In aviation, a furball is a large engagement of fighter aircraft. Furballs are featured intermittently throughout the Ace Combat series where the player is faced with a larger-than-usual amount of enemy pilots, sometimes overwhelming the player until an in-game event occurs to allow the player room to breathe. Furballs are rarely referred to as such within the games.
Ace Combat 04
During the mission "Shattered Skies" in Ace Combat 04, a large amount of ISAF pilots and Erusean pilots engage over the Comona Islands rocket base while ISAF attempts to launch a satellite. At some point, a squadron of B-2 bombers approach the facility, forcing the player to leave the engagement temporarily.
Ace Combat 5
A couple of furballs occur within Ace Combat 5. The first takes place during the mission "Journey Home". The game slowly spawns aircraft for the player to shoot down, but the rate of spawn begins to increase until there are a large number of enemy planes to shoot down. In the middle of the engagement, Gorizont Squadron (a squadron of stealth fighters) enters the fray to destroy the November City stadium, forcing the player to concentrate on them. After Chopper crashes his plane into the stadium, the enemy pilots lower in difficulty and number, allowing the player to shoot them down more easily.
The second furball takes place during the mission "8492". This furball is optional, since the objective of the mission is to escape, but the player can shoot down all of the numerous planes to complete the mission as well.
Ace Combat Zero
The sole furball in Ace Combat Zero takes place during "Mayhem", where the player is faced with a large amount of enemy pilots in Airspace B7R, along with an enemy ace squadron (squadron depends on Ace Style).
Ace Combat X
In the mission Alect Squadron, the Gryphus Squadron and Falco Squadron face off with the ace Alect Squadron and a bunch of other enemy fighters, resulting in a furball over the Danern Straits. In the end, the entire Alect Squadron is shot down by Gryphus 1, preventing them from gaining control of Archelon Fortress's Fenrir.
In another mission, Armada, a furball can take place if the player allows the enemy F-35s to take off from the carriers, resulting in a huge one with at most 17 fighters coming at the player at once.
Ace Combat 6
The only furball that takes place during Ace Combat 6 is during the latter half of "Weapons of Mass Destruction". An entire battalion of enemy fighters is sent to shoot down Talisman who is solo with Shamrock. Once the player manages to shoot down a certain number of planes, however, allied squadrons come in and the player has access to Allied Support to take care of the furball with ease.
In the mission Ace of Aces, players will fight 100 enemy aircraft, with some of the enemies being player characters from previous Ace Combat games. For each wave, 10 enemy planes will appear with a total of 10 waves.
Due to the mechanics of Assault Horizon, various missions could be classified as furballs. However, the only instances where an abnormal amount of enemy pilots are on the map at once occur during "Home Front" (where the player is ambushed by a large number of TGT aircraft) and "Akula" (where a large number of aircraft are engaged with friendly forces, but this furball is cut short when the USS Anzio is sunk).
Some missions (including those in Online Co-op) contain furballs, usually after a mission update.
- Aerospace Center Defense - After the emergency mission update is completed, the furball will spawn directly above the launch site. It appears only at random intervals.
- Emergency Air Strike - The first wave of the furball will spawn inland, close to the shoreline. After the destruction of the first wave, the second wave will spawn above the sea, accompanying a flight of Tu-160 Blackjack bombers. The final wave will spawn farther out to sea, being backed by stealth fighters.
- Area B7R Dogfight Battle - At the start of the mission, each team will be up against a large flight of fighters divided into equal parts. Afterwards, the location of the spawn point for the furball, alongside its formation, will vary after finishing an emergency mission, appearing in the radar as either a three-sided line group heading inwards or a horizontally-aligned group heading south. In the case of the former, a large formation consisting of mostly F-15 S/MTDs and a small group of yellow and orange targets will spawn south to engage the players. For the latter, one formation will contain a large flight of mainly T-50 PAK-FAs and Su-47 Berkuts. On the second, a flight of YF-23 Black Widow IIs, supported by three Il-76 jammer aircraft, would join the fray to attack the players.
Ace Combat 7
Most, if not all, missions in Ace Combat 7 include furballs.
- Two-pronged Strategy - When the Arsenal Bird Liberty enters the airspace, MQ-101s will keep spawning endlessly and chase the player.
- Long Day - An endless wave of fighters will spawn until the timer runs out.
- Fleet Destruction - The furball will continue despite the destruction of the naval platforms until the timer runs out.
- Lighthouse - The first wave of the furball consists of hostile fighter aircraft, both manned and unmanned, will fly around patrolling the the space elevator. The second wave consists of remaining unmanned aircraft flying by the power of the Arsenal Bird Justice.
- The only times a furball is referred to is first in Ace Combat 04 in the mission 'Shattered Skies', when a friendly pilot radios: "This is the biggest furball I've seen so far." and later, "We can't confirm kills in this furball." in the same mission. The third is in Assault Horizon in Nightmare when Bishop says "Lets go back to the furball."