The remaster of Capcom’s Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective HD Remaster will be released at the end of this month. We were able to speak with the lead developers of the game: the Original Director Shu Takumi, the Remaster Director Atsushi Maruyama, and Producer Shingo Izumi to learn more about the Ghost Trick Remaster and even the series connection to Takumi’s work in Ace Attorney.
Outside of directing the original Ghost Trick, Shu Takumi is most well-known as the creator of the Ace Attorney series. He directed and wrote the original Pheonix Wright Trilogy as well as The Great Ace Attorney titles and the series crossover with Professor Layton. The quirky style of humor seen in those games is very much present in Ghost Trick.
Producer Shingo Izumi joined Capcom in 2016 and has primarily worked on the Monster Hunter series, being the Producer of Monster Hunter World Iceborne and Monster Hunter Riders. Atsushi Maruyama likewise has a background in Monster Hunter, being the director of Monster Hunter Quest and the main planner for Monster Hunter Riders before acting as the Director for the Ghost Trick Remaster.
The interview began with Shu Takumi speaking about the fan theory that Ghost Trick and Ace Attorney take place in the universe. The developers go on the speak more about developing the HD Remaster and the challenges of bringing the game to next-gen consoles.
There have been many rumors from fans that the two take place in the same universe. Could you further comment on this rumor and are there any connections between the two series?
Shu Takumi: The concept behind the creation of Ghost Trick’s world was to not specify the time or place. That’s why I didn’t use any “text” information in the background graphics and made the characters’ names sound like they don’t exist anywhere else.
I want everyone who plays to imagine as they like. So, regarding the connection between the world of Ace Attorney and Ghost Trick… I would be happy if everyone could expand their imaginations as they can.
It’s been over ten years since the original Ghost Trick was released. How does it feel to be returning to the title after such a long time?
Shu Takumi: I had absolute confidence in this game when it was completed. The enthusiasm of the development team was high and it is still a good memory. So when I heard about the remake planning, I was really happy and thrilled.
In addition, this remake project was greatly motivated by the voices of fans who have loved and supported this game for more than ten years. I am very grateful to all fans. Thanks to that, I am happy to be able to deliver it to everyone.
Will the HD Remaster include any new features that weren’t in the original game?
Shingo Izumi: You can enjoy the new Ghost Trick art & music in the Collection, sliding Ghost Puzzles, and Electrifying Challenges which have been added to the HD Remaster.
Since the original Ghost Trick was a DS game that used two screens and touch controls, was it difficult to adapt the game to modern consoles?
Atsushi Maruyama: The hardest part was arranging the UI. The UI displayed during the game has a great impact on gameplay, so we worked with the UI members to consider “where” and “how” to display and improved it.
Among them, the display of “Trick” power was particularly difficult. After being possessed, it is very important to whether the object can be a “Trick” and what it can do, so we made improvements while considering the user’s perspective when playing the game.
The original Ghost Trick was praised for the smooth animation of its character models. Could you tell us more about the game’s animation and was it difficult to recreate these for the remaster?
Shu Takumi: The original version in 2010 was software for the Nintendo DS. In order to express the individuality of the characters on the small screen of the DS, I was very particular about their movements. The development team had a lot of fun creating this dynamic, comical action that you won’t forget once you’ve seen it. The game is on the big screen now, their actions are even more powerful.
Atsushi Maruyama: Character animation is created by the 3D model by adding motion and making it an image for each frame to create a continuous animation. In this remake, the graphic of the original version has been retouched and improved in resolution, and using the same method in the original one to make animation. I paid a lot of attention to the additions and corrections to the characters.
One of the big features of the HD remaster is the newly arranged soundtrack done by Yasumasa Kitagawa in addition to the original music by Musakazu Sugimori. What was it like working with the two to recreate the soundtrack?
Shu Takumi: Mr. Sugimori is the genius who created the music for the first Ace Attorney. Even after 20 years, the music has a strong vitality that does not get old. His strength is that he can create original new worlds, so it was a happy time able to team up with him again with Ghost Trick.
Mr. Kitagawa is the genius who created the music for The Great Ace Attorney. He is analytical, produces a strong melody, and grabs the listener’s attention. I love Ghost Trick’s music very much, so I feel very lucky to have Mr. Kitagawa, who I trust the most handling the rearrangement this time. The BGM can be switched between the original version and the arranged version at any time during the game.
While playing the preview, we noticed that the game was running on the original aspect ratio of the game as opposed to widescreen. Could you tell us more about this decision?
Atsushi Maruyama: Ghost Trick’s gameplay is greatly affected by the information you see on the current screen. By changing the aspect ratio, you can see things that were not visible in the original version, the difficulty and experience will change from it also. In order to prevent the above issue, we decided to leave the aspect ratio as it is.
If you could pick one aspect of Ghost Trick that you’re excited for new players to try, what do you think it would be?
Shingo Izumi: First of all, I want you to enjoy a unique and excellent story. We have prepared a Demo as an entrance for you, so please try it!
Atsushi Maruyama: It is a story that is avoiding death and changing fate.
Shu Takumi: Ghost Trick, as you can see when you play, is foreshadowed by very small details. So, when you know the truth and play again, the same story should look completely different. I would like you to play it again and enjoy this feeling.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
We thank Mr. Takumi, Mr. Izumi, and Mr. Maruyama for speaking with us for this interview on the Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective HD Remaster.
Going back to the first question regarding Ghost Trick and Ace Attorney sharing a universe, I think Takumi’s answer is pretty succinct. The story of Ghost Trick is meant to be timeliness, it can take place in any universe at any place or point so if fans want it to take place in the World of Ace Attorney, it can.
Personally speaking, and without spoiling anything, I could see Pheonix and Maya helping out Sissel and Lyn if they ever got into court.
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective HD Remaster will launch on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series One and PC via Steam on the 30th of June 2023.