E3 2010: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

  • by Tae K. Kim
  • June 16, 2010 18:17 PM PT

Capcom had a large presence at E3 with Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Dead Rising 2, but their most intriguing game might be Ghost Trick, a spooky mystery story with a ton charm. GamePro reviews editor Tae K. Kim sat down with director Shu Takumi (of Ace Attorney fame) to find out a little more about this fascinating DS title.

What we’re talking about: When previews editor Andy Burt returned from Capcom’s annual Captivate event (held this past year in Hawaii), he came back with two things: a bad sunburn and nothing but good things to say about a quirky DS title called Ghost Trick. Of all the games he saw, that was the one he wouldn’t shut up about, and after seeing it in action, it’s plain to see why.

Where we saw it: I was given a demo of the game by the director of the game Takumi-san at Capcom’s booth. Also on hand was producer Hironobu Takeshita.

E3 2010: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

What you need to know:

  • The game is an interesting take on the point-and-click adventure genre. You play as a disembodied spirit who must contend with a series of unfortunate situations, with the ultimate goal of unraveling the mystery of your own murder.
  • You do this by possessing various objects in the game and interacting with them. In the level I saw, there was a girl who had been taken hostage by a hitman. Takumi-san proceeded to possess various objects to figure out a way to get the girl to safety. For instance, taking possession of a cabinet door allowed him to open it at will. The level also featured the dead body of the girl’s dog (the hitman had killed it earlier); possessing the dog’s body let you speak to the dog’s spirit, as well as the ability to go back in time for a limited period to change the poor dog’s fate.
  • The game’s visual style was really interesting, with an anime inspired tone. It was stylized and worked well on the DSiXL’s screens. The demo station also had it running on a regular DSi and it looked good as well.
  • When asked about his inspiration for the game, Takumi-san said that he loved mysteries, and that one of his favorite games of all time was the classic PC point-and-click adventure title, Myst. He said he created Ghost Trick to tell a character driven mystery.
  • Originally, he wanted to write and tell the backstories of all of the characters involved in the game, but realized that the “ghost trick” gimmick would allow him to do that in a way that was more conducive to the gameplay.
  • The game featured a lot of text, but considering Takumi-san’s track record with the hilarious Ace Attorney series, odds are that the game’s story is funny and engaging.
  • When asked why he chose the DS as the platform, he pointed to the intuitive nature of the handheld’s touchpad controls. He felt that it was a perfect fit for the game he wanted to create. He also favored the portable nature of the device, saying he wanted players to be able to take the entire game world with them in their hands.

Point in the development cycle: It’s pretty close to being done as the game is set for release soon in Japan, but US gamers won’t be able to get their hands on this haunting mystery until the winter months.

My take: I loved the Ace Attorney series, so I’m definitely looking forward to this one. The mystery/puzzle nature of the game seemed right up my alley and the quirky, off-beat sense of humor looked spot on. Ace Attorney started to feel a little stale after a while, so it’s nice to have a new franchise to look forward to.