Ace Combat
Ace Combat logo.svg
Genre(s)Combat flight simulator
Developer(s)
Publisher(s)
Composer(s)Go Shiina
Keiki Kobayashi
Platform(s)PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Mobile phone, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PC, iOS, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
First releaseAir Combat
June 30, 1995
Latest releaseAce Combat 7: Skies Unknown
January 18, 2019

Ace Combat[lower-alpha 1] is a combat flight simulation video game franchise published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, formerly Namco. Debuting in 1995 with Air Combat for the PlayStation, the series includes eight mainline installments, multiple spin-offs, and other forms of media, such as novels, model kits, and soundtrack albums. Since 2012, the series has been developed primarily by Bandai Namco Studios through its internal development group, Project Aces.

The franchise emphasizes fast-paced action and dramatic plots and has established itself as one of the longest running arcade flight action franchises. As of 2021, the Ace Combat franchise has shipped over 16.5 million copies worldwide.[lower-alpha 2]

The main series of games takes place in a fictionalized world populated with fictional countries with details loosely based on real-life locations, events, and wars. One of the main selling points of the series is the ability to pilot a range of aircraft that include accurate or slightly modified representations of present-day military aircraft, prototypes that never saw actual battle, and completely fictional boss-type superweapons. There are small hints of the continuity between the games, as some characters and events are referenced from one game to another.

GamesEdit

Release timeline
1995Air Combat
1996
1997Ace Combat 2
1998
1999Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere
2000
2001Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
2002
2003
2004Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War
2005Ace Combat Advance
2006Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception
2007Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
2008
2009Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion[1]
2010Ace Combat: Joint Assault[2]
Ace Combat Assault Horizon: Trigger Finger
2011Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy
Ace Combat: Northern Wings[3]
2012
2013
2014Ace Combat Infinity
2015Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+
2016
2017
2018
2019Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • Air Combat (1995) is the debut entry of the series, being released as a launch title for the PlayStation in North America and titled Ace Combat in Japan.[4] It is the successor to a 1993 arcade game of the same title. The game was produced by Kazumi Mizuno and centers around a terrorist organization seizing control of Skully Island.[5] Air Combat introduced the series' arcade-like gameplay, a contrast to most other flight sim games at the time. In 2005, Air Combat was released for Japanese mobile phones under Namco's game subscription service.[6]
  • Ace Combat 2 (1997) was released for the PlayStation, and created out of Namco's dissatisfaction with Air Combat from a technical standpoint.[7] Designed by Masanori Kato, Ace Combat 2 follows a squadron of fighters named Scarface, who attempt to liberate the continent of Usea from a group known as the Usean Rebel Forces. The sequel builds upon its predecessor in several ways, adding new mission types, playable fightercraft, and multiple difficulty options. Ace Combat 2 was re-released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 through NamCollection, a Japan-exclusive collection of Namco-developed PlayStation games.[8]
  • Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere (1999) was published for the PlayStation, being the last game in the series for the console. While the previous two games carry a modern-day aesthetic, Electrosphere uses a more futuristic, science-fiction motif,[9] such as having one mission take place in outer space and focusing on a war between two megacorporations competing against each other for power.[10] Electrosphere is heavily-reliant on story, with branching stage paths and anime-style video emails with full voice acting. The North American version of the game cuts down much of its story and content to accommodate for financial constraints.[11]
  • Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies (2001) was the first game in the series to be developed by Project Aces, then-known as "The AC04 Project". It was released for the PlayStation 2 and renamed Ace Combat: Distant Thunder in Europe. 04 returns to the gameplay structure of Air Combat and Ace Combat 2, with fast-paced action and variety in mission objectives. The plot chronicles a pilot named "Mobius 1", one of the few of his squadron remaining, who leads the counterattack against the Federal Republic of Erusea who attempts to conquer the entire Usean continent.
  • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (2004) was released for the PlayStation 2, renamed Ace Combat: Squadron Leader for Europe. Produced by Kazutoki Kono and Project Aces, The Unsung War is one of the most expansive titles in the series, with over 50 playable aircraft and 32 campaign missions, along with fully-animated cutscenes. In 2018, Bandai Namco Entertainment re-released The Unsung War for the PlayStation 4 as a pre-order bonus for Ace Combat 7, with slight modifications to make it run properly on the console's hardware. The plot follows the members of the "Wardog" Squadron in large scale war between the world's two superpowers: the Osean Federation and the Union of Yuktobanian Republics.
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War (2006) was released for the PlayStation 2. It was the last Ace Combat game developed by Namco before their assets were folded into Namco Bandai Games, who published the game outside Japan, just a week after its launch in Japan. The Belkan War serves as a prequel to The Unsung War, combining ideas and mechanics from both it and Shattered Skies. The story, which is told through retrospective narration, follows the exploits of the "Galm" team of mercenaries, hired to defend the country of Ustio and its allies from the Belkan Federation's invasion.
  • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (2007) was released for the Xbox 360, marking the series' debut on a Microsoft platform. It is the first Ace Combat title to implement online multiplayer and downloadable content, which have become staple inclusions since. Its story involves an invasion of the Republic of Emmeria by its neighbor, the Federal Republic of Estovakia and the subsequent efforts by Emmeria's armed forces to take back their country, led by the pilots of "Garuda Team". Alongside a standalone release, Namco Bandai bundled Fires of Liberation with the Ace Edge, a flight stick designed by Hori specifically for the game, and a custom Xbox 360 console faceplate. In 2018, Bandai Namco Entertainment re-released Fires of Liberation for the Xbox One as a pre-order bonus for Ace Combat 7, with slight modifications to make it run properly on the console's hardware.
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (2019) was published for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC through the Steam distribution platform, being the first mainline installment in twelve years. It was created based on the commercial success of Ace Combat Infinity, with its mechanics being borrowed from both it and Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. Designed by Project Aces and headed by producer Kazutoki Kono, Skies Unknown features multiple additions to the series, such as multiple gamemodes, enhancements to the ship tuning concept from Ace Combat X, and virtual reality support through PlayStation VR. The game follows the story of "Trigger", an Osean pilot turned convict after being falsely accused of murder and relocated to a penal squadron who is participating in a war against the Kingdom of Erusea (formerly a republic), who launches a second attempt to conquer the entire Usean continent after their plans were foiled in Ace Combat 04. The game also features three VR missions focused on Mobius 1 and set five years before the events of the main game.

