THE iDOLM@STER is a series of life simulation video games created by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The player is a new producer in the fictional music studio "765 Production", and the game follows their career as the manager of a group of Japanese musical idols over the course of one year.
The first game in the series, which shares its name, was released on July 26, 2005 on the Namco System 246 arcade system and then ported to the Xbox 360 on January 25, 2007. Since then, the series has jumped between various game consoles. THE iDOLM@STER has enjoyed mostly large success, and is a popular brand within Japanese media, with many spin-offs and entries into other media.
The Ace Combat series has incorporated the iDOLM@STER characters as aircraft skins and emblems in various games throughout the series. The iDOLM@STER aircraft are modified versions of the original aircraft, with such modifications based on the personality and physical details of the idols presented on them.
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation and the first iDOLM@STER game were both released in 2007. To celebrate and to help promote iDOLM@STER, numerous aircraft based on the characters were offered as downloadable content in Ace Combat 6.
All of these aircraft are no longer available as of June 30, 2016, when all DLC for Ace Combat 6 was removed from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
- Su-33 -THE IDOLMASTER MIKI-
- F-117A -THE IDOLMASTER YUKIHO-
- Upgrades: Air-to-air, air-to-ground, all weapon ammo
- Downgrades: Defense, mobility, speed, stability
- Special Effect: The aircraft's mobility stat increases during flight relative to its speed. The faster the player flies, the more mobile the aircraft becomes.
- Su-47 -THE IDOLMASTER MIKI-EX-
- Upgrades: Mobility, speed, air-to-air, air-to-ground, special weapon ammo
- Downgrades: Defense, stability, missile ammo
- Special Effect: At high speeds, the aircraft gains extreme mobility, allowing it to drift in mid-air.
- F-15E -THE IDOLMASTER CHIHAYA-
- Upgrades: Mobility, speed, air-to-air, air-to-ground, stability, XMA6 ammo, SFFS ammo
- Downgrades: Defense, missile ammo, UGB ammo, XAGM ammo
- Special Effect: Upon taking damage, the aircraft will temporarily enter a stall.
- Mirage 2000-5 -THE IDOLMASTER YAYOI-
- Upgrades: Speed, air-to-air, air-to-ground, all weapon ammo
- Downgrades: Mobility, stability, defense
- Special Effect: All missiles have an orange smoke trail.
- F-22A -THE IDOLMASTER HARUKA-
- Upgrades: All stats, special weapon ammo
- Downgrades: Missile ammo
- Special Effect: The aircraft has a high rate of deceleration.
- Rafale M -THE IDOLMASTER IORI-
- Upgrades: Mobility, speed, air-to-air, air-to-ground, defense, SOD ammo, SAAM ammo, XMA6 ammo
- Downgrades: Stability, missile ammo, LASM ammo
- Special Effect: The -IORI- does not turn as easily as the standard Rafale M.
- THE IDOLMASTER AMI, MAMI SET
- F-16C -THE IDOLMASTER MAMI-
- Upgrades: Mobility, speed, air-to-air, air-to-ground, defense
- Downgrades: Stability
- Special Effect: This aircraft has a tendency to remain locked when rolling, snapping out only through player input.
- F-2A -THE IDOLMASTER AMI-
- Upgrades: Air-to-air
- Special Effect: This aircraft has a tendency to remain locked when pitching, snapping out only through player input.
- F-16C -THE IDOLMASTER MAMI-
- F/A-18F -THE IDOLMASTER RITSUKO-
- Upgrades: Mobility, air-to-air, air-to-ground, stability, all weapon ammo
- Downgrades: Speed, defense
- Special Effect: The aircraft receives a complete absence of any and all 'recoil', giving the pilot complete control over the plane.
- F-14D -THE IDOLMASTER AZUSA-
- Upgrades: Mobility, speed, defense
- Downgrades: Air-to-air, air-to-ground, stability
- Special Effect:
- A-10A -THE IDOLMASTER SP-
- Upgrades: Mobility, speed, air-to-air, missile ammo, RCL ammo, FAEB ammo
- Downgrades: Stability, XAGM ammo
- Special Effect: Due to the high speed and mobility upgrades, this aircraft can drift in mid-air, allowing it to perform well in dogfights.
- Typhoon -THE IDOLMASTER MAKOTO-
- Upgrades: Mobility, stability, speed
- Downgrades: Air-to-air, air-to-ground, defense
- Special Effect: The aircraft has a noticeable delay in locking on to enemy targets with guided weapons.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon and THE iDOLM@STER 2 were both released in 2011. Many of the idol liveries from Ace Combat 6 were remade as downloadable aircraft skins for Assault Horizon, with some minor detail changes and brand-new monochrome versions. All of the game and PROJECT iM@S logos were updated to reflect the new game as well. However, unlike Ace Combat 6, the skins do not change the performance of any aircraft.
