- "[It] is a very "accommodating" world, so to speak. But it allows us to do it [with] a sort of sense of reality, it's not completely out there to the point that it doesn't seem at all realistic. It's a balance with fiction with experimental weapons and massive airship carriers."
- ― Kazutoki Kono on Strangereal
Strangereal (ストレンジリアル) is the name of the alternate universe within which most Ace Combat games take place. Strangereal is almost identical to our real universe, but its version of Earth features entirely different landmasses and historical events.
Strangereal, as it exists today, was created by Namco employees in developing Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies and Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. It has since been retconned to be the setting for the three Ace Combat games before Ace Combat 04, as well as the majority of Ace Combat games released since. The upcoming Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown will be the 13th Strangereal game.
- "We coined the term "Strangereal World" when we were making the world of 04 using improper English grammar, but coin it we did. From that point on, for whatever reason, it's become established to users around the world as "Strangereal." For that reason, "True Strangereal" (laughs) is what we call the world based on 04 from which the numbered titles have stemmed."
- ― Kazutoki Kono on Strangereal's name
The name "Strangereal" was coined by members of Namco's AC04 Project during the development of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. Back then it was simply a design concept and referred to as Strange Real World (ストレンジ・リアル・ワールド) or Strange Real (ストレンジ・リアル). Its earliest-known appearance is in a trailer from Tokyo Game Show 2000, advertising "the strange,real world". The official website included staff notes where the concept of a "Strange Real World" was used to refer to the reality within which Ace Combat 04 took place. The name "Strange Real" appeared once more in the first teaser trailer for Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, and again, in the form "Strangereal", in the teaser trailer for Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.
Despite the intention of just being a design concept for a fictional universe, fans began to use the name "Strangereal" to refer to the universe itself. For example, the numbered Ace Combat games became known as 'the games that take place within Strangereal'. As such, Bandai Namco and Project Aces began to use the name to refer to the universe, particularly around the marketing for Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. It has been prominently mentioned as a feature of the game.
- This section only presents the major conflicts that took place on Strangereal's Earth. For the full history of the universe, see Strangereal/Timeline.
A number of major events have occurred in Strangereal's history, most of which were represented in a so-called "Strangereal game" in the Ace Combat series. They are as follows:
- Osean War (1905–1910)
- Cold War (1980s–1995)
- Skully Islands insurrection (1995, depicted in Air Combat)
- Belkan War (1995, depicted in Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War)
- Usean Continental War (1997–1998, depicted in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy retconning Ace Combat 2)
- Ulysses 1994XF04 planetfall (July 1999)
- Second Usean Continental War (2003–2005, depicted in Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies)
- Operation Katina (2006, depicted in Arcade Mode in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War)
- Estovakian Civil War (2007–2014)
- Circum-Pacific War (2010, depicted in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War)
- Emmeria-Estovakia War (2015–2016, depicted in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation)
- Leasath Civil War (unknown–2019)
- Osea-Erusea Conflict (2019, depicted in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown)
- Aurelian War (2020, depicted in Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception and Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion)
- Usean Corporate War (simulated in 2040, depicted in Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere)
It is widely assumed, but not fully confirmed, that Strangereal is nearly identical to our real Universe - a large, expanding universe made up of mostly dark energy and dark matter, with a small percentage of mass belonging to stars and planets.
What is confirmed is that Strangereal's Milky Way galaxy is the same as ours. Many constellations are present in Ace Combat games, including Orion and Crux. This also leads to the confirmation that Strangereal's Solar System is the same as our real Solar System, with the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, along with the Sun and an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Unlike the universe in general, the planet Earth in Strangereal is vastly different from our real Earth. Various differences include climates, landmasses, historical events, and cultures. However, similarities exist as well. Humans inhabit this Earth as the dominant species, the concept of time is the exact same as ours, and lasting world peace seems unreachable, which is a popular theme for most Strangereal-based games.
Earth is comprised of six recognized continents, each of which is divided into various countries. In total, there are over 50 countries on Strangereal.
Anea is the geographic northernmost continent on the planet. In spite of its geographic position, Anea is home to a variety of climates including deserts. Only three major countries are known to exist on Anea:
Antarctica is the largest continent land-wise and is the only continent that shares its name with one on our real Earth. It is the geographic southernmost continent on the planet, and the geographic South Pole is in the center of Antarctica.
No countries, colonies, or research stations belonging to other countries are known to exist on Antarctica. It has not been involved in any known conflicts.
