How the Ace Attorney games actually shut down the visual novel genre

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


Even when Japanese video games first entered the world scene in the late 1980s and early 90s, some genres struggled to gain popularity. What makes it stand out Ace lawyer is the incredible success of Capcom’s series despite this obstacle. Ace lawyer was many gamers’ only exposure to the visual novel genre when the first game was released over 20 years ago. Although similar titles have always been popular with Eastern audiences, Ace Attorney’s success in markets otherwise saturated with action games has 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 latest title in the franchise – The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles – came out in 2021, just a few months before the series’ 20th anniversary, and the series shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Favorite franchise characters, plot and Ace lawyerHis portrayal of real-world court proceedings contributed to the series’ international success.

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Ace Attorney set the standard in the visual novel genre

Mediocre anime Fire Opening Ace Attorney

Western audiences were less accepting of slower playing styles. Excluding the popularity of point-and-click adventures in the 90s and the recent “enjoyable gaming” trend, fueled mostly by indies becoming increasingly viable, games that favor sitting back and solving problems or enjoying a story over standard AAA action offerings have always struggled to find strong positions. What sets Ace lawyer to separate and allow it to succeed where others have not is the kind of story it tells.

The first game released right after the end of the point-and-click heyday that gave players favorite series like The King’s Quest and monkey island, and its similar focus on adventure elements likely appealed to first-timers to the genre. While taking control of Wright, players are tasked with picking apart their opponents’ arguments and coming up with their own. Many levels have players searching for evidence or trying to imagine what happened at a crime scene, and these high-stakes elements are more in line with what fans of Westerns have come to expect from games.

Ever since Ace lawyer on the shelves, fans of the genre have seen other visual novels gain popularity and wider international success. From KFC’s dating simulator to popularity Danganronpa franchise, as well as adjacent titles such as the horror RPG hit Fun of corpses, fans have seen this style of play become popular among those who may never have given it a chance. But that is not the only influence Ace lawyer had more than genre. Fans are seeing more and more visual novels subverting the genre and pushing it in unique ways. It features point-and-click elements, hidden object games, and other mechanics that diversify the genre in a similar way Ace lawyer proved attractive to Western audiences.

Visual novels have seen recent success on mobile, Nintendo Switch and Steam, while many solo developers have created their own games to be published on indie platform itch.io. Although it is difficult to say whether all the main success of the genre can be attributed to this Ace lawyervisual novels as a whole have seen a growing western fan base since the arrival of Phoenix Wright.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is now available for Mobile, PC, PlayStation 4, Switch and Xbox One.

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