Before the presentation began we were warned this game wasn't for the "light hearted" so I feel I must give you the same warning before you read this. This game will be intense, you've been warned. Before you engage, remember, Top Gun rules of engagement are written for your safety and for that of your team. They are not flexible. Either obey them or you are history. Is that clear?
The Ace Combat franchise has been 15 years in the making but I want to be clear, this isn't Ace Combat 7. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is intended to be the rebirth of the franchise. The team developing it, Project Aces, promises more core technology and advancements to guarantee the best Ace Combat game yet.
A major departure from the previous games, AC: Assault Horizon will take place in the real world, "our world." Since it's trying to be as real as possible, actual military advisers were brought on board. To make sure the story would be realistic and dramatic, they got New York Times best-seller Jim DeFelice to write it. The games takes place in the year 2015 in Africa. A new threat of WMD's has surfaced and it's up to William Bishop and his crew to save the word. No biggie. In story mode you'll play from William's perspective as well as from the persepective of other unannounced characters.
When making Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, Project Aces took the previous Ace Combat's criticisms head on. One major complaint from past games was that combat was against enemies who were too far away and therefore too small. To counter this complaint they built the Close-Range Assault System, it promises to "put the enemies in your face." During a very short teaser trailer the showed us just how close you could get to your enemies before blowing them to pieces.
Another trailer dubbed the Close-Range Assault trailer showed off close-range combat with actual gameplay, "not trailer footage." To prove what we saw wasn't just in-game cutscenes, the game's producer Kazutoki Kono played the game for us live. Kono explained in close-range combat gamers must keep enemies in the target circle. Like previous games, players will have complete control of their movement, up, down, "the sky's the limit." He also demonstrated how to perform a counter attack by flipping your plane around and attacking the enemy plane from behind. This attack has a 33% success rate. Kono nailed it.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon will focus more on the aircraft's machine guns. Past games have focused heavily on missiles and since close combat was rare there was little need to use your guns. That changes with Assault Horizon. Not only will enemies be in range to be attacked but once they are attacked you'll get to see every part, every piece blown up right before your eyes. Fighting up close and personal with enemies will be incorporated into multiplayer too; other than that details for multiplayer and online have not been announced.
Community will be another aspect they are incorporating into the "rebirth of the franchise." They will be launching a Facebook contest allowing gamers to design their own fighter plane. Winners will have their design put into the game. I personally plan on designing a hot pink plane covered in glitter and hearts. That's right! I am dangerous. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon doesn't have a release date but is expected to launch on the Xbox 360 and PS3 later this year.