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Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown producer and Ace Combat showrunner Kazutoki Kono has had multiple interviews this week. Many of them were online with various Japanese outlets, but there was one in particular on Gamespot's livestream. Here are the most important points from each interview.

Famitsu Interview 1

Source: https://www.famitsu.com/news/201706/14134927.html

  • "Hello, this is the Weekly Famitsu. And I like to play polo. You know, with the horses."
  • F-2A confirmed.
  • The Kestrel II is confirmed to be an aircraft carrier.
  • The crumbling city in the trailer is confirmed to be Farbanti.
  • Kono says that the E3 build took longer than they thought it would, so to make sure the game would be as polished as possible, Kono made the decision to delay it to 2018. "We believed it would show ingratitude towards all the fans who have supported us for so long to push ourselves to get it out the door unpolished in 2017." Famitsu asked him if it was because of VR, but Kono denies it, pointing out that there's a lot more to AC7 than just VR. For example, cloud mechanics.
  • Kono also mentioned that he finds it funny how the English fans have screwed up his original messed-up English, "Strange, Real World", where we now say "Strangereal" as the universe name, when that wasn't the point. So now Kono calls "True Strangereal" (he said this with a laugh) the universe of the games from Ace Combat 04 and on.
  • "There's another meaning in [Skies Unknown], but I can’t talk about it. (coy smile)"

Famitsu Interview 2

Source: https://www.famitsu.com/news/201706/16135610.html

  • That unknown aircraft we saw in the trailer is indeed a UAV, so it's not a new plane we get to fly. It will also be important to the story.
  • Kono mentions that the total length of the story will be somewhere between Ace Combat 04 and Ace Combat 5.
  • Landing and mid-air refueling are confirmed, and yes, you can skip them as always.
  • Kono confirms there will be harder difficulties for the game, like Ace difficulty. There will also be ace/named enemies, because "this is a numbered title, after all."
  • Famitsu asked Kono about the man with glasses and the ball in the co-pilot seat with Mihaly, but Kono refused to give up those story details.
  • L3+R3 are required to launch flares (both buttons simultaneously), as previously confirmed by a gameplay demo video. Kono wanted to add flares to enhance the gameplay, and all aircraft will come with flares. Famitsu asked if there was any difficulty in adding them, and Kono mentioned the fact that Ace Combat uses almost every button on the controller, and that he wanted to avoid accidentally launching them.

Dengeki Online Interview

Source: http://dengekionline.com/elem/000/001/539/1539363/

  • The initial work on Ace Combat 7 began even before Ace Combat Infinity (as previously confirmed by IGN's talk with the devs). They made Infinity because that was all the resources Project Aces had available, and to give the players a place to play.
  • VR was not considered at the start, but when it became an option, PA jumped on the chance to include it. It was difficult for them to prevent motion sickness.
  • The target is to have 30 real-life aircraft playable in Ace Combat 7. (This doesn't include unplayable or fictional aircraft.) He reaffirms that they're making all of the aircraft models from scratch to make best use of modern hardware.
  • Kono contacted Keiki Kobayashi first for composing the soundtrack, but he did also send requests to other composers who have worked on the series before.
  • The Arsenal Bird is intentionally made difficult to fight in the E3 demo to show players how the UAVs fight. This implies it can't be shot down in that mission.
  • Kono decided to put Osea against Erusea, because these two countries had never fought before, and he thought the fans would be interested in such a conflict. (Spoiler: We are.)

Gamespot Live Interview

Source: http://youtu.be/QeJeqtT5ll8?a

  • "The VR experience is exclusively on the PlayStation platform", as previously confirmed.
  • "In the VR aspect, from start to finish, you're always going to be in the first-person [of the pilot, so cockpit] perspective", as previously confirmed.
  • Kono confirms that the dome arcade games - Mach Storm and Star Wars: Battle Pod - helped develop AC7's VR, particularly in preventing motion sickness.
  • "I feel a lot of responsibility coming back to the main line of numbered titles in the Ace Combat franchise. That being said, I don't believe in just recycling the same game and putting a new number on it. In fact, I think if you do that, the series is going to die. What I wanted to do with this was challenge a new status quo and for Ace Combat 7, that was the VR aspect."
  • They asked him what differences the PS4 Pro and Xbox One S allow for Ace Combat 7, but he more or less gave a non-answer to this. I believe it's still too early for them to discuss this in concrete terms.
  • "I think it's entirely possible [to have a VR-only Ace Combat game]. Having said that, I think the adoption rate for the VR platform is still very young and infantile in its state, and what I've sensed from looking at all the communities and fans is that this [flat-screen non-VR] is still the format of Ace Combat that people want at the core."
  • "The distance between developers and fans has been closed significantly, especially with the adoption of social media services. I'll get tweets or messages directly to me from the fans with some feedback, and of course I can't address every single one of them, but it is a large part of the development process. And because it's coming from all over the world, there are some whose names I can't even read or pronounce. I don't know what language it's in. (laughs)"
  • "Is the priority to always put the fans first?" Kono: "It is my belief in development - there are many elements at play, like developers, publishers, pipeline distribution, but - at the end of the day, the people who are going to give you the final answer and evaluation are the fans and the community and the consumer."
  • "What do you hope the legacy of [Ace Combat 7] will be?" Kono: "It's a starting point for us. What will come next, thinking about that, is all of our jobs. And I can't tell you what that is yet."

Miscellaneous

"I was told that partnerships with flight stick makers would also be coming before launch."
http://www.gameinformer.com/games/ace_combat_7_skies_unknown/b/playstation4/archive/2017/06/13/a-beautiful-and-familiar-thrill.aspx
"Far from being just a single mission, the VR mode is apparently going to offer "several hours of VR gameplay" according to David Bonacci, Brand Manager at Bandai Namco Entertainment America."
http://www.roadtovr.com/hands-ace-combat-7-campaign-not-playable-psvr-instead-offering-several-hours-vr-gameplay/

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