Saturday, 18 May 2024

A Journey Into the World of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

Shu Takumi, a seasoned game director at Capcom, has been responsible for creating numerous beloved titles over the years. From Dino Crisis 2 to the Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice series, his contributions have left a lasting impact on the gaming industry. Among all these projects, one game holds a special place in Takumi’s heart – the 2011 DS game, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. Now, after a decade, Ghost Trick is set to make its debut on consoles, bringing with it a visual upgrade and new gameplay options.

Uncovering the Mysteries of Ghost Trick

Ghost Trick

In a recent email interview, Takumi, along with producer Shingo Izumi and port director Atsushi Maruyama, shared their insights about the game’s development process and its potential for the future.

A Fresh Concept

The initial concept for Ghost Trick revolved around a story centered on a multitude of mysterious characters. Takumi envisioned a game where players would observe these characters from an external perspective and gradually uncover their secrets. This led to the idea of setting the game in an apartment building, with a main character capable of observing the inhabitants as a spirit.

A Standalone Identity

Right from the start, Takumi intended Ghost Trick to be a distinct entity separate from the Phoenix Wright universe. He wanted to explore a different style of mystery game, and as such, he approached it as an entirely new world. To create a timeless atmosphere, the art designs and character names were deliberately kept devoid of any specific time period or geographic location.

The Essence of Mystery

Takumi’s creative process involved working backward from the end of the story, pondering questions like the true identity of the main character and the nature of the powers of the dead. As the plot took shape, certain elements underwent changes, such as the finalized identity of the enigmatic lampstand Ray. Developing a mystery story proved to be a journey filled with surprises.

The Unlikelihood of a Sequel

While the creators acknowledge the intriguing potential of the powers of the dead introduced in Ghost Trick, they believe that the story of Phantom Detective is comprehensively told within the confines of the game. Consequently, the likelihood of a sequel seems rather slim. Nevertheless, they remain open to the possibility should unforeseen circumstances arise.

Challenges and Achievements

The journey of creating Ghost Trick presented numerous challenges, from envisioning the story and designing game systems to crafting the world and ensuring a harmonious balance among all the elements. Looking back, Takumi reflects on the difficulty of the process but also expresses a sense of pride in the outcome.

Charting a Future Path

At present, the team’s focus is on bringing Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective to a wider audience. A successful remaster could spark discussions about the potential for a sequel. However, no concrete plans have been made in that regard, as the priority lies in delivering an enjoyable experience to as many players as possible.

Adapting to New Platforms

Porting a touch-screen game to platforms without a touch screen posed its own set of challenges. However, thanks to the expertise of the UI design team and programmers, the transition was made seamless. This allowed the game to be experienced on various platforms without the need for touch controls.

The Magic of Animation

The visual appeal of Ghost Trick stems from its unique animation style. Originally developed for the Nintendo DS, the game relied on pixel art created from high-resolution 3D models. This technique allowed for stunning visuals beyond the capabilities of handheld consoles of that era. Additionally, the majority of the animation was handcrafted, providing a distinct and captivating movement rarely seen in today’s motion-capture-dominated landscape.

The Enigmatic Legacy

As creators, Takumi and his team are most concerned with delivering an enjoyable experience to players. They leave it to the players themselves to determine the legacy of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. The impact and significance of the game are best judged through the eyes of those who have experienced its captivating mysteries.

Mystery Meets Comedy

While some may perceive Ghost Trick as a horror game, Takumi considers it more of a mystery and comedy fusion. As someone who isn’t particularly fond of scary media, he never aimed to create a horror-centric experience. Nevertheless, he acknowledges that certain aspects of the game might evoke a sense of fear, suggesting a potential overlap with the horror genre.


Q: Will there be a sequel to Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective?
A: The story of Ghost Trick is fully told in the original game, making it challenging to envision a sequel. However, the powers of the dead introduced in the game might hold potential for further exploration in the future.

Q: How was the game adapted to platforms without touch screens?
A: The adaptation process was made possible by the remarkable skills and efforts of the UI design team and programmers, ensuring a seamless experience on non-touch platforms.

Q: How did the animation in Ghost Trick achieve its unique and visually stunning look?
A: By creating high-resolution 3D models and translating them into pixel art, the developers achieved exceptional visual quality. The animation was predominantly crafted by hand, adding a distinct charm to the game’s movement and appeal.

Q: What is the legacy of Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective?
A: The true legacy of Ghost Trick is best determined by the players themselves. As creators, the development team’s primary aim was to provide an enjoyable experience to gamers.


Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective stands as a testament to Shu Takumi’s innovative storytelling and Capcom’s commitment to creating captivating gaming experiences. With its upcoming release on consoles, a new generation of players will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the mysteries and comedy that make Ghost Trick an unforgettable adventure.