Who Is Herlock Sholmes?


Just in case that you missed it, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is finally going to head west after being exclusive to Japan for years. This series of spin-off titles is based on the Ace Attorney series of games. However, unlike the more contemporary setting of the mainline titles, the spin-offs are set in the late 1800s and stars Ryūnosuke Naruhodō, the ancestor of the Ace Attorney series protagonist, Phoenix Wright.

In an attempt to avoid legal troubles, Capcom has opted to use the Herlock Sholmes name for the worldwide release of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles in July 2021.

Because of its time setting, the developers, Capcom, decided that it would be fitting to insert the famous Sherlock Holmes into the games. Unfortunately, while this is a great idea, Capcom isn't exactly allowed to use that IP. At least, not in the western release of the game.

As a result, we westerners will now have to settle for the equally competent Herlock Sholmes instead.

Why Can't The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Use Sherlock Holmes?

Just as Ryunosuke Naruhodo will prove to you, objections run in the family.

You might wonder, why does Capcom need to rename Sherlock Holmes to Herlock Sholmes for the western release of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles? After all, the majority of the written works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author, and the creator of Sherlock Holmes, is already in the public domain. This means that anyone can pretty much use the name Sherlock Holmes now, as well as his likeness.

Unfortunately, this isn't necessarily the case. Apparently, ten of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories remain protections under US copyright laws. Because of this, Doyle's estate has free reigns to contest all uses of the name Sherlock Holmes in the west. In fact, Doyle's estate argued that the only reason why it dismissed a lawsuit lodged against the Netflix film titled Enola Holmes is that it created "significant new character traits for Holmes and Watson".

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TLDR; Doyle's estate will contest you for the rights to the Sherlock Holmes name if you depict him as being anywhere near capable of expressing emotion.

With that said, Capcom, who most likely wants to avoid drawing the ire of Doyle's estate, went with the Herlock Sholes name instead.

Coincidentally, this isn't the first that the name Herlock Sholmes has been used in place of Sherlock Holmes. In fact, the name is widely credited to French author, Maurice Leblanc. The author, who is best known for his stories that starred the fictional gentleman thief and detective Arsène Lupin, used Sherlock Holmes in one of his short stories in 1906. However, after Doyle objected to the use of the name, Leblanc instead used the name Herlock Sholmes.

If it's any consolation, Doyle's rights to the Sherlock Holmes name won't last forever. As a matter of fact, all of Doyle's stories of Sherlock Holmes will become public domain in the United States starting on January 1, 2023. This means that, from then on, anyone who wants to use the Sherlock Holmes name and depict the famous detective can do so in any medium.

When Is The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Release Date?

After nearly half a decade of exclusivity in Japan, the Great Ace Attorney Chronicles games will see a worldwide release on July 27, 2021. Unlike the original versions, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles will release on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles will serve as a compilation that includes both The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve.

You can check out the trailer above for more details.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.