The Next Phoenix Wright Will Hit The West This Fall [UPDATE]

Ace Attorney 5 will get the ridiculous title Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies for the West, and it'll be out on 3DS as a digital release this fall.

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That's right, a digital release. Hope you've got a big SD card: Phoenix Wright's new adventure ain't coming on a cartridge, according to Capcom's announcement today, which specifies that the game "will be available to purchase digitally":

SAN MATEO, Calif.May 13, 2013 — Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today confirmed that Phoenix Wright™: Ace Attorney™ - Dual Destinies will be available to purchase digitally on Nintendo 3DS™ across Europe and North America in Fall 2013.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies, previously announced for the West as Ace Attorney™ 5, sees the return of courtroom hero Phoenix Wright. Set eight years since his last appearance in the courts, the first case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies sees the action start in a destroyed court room. It’s down to Phoenix Wright and his team at the Wright Anything Agency to discover the cause of the destruction. Players will have to battle it out in court against Gaspen Payne, the younger brother of Winston Payne from previous Ace Attorney™ titles, as they defend the accused.

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"Dual Destinies" is okay, but they really should've found a third D to add on there, Dream Drop Distance style. It is the 3DS.

UPDATE: I asked Capcom why they decided to release the next Phoenix Wright as a digital-only game. Their response:

“Historically it’s been tough to attract long term retail support for Ace Attorney titles. With the release of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies we wanted as many people as possible to be able to enjoy the game for as long as possible. With that in mind we have opted for a digital only release via the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

"We understand that this decision may upset fans who wanted to have a physical version of the title to add to their collection but we believe this direction is the best to take to ensure that fans are able to enjoy the game at their own leisure.

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"We will be confirming details on the price point soon so please stay tuned for more information on the latest in the Ace Attorney series.”

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DISCUSSION

FrostedMini-Wheats
Frosted Mini-Wheats

Okay guys, real talk. Let's talk about this new Ace Attorney game.

This is the sequel in a niche franchise that doesn't always sell well and doesn't always get localized. The last time Capcom released an Ace Attorney game outside Japan, Ace Attorney Investigations, it sold really badly. Really badly. So Capcom made the extremely logical decision not to release a direct sequel to that unpopular Ace Attorney spin off. But this is a little bit different, this is the next main entry in the franchise. If this doesn't sell well, the odds that we ever see Ace Attorney again are... well they're slim. This is a niche game from not a niche publisher - if we take the opportunity to buy this game for granted and refuse to buy in because of the distribution model (not the content, no. Who cares about the content? Curse Capcom for using the eShop for distribution) then there is a very real chance that we will simply not get the opportunity again.

Not buying this game because of the distribution model is one of those cutting off your nose to spite your face moments. Except it's not just your face, it's the face of every English speaker who would hope to play Ace Attorney games in the future. You want future Ace Attorney releases? You want Professor Layton X Ace Attorney? Then vote with your money. Because this franchise is absolutely on the edge. One more flop and it may be gone forever.

Here's the thing about being a "fan". In video games today it's easy to be a fan. There are collectors editions, premium Atlus releases, Steam sales, dedicated message boards on the internet to interact with like minded people. But there's another side to being a fan, especially of a niche product like this. Being an anime fan used to mean dealing with mail-in VHS tapes of amateur subbed anime shows, because that's the only way the fans could get it. Being a Firefly fan meant going out and buying the series they had already seen on DVD just to get those last few episodes that didn't air. Being a JRPG fan used to mean dealing with terrible localizations and cut content (actually those are still true). The point is, these enthusiasts deal with and pay for less than ideal values because they really care about the content. They're willing to put up with some bad to get some good.

And you know what I'm getting from these comments here? Ace Attorney "fans" are not willing to put up with some bad to get some good. Nobody's talking about the content of the game, nobody's enthusiastic. All I read are expectations of how convenient Capcom should be making it for consumers to play this game, and how digital distribution on the eShop is simply not acceptable.

That's not cool guys. When Ace Attorney 6 happens and it isn't localized, you will have only yourselves to blame.