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 franchise. It will release on the PlayStation 4, the 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 will play as Trigger, an Osean Air Defense Force pilot in the Osea-Erusea Conflict. The game's cutscenes will follow Erusean Princess Rosa Cossette D'Elise and other characters.
Ace Combat 7 was first revealed from an Ace Combat Infinity data leak in November 2015. Bandai Namco announced the game one month later at PlayStation Experience. The game was first scheduled to release in 2017, but in May of that year, Bandai Namco delayed the game to 2018.
Main article: Osea-Erusea Conflict
In 2019, the Kingdom of Erusea declared war on the Osean Federation. Osea had constructed the International Space Elevator in Axel Bay before this. Erusean Princess D'Elise claimed this was "an illegal ... violation of [Erusea's] sovereignty". Erusea attacked Osea's port cities and aircraft carriers and captured the space elevator. Erusea also captured the Arsenal Birds, large UAV carriers defending the space elevator. In response, Osea deployed the Kestrel II to perform a retribution attack on Farbanti.
Trigger (second pilot in Mage Squadron) joins other Osean forces in attempting to recapture the space elevator. They encounter an Arsenal Bird in Chopinburg and retreat after suffering heavy losses. Later in the story, Trigger becomes a member of Spare Squadron and continues to take part in the war.
The game's story cutscenes will show the perspective of many characters, as in Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. Also, the theme of "comparison" (manned vs unmanned, veterans vs 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.
The flight model in Ace Combat 7 will feel like Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War and Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War. The HUD will be very reminiscent of Ace Combat Infinity. Flares will return for player control from Ace Combat: Assault Horizon.
Clouds will play a major role in gameplay for the first time in the franchise. Units inside of clouds, including the player, will gain stealth but lose visibility. The player will risk crashing into other aircraft and the terrain. The player's plane will also ice and stall if they stay in cloud cover for too long.
Helicopters and Piston Fighters will not make an appearance in Ace Combat 7. The game will only focus on fighter jets.
The player can also manually perform Post Stall Maneuvers. If successful, the player can get behind an enemy aircraft and turn a dogfight in their favor. This mechanic replaces the automatic Close Range Assault counter-maneuvers from Assault Horizon.
Ace Combat 7 will feature optional virtual reality support exclusively through PlayStation VR on PS4. The game's VR content is an exclusive set of missions separate from the main campaign. Players cannot play these VR missions without PlayStation VR, but VR is not available for the main campaign or multiplayer. The VR missions sacrifice some visual detail to maintain the required 60 frames-per-second.
When playing in VR, the player must use cockpit view; first-person and third-person views are not available. The player must turn their head to look at an enemy to lock on to them, at which point they can fire missiles as usual. Holding down the Options button will re-calibrate the headset. The HUD elements - radar, ammo, time limit, etc. - move to the bottom of the screen and become semi-transparent. The player can look down and see the entire cockpit, including the pilot's legs. The in-game pilot will interact with the plane's control sticks, despite the player's use of a DualShock 4 controller.
After Ace Combat: Assault Horizon released in late 2011, Project Aces used the game's engine to test new cloud technology. Over the next couple of years, though, the team's few resources forced development to shift to Ace Combat Infinity. Ace Combat series producer Kazutoki Kono stated in 2014 that a "next-generation" Ace Combat game—and the future of the Ace Combat franchise—would depend on Infinity. Around this time, the concepts of Ace Combat 7 and its clouds existed, but the game was not in full development. A year later, in May 2015, Kono reiterated that Project Aces was a small team busy with maintaining Infinity. Yet, he also stated that Infinity's overwhelming success helped push them to the "next step".
Meanwhile, Bandai Namco's Tekken team released Tekken 7 in 2015 using Unreal Engine 4. Tekken 7 was the company's first game to use a non-proprietary third-party engine. Their goal was to save development time and make porting between platforms easier. By the time Ace Combat 7 got the green light, the Ace Combat proprietary engine had entered a "state of limbo". After the Tekken team's success with Unreal Engine 4, Project Aces jumped on the opportunity to use it. They also licensed trueSKY for the cloud mechanics and SpeedTree for rendering vegetation.
Project Aces did not consider virtual reality in the initial development stages. When Kono offered the possibility, the team jumped at the chance to include it. Bandai Namco's work on Mach Storm and Star Wars: Battle Pod provided a lot of help for the VR development. The team also started modeling the aircraft from scratch in higher detail to make the best use of modern hardware.
In June 2015, Project Aces revealed a 20th anniversary wallpaper featuring the tagline "ACES even challenge the true sky". Kono revealed two years later that "ACES even" was hiding the phrase "ACE Seven", referencing the future title.
Ace Combat 7 entered full development by November 2015. Bandai Namco scheduled a trailer to debut during PlayStation Experience 2015. Project Aces added data to Infinity in advance for a celebratory event after the trailer aired. Japanese players discovered this data by November 19 and leaked its existence online. On December 5, the trailer aired at the tail end of PlayStation Experience's VR segment. They only announced the game for PS4, and confirmed it would support PlayStation VR. By this point, Ace Combat 7 was 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 quiet on announcements. Project Aces continued developing Ace Combat 7 and supporting Ace Combat Infinity. In March 2016, Bandai Namco's Brasil and Latinoamérica Facebook pages announced that Ace Combat 7 would release that year. No English or Japanese source confirmed this. Later that month, Kono tweeted that the script for Ace Combat 7 was almost complete. Yet, the team had not decided on the player's squadron and name (later "Mage Squadron" and "Trigger"). He joked that they would be "Player" and "Player 1".
