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Ace Combat Infinity is the latest entry in the Ace Combat series and was officially announced on September 19, 2013 after a lengthy teaser campaign. Infinity is the fifth Ace Combat game to take place on Earth; it is the first free-to-play game for the series, as well as the first digital-only release.

The game will be free to download and play exclusively for all PlayStation 3 users in 2014.[6] A public beta testing phase for Japanese PSN accounts was attempted, but shut down due to server issues.[3] A new Japan-only beta will begin on December 12 and end on December 18.[4]

Plot

In 1994, an undiscovered asteroid later named Polyphemus collided with the Ulysses 1986VG1 asteroid, a moon of Jupiter. The result was a mass of over 10,000 meteors that were expected to impact the Earth in five years. With no method to change the orbit of all of the meteors, the world's nations banded together to create the Stonehenge Turret Network, a network of eight anti-air railguns that would fire at the meteors to prevent as much damage to the planet as possible. Six of these facilities were built around the world to defend each corner of the globe. Unfortunately, in July of 1999, many of the asteroids crashed into the Earth regardless, causing a devastating loss of life in what was later known as the Ulysses Disaster. The world order began to fall apart, but a certain company named Wernher and Noah Enterprises assisted the world's nations in rebuilding efforts.[9]

The game takes place in 2019, 20 years after the Ulysses Disaster. The United Nations Forces is fighting off a multinational network of terrorists known as the Sons of Troia. The Bone Arrow Squadron, a mercenary squadron owned and operated by Arrows Air Defense and Security, is hired by the UNF to perform various missions to defend against the terrorists.[9]

Gameplay

The gameplay of Infinity is noted for staying true to the "classic gameplay" of the Ace Combat series, most notably Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. Close Range Assault, an integral component of gameplay in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, is not included in Infinity.

Infinity-specific gameplay elements include the following:

  • All enemy units feature a health bar underneath their targeting box. This was a feature notable on Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, but Infinity moves the health bar from the top-left of the HUD to directly underneath the enemy targeting box.
  • Data Link is a new feature that builds on the Friendly Assist System of Assault Horizon. When the player flies close to a friendly aircraft that they are linked to, their aircraft's performance is boosted. The exact boost is selected while editing a Sortie Set (see below)
  • The Head-up display shows the traditional radar and aircraft info (ammo, health, reloading) along the bottom of the screen; allotted score, remaining time, and the score of the targeted enemy are located on the top-left of the screen; and any checkpoints are noted in the top-right of the screen as they are encountered.
  • Oil and shrapnel will splatter on the screen when an enemy close to the player's aircraft is destroyed, similar to Assault Horizon.

During an interview at Eurogamer Expo 2013, Kazutoki Kono, lead producer on the game, said that the single-player campaign will work as a 'tutorial' for what players might experience in the multiplayer mode.[10]

Three superweapons have been confirmed to appear in Infinity. The first is a heavy command cruiser named Moby Dick, which appears in the multiplayer mission Moby Dick Pursuit. The second is an unnnamed Scinfaxi-class submarine, which appears at random intervals in multiplayer. The third is the aforementioned Stonehenge railgun network, which is one of the main plot elements of the single-player campaign.

Multiplayer

Ace Combat Infinity features a multiplayer experience alongside the single-player story campaign. The multiplayer experience is known as a 'competitive co-operative' experience where "skilled aces will form two teams and compete to inflict the most damage on a common enemy."[11] Players can collect items and in-game currency through the multiplayer missions, which will be later used to unlock parts and aircraft.

The list of multiplayer missions are as follows:[1]

In the middle of a mission, the players could experience an emergency mission that will spice up the gameplay and prevent players from getting bored; each mission would not be the same experience thanks to these emergency updates.

Customization

In a first for the series, Infinity allows players to customize and set up to four different "Sortie Sets," which include the aircraft, special weapons, skills, Data Link boost, and emblem that the player will be flying with during that sortie. Sortie Sets can be selected in both single-player and multiplayer, although the former only allows the player to select from their first three as a free Rental Set is provided for each mission. After starting a multiplayer match, players cannot change their Sortie Set.

