How the Ace Attorney games essentially stalled the Visual Novel genres

Visual novels have always struggled to find a foothold in Western markets which is why the success of Ace Attorney helped change the entire genre.


Even when Japanese video games first hit the global stage in the late 1980s and early 1990s, some genres struggled to gain traction. What stands out Ace Lawyer is the overwhelming success that Capcom’s series has had despite this obstacle. Ace Lawyer it was many gamers’ only exposure to the visual novel genre when the first game was released more than 20 years ago. Although similar titles have always been appreciated by oriental audiences, Ace Attorney’s success in markets normally saturated with action-oriented games changed the very face of the visual novel genre.

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The beloved series follows the exploits of lawyer Phoenix Wright and the newest title in the series: The chronicles of the prosecutor of the great ace – came out in 2021, just a few months before the series’ 20th anniversary, and the series shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The franchise’s beloved characters, storylines and Ace LawyerThe depiction of real-world court proceedings contributed to the international success of the series.

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Ace Attorney has set a standard in the Visual Novel genre

Mediocre Anime Fire Opening Ace Attorney

Western audiences have been less receptive to slower playing styles. Excluding the popularity of point-and-click adventures in the 1990s and the recent “cosy play” trend, spurred largely by indies that are becoming more viable, games that foster thoughtful sitting and problem solving or enjoying a story instead of normal action fare AAA have always struggled to find strong positions. What sets Ace Lawyer aside and allowed him to succeed where others failed is the kind of story he tells.

The first game released just after the end of the point-and-click heyday that gave gamers beloved series like The Search for the King And monkey island, and its similar focus on its adventure elements likely appealed to gamers who were just getting into the genre for the first time. While taking control of Wright, players are tasked with separating opponents’ arguments and coming up with their own. Many levels have players searching for evidence or trying to figure out what happened at the crime scene, and these high-stakes elements are more in line with what Western fans have come to expect from games.

Since Ace Lawyer on shelf shelves, fans of the genre have seen other visual novels gain traction and wider international success. From KFC’s dating simulator to the popularity of the Danganronpa franchise, as well as adjacent titles such as the hit horror RPG Corpse party, fans have seen this style of play gain traction among those who may have never given them a chance. But this is certainly not the only influence Ace Lawyer prevailed over the genre. Fans are seeing more visual novels that subvert the genre and push it in unique ways. Incorporating point and click elements, hidden object games, and other mechanics that diversify the genre in a similar way to Ace Lawyer proved appealing to Western audiences.

Visual novels have enjoyed recent success on mobile, Nintendo Switch, and Steam, while many solo developers have made their own games to publish on the indie platform itch.io. While it’s hard to say whether it owes all of the genre’s mainstream success Ace Lawyervisual novels as a whole are seeing a growing western fan base since Phoenix Wright’s entry.

Phoenix WrightAce Attorney is now available for mobile devices, PC, PlayStation 4, Switch and Xbox One.

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