It appears that, following the return of Phoenix Wright and Maya in the Professor Layton/Ace Attorney cross-over, the main Ace Attorney series is shifting its focus back to the future. The franchise is also adding a new character, Kizuki Kokone, who studied law in the USA. Odds are pretty good that her name will be changed when the game sees a Western release.
Kokone brings with her the “Heart Scope,” which is a device that allows her to listen to a witness’s heart while they’re on the stand, interpreting their emotional state for apparent conflicts. It isn’t a perfect ability, and requires the player to do things to “reduce noise” until the conflicting emotions can be detected, but it’s certainly a new twist on the gameplay.
Speaking of which, Ace Attorney 5 will also feature 3D graphics during its courtroom sequences and its investigations. Rather than poking around static, 2D backdrops, players will be expected to look under and over objects in the environment, too. It’s reminiscent of the shift to 3D object inspection in the last Ace Attorney game, though on a broader scale.
Ace Attorney 5 is aiming for a 2013 release in Japan, though the timing of the Western release is unknown.