For the purposes of maintaining encyclopedic consistency, Acepedia holds a set of guidelines on which Ace Combat games are considered canon in the Strangereal universe. These guidelines are dependent on a per-game basis, and subject to change when new information is revealed or new games are released.
Every event featured in Ace Combat media is considered to be canon by default unless it contradicts information presented in other Ace Combat media. Every example of this is further described below.
Ace Combat: Joint Assault, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, and Ace Combat Infinity each take place within their own alternate realities (the Joint Assault universe is separate from the Assault Horizon universe, etc.). They are all separate from the Strangereal games. Therefore, each of these games—and all events that take place therein—are considered canon to their respective reality, but not to the Strangereal universe.
Every event featured in the following games is considered to be canon in Strangereal history:
- Air Combat
- Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
- Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (see § Ace Combat 5 branching paths)
- Ace Combat Advance
- Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War (see § Ace Combat Zero Ace Style and branching paths)
- Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
- Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion
- Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy (see § Assault Horizon Legacy branching paths)
- Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (pending the game's full release)
Keep in mind that some games not listed here may still be considered partially canon. See the following sections for more information.
Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere
Japan vs export
The international version of Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere features a much smaller amount of story, and only one character besides the player: the antagonist AI, Aurora. The Japanese version of Ace Combat 3 was intended to be localized worldwide, and the community has accepted the Japanese version as the "true" version of Ace Combat 3.
Therefore, the entirety of the export version of Ace Combat 3 is considered to be non-canon.
The Japanese version of Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere takes place in a simulation, which is revealed in the final ending cutscene with Simon Orestes Cohen. As such, every event that takes place in Ace Combat 3 gameplay is considered to be non-canon.
However, every event that takes place before gameplay (that is, the backstory of the game's universe prior to the first mission, Awakening) is considered to be canon.
The Japanese version of Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere was developed before Strangereal was conceptualized in Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies and further developed in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. As a result, Ace Combat 3 has been subjected to retcons, which are listed below:
- The United States of Euro-Asia (USEA) was renamed to simply Usea in Ace Combat 04.
- The Euro-Asia Space Administration (EASA) was retconned to the Erusian Air and Space Administration in Ace Combat 04.
Ace Combat 5 branching paths
There are three instances in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War where players will play only one of two different missions in a single playthrough. These are:
In all three cases, Acepedia treats both events as canon, but leaves ambiguity on which event Wardog Squadron took part in. Wardog Squadron is also listed as part of Osea's "strength" in both events, but dependent on the player's choice.
Ace Combat Zero Ace Style and branching paths
Acepedia treats every possible event in Ace Combat Zero as canon, but leaves ambiguity on which events Galm Team took part in. Galm Team is listed as part of the Allied Forces's "strength" in all operations, and every ace squadron is listed as part of Belka's/AWWNB's "strength" in the related operations, but dependent on the player's choice.
Ace Combat Zero birth years
In three instances, the Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War Perfect Guide Book contradicts the in-game Assault Records (or the guide book itself) on character birth years. They are as follows:
- Dietrich Kellerman: The in-game Assault Records list Kellerman's age as 45, implying his birth year was 1950. The guide book (page 183) says that Kellerman was born in 1947.
- Larry Foulke: The in-game Assault Records list Foulke's age as 28, implying his birth year was 1967. The guide book (page 176) lists Foulke's age as 26, implying his birth year was 1969.
- Marcela Vasquez: The in-game Assault Records list Vasquez's age as 27, implying her birth year was 1968. The guide book (page 184) says that Vasquez was born in 1970 and lists her age as 27, contradicting itself.
In all three scenarios, the in-game Assault Records take priority over the guide book. Therefore, Acepedia indicates Kellerman's birth year was 1950, Foulke's was 1967, and Vasquez's was 1968.
Ace Combat X branching paths
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception features branching paths with over 4,000 possible ways to play the game. Supplementary materials from ACES WEB, the recommended routes provided in the Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception - The Complete Guide, and aircraft in Ace Combat Infinity have provided a canon path for Ace Combat X that Acepedia refers to when considering the history of the Aurelian War. It is also assumed that Gryphus One defeated all Leasath forces.
- Eugene Solano's Memoirs and Standoff in the Skies II: Leasath Side confirm that Standoff in the Skies II is canon. Therefore, the following is the assumed canon path for the first part of the game:
- Aurelian Liberation Corps: Wild Card confirms that Wild Card is canon. Therefore, the following is the assumed canon path for the second part of the game:
- The XFA-33 -Alect- is considered to be evidence that End of Deception II is canon. Therefore, the following is the assumed canon path for the third part of the game:
Ace Combat 2 vs Assault Horizon Legacy
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy, released in 2011, takes place during the same conflict depicted in Ace Combat 2, released in 1997. Legacy adds more story to the conflict, involving more countries and events previously established in the console Strangereal games, and was partially developed by Project Aces.
Therefore, the events of Assault Horizon Legacy are considered to be a retcon of the events of Ace Combat 2, and Ace Combat 2 in its entirety is considered to be non-canon.
Assault Horizon Legacy branching paths
There are two instances in Assault Horizon Legacy where the player can select which mission to play:
There is also a special instance where the player must choose between two paths that have three missions each:
- Operation Alphaville, which contains the missions St. Elmo's Fire, Visiting Hours, and Toy Box
- Operation Bellissima, which contains the missions Cavalry, El Dorado, and Final Countdown
Acepedia treats every possible mission in this list as canon, but leaves ambiguity on which missions Scarface Squadron took part in. Scarface is listed as part of the Usean Allied Forces's "strength" in all operations, but dependent on the player's choice.
Ace Combat: Northern Wings contradicts specific details on the history of Strangereal depicted in Ace Combat 04, Ace Combat 5, and Ace Combat 6. Due to the limited availability of Northern Wings on Java phones compared to the three console games, and no evidence that Project Aces co-developed the game, Northern Wings in its entirety is considered to be non-canon.
The non-canon events in Northern Wings that contradict accepted history are as follows:
- Grendel Squadron participated in Operation White Out.
- Grendel Squadron destroyed the Arkbird instead of Razgriz Squadron.
- Grendel Squadron participated in the invasion of Gracemeria.
- Chandelier was defended by a Giant Antlion in a desert biome, which Grendel Squadron had to destroy before the Republic of Emmeria Air Force could approach Chandelier.