Despite no such announcement, some players expected Ace Combat 7 to appear at E3 in June 2016. They expressed disappointment online when it didn't appear. Kono apologized on Twitter and said many things prevented the game from appearing at E3. He echoed this apology following the game's absence at Tokyo Game Show in September 2016. He later revealed that the VR demo had framerate problems, preventing it from showing at Tokyo Game Show.
Keiki Kobayashi tweeted a photo of the third campaign mission's sheet music in November 2016. Later that month, Gematsu reported that Bandai Namco trademarked five new titles. One of them was "Skies Unknown", which later turned out to be the subtitle for Ace Combat 7. The company held the official announcement for two months.
On November 23, 2016, PlayStation announced that Ace Combat 7 would be playable at PSX next month. Kono thought the appearance was a secret and expressed surprise at the announcement. Project Aces confirmed the demo would be on PS VR and tweeted a cropped photo of the F/A-18F's cockpit in VR. On December 3, the game's first story trailer aired near the start of the PSX presentation. The official YouTube uploads of the trailer confirmed the game would release in 2017. A leak from Gematsu confirmed the game's full title would be Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. Masahide Kito, the radio script writer for Ace Combat 04, announced he will return for Ace Combat 7.
GamingBolt asked Kono if Ace Combat 7 could see an Xbox One release. Kono said "the doors [are not closed] for a multi platform release" but their focus was on PlayStation first. Gematsu reported on January 3, 2017 that Taiwan's games rating board gave Ace Combat 7 an Xbox One rating. The rating board removed it from the website two days later. At that month's Taipei Game Show, Kono announced a Traditional Chinese localization.
Bandai Namco revealed an extended version of the PSX trailer on January 26. This coincided with an announcement of the game's full title, as well as Xbox One and Steam ports. The press release also revealed 2-player local multiplayer, but reiterated that VR would remain exclusive to PlayStation.
Project Aces had an internal goal to have a non-VR demo build ready early for the next E3 in June 2017. The E3 build took longer to complete than the team first thought it would. In May, Kono delayed the game's release from 2017 to 2018. When asked by Famitsu, he denied that VR caused the delay, stating that VR was only one of Ace Combat 7's many gameplay elements.
Bandai Namco released an E3 story trailer for the game a few days before the event. By the time E3 began, footage of the campaign mission demo began to emerge. DigitalFoundry discovered the game's demo was not running at 60 frames-per-second. Kono mentioned the possibility of better framerates on the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. He also confirmed the player could customize their plane's emblem and skin after completing the story.
Two months later, at Gamescom 2017, Bandai Namco released another new story trailer. The trailer mostly used dialogue and visuals from the E3 trailer, but included a few new lines and scenes. The E3 campaign mission demo was available with some framerate improvements. The company also showed off another campaign mission with commentary from Kono. In an interview with DualShockers, Kono said they couldn't port the game to the Nintendo Switch due to performance concerns.
The team released another gameplay trailer for Tokyo Game Show 2017 presenting Post Stall Maneuvers. The final trailer released in this news cycle was a new VR trailer for Paris Games Week. This trailer revealed the VR side campaign would follow Mobius Squadron and allow the players to view their aircraft up-close.
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.
- Before the game's first trailer aired, 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.
- Katsuhiro Harada (Tekken producer) said in 2014 that Ace Combat would never get VR support. He believed the "horizontal" shook too much and would make the player feel as if they were drunk.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kazutoki Kono. "Letter to ACE COMBAT Fans". BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America. Published on 16 May 2017. Retrieved on 16 May 2017.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Project Aces (@PROJECT_ACES). Published on 16 May 2017. Retrieved on 16 May 2017. "ACE COMBAT 7で最高品質の体験をお届けするため発売時期を2018年に変更させていただきました" ["In order to deliver the highest quality experience with ACE COMBAT 7, we have changed the release date to 2018"].
- ↑ Andrew Goldfarb. "PSX 2015: Ace Combat 7 Revealed". IGN. Published on 5 December 2015. Retrieved on 5 December 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: Skies Unknown Game". PlayStation. Retrieved on 22 February 2016. "Aces who have proven their combat prowess in the campaign mode can take their dogfighting skills online for furious online multiplayer battles".
- ↑ 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 Kono (@kazutoki). Published on 5 December 2015. Retrieved on 5 December 2015. "VR専用製品ではないです" ["It is not a VR exclusive product"].
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - New Years Showcase Trailer.
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - Paris Games Week VR Trailer (Official).
- ↑ File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown Text Logo.png.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - Gamescom 2017 Trailer (Subtitles).
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - E3 2017 Demo Gameplay.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 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.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 「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.
- ↑ 9lives sprak met Ace Combat 7-producer Kazutoki Kono. 9lives. Published January 12, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 File:Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown - TGS 2017 Trailer.
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 The Importance of Ace Combat 7's Cloud-Based Conflict. YouTube. Uploaded by IGN on January 30, 2017.
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 『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.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7 on PS4: First Look + Tech Analysis + Frame-Rate Test. YouTube. Uploaded by DigitalFoundry on June 26, 2017.
- ↑ @SpeedTreeInc on Twitter. Published on March 23, 2018. Retrieved on March 24, 2018.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7 interview with Kazutoki Kono (Franchise Director) - Gamespot @ E3 2017. YouTube. Uploaded by Zaptroxix on June 15, 2017.
- ↑ @PROJECT_ACES on Twitter. Published on June 30 2015. Retrieved on April 8 2018.
- ↑ @kazutoki on Twitter. Published on August 30 2017. Retrieved on April 8 2018.
- ↑ イベント情報/コメント. Gwiki. Retrieved from the Web Archive's version dated November 24, 2015.
- ↑ 『エースコンバット7』開発陣インタビュー完全版！ 「3つの軸を追求します」. Famitsu. Published December 17, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 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.
- ↑ 52.0 52.1 【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.
- ↑ 『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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