Similar to Ace Combat X, Joint Assault, and Assault Horizon Legacy, Infinity also has a tuning system which, after unlocking an aircraft, allows the player to upgrade that aircraft through a technology tree. Players can tweak their aircraft by swapping out and upgrading their aircraft's armor, missile power, gun damage, engine power, power of certain weapons, and more. The player can also customize the plane's color scheme from a limited set of colors, some of which can be purchased with real-life money while some with in-game currency.

Sortie Fuel System

During Tokyo Game Show 2013, Kazutoki Kono confirmed that Infinity will have a restricted time system known as the Sortie Fuel System (similar to the token system in Tekken Revolution or the pricing model of Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation). Details were not provided at the announcement. The beta later clarified that players would only be able to play two missions every four hours. This includes single-player and multiplayer missions. Players can purchase more fuel with real-life currency.

Immediately after the announcement of this system, fans online expressed a distrust in the game and believed it would end up becoming a "pay-to-play" experience. The developers urged the players to keep their minds open and hold their judgments until the beta test began to provide constructive feedback.[10]

Aircraft

Teaser 00 introduced the CFA-44 Nosferatu (possibly NPC-only), PAK FA, Su-35 Flanker-E, and the F-3 Shinden II (possibly NPC-only) as the first aircraft confirmed for Infinity.[12]

Teaser 01 added the MiG-21bis Fishbed, MiG-29A Fulcrum, F-14D Super Tomcat, and Typhoon to the list of confirmed aircraft. It also introduced an unknown type of drone aircraft (likely NPC-only).[13]

Teaser 02 added the F-16C Fighting Falcon, F-35B Lightning II, Su-32 Strike FlankerF-22A Raptor, Su-33 Flanker-D, and B-2A Spirit (likely NPC-only) to the list of confirmed aircraft.[14] The official screenshots of the game released simultaneously also confirmed the Su-25TM Frogfoot, MQ-90, and CH-47 Chinook (the latter two likely NPC-only).[7] A promotional wallpaper later published showcased the F-2A Viper Zero,[15] which was later seen in-game as a playable aircraft.

The Ulysses Disaster trailer added the F-4E Phantom II, F-15C Eagle, Mirage 2000-5, F-15E Strike EagleA-10A Thunderbolt IIC-17 Globemaster, and Il-76 Candid (the latter two NPC-only) to the list.[16] During an interview at Eurogamer Expo 2013, Kazutoki Kono mentioned that they aimed for around 30 playable aircraft at the time of the game's release.[10]


References to past games

Infinity is likely the Ace Combat game to include the most references to other Ace Combat games. Some of the past Ace Combat elements underwent a process known as retcon, where set pieces from the other games are embedded into Infinity. The list of retconned elements are as follows:

Soundtrack

The majority of the background music of Ace Combat Infinity is taken directly from other games. There is a likely chance that they were remastered in higher quality, but this has not been confirmed. Following is a list of soundtrack references to past Ace Combat games:

Development

According to Kazutoki Kono, Ace Combat Infinity had been in development since the winter of 2012[10], immediately following the release of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy and Ace Combat: Northern Wings. It was developed from the start to be a free-to-play game.

Teaser campaign

File:Project Aces 2013 Teaser.jpg

The game was first teased on June 14, 2013, when Kono tweeted a photo of his Japanese passport and his laptop, which displayed a revised version of the Project Aces logo with what appeared to be several objects approaching the ground from the sky.[17] On June 21, 2013, the full-sized version of the logo was uploaded to the Project Aces Twitter account, and was set as the avatar and background image.[18]

On July 10, a second image was uploaded to the Twitter account, containing part of a message, which read "ky fe||, the". Interestingly, the two L's in "fell" were formatted differently.[19] This post was followed by another one a day later, consisting only of the word "closening" (meaning "to get close"), hinting that an announcement was imminent.[20]

On July 11, a new website was set up by Namco Bandai, titled "PROJECT ACES NewTitle", which was subsequently announced through Twitter.[21] The site contained the full teaser message, which read: "That day our sky fe||, the heavens split to create new skies." In addition to using the new Project Aces logo as its favicon, the code of the site contained the phrase "エースコンバット" (Ace Combat) as a keyword. It was later discovered that Namco Bandai filled a trademark for "Ace Combat Infinity" the same day.[22][23]

Three times after the website's initial launch, the Project Aces logo background slowly faded into the page from the lower right corner. Finally, the second part of the sentence itself seemed to "split" into two parts, adding further symbolism to the message.

