Ace Combat (エースコンバット; Ēsu Konbatto) is a hybrid flight arcade action video game franchise featuring 17 games mainly developed by Bandai Namco Studios and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The development team within Bandai Namco responsible for Ace Combat games is referred to as 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 2018, the Ace Combat franchise has sold over 14 million copies, making it Bandai Namco's sixth best-selling franchise, behind Tekken, Pac-Man, Gundam, Tales, and Super Robot Wars.
The logo used from 2004 to present
|Genre(s)||Combat flight simulator|
|Publisher(s)||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|First release||Air Combat|
30 June 1995
|Latest release||Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown|
18 January 2019
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. Longtime fans of the series are rewarded with small hints of the continuity between the games, as some characters and events are referenced from one game to another.
|1997||Ace Combat 2|
|1999||Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere|
|2001||Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies|
|2004||Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War|
|2005||Ace Combat Advance|
|2006||Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War|
|Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception|
|2007||Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation|
|2009||Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion|
|2010||Ace Combat: Joint Assault|
|Ace Combat Assault Horizon: Trigger Finger|
|2011||Ace Combat: Assault Horizon|
|Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy|
|Ace Combat: Northern Wings|
|2014||Ace Combat Infinity|
|2019||Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown|
The first three titles in the franchise were released on the Sony PlayStation system: Air Combat, Ace Combat 2, and Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere. Three subsequent titles were released on the PlayStation 2: Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War and Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War. In 2006, Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception was released on the PlayStation Portable.
In 2007, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation released on the Xbox 360. Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion released on the Apple iOS in 2009. In 2010, Ace Combat: Joint Assault released on the PlayStation Portable and featured a story set in the real world for the first time in the franchise. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011, and Microsoft Windows in 2013, making it the first multiplatform title in the franchise. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy released later in 2011 for the Nintendo 3DS, and received a re-release titled Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy + in 2015. Ace Combat: Northern Wings also released in late 2011 for mobile phones on the Java ME platform.
- As of 30 January 2008, the worldwide sales distribution was 31.7% in Japan, 43.9% in North America, 23.8% in Europe, and 0.6% in Asia.
- As of July 2018, the franchise boasted a total of 14,000,000 sales.
- Namco also developed two arcade games—Air Combat and Air Combat 22—that act as precursors to the Ace Combat franchise.
Ace Combat 2, 3, 04, 5, Advance, Zero, X, 6, Xi, Assault Horizon Legacy, Northern Wings, and 7 all 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. 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.
In July 2018, Bandai Namco published a consolidated timeline of the major games that take place in the Strangereal universe, and which in-universe years they occur. The consolidated timeline goes as follows:
- 1995 - Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War
- 1999 - Ulysses 1994XF04 asteroid impact
- 2003~2005 - Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
- 2010 - Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War
- 2015~2016 - Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
- 2019 - Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
- 2040 - Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere
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.
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.
Although typical aircraft model kits can be customized and detailed according to specific plane designs in each game, the Ace Combat franchise also has its fair share of specially-produced model kits. The earliest-known models were the R-101, R-102, and R-103 Delphinus aircraft from Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere, sold as resin kits in the late 1990s at Wonder Festival; Hasegawa produced the R-101 and R-103, and Tokiwa Aircraft Create produced the R-102 in collaboration with Chawanmushi Ceramics School. Tokiwa Aircraft Create and Chawanmushi later produced more resin garage aircraft kits from Ace Combat 3 and other Ace Combat titles until at least 2008.
Hasegawa continued the trend with a 1:72 F-14 Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War limited-edition kit modeled in a cherry blossom paint scheme in April 2011 and a similarly-scaled kit of Assault Horizon's fictional aircraft, the ASF-X Shinden II, in July 2012. The line has since been followed by the F-22 Mobius 1 and Su-37 Yellow 13 from Ace Combat 04, the Grabacr Su-47 and F-14 Razgriz from Ace Combat 5, the Strigon Team Su-33 and F-15E Garuda 1 from Ace Combat 6, and the Ridgebacks ASF-X from Infinity. Various items in the company's line of model aircraft kits are also available in special color schemes depicting characters from The Idolmaster franchise. These schemes were available as downloadable content for Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
In March 2006, Bandai produced a 1:100 kit of the fictional ADF-01 FALKEN from Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. In June 2019, ADF-01 FALKEN Plastic model kit are planned to get a re-release. The pre-order for this re-release version start since 27 March 2019.
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. 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.
- Nelva, Giuseppe (18 July 2018). "Ace Combat 7 Gets New Official Website Ahead of Upcoming Reveal". DualShockers. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- Buchanan, Levi. "Ace Combat Soaring to iPhone". IGN. Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
- Roper, Chris (11 January 2010). "Ace Combat: Joint Assault Announced". IGN. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- "NAMCO Bandai Games | Ace Combat®: Northern Wings". Namco.com. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012.
- 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！" [The cumulative worldwide sales total of the "Ace Combat" series exceeds 10,000,000 units!] (in Japanese). Bandai Namco Games. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- Sinclair, Brendan (8 May 2012). "Dark Souls sells 1.19 million". GameSpot. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- 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.
- "Oops". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 98. Ziff Davis. September 1997. p. 132.
- "幻想連邦機構 国立博物館 ガレージキット館・非キャラものコーナー". Usi.kir.jp. Archived from the original on 22 June 2013.
- "幻想連邦機構 内閣府 執政官の日記帳". Usi.kir.jp. Archived from the original on 4 October 2018.
- "1/72 Ace Combat ASF-X Shinden II by Hasegawa | HobbyLink Japan". Hlj.com. 2 January 2012. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012., either as a regular JASDF unit or as Kei Nagase's personal plane.
- "The Idolmaster | HobbyLink Japan". Hlj.com. 2 January 2012. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014.
- "1/100 ADF-01F: Falken (From Ace Combat) by Bandai | HobbyLink Japan". Hlj.com. 2 January 2012. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012.
- "ADF-01F Falken (Plastic model) | Hobby Search 1999". 1999.co.jp. 25 May 2019. Archived from the original on 1 April 2019.
- "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.
- "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.
- "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.