Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (エースコンバット7 スカイズ・アンノウン) is the upcoming 17th entry in the Ace Combat series. It will release on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam in 2018. The game will also feature optional VR support, exclusively through the PlayStation VR.
The single-player campaign takes place in Strangereal in 2019. The player follows the story of Trigger, an Osean Air Defense Force pilot embroiled in the Osea-Erusea Conflict. The game's cutscenes will also follow the Erusean Princess, Rosa Cossette D'Elise, and other characters on the ground during the war.
Ace Combat 7 was initially revealed through an Ace Combat Infinity data leak in November 2015, and officially announced one month later at PlayStation Experience. The Ace Combat 20th anniversary logo contained a teaser for the announcement which was never noticed until Kono revealed it on his Twitter account. It was initially scheduled to release in 2017, but the game was delayed to 2018.
Main article: Osea-Erusea Conflict
In 2019, the Kingdom of Erusea declared war on the Osean Federation. Erusean Princess D'Elise claimed that Osea's construction of the International Space Elevator in Axel Bay was an "illegal . . . violation of [Erusea's] sovereignty". Erusea simultaneously attacked Osea's port cities and aircraft carriers, and also took control of the space elevator and its defending Arsenal Birds. In response, Osea deployed the Kestrel II to perform a retribution attack on Farbanti, and attempted to recapture the space elevator.
Trigger, a member of Mage Squadron, joins the Osean forces in attempting to recapture the space elevator. However, Mage and other Osean squadrons are blocked in Chopinburg by one of the Arsenal Birds, and are forced to retreat. At some point later in the story, Trigger becomes a member of Spare Squadron and continues to operate in central Usea.
The game's story cutscenes will be from the perspective of multiple characters, similar in a way to Ace Combat 04's cutscenes that were from the perspective of the Side Story Narrator. The theme of "comparison" (between manned and unmanned, veterans and rookies, etc.) will be central to the plot.
This list will be incomplete until the release of the game. See Category:Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown characters for all characters added to the wiki.
Ace Combat 7's flight model and controls will feel most similar to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War and Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War. The HUD will be very similar to that of Ace Combat Infinity. In addition, flares will be returning for player control from Ace Combat: Assault Horizon.
Clouds will play a major role in gameplay for the first time in the series. Units inside of clouds, including the player, will gain stealth. However, visibility is poor inside clouds, and the player will risk crashing into other aircraft or the terrain. The player's aircraft will ice and stall if they stay in cloud cover for too long.
Producer Kazutoki Kono stated that other important aspects of Ace Combat 7's gameplay will include allowing players to manually perform advanced maneuvers as well as "improving strategic aspects against enemies".
Unlike Assault Horizon and Infinity, helicopters and Piston Fighters will not make an appearance in 7; the game will focus solely on jet aircraft.
Post Stall Maneuver is a move that your aircraft can perform to get behind an enemy aircraft if used correctly. It is similar to the cobra maneuver used to get behind an enemy while in DFM in Assault Horizon although it is not as on rails. This gameplay mechanic was shown off at Tokyo Game Show 2017.
Ace Combat 7 will feature optional virtual reality support, exclusive to the PlayStation VR headset on PlayStation 4. The VR portion of the game will be an exclusive set of missions separate from the main campaign. The VR missions will not be playable without PlayStation VR; conversely, the main campaign missions and multiplayer will not be playable in VR. In addition, VR will sacrifice some visual detail to maintain the required 60 frames per second.
When playing in VR, the player will be forced into cockpit mode; first-person and third-person are not available. The player must turn their head to look at an enemy in order to lock on to them, at which point they can fire missiles as usual. Holding down the Options button will recalibrate the headset. The HUD elements - radar, ammo, time limit, etc. - will be moved to the bottom of the screen and made semi-transparent. The player will be able to look down and see the entire cockpit, including the pilot's legs. The pilot will interact with the plane's controls, despite the player holding a DualShock 4 controller.
After the release of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon in late 2011, Project Aces began testing new cloud technology within the Assault Horizon engine. However, in the years following Assault Horizon, additional development on the project that would become Ace Combat 7 was put on hold to develop and maintain Ace Combat Infinity, particularly due to a lack of resources. In an interview with Famitsu following Aces at Operation: "Digital Hollywood", Kazutoki Kono said that the development of a "next-generation" Ace Combat game—and the future of Ace Combat in general—would depend on Infinity; by this time, cloud technology was being experimented with, but Ace Combat 7 had yet to enter full development. In another interview in May 2015, a year after Infinity's release, Kono reiterated that Project Aces is a small team and they had their hands full maintaining Infinity, but also stated that the game's overwhelming success helped push the team towards the "next step".