On July 15, however, the website completely changed, only showing a friendly radio transmission, indicated by the blue colored symbols around it: "<< Here comes the third strike! >>" Hours later, it was tweeted on the Project Aces Twitter account.[24] On July 16, it was replaced with another friendly radio transmission reading: "<< All engines on Kottos 2 destroyed! >>" Once again, this message was tweeted a few hours later.[25] On July 17, the image was once again replaced with a friendly radio transmission, this time reading: "<< Ridgeback One. Edge, report. >>" followed by the tweets a few hours later.[26] Two hours after that, Kazutoki Kono wished everyone to "enjoy the official tomorrow."[27]

Two hours before the Project Aces Twitter tweeted the Ridgeback One transmission, Kazutoki Kono stated that if the Project Aces Twitter reached 8,492 followers, he would release an image related to Ace Combat. When the number was met, he tweeted a picture of a soda bottle in front of a computer screen. The screen was displaying the Bone Arrow Squadron emblem.[28]

On July 18 at 1:03 PM EDT, Tony Shoupinou (Community Manager at Namco Bandai Games, who had previously shared the "ky fe||, the" image as well) posted "Tomorrow @ 9AM (Central European Time), we will fly again. Yay! I can't wait." on his Facebook wall.[29] At 9:00 PM EDT that same day, the image on the teaser site was replaced, this time not by a friendly radio transmission, but by the universal sign for infinity "∞", in the color red.

On July 19 at 1:03 AM EDT, 12 hours after Tony Shoupinou's Facebook post, Kazutoki Kono took to Twitter once more to inform everyone to keep an eye on their screens at 1600hrs Japan Time (the same time Tony Shoupinou mentioned, which would occur in 1 hour and 57 minutes), and to look at "it" without him since he would be at a meeting.[30] Whatever "it" was referring to was not known.

On July 19 at 3:00 AM EDT, the NewTitle website was updated once again. This time, a teaser trailer (later renamed to Teaser 00) lasting 46 seconds for what was now confirmed to be a PlayStation 3 game, titled Ace Combat Infinity, was added to the site.[12]

On July 26 at 3:00 AM EDT, precisely one week after the teaser trailer was uploaded, a screenshot of the briefing for Operation Fogbound was uploaded to the Twitter account, with the promise of more information to come next week.[31]

On August 2 at 3:00 AM EDT, precisely another week later, Teaser 01 was uploaded to the site, providing a wealth of information.[13] Simultaneously, Namco Bandai Games Europe uploaded the video with a confirmation that the game was a free-to-play game, along with some details on multiplayer as well as a quote from Olivier Comte, Senior Vice President.[11] Later that day, Kazutoki Kono confirmed on Twitter, while replying to someone else, that Close Range Assault would not be a feature of Infinity.[32]

On August 30 at 9:59 AM GMT, Kazutoki Kono tweeted a picture of what appears to be the main menu of Infinity.[33] A couple of hours later, an article was posted on Gaming Age, a gaming news blog, with the third teaser trailer as well as some screenshots of the game.[7] The third teaser trailer was then uploaded a couple of days later to the NewTitle website, titled "Teaser 02".[14] The same day, Project Aces announced that Ace Combat Infinity was due to release in the Fall of 2013[6], with the release date itself to be announced at the Tokyo Game Show on September 19th.