Main article: Osea (continent)
The Osean continent is one of the largest continents on the planet and is home to a large number of people. Numerous conflicts have been fought here, outnumbering the known conflicts on any other continent. The continent is separated into at least a dozen countries. The known countries and their position on the Osean continent are as follows:
The Usean continent is one of the smallest continents on Strangereal's Earth, but it has a storied history of rebellions and infighting between its countries. Usea has at least 18 countries most of which are unknown. The known countries are as follows:
The Verusan continent is another of the largest continents on Earth. Verusa hosts at least 20 countries, the largest number of countries on any Strangereal continent. These include:
- An old map of Strangereal is displayed as part of an advertisement for a dinosaur museum in Operation Métro, a DLC map in Battlefield 4.
- Many fans used (and still use) the name "Strangereal" to refer to the planet. However, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies material and Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation dialogue have already confirmed the planet's name to be Earth.
- In Ace Combat 04 development, Strangereal's Earth was similar to ours; the shape of the continents were strikingly similar, with the Pacific Ocean having received the most changes with the inclusion of the Usean continent. A new Earth was designed for Ace Combat 5, which is now the official version of the planet for all Strangereal games.
- Following the releases of Ace Combat: Joint Assault, Assault Horizon (especially so), and Infinity, many fans assumed that Bandai Namco had abandoned Strangereal entirely. However, the releases of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy, Ace Combat: Northern Wings, and Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown put this theory to rest.
- Kazutoki Kono confirmed that Strangereal was abandoned for Assault Horizon in particular because it was seen as a barrier to entry for newcomers to the Ace Combat series. Bandai Namco believed that setting a main game in the real world, which would be more relatable, would help draw new players to the franchise.
- A popular oddity in the PlayStation 2 games is when an enemy pilot will exclaim "My plane's been Swiss-cheesed!", even though Switzerland does not exist in Strangereal. A Dutch roll is also mentioned in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, even though the Netherlands is also not present in Strangereal.
- Christmas is celebrated in Griswall on December 2020, implying that Christianity is or once was present within Strangereal.
- Strangereal has directly referenced many real-life languages, including English (multiple), German (Belkan), French (Aurelian), Russian (Yuktobanian and Estovakian), and Spanish (Sapinish).
- New Zealand also appears in Strangereal, albeit part of Antarctica, located just south of the Osean landmass.
- Garuda Team's emblem is referred to as a "Piasa Bird emblem" by Estovakian soldiers. Establishing the Piasa Bird as a part of Strangereal mythology.
- ↑ You'll Love Ace Combat 7 if You Liked 4 and 5 – Producer Explains Why they Went Back to Strangereal. DualShockers. Published on December 5, 2016. Retrieved on December 6, 2016.
- ↑ 『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】(2/2). Famitsu. Published on June 14, 2017. Translation by Encyclopædia Strangereal retrieved on June 19, 2017.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 AC04Web staff notes #02. Retrieved from the Web Archive version from November 17, 2001.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 AC04Web staff notes #01. Retrieved from the Web Archive version from May 2, 2001.
- ↑ File:Ace Combat 04 Shattered Skies - TGS 2000 Teaser Trailer.
- ↑ File:Ace Combat 5 The Unsung War - TGS 2003 Teaser Trailer.
- ↑ File:Ace Combat Zero The Belkan War - TGS 2005 Teaser Trailer.
- ↑ Description on the PlayStation Experience 2016 Trailer.
- ↑ PROJECT_ACES. Twitter. Published December 5, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- ↑ Ace Combat 7 - Feel The Rush Of Superior Air Power. Retrieved from the Web Archive version from December 4, 2016.
- ↑ File:Northern Wings Mentions Strangereal (2).jpg.
- ↑ Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception.
- ↑ File:Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy Announcement Trailer.
- ↑ File:Strangereal world old.jpg
- ↑ File:Strangereal Battlefield 4.jpg.
- ↑ Usea Today: Asteroid on Collision Course With Earth!
- ↑ Cutscene following Invasion of Gracemeria, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- ↑ The Liberation of Gracemeria, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- ↑ File:Ace Combat: Assault Horizon TGS 2010 Interview Kazutoki Kono.
- ↑ Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
- ↑ Handful of Hope, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene following End of Deception I/End of Deception II, Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception.
- ↑ La Société and Réactions in Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception cutscenes.