Keiji Inafune was "80 per cent certain" that the company would refuse Level 5's request to collaborate on a crossover Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright game, the Capcom producer has revealed in an interview.
"I thought it would be impossible," he said in an interview in this today's Weekly Famitsu, translated by Eurogamer, in which he spoke alongside his Level 5 compatriot Akihiro Hino.
Inafune said that he didn't expect veteran Phoenix Wright director Shu Takumi to agree to the project because "Phoenix Wright is handled very carefully within Capcom" - also joking that he expected it to be difficult since Takumi is someone who "doesn't listen to what people say".
Hino appears to have been the lynchpin in getting the hugely anticipated crossover game into production, with Inafune praising him not only for managing to charm Takumi into accepting the idea - and subsequently becoming the scenario writer for the project - but for coming up with the concept in the first place.
"Nobody but Hino could have thought of it," he said. "In a sense, we're rivals, so usually you wouldn't want to do this sort of thing..."
The game is a true collaboration, Inafune insisted, with strong involvement from both Capcom and Level 5.
"It wasn't a case of licensing out the Phoenix Wright characters and demanding our licence money. That isn't a collaboration, and users would see that. For this standalone game, we wanted to create a great history, which would have been impossible if both parties were not fully involved."
The Famitsu piece doesn't include a lot of new information about the game, which was announced this week and is currently only for Japan, but Hino did confirm that, as well as working together, the two puzzle-solvers will also face off against each other over the course of the story
"I think the fans of both games want to see a showdown," he explains, "and also want to see a scene where [Layton and Wright] join hands and take on a really big challenge... We want to fill the game with both aspects."
Hino also said Phoenix Wright's influence on the hugely popular Professor Layton games in the interview, acknowledging that "from the outset, Professor Layton owed a lot to Phoenix Wright in some ways...
"We researched the good and bad points of Phoenix Wright, developed the good points and overcame what I saw as the bad points - that's how we created Professor Layton."