "The People of Capcom: Inaba Atsushi (2001)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2023-06-28.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ash (2021-10-23). "Turnabout Anecdotes and Memoirs of Two Decades (2021)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2023-06-30.
  10. Ash (2016-07-20). " Gyakuten Saiban Blog Entry 8: Adverse Trial (2001)]". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2024-01-19.
  11. Hsu, Janet (2017-11-18). The Making of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Feat. Shu Takumi. Capcom News. Retrieved on 2018-06-04.
  12. Ash (2016-07-30). "Turnabout Interview 2 – Development Staff Discussion (2005)". Gyakuten Saiban Library. Retrieved 2022-11-29.

External links