Phoenix Wright (成歩道龍一/Ryūichi Naruhodō in Japan) is the main protagonist in the first three "Ace Attorney" games, a mentor to the main protagonist and prominent figure in the fourth game (Apollo Justice), and one of three main protagonists in the latest game in the series. he is 24 years old at the start of the first game. By the time of Dual Destinies, Phoenix is in his mid-thirties. Born in 1992, Phoenix attended Ivy College, where he was an art student, though he studied law as well. Phoenix is an only child, and no reference to his parents are ever made.
Though we know Phoenix lives in America, we never see where in America it is, or even Phoenix's home. However, it can be inferred from the first case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney that the series largely takes place in the west coast as it is determined that the current location is in a time zone 9 hours behind that of France, which corresponds with Pacific Standard Time. Furthermore he is reasonably close to television recording studios, and it seems to rarely snow except for in the mountains (most outdoor scenes aside from Kurain Village are devoid of snow, even during the late fall / winter months). Thus it can be inferred that the series takes place in or near California.
After being a lawyer for three years, Phoenix became a piano player at a Borscht Bowl club, though he claims he is really there to take on interested customers at the poker table and is, in fact, a terrible pianist. His "career change" is due to his disbarment, part of a string of events that drive the backstory of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and that continue on in Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies, the latter of which being the game that takes place after he retakes the bar and gets his Attorney's badge back. He also runs his "law office" called the " Wright Anything Agency", evolved from (reverse chronologically) the "Wright Talent Agency", "Wright & Co. Law Offices" and "Fey & Co. Law Offices".
Family and Friends
Though there is never a reference to Phoenix having living family, he does have an adopted daughter named Trucy, a magician (15 years old in Apollo Justice's present-day) and one of the main characters in the Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. In grade school Phoenix was good friends with Larry Butz and Miles Edgeworth. He remains friends with them throughout the entire Phoenix arc of the series. Phoenix also has close ties to the Fey family, particularly Mia, Maya, and Pearl. From what we saw in the series, Phoenix has had one girlfriend, Dalhia Hawthrone, who calls him "Feenie." Many of Phoenix's other friends call him "Nick." Phoenix is also known to be a friend of Kristoph Gavin.
In Elementary School
When Phoenix was 9, he was accused of stealing Edgeworth's lunch money. The teacher thought it would be fair to have a "trial." Though there was no proof involved, Phoenix was declared to have stolen the money. The class claimed that, where Phoenix was too sick to participate in gym that day, he stole the money while he was alone in the classroom. After the class continued to tease and bully Phoenix, Edgeworth stood up for him and stated that with no evidence to prove Phoenix guilty, the blame could not be pinned on him. This event is one of the most important of the Ace Attorney franchise, as it is what inspires Phoenix to become a lawyer. It was later revealed that the money had been stolen by Larry Butz.
When Phoenix was in college, he was accused of murdering Dalhia Hawthrone's ex-boyfriend, Doug Swallow. He is put on trial after Doug Swallow is found dead a while after having an argument with Phoenix over Dalhia earlier that day. Mia Fey's first case as a lawyer had her defending Phoenix. Half way through the trial Dalhia Hawthrone was accused of murdering Doug and that she pinned it on Phoenix. Phoenix objected to this saying how his girlfriend would never do something like that.
When asked to explain their relation, Phoenix brought up the pendant Dahlia had given him when they started dating half a year ago, and how she always asked to have it back. This proved to be the key to the case, as the pendant was recognized to be the murder weapon in a previous case 6 months before (It was used to hold poison), during which Phoenix and Dalhia had started going out.
When it is revealed that Dalhia was behind both cases, Dahlia lets on that she was planning on killing Phoenix in order to get the pendant back so it would not be found as evidence against her in the case 6 months before. It turns out, that Phoenix saw Dalhia after she committed the murder on Doug, and because he was so madly in love with her, he agreed not to tell anyone she was there that day. Phoenix's belief in Dahlia's character was the result of Dahlia's sister, Iris, standing in as the girlfriend (as Dahlia did not want to deal with Phoenix). Iris was the polar opposite personality-wise, and truly did love Phoenix, giving him reason to believe that his girlfriend would never be responsible for a a murder.
As a Lawyer
Phoenix worked with Fey & Co. Law offices at the start of his career. He had his first case when he was 24, defending his friend Larry Butz on the charge of murder. He was successful in getting a "Not Guilty" verdict, and was complimented on being able to complete the case so quickly. Winston Payne "The Rookie Killer" was the prosecutor of the case, and was shocked at his loss.
In his second case he defended Maya Fey, the sister of Mia Fey on the charge of murdering her. Phoenix gained Maya Fey's trust in this case, and she then continued to be his assistant in trials throughout the entire Phoenix arc. Phoenix was also accused of murder towards the end of the case, increasing his number of times on trial to two. Afterwards, Phoenix takes over the office, and renames it "Wright & Co. Law Offices."