Meanwhile, Bandai Namco's Tekken team had released Tekken 7 in arcades in March 2015. Tekken 7, running on Unreal Engine 4, was the first Bandai Namco game to use a non-proprietary third-party engine; this was done to save development time and to make porting between platforms easier than using PlayStation-based code. By the time Bandai Namco greenlit Ace Combat 7 for development, according to Kono, the Ace Combat proprietary engine had entered a "state of limbo". Based on the Tekken team's success with Unreal Engine 4, Project Aces jumped on the opportunity to use Unreal Engine 4 as well. The team also opted to use and heavily customize the trueSKY middleware to handle the cloud technology similar to their tests in the Assault Horizon engine.
Project Aces had not considered virtual reality in the initial stages of development, but when it was offered to the team, they jumped at the chance to include it. The virtual reality aspect was given immense help from Bandai Namco's work on Mach Storm and Star Wars: Battle Pod. The team also began modeling the game's aircraft from scratch in higher resolutions, to make the best use of modern hardware.
By November 2015, Ace Combat 7 had entered full development, and was secretly scheduled to debut a trailer during PlayStation Experience 2015. Project Aces added data to Infinity for a celebratory event that would take place after the trailer's airing, and the data was discovered by Japanese players by November 19. On December 5, the announcement trailer for Ace Combat 7 aired at the tail end of PlayStation Experience's VR segment. The game was announced only for the PlayStation 4 platform and confirmed to have PlayStation VR capabilities. At this point, Ace Combat 7 was reported to be 20% complete, and details began to emerge on the importance of clouds. The game's subtitle, or even if there would be one, was not confirmed.
The following year remained relatively quiet as Project Aces continued developing Ace Combat 7 in tandem with continuing support for Ace Combat Infinity. In early March 2016, Bandai Namco's Brasil and Latinoamérica Facebook pages said that the game would release that same year, though no English or Japanese source confirmed this. Later that month, Kono tweeted that the script for Ace Combat 7 was nearly complete, but that the player's squadron and name (later "Mage Squadron" and "Trigger") had not yet been determined, joking about the new callsigns "Player" and "Player 1".
E3 2016 took place in June that year; despite no such announcement, some fans had expected Ace Combat 7 to make an appearance and expressed disappointment when it didn't. Kono apologized profusely on Twitter, saying that many things prevented the game's appearance at E3 and that he wants fans to feel goosebumps the next time they see it. Kono apologized again for the game's absence at Tokyo Game Show 2016 in September, saying that the team still needs some more time to prepare a new announcement. It was later revealed that framerate problems in the VR demo prevented them from showing anything at Tokyo Game Show.
In November, Keiki Kobayashi tweeted a photo of sheet music for mission 3 in the campaign, later revealed to be Two-pronged strategy. On November 22, it was reported that Bandai Namco had trademarked five new titles, including "Skies Unknown". This turned out to be the subtitle for Ace Combat 7, though the official announcement would be held for two months.
On November 23, 2016, PlayStation confirmed that Ace Combat 7 would make an appearance at PlayStation Experience 2016 and would also be playable on the show floor. Kono thought the appearance was supposed to be secret and was surprised to see PlayStation announce it. Project Aces officially confirmed that the playable demo of Ace Combat 7 would be on PlayStation VR, and also tweeted a cropped photo of the F/A-18F's cockpit in VR. On December 3, the second trailer aired near the start of the PSX presentation, showing off many new story details. The official YouTube uploads of the trailer confirmed the game's release year as 2017. A leak from Gematsu confirmed that the game's full title would be Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, though no announcement had yet been made. Separately, Masahide Kito, the radio script writer for Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, announced on Twitter that he had returned for Ace Combat 7.
In a subsequent interview, GamingBolt asked Kono if Ace Combat 7 could see an Xbox One release. Kono said that "the doors [are not closed] for a multi platform release" but that they were focusing on the PlayStation version first because of PlayStation VR. Gematsu later reported on January 3, 2017, that the Taiwan Game Software Rating Information board had given Ace Combat 7 a rating for Xbox One; the rating was removed on January 5. At the 2017 Taipei Game Show later that month, Kono announced that Ace Combat 7 would receive a Traditional Chinese localization, the first Ace Combat game to do so.
On January 26, an extended version of the PSX trailer was released, alongside an announcement of the game's full title, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, as well as Xbox One and Steam ports. VR was re-stated to be exclusive to PlayStation, and 2-player local multiplayer support was revealed.
E3 & Gamescom 2017
An internal goal at Project Aces was to have a non-VR demo build ready early for the next E3 in June 2017. However, this E3 build took longer to complete than the team initially thought, prompting Kono to make the difficult decision to delay the game to 2018. Famitsu asked Kono after E3 if the delay was because of VR, but Kono denied it, saying that VR is only one of many gameplay elements being developed for Ace Combat 7.
