Sadly, true “teamwork” and “symbiosis” outside of its main developers and publishers don’t happen much in the gaming world. Yes, publishers and developers have indeed come together to do things with one another that are “fun” and “game-changing.” Still, it’s really rare when it’s done solely to benefit one property versus just helping themselves. So, let’s show one great example of “teamwork” that has to do with two beloved gaming franchises: Ace Attorney and Professor Layton. Due to their themes, puzzle-solving natures, and main characters, the titles have always been linked. Plus, they had a legendary crossover game that was just as good as their original titles.
And it was in that crossover that the true “teamwork” happened. You see, up to that point, Ace Attorney had been solely a sprite game, and the sprites were pretty good for their time. As for the games with Professor Layton, they had embraced special 3D models. So when the crossover title happened, the team at Level-5 convinced the Capcom crew to use 3D models for the unified game and for the next entry in the lawyer series. In an interview with Play Magazine, Producer Kenichi Hashimoto noted how much that helped get things in the right direction:
“We had no plans to shift to 3D with Apollo Justice. During the development of the fifth game, Dual Destinies, we saw how successful the 3D visuals were in Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney. Combined with the capabilities of the then-current Nintendo 3DS hardware, we felt that we couldn’t ignore the 3D possibilities. So we tried out a visual style of 3D models which looked like 2D art, and it turned out even better than we expected.”
Indeed. Not only did they use that for the rest of the franchise, as it stands currently, but when they made the “trilogies” with Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice, they upgraded the 3D models even further so that they would look as crisp as possible on modern systems.
The games look better than ever, and that’s why gamers hope this will lead to the next entry in the mystery franchise, especially since there’s a cliffhanger that must be resolved.
Either way, it’s lovely to think that a collaboration between Level-5 and Capcom led to such a big thing happening. While we’re sure Capcom could’ve found a way to make the sprites work for the last few entries, it just wouldn’t have been the same.