In Phoenix's fourth case as a lawyer, he defends his friend Miles Edgeworth, who was the prosecutor of cases two and three. Phoenix is put up against Manfred von Karma, an excellent prosecutor who has never lost a case in his 40 year career. Phoenix manages to defeat von Karma, and regains his friendship with Edgeworth who had been Phoenix's bitter rival up to this point.
Phoenix continues to win all of his cases up until the final case of his second game, "Justice for All." Phoenix's client reveals himself to be behind the murder. After one of the series' most intense court battles, Phoenix allows his client to be declared guilty, as he deserves. This gives Phoenix his first loss as an attorney.
Phoenix's final loss comes over a year later when he was defending Zak Gramarye, a magician who was part of a group called the "Gramarye Troupe". Zak was accused of murdering his father, Magnifi Gramarye, and was arrested. Zak wanted attorneys to play poker with him in his cell, which was a test to see if they could be trusted. At first, he played with Kristoph Gavin. Kristoph was hoping to face his brother, Klavier Gavin, who had recently become a prosecutor, for an easy first trial. Kristoph lost, and Zak did not hire him. Afterward, Zak asked Phoenix to play poker. Phoenix won the poker game, and Zak kept him. He also noted to Phoenix that if something went wrong, the judge could not find him guilty.
Kristoph heard about this, and formed a plan with his brother. Kristoph thought of Phoenix to be of a lower class than he, so he hired a forger, Drew Misham, to create a fake piece of evidence that would have solved the case.
Their plan went into action before the trial. Zak's daughter, Trucy, was given the forged evidence (the next page of Magnifi's will) and delivered it to Phoenix. After Phoenix showed the evidence in the trial, Klavier stopped the trial and brought in Drew Misham. Drew confirmed the evidence was created by him, and Phoenix was disbarred for using forged evidence. This loss and scandal cost Phoenix his attorney's badge, resulting in his disbarment and being one of two events that helped usher in what is referred to as the "Dark Age of the Law" in Dual Destinies.
After Law Career
Phoenix changed " Wright and Co Law Offices" to "Wright Talent Agency" after his career in law ended. He also adopted Trucy, who took the surname Wright thereafter, and got a job at the Borscht Bowl club. There he tried to play piano, but he was really there for the poker. Phoenix never lost a game of poker in his seven year career, thanks to leaning on Trucy's power of perception during important matches.
At the outset of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Phoenix was put on trial on the charge of murdering the mysterious Shadi Smith. He specifically requests Apollo Justice to be his defense attorney. They meet for the first time soon after, and Apollo manages to get Phoenix the "Not Guilty" verdict.
Following their first trial together, Phoenix convinced Apollo to work for him, changing the name of his offices from the "Wright Talent Agency" to " Wright Anything Agency." For the following few cases Phoenix served as Apollo's mentor. Behind the scenes, Phoenix was busy working on a jury system--called "Jurist System" in the game--to use in courts. This would shift the power of the verdict from a single judge to six laymen, similar to the American legal system where a case is decided not by a judge but by a 12-person jury.
In the final case, the player gets to play as Phoenix in a flashback sequence, and during a sequence where he presents his case to the jurors. In canon, Apollo and Phoenix win the case, though it's possible to make a mistake during a critical point in the closing moments of the case that leads to a bad ending.
Return to Law
During the events leading up to the trials in Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies (and after the conclusion of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney), Phoenix Wright retakes the bar exam and regains his attorney's badge. Part of this motivation is to help bring a close to the era known as the "Dark Age of the Law" by revealing the truth behind a murder case thought to have been decided on and closed seven years in the past--shortly after the Gramarye incident.
Phoenix teams up with Apollo Justice and newcomer Athena Cykes, the latter two of whom join the Wright Anything Agency as his juniors.
- Capcom producer Ben Judd provides the English voice of Phoenix until Dual Destinies, where Phoenix's voice is re-recorded by Sam Riegel (who provided his voice in Marvel vs. Capcom 3).
- Phoenix does not have a drivers license.
- His favorite drink is grape juice.
- In the American games, Phoenix has blue eyes, though they're brown in Japan.
- Naruhodou, Phoenix's surname in Japanese, is a play-on-word with the Japanese phrase "Naruhodo (なるほど)", which means "I see" or "Indeed". This phrase is commonly used when someone finds out the truth about something, which is of course what Phoenix does so often in the games' stories.
- "Phoenix" comes as a reference to his uncanny ability to turn around cases which were almost lost (as the Phoenix comes back from the dead). "Wright" is simply a pun ("Is that right, Mr. Wright?").
- Phoenix's attire evolves from a blue suit and red tie in the first three games, to a hoodie and slacks in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney after he loses his license to practice law, to a three piece suit (his blue suit plus a vest) and pocket watch in Dual Destinies once he returns to law.