Official announcement

On September 19 at approximately 2 PM Tokyo local time, Namco Bandai began the free-to-play segment of their Tokyo Game Show 2013 event, including Ace Combat Infinity. Here, while First Flight and a remix of Comona were playing, Kazutoki Kono discussed the details about Infinity after showing the "Ulysses Disaster" trailer. Later in the day, the video was uploaded to the official YouTube channel.[16] For some reason, the release date announcement was postponed. Details later came in about the Sortie Fuel System. It was announced that a public beta testing phase will begin very soon.[34]

On October 3, Project Aces uploaded official gameplay videos of the latter portions of the missions Great Migration and Stonehenge.[35]

Beta testing phase

On October 17, Project Aces uploaded a video showing off more of the multiplayer, as well as members of the Project Aces team playing the game.[1] It was announced simultaneously that the public beta testing would take place between November 7 and November 13, would require 2GB of free HDD space on the PlayStation 3, and would be Japan-only.[2] Regions outside of Japan would partake in a second test, which was to follow the Japanese test but had no confirmed date at that time.[36]

The Japanese beta contained the following:

The beta was 100% free, and the Sortie Fuel System, while active, was negligible because the beta allowed players to play infinite missions. However, save data during the beta is not going to carry over to the game's full release.[37] Players who participate in the beta will receive a special "2013 Beta Test Pilot" emblem, but this is as of yet confirmed only for the Japanese beta.[37][38] Additionally, the requirements for obtaining the emblem are not clear as of yet.

On November 8, one day after it began, the beta test was shut down to solve server issues that had been encountered. The largest problem was multiplayer missions terminating as soon as they started. The beta was expected to resume sometime near the beginning of the week of November 10,[3] but by November 12 it was not up yet. Strangely enough, by November 12, fans began to notice that certain official Ace Combat Infinity media was being pulled from the internet. The Game Information Page was removed (and now redirects back to the main page), and the official trailers from Namco-Bandai's international YouTube account were made private. No word was provided from Project Aces on either Twitter or Facebook concerning these changes.

On November 13, the date the beta was originally planned to end, Project Aces tweeted an apology for the elongated maintenance period, and assured fans that a second beta test would commence soon to make up for the first one having been closed so long.[39]

Soon after midnight EST on December 4, 2013, Project Aces reported through Twitter that a new beta will take place starting on December 12 and ending on December 18.[4] However, they did not mention whether this would be restricted to Japan once more, or open to the world. On December 5, they released a new trailer showing off some of the single-player campaign as well as confirming the new beta date. The trailer also indicated that the beta would, in fact, be restricted to Japan again.[5]

Theories

One theory generated during the teaser campaign was a new game based around the time of the Estovakian Civil War, due to the first teaser message likely referencing the fall of the Ulysses 1994XF04 Asteroid and the Civil War, and the third teaser message referencing the Kottos airship. Another theory involved a remaster of multiple Ace Combat games at once, due to the various references to different games, including the Ulysses, Kottos, and Edge.

A discovery made on July 16 was that the teaser radio transmissions included a countdown. "Here comes the third strike" involved a 3 and "All engines on Kottos 2 destroyed" involved a 2. This was confirmed the next day, as the message "Ridgeback One. Edge, report" involved a 1, leading many to believe that July 18 would have brought a trailer or announcement of some sort.

Around the time the teaser website, NewTitle, was set up, a second teaser site (titled "NEW TITLE") was created by Namco Bandai for another title. Many theories surrounded this second website's possible link to the Project Aces website due to their simultaneous launches, but this website was eventually announced to be teasing Jump Legend Biography, a Nintendo 3DS game compiling certain Famicom and Super Famicom games.[40]