On the weekend prior to E3, Bandai Namco released an E3 trailer for the game, showing off many more story details, particularly the name and voice of Rosa Cossette D'Elise as well as the first looks at locations like Farbanti and the 444th Air Base. By the time E3 began, footage of the campaign mission demo began to emerge. In subsequent interviews, it was revealed that the game was not running at 60 frames per second (though this is still subject to optimization) and that the PlayStation 4 Pro's and Xbox One X's higher specs could be used for framerate enhancement. Kono also later confirmed that the player will be able to customize their emblems and skins, though not until after they finish the campaign once through.
Two months later, at Gamescom 2017, a new story trailer was revealed. The trailer mostly uses dialogue and visuals from the E3 trailer, with a few new lines and scenes. The E3 campaign mission demo was made available on the show floor, with some framerate improvements. In addition, a new campaign mission was partially shown with commentary by Kazutoki Kono. In an interview with DualShockers, Kono said that Ace Combat 7 would not be ported to the Nintendo Switch because of performance concerns.
Prior to release, Ace Combat 7 received praise from gaming media (particularly for its virtual reality mode) as well as fans. DualShockers awarded Ace Combat 7 with "Best AR/VR Game" at Gamescom 2017.
Also see Category:Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown for all Ace Combat 7 screenshots uploaded to Acepedia!
- Ace Combat 7 will be the first...
- ...Ace Combat game since Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation to feature a number in the title;
- ...console Ace Combat game since Ace Combat 6 to take place in the Strangereal universe;
- ...Ace Combat game to release on 8th-generation home consoles;
- ...Ace Combat game to use a third-party engine, namely Unreal Engine 4;
- ...Ace Combat game since Ace Combat: Assault Horizon on PC;
- ...Strangereal-based Ace Combat game on PC;
- ...Ace Combat game since Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War to have screenplay written by Sunao Katabuchi;
- ...Ace Combat game since Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War to feature local multiplayer; and the first
- ...Ace Combat game to be localized in Traditional Chinese.
- Project Aces was not initially certain on having a subtitle for Ace Combat 7. On December 6, 2016, the Skies Unknown subtitle was leaked. It was formally announced on January 26, 2017.
- Immediately prior to the Ace Combat 7 announcement trailer's first airing, Asad Qizilbash, head of Software Marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America, described "staying up all night to unlock this easter egg, it was a FALKEN fighter", referencing Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- On November 15, 2014, Bandai Namco producer Katsuhiro Harada (producer of the Tekken series) stated that Ace Combat would never get VR support due to the "horizontal" being "shaken violently" as if one was drunk. The fact that Ace Combat 7 supports PlayStation VR shows a shift in Bandai Namco's acceptance of virtual reality for those who can physically tolerate the technology.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Letter to ACE COMBAT Fans. BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America. Published on May 16, 2017. Retrieved on May 16, 2017.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 @PROJECT_ACES on Twitter. Published on May 16, 2017.
- ↑ PSX 2015: Ace Combat 7 Revealed. IGN. Published December 5, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Ace Combat 7 coming to Xbox One and PC, 'New Years Showcase' trailer. Gematsu. Published on January 26, 2017. Retrieved on January 26, 2017.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7. PlayStation. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 PS4 Exclusive Ace Combat 7 Will Support PS4 Pro; Producer Talks Developing for PS4 and PlayStation VR. DualShockers. Published on December 4, 2016. Retrieved on December 4, 2016.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 kazutoki. Twitter. Published December 5, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - New Years Showcase Trailer.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - Paris Games Week VR Trailer (Official).
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown Text Logo.png.
- ↑ @kazutoki on Twitter. Published on August 30, 2017.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - Gamescom 2017 Trailer (Subtitles).
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - E3 2017 Demo Gameplay.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - Gamescom Commentary Gameplay.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7 Takes Place 10 Year After The Events Of Ace Combat 5. Siliconera, translated from a Famitsu excerpt. Published on December 6, 2016. Retrieved on December 6, 2016.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 「エースコンバット 7」VRデモのプレイレポート。トレイラーではさまざまな革新が見られたが，操作感はPS2風？. 4gamer.net. Published on December 4, 2016. Retrieved on December 4, 2016.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Goes Back To Its Roots. GameSpot. Published on January 26, 2017. Retrieved on January 28, 2017.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 Famitsu interview with Kazutoki Kono. Officially published in print on December 10, 2015. Full interview published on December 17, 2015.
- ↑ 9lives sprak met Ace Combat 7-producer Kazutoki Kono. 9lives. Published January 12, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- ↑ PlayStation Experience: Ace Combat 7 VR Hands-On: Highway To the Danger Zone. WWG. Published on December 3, 2016. Retrieved on December 4, 2016.
- ↑ File:AC7 PS VR Demo Controls.jpg.
