Ace Attorney 7 is likely a long way away, and that’s a good thing.
I don’t want Capcom to rush out a new game on the heels of the Great Ace Attorney Chronicles that turns out to just be the same Ace Attorney we’ve grown familiar with over nearly two decades.
That’s not to say I want a new protagonist aside from Phoenix Wright or Apollo Justice.
New faces would certainly be welcome, but Ace Attorney 7 needs to do more than shuffle protagonists around.
It needs to reinvent the series, but not necessarily in the way you might be thinking.
The core of Ace Attorney remained the same across all six mainline games and even the two Great Ace Attorney spinoffs.
It’s even identical in the Professor Layton crossover.
And that’s fine — for the most part.
Ace Attorney 7 Needs to Make Some Big Changes
The series put a refreshing twist on the familiar adventure game format, making it more interactive and adding a tense element of risk to your choices.
And then it did it again. And again.
The case stories are (mostly) gripping and well-told, which makes overlooking the same-ness fairly easy.
But you can only get away with doing that for so long before the series suffers the worst possible fate: it becomes safe.
Capcom wouldn’t even have to do much and certainly doesn’t need to pull a Breath of the Wild-style transformation out of the judge’s wig.
Character side stories you influence with your actions, cases with branching conclusions, morally grey choices — these are all evolutions that should be natural for a series whose primary strengths are narrative and characters to begin with.
Whether Capcom chooses this route is another story, although its recent track record gives me hope.
Resident Evil Village was a dramatic departure for the series that still retained its campy horror core, and Monster Hunter Rise doubled down on what made the franchise a cult classic while removing barriers for enjoyment.
If any developer is in the position to deliver a strong, polished reinvention of a classic franchise, it’s new Capcom.