SettingEdit

The main games of the Ace Combat series take place on an alternate version of Earth in a reality dubbed "Strangereal", featuring different geography and countries. The planet is located in the same solar system as the real-life Earth but replacing it entirely. This reality was later included within Bandai Namco's United Galaxy Space Force shared universe.[12] In this alternate version of Earth, the planet had been affected by the fragments of a large asteroid impact in 1999, which had devastated cities and left impact craters, creating a 'strangereal' gaming landscape.

Ace Combat: Joint Assault, Assault Horizon, and Infinity take place on the real-life Earth. While Joint Assault and Assault Horizon were more realistic, Infinity utilized many elements from the Strangereal series.[citation needed]

Title differencesEdit

The Japanese Ace Combat was renamed Air Combat in the North American and European releases of the original game. The second game was initially set to be released as Air Combat 2 in the U.S., but by the time of release the game (and series) switched to using Ace Combat internationally.[13]

In NTSC territories, the fourth installment of the series is known as Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, while in PAL territories the game is known as Ace Combat: Distant Thunder. The Spanish version of the game is known as Ace Combat: Trueno de Acero, which can be translated as Ace Combat: Steel Thunder.

The NTSC version of the fifth installment of the game is known as Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, while the PAL release was renamed Ace Combat: Squadron Leader.

In PAL territories, the word "Zero" in Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War was removed, making it the first game since the series introduction to not have a significant name change in PAL territories.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy in English-speaking territories was originally titled Ace Combat 3D: Cross Rumble in Japan.

Printed mediaEdit

With the release of Assault Horizon in 2011, Project Aces created Aces at War: A History, a special artbook detailing the content from Ace Combat 04, 5, and Zero from an in-universe perspective, as well as production commentary. This was packaged with the special editions of Assault Horizon released in Japan.[14][15] Aces at War: A History would later be updated and rereleased as part of a special edition of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.[16]

In March 2012, ASCII Media Works released Ace Combat: Ikaros in the Sky. A tie-in novel for Assault Horizon, Ikaros tells a story of series character Kei Nagase as she participates in the JASDF's ASF-X Shinden II fighter program.[17]

ReceptionEdit

Sales and aggregate review scores
Game Units sold Metacritic
Air Combat 2.23 million shipped[18] -
Ace Combat 2 1.092 million shipped[18] 83/100[19]
Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere 1.164 million shipped[18] -
Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies 2.64 million shipped[18] 89/100[20]
Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War 1.802 million shipped[18] 84/100[21]
Ace Combat Advance 100,000 shipped[18] 56/100[22]
Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War 792,000 shipped[18] 75/100[23]
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception 476,000 shipped[18] 75/100[24]
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation 700,000[25] 80/100[26]
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon 1.07 million[25] 78/100[27]
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown >2.5 million[28] 80/100[29]

