Grabbing the God Hand

A few years ago when we talked at TGS we asked if you would ever put out Phoenix Wright in America and you said you didn't think that it could work in English. But obviously we're seeing now that on DS it's actually become quite popular in America. And I was wondering if you're surprised now about how it turned out.

Inaba: I have to admit, I was wrong. And yeah, it was really surprising to see how well it did. But I'm also very, very happy to see that people are taking a work that I produced from a while back and really embracing it in a way that I never thought that they would. I didn't think that it would work in English. So to see how highly valued [it is] and how much people enjoyed Phoenix Wright - it did kind of shock me but it also made me very happy.

At the time when you said that several years ago - we were talking about the original GBA version - would it have worked then if it came out? Or is it something that's changed in the American market, or maybe with the DS audience?

Inaba: I don't necessarily think it was a change in market or a change in perspective that is what caused Phoenix Wright to do so well in the United States. I think the staff that worked on Phoenix Wright did such a great job. And it was something probably we should have tried before and I think it would've worked then. But everyone worked so hard, and worked to make the game a success in The States that I think that that effort is what made the game sell so well - not changing markets or the right place at the right time.

Now that that series is out in the US, are there any thoughts when you make a new one? Obviously, with the previous ones, it was definitely Japan-centric, not world-centric like God Hand or Okami. Will that change the design philosophy for the new games?

Inaba: So this is kind of a difficult question for me to answer because I'm not now involved with the [Phoenix Wright] series. But I think that it will have an effect on how the series is made. Because when we were making this game previously - since it was based [in Japan] and so Japanese-centric we didn't have qualms about putting something that would seem very strange to western users into the game, like [Japanese] courtroom situations.

So I think it's just going to be a natural evolution where the team that's making the game is going to start considering how western courtroom dramas play out and how things would make more sense to western users and maybe not putting in things that are just really difficult for them to understand and that would only apply and be understood by Japanese users. I don't think that it's going to be something that they just constantly sit down and be like, "We can't do this" and, "We can't do that." It would be something that would be a natural evolution as they make the game.