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 The Importance of Ace Combat 7's Cloud-Based Conflict. YouTube. Uploaded by IGN on January 30, 2017.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 『エースコンバット7』河野一聡Pにインタビュー。『7』は質感や温度の表現まで踏み込む！【E3 2017】. Dengeki Online. Published on June 16, 2017. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ 『エースコンバット インフィニティ』いよいよ開発は佳境！ 河野一聡氏、小林啓樹氏にインタビュー. Famitsu. Published on March 4, 2014. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ Next Generation Ace Combat Being Considered; It’ll Depend on How Well Infinity Does. Dualshockers. Published on March 8, 2014. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ 『エースコンバット インフィニティ』1周年スペシャルインタビュー完全版. Famitsu. Published on May 28, 2015. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ This is probably long overdue, but here's my translation of Famitsu's interview of Kono, Wada, and Koyanagi. Reddit. Posted by lockspeed-99 on July 2, 2015. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ Tekken 7 - PS4/XB1/PC - Unreal Engine 4 & Tekken Part 1 (Q&A Dev Interviews). YouTube. Uploaded by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe on May 31, 2017.
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 Ace Combat 7 on PS4: First Look + Tech Analysis + Frame-Rate Test. YouTube. Uploaded by DigitalFoundry on June 26, 2017.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7 interview with Kazutoki Kono (Franchise Director) - Gamespot @ E3 2017. YouTube. Uploaded by Zaptroxix on June 15, 2017.
- ↑ イベント情報/コメント. Gwiki. Retrieved from the Web Archive's version dated November 24, 2015.
- ↑ PS4『エースコンバット7』は軌道エレベーターがシンボルとなる架空世界が舞台！PVは全て実機映像で、雲に突っ込むことも可能. はちま起稿. Published on December 8, 2015. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ . Facebook. Posted on March 4, 2016. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ . Facebook. Posted on March 6, 2016. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ . Twitter. Posted by @kazutoki on March 29, 2016.
- ↑ . Twitter. Posted by @kazutoki on June 14, 2016.
- ↑ . Twitter. Posted by @kazutoki on September 17, 2016.
- ↑ Incoming full translation of AC7 2016 Famitsu interview. Reddit. Posted by BlackKite2128 on December 9, 2016. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ . Twitter. Posted by @keikikobayashi on November 9, 2016.
- ↑ Bandai Namco trademarks Skies Unknown, The Precious 12, Fortune Gears, more in Europe. Gematsu. Published on November 22, 2016. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ PlayStation Experience 2016: Panel Lineup, 100+ Playable Games. PlayStation Blog. Published on November 23, 2016. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ . Twitter. Posted by @kazutoki on November 23, 2016.
- ↑ . Twitter. Posted by @PROJECT_ACES on November 28, 2016.
- ↑ File:Ace Combat 7 - PS4 - War is taking off (English) (PSX 2016).
- ↑ Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is apparently the official title!. Reddit. Comment posted by Sal Romano (head of Gematsu) on December 7, 2016. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ . Twitter. Posted by @kito_mas on December 5, 2016.
- ↑ Kazutoki Kono on Ace Combat 7 Xbox One – ‘Not Closing Doors On Multiplatform Release’. GamingBolt. Published on December 13, 2016. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7 rated for Xbox One in Taiwan. Gematsu. Published on January 3, 2017. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ 49.0 49.1 【TpGS17】《空戰奇兵7》將推出繁體中文版 製作人河野一聰訪談. Mobile01. Published on January 21, 2017. Retrieved on January 21, 2017.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7 coming to Xbox One and PC, ‘New Years Showcase’ trailer. Gematsu. Published on January 26, 2017. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ 51.0 51.1 『エースコンバット7 スカイズ・アンノウン』最新バージョンを体験！ そして河野Pにあれこれ聞いてみた【E3 2017】. Famitsu. Published on June 14, 2017. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7 Hands-On and Interview – Campaign To Last Between Four and Five Hours. Wccftech. Published on July 3, 2017. Retrieved on August 19, 2017.
- ↑ File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - Gamescom 2017 Demo Gameplay.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7 Producer Comments on Switch Port Possibility; Explains Why it Became Multiplatform. DualShockers. Published on August 22, 2017. Retrieved on August 25, 2017.
- ↑ . Twitter via @DualShockers. Posted on August 24, 2017.
- ↑ PROJECT_ACES. Twitter. Published December 5, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- ↑ Unreal Engine. Twitter. Published December 5, 2015. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
- ↑ 河野一聡 @kazutoki. Twitter. Published December 10, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
- ↑ 「サマーレッスン」体験実録。「Project Morpheus」で話題沸騰の技術デモはいかにして生まれたのか。鉄拳チーム原田氏に根掘り葉掘り聞いてきた. 4gamer. Published November 15, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
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