Alex Smith, the writer behind Ace Attorney’s English début, has revealed that the lead protagonist in the Phoenix Wright series was almost called Roger Wright. Thankfully, they had a change of heart and named him Phoenix, which in my opinion sounds that bit more badass.
“My original suggestion for Phoenix Wright was ‘Roger Wright.’ I had come up with a list of first names and a list of last names, and submitted that to Capcom. And, in those, ‘Phoenix’ was one of the first name options, but pretty far down on my list. And Roger was at the top. And ‘Wright,’ I felt,had to be the his last name, because of the pun in Japanese… ‘Naruhodo’ was used so many times in the text as a joke. Also, it’s just self-deprecating humor, where the one guy whose name is ‘I get it!’ just doesn’t get it. I needed something that was bold and like, ‘Yeah right, I got it!’ so he could say that and kind of own that attitude, even though he had no idea what he was doing.
“So ‘Wright’ was there, and ‘Roger’ was my first choice, because heroes—they like to have alliteration. Also, if you’ve ever seen the movie Airplane, [‘Roger’] is a great source of silly jokes as well. So that seemed like a name with a lot of potential. They ended up going for ‘Phoenix’ because they liked the heroism of it, and there was a comment from the Japanese dev team—they felt like ‘Roger Wright’ sounded too much like ‘Roger Rabbit,'” says Smith, adding ‘Pierce,’ ‘Xavier,’ ‘Marcus,’ and ‘Zane’ could also be found on the list of proposed first names for Ace Attorney’s protagonist.
Thanks, Shuhei Yoshida