Ace Combat has been a consistent commercial success, with most mainline installments reaching over one million units shipped. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is the most successful title with over 2.5 million copies sold by 2021,[28] followed by Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies and Air Combat.[18] The games have sold well predominantly in North America and Japan, where over 75% of all revenue was generated from the series by 2008.[18] In total, the Ace Combat franchise has shipped over 16.5 million copies.[lower-alpha 2][31]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Japanese: エースコンバット, Hepburn: Ēsu Konbatto
  2. 2.0 2.1 over 14 million copies shipped by 2018,[30] plus over 2.5 million copies sold of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown after its release in 2019.[28]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Buchanan, Levi. "Ace Combat Soaring to iPhone". IGN. Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  2. Roper, Chris (11 January 2010). "Ace Combat: Joint Assault Announced". IGN. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  3. "NAMCO Bandai Games | Ace Combat®: Northern Wings". Namco.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012.
  4. Moriarty, Colin (25 October 2013). "Comparing Two Decades' Worth of PlayStation Launch Lineups". IGN. Archived from the original on 16 October 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  5. Elston, Brett (4 April 2007). "Feature: Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation". GamesRadar+. Future US. Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  6. "ナムコ、BREW対応シューティング「エースコンバット」" (in Japanese). ITmedia. 25 August 2005. Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  7. CVG Staff (September 1997). "Exclusive Namco/Ace Combat 2 Interview!" (190). EMAP Images. Computer and Video Games. pp. 36-39. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  8. GameSpot Staff (24 March 2005). "Namco celebrates 50th birthday with compilation". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  9. Mielke, James (22 June 1999). "Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  10. Pezzile, Sebastiano (1 February 2019). "Ace Combat 3: l'Evangelion che nessuno conosce". Player.it. Archived from the original on 18 August 2020. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  11. Treese, Tyler (26 January 2019). "Ranking the Ace Combat games from worst to best". GameRevolution. Evolve Media. Archived from the original on 27 January 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  12. BANDAI NAMCO Games Inc. "UGSFシリーズ 公式サイト". Archived from the original on 9 April 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  13. "Oops". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 98. Ziff Davis. September 1997. p. 132.
  14. "エースコンバット アサルト・ホライゾンの国内限定版!?" [A domestic limited edition of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon?!] (in Japanese). Bandai Namco Games. 3 August 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  15. "ララビットマーケットACAH限定版の最新情報を入手!" [Get the latest information on the Lalabit Market limited edition of ACAH!] (in Japanese). Bandai Namco Games. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  16. Robert Workman (8 November 2018). "'Ace Combat 7' Gets Special 'Aces at War' Bundle". ComicBook.com.
  17. "エースコンバット イカロス・イン・ザ・スカイ|エースコンバット アサルト・ホライゾン". ah.acecombat.jp. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 18.7 18.8 18.9 Ichinoya, Hiroyuki (30 January 2008). ""『エースコンバット』シリーズ全世界累計1,000万本突破!"". Ace Combat Web (in Japanese). Namco Bandai Games. Archived from the original on 11 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  19. "Ace Combat 2 for PlayStation Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  20. "Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 7 June 2020. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  21. "Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2008.
  22. "Ace Combat Advance for Game Boy Advance Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 27 December 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  23. https://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-2/ace-combat-zero-the-belkan-war
  24. "Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception for PSP Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Sinclair, Brendan (8 May 2012). "Dark Souls sells 1.19 million". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 22 February 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  26. "Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 16 April 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  27. https://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/ace-combat-assault-horizon
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 "Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown Tops 2.5 Million Sales, Is Best-Selling Game In Series". PlayStation Universe. 18 January 2021. Retrieved 23 January 2021. Skies Unknown managed to top the previous best-selling title, Ace Combat [04]: Shattered Skies, to be crowned the series' biggest-selling title.
  29. "Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 24 June 2020.
  30. "Tokyo Game Show 2018 BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Booth Highlights" (PDF). Bandai Namco Entertainment. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  31. IGN Staff (17 April 2008). "Ace Combat Series Surpasses 10 Million Units Sold Worldwide". IGN. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2021.

External linksEdit

Template:Ace Combat series