Ever since the release of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown in January 2019, Ace Combat fans around the world have wondered whether or not there would be another installment in the series. Ace Combat is a series with a very rich storyline that has had fans coming back for more and more for years on end. Ace Combat 7 is no exception. immediately after its release and even beforehand, Ace Combat fans have questioned how many installments there would be in the series. Speculation regarding an 8th game has risen in recent days and those speculations may have recently been confirmed. If you’ve been waiting for an Ace Combat 8, or just really like the series, the following has everything you need to know!
What We Know So Far
At the time of this writing, the production of Ace Combat 8 has not yet been officially confirmed, but it might as well have been. There is currently loads of evidence and hints from its creators. Ace Combat 8 is something fans have wanted for a long time and now our wish may finally have come true.
25th Anniversary Livestream
In celebration of