Trivia

  • Teaser 00 makes two references to Mappy, a 1983 arcade game developed by Namco. The unknown female humming in the beginning was humming the Mappy theme song, and Mappy himself appears as a silhouette on a pair of wireless headphones.
    • Interestingly enough, Ace Combat Infinity launches in 2013, which is the 30th anniversary of Mappy's release.
  • Infinity is running on the same (or an upgraded version of the) engine that Assault Horizon utilized, as evidenced by the oil splatters on the screen and the explosion effects.
  • September 19, the day the Ulysses Disaster trailer was revealed, has symbolic meaning to the series. Operations Umbrella and Autumn Thunder both took place on September 19, as well as AWACS SkyEye's birthday.
  • The Infinity symbol from the trailers bears a resemblance to the Mobius Squadron insignia, adding to the rest of the evidence that this game was heavily inspired by Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
  • Ace Combat Infinity appears to use similar, if not exact, squadron animations from Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, as seen in the trailers. For example, at the end of the Ulysses Disaster trailer, an aircraft squadron is seen separating formation in a very similar, if not exact, resemblance to how the Silber Team separated formation after making their entrance.
  • The Ulysses Disaster trailer also features a few hints to the COFFIN system:
    • At the beginning, while loading the elements of the main menu, "Establishment of neuromuscular connections" is mentioned as one of the things being loaded;
    • As the Ulysses asteroid is being explained a few seconds later, the video zooms in on a hexagonal pattern very similar to the ADF-01 FALKEN's cockpit;
    • and for a split second, closer to the end of the video, the back of a woman's neck is shown with some sort of digital diagram on it, similar to the ENSI ports used by Rena Hirose in Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere.
  • There are quite a few Trojan references in Ace Combat Infinity as shown by the Ulysses Disaster trailer:
    • The terrorist group, Sons of Troia, uses an alternate spelling of "Troy";
    • Ulysses is an alternate spelling of Odysseus, who had the idea of a Trojan Horse;
    • Stonehenge is built in Turkey, the original location of Troy;
    • The Ulysses asteroid is a Jupiter Trojan.

Gallery

See the gallery for this article at Ace Combat Infinity/Gallery.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 PS3「ACE COMBAT INFINITY」Online CO-OP MISSION Project Aces at Operation
  2. 2.0 2.1 Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 エースコンバット インフィニティ オープンベータテスト予告01 (YouTube)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Twitter / PROJECT_ACES: Japanese/English
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Gaming Age: Ace Combat Infinity's first official screens, new teaser trailer take off
  8. Namco Bandai Games Europe: Ace Combat Infinity product page
  9. 9.0 9.1 In-Game Cutscenes
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Ace Combat Infinity Interview (with Kono-san)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Namco Bandai Games Europe: "The endless blue awaits in ACE COMBAT™ INFINITY"
  12. 12.0 12.1 Teaser 00
  13. 13.0 13.1 Teaser 01
  14. 14.0 14.1 Teaser 02
  15. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  16. 16.0 16.1 Ulysses Disaster Trailer
  17. Twitter / kazutoki
  18. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  19. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  20. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  21. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  22. NeoGAF: Project ACES (Ace Combat) New Title Teaser Site
  23. Gematsu: Project Aces new title teaser site opened
  24. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES: Japanese/English
  25. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES: Japanese/English
  26. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES: Japanese/English
  27. Twitter / kazutoki
  28. Twitter / kazutoki
  29. Tony Shoupinou (Facebook)
  30. Twitter / kazutoki
  31. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES: Japanese/English
  32. Twitter / kazutoki
  33. Twitter / kazutoki
  34. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  35. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  36. Ace Combat -Official Fan Site- (Facebook)
  37. 37.0 37.1 「ACE COMBAT INFINITY」,11月7日にスタートする日本先行オープンβテストの詳細が公開に。「オンライン協同戦役モード」など3つのモードを体験できる - 4Gamer.net
  38. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  39. Twitter / PROJECT_ACES
  40. Crunchyroll: Compilation of 8- and 16-Bit "Shonen Jump" Games Heads to 3DS

Start a Discussion Discussions about Ace Combat Infinity

  • Infinity is shutting down on March 31, 2018

    29 messages
    • Rip my ADF-01 Falken I wish it well into the afterlife. until the time for Ace Combat 7, but for now its Ace Combat: Assault Horizon for me.
    • Thank you Gripen, I hope you're doing well...protector of fleets, wingman extraordinaire.
  • Missile Cam

    6 messages
    • Reaper Mobius wrote:Freyka Dragon-Crusher wrote:there is no missile cam. can see why though, you watching your missile impact its target and ...
    • Freyka Dragon-Crusher wrote:Reaper Mobius wrote:Freyka Dragon-Crusher wrote:there is no missile cam. can see why though, you watching your miss...
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