All of these aircraft skins are no longer available on PSN or Xbox LIVE as of January 27, 2016, when Assault Horizon and all of its DLC were removed from the respective marketplaces. They were included for free on the Steam Enhanced Edition of the game, which has also been taken down.
Ace Combat Infinity
On a livestream on June 24, 2014, the Ace Combat Infinity development team hinted at a possible "partnership" of sorts between Infinity and the iDOLM@STER series, continuing the trend. Initially, during a livestream one month later on July 25, it was confirmed that a series of emblems would soon be available rather than aircraft skins. The skins only made their appearance in 2015.
From August 22, 2014 at 4 AM GMT until August 27, 2014 at 4 AM GMT (the event was supposed to end on August 25 but was delayed due to a DDoS attack on the PlayStation Network), the first set of emblems (and the first of a series of drops) was released. These emblems include 8-bit versions of the iDOLM@STER characters, as well as the logo of Advanced Media Creation Girls, which was credited as the developer of the first arcade game.
The second drop, from February 3, 2015 at 4 AM GMT until February 16, 2015 at 8 AM GMT, features the full faces of the characters, whose emblem designs are based on squadron insignia. Additionally, nicknames based on the characters were available as challenges.
The third drop, from March 5, 2015 at 4 AM GMT until April 1, 2015 at 8 AM GMT, features modified versions of certain aircraft found within the Aircraft Tree. New aircraft include a special version of the B-2A Spirit, the B-2 -THE IDOLMASTER ALL-, alongside the special versions of the Gripen C and the AV-8B Harrier II plus, the Gripen C -TAKANE- and the AV-8B -HIBIKI- respectively.
The fourth drop, starting from October 13, 2015, features character emblems depicting those from the game THE iDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS STARLIGHT STAGE. As with the second drop, both the emblems and the nicknames acquired from participating challenges are released.
- The Tornado GR.4 and the CFA-44 Nosferatu are the only aircraft in Ace Combat 6 that do not have an iDOLMASTER variant.
- Most iDOLM@STER aircraft in Ace Combat 6 slow down rapidly when performing a High-G Turn. The best example is the F-22A -THE IDOLMASTER HARUKA-, which can go from 1200 mph to 74 mph in around 5 seconds.
- The ammunition counts for the iDOLM@STER aircraft in both Ace Combat 6 and Infinity are references to the respective idols' physical characteristics:
- The missile ammo counts in Ace Combat 6 are the idols' height in centimeters. For example, the F-14D -THE IDOLMASTER AZUSA- has 168 missiles, and Azusa herself is 168 cm tall. The only exception is the A-10A -THE IDOLMASTER SP-, which has 765 missiles.
- The special weapon ammo counts in Ace Combat 6 are the idols' "three sizes" (circumferences of the bust, waist, and hips) in centimeters. For the aircraft with four special weapons, the fourth ammo counts are the idols' weights in kilograms. For example, the F-15E -THE IDOLMASTER CHIHAYA- has 72 XMA6, 55 UGB, 78 SFFS, and 41 XAGM. Her three sizes are 72-55-78 cm, and her weight is 41 kg. The only exception is the A-10A -THE IDOLMASTER SP-, which has 70 RCL, 60 FAEB, and 50 XAGM (7-6-5).
- The gun ammo counts at Lv.1 in Infinity are the idols' bust sizes in centimeters. For example, the F-15E -CHIHAYA- has 72 bullets at Lv.1, and her bust size is 72 cm.
- Every iDOLM@STER aircraft in Infinity costs a mere 765 credits to purchase. In addition, every aircraft's gun ammo count at either Lv.5 or Lv.6 is 765 bullets.
- From 2009 to 2011, Hasegawa released 1/72 model aircraft from THE iDOLM@STER featured in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, which was followed in 2012 with the aircraft featured in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. Between the releases (January/March 2011) a set of exclusive aircraft from 961 Production members themed after THE iDOLM@STER SP was released, which later the same aircraft sets would be used in Ace Combat Infinity, exception begin the F-4EJ featuring Miki.
- Since 2007, THE iDOLM@STER collaborations with Ace Combat were most handled by Project Aces than BANDAI NAMCO Studios. Aside of a brief reference from Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, only 15 years later in THE iDOLM@STER Starlit Season that the franchise would made a real DLC featuring Ace Combat, debuting with an adapted bodysuit costume themed after the ADF-11F Raven for all idols.