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THIS THREAD CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS!!!! YOU ARE WARNED.
First off, this started as a response in another thread. After getting through it all, I realized that it perhaps deserves its own thread, so I'm making it here, now.
Secondly, this thread is meant to address all the people who were dissatisfied with AA4 because they felt Apollo was an uncompelling/underused main character, made worse by Phoenix's taking up all the limelight.
Thirdly, you're free to criticize my theory all you wish. I do not care. So, here it is:
My theory is that Apollo was never meant to be the main protagonist of a series. Apollo was essentially the tool that allowed you to see Phoenix Wright's story while still being an Ace Attorney game. After all, there really couldn't be a game if Phoenix was still the main character. Say all you want about Takumi's "original plans" for the game, and how he was "forced" to include Phoenix -- I'm not buying it. Look at the evidence:
1) The game is called GS4 in Japan, not GS NEW! or something like that. In my estimate, that means it's clearly meant to be a continuation, and not the start of a new series.
2) The game really is about Phoenix, as everybody knows (why this is so bothersome to so many people, I don't know -- I was happy the story was really more about Phoenix)
3) Since Capcom America went on to the whole "main-character-name-in-the-game's-title" thing, they had to change the title for this game. What name did they come up with? Apollo Justice? Wait a minute, A-POLL-O? Justice? Justice might be a very rare last name, but Apollo Justice? It's a joke -- and it's done intentionally -- as it's not a name meant for building a brand with. When I first heard the name was going to be Apollo Justice, I thought Capcom America intentionally came up with something stupid so as to generate disinterest in the new protagonist, which would be persuasive in bringing back Wright for the fifth game.
4) The best evidence is everything mentioned in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=9382
. Apollo is NOT a main protagonist, he's merely a tool (in the literal sense, not the insult sense). The only thing you don't realize is that he really wasn't ever meant to be the main protagonist. He was intentionally made sucky so as to not get you too disappointed if he didn't appear in the next game (at least not as a main character).
5) Apollo essentially IS Phoenix, just a sucky, slightly less philantropic version of him. I'm talking about the personalities here. For all practical purposes, they're the same. Apollo even has the same views on ladders (erm, stepladders) as Phoenix -- they're like alternate-dimension clones of each other, with one being better than the other. What does this fact mean? It means that AJ is a vehicle that isn't made to make you feel out of place... the main character's personality is pretty much the same as the personality of the main character in the previous three games, the only difference is, he's not the "true" hero, on purpose, because Phoenix is the hero that we've all come to know and love. This is still his series.
6) Finally, we all know what Phoenix says at the end of the game -- "...Or maybe I'll take the bar exam... again."
It all makes sense. This is what Phoenix's name is all about. He, now more than ever, will live up to it. He had his fall, and his redemption was given in AA4. Now in AA5 he will soar again. They'll even have the perfect excuse to the "rookie-syndrom" scenario at the beginning of the game: having not practiced in seven years, Phoenix will be "rusty" and will need to relearn the ropes. It's perfect.
What did the structure of AA4 accomplish for Capcom from a sequel perspective? Flexibility. If people reacted positively to Apollo, they could continue with a spinoff with him, without being constrained by the earlier three games. But they weren't going to ease that constraint with this game -- the game is still all about Phoenix. Essentially Apollo was designed to fail, so there wouldn't be any disappointment when he is left out in the next game. AA4 was just a way to tell a unique story about Phoenix, and it couldn't have been told without Apollo. But now that that's over, Apollo is no longer necessary, and now Capcom can go back to GS5 with a much more complex, rich, and compelling main character.
Which brings me to my second main point, all the hobo-nick bashing. People, PHOENIX WAS ACTING LIKE A DOUCHE TO APOLLO ON PURPOSE!!! It wasn't some "vast" personality change. Phoenix has a pre-meditated attitude around Apollo on purpose; it was all part of a plan so that he could bring the best out of Apollo (and also keep the player wondering). Phoenix's personality did change after losing his badge, but not as much as most forum posters here let on. It changed a little, and what did change made perfect sense.
But remember the sequences where Phoenix is not in Apollo's presence. There's not many of them -- they only occur in the final case. And here, this is where we see the "real" Phoenix, and he hasn't changed too much. He's still deeply passionate about the truth, and even when all the chips are against him, he still helps people in whatever way he can (adopting Trucy). The only thing that's really changed is that his passion has become a lot more passive and veiled -- after all, there was nothing he could directly do to help his situation. People point fingers that in his final trial Phoenix's personality has already changed, charging that he is too cocky, but that's just plain ridiculous. This is essentially the first real case Phoenix has as a "true" veteran (the status he achieved in 1-5 by not using Mia's help), and he is going up against a real rookie. When he internally
makes statements like "you're out of your leage, rock-boy," 1) he isn't saying this aloud, so he is not being a douche, 2) he is allowed to think these thoughts validly, because of the status he has now and the status of his opponent, and 3) Phoenix has always made internal
sarcastic remarks that don't give his advesaries the benefit of the doubt. Someone can look up the exact line but on more than one occasion Phoenix said some not so nice things about Franzie's whip habbits. The only difference between then and now, was that Phoenix was a true veteran, and wasn't intimidated by his opponents anymore. 4) Klavier was being a douche the whole time to Phoenix. Because his brother told him to. "Don't give him the benefit of your respect" Kristoph says to Klavier. Of course Phoenix was going to take affront to the attitude he was being given.
Now, Phoenix was a bit terse and off-standish around the Misham's and Kristoph (in the 'present') even when not around Apollo, but, again, it's to be expected, because on they were (as he knew) the root reasons for his job being taken away.
Really, I find all the hobo-bashing to be misplaced -- you just need to understand why Phoenix is acting the way he is at certain times. I found his character to be perefectly written given the circumstances, and I enjoyed the turns that it took. I really felt for the guy. When you're playing as him and investigating at Drew Studio in the present, if you examine the gold statue that's giving an "Objection!" pose, you'll get to hear Phoenix's voice shouting "Objection!" as well. To which his inner monologue replies, "I really have to stop doing this to myself..." After all these years, Phoenix is still visibly hurt about having his passion and livelyhood stripped away from him. I COULD JUST FEEL THE PAIN PHOENIX WAS EXPERIENCING at this point. It made me get a little teary-eyed. Poor guy.
Admittedly, normally, I'd be the one upset about the character change like the type in AA4, but I really did like it. I thought things were presented rather believeably as to how a character like Wright would be affected by tragedy. It created a character I like even more now. So, as the type of person who normally wouldn't like the kind of changes brought on by AA4, I did like them.
Also admittedly, my opinion of the AA4 really will be affected by where they go with AA5. If they just completlely abandon the Phoenix character after what they've done with this game, I naturally will be disappointed. To me, they just set it up perfect, the Phoenix's rise, and fall, and re-rising... all we have left to see is him complete the final stage by letting him become a lawyer again. So, to me, there's still at least another game left in this guy, and if they just abandon him for good... well, that would be unfortunate. Especially considering, as the pointed out in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=9382
, how uncompelling a character AJ is.
So, in conclusion -- I say the reason why you're disappointed with Apollo is because you were supposed to be. My theory is that Phoenix will be back in the defense booth in AA5.
Last edited by hannedog on Thu May 15, 2008 9:42 am, edited 3 times in total.