Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies is the fifth installment in the main Ace Attorney series, focusing on the staff of the Wright Anything Agency as they take on a series of cases in the "dark age of the law," where corruption, false charges, and falsification of evidence are rampant in the legal system. Dual Destinies features the return of series protagonist Phoenix Wright as a practicing lawyer and playable character, having regained his attorney's badge after the events of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. Apollo Justice also returns in this installment as a playable character. The men are joined at the agency by Athena Cykes, a rookie lawyer with a personal connection to a few of the cases in the game.
Like previous games in the series, gameplay in Dual Destinies is broken up into two distinct segments: investigation and trial. In the investigation phase, the player navigates through a series of screens, searching for clues and interviewing witnesses. Items and other pertinent information found are added to the court record for use during the trial phase. In the trial phase, witnesses take the stand, and the player is given the opportunity to present evidence that contradicts their testimony. Dual Destinies also features the return of two additional gameplay mechanics introduced earlier in the series: the "Psyche-Lock," where witnesses during the investigation phase refuse to divulge information, forcing the player to present evidence to get them to talk; and the "Perceive System" in the trial phase, where the player looks for non-verbal tells that a witness is hiding something. The addition of Athena as a playable character introduces the "Mood Matrix," where Athena is capable of scanning the emotions of a witness to locate the parts of their testimony that cause them the most distress or where their mood contradicts what they're saying.
Dual Destinies features five cases, with the three protagonists trading off lead defense responsibilities while the other attorneys act as assistants and guides. Players face off against a new prosecutor character, Simon Blackquill, as well as returning series regular Miles Edgeworth. Like previous Ace Attorney installments, the order of the cases is not in strict chronological order, with the first case actually taking place timeline-wise in the middle of the fourth case, serving as a tutorial to ease new players into the gameplay.
Unlike its predecessors, Dual Destinies did not receive a physical release in Western territories. Two DLC cases were also released, "Turnabout Reclaimed" and "Quiz Turnabout Deduction." Only the former has been made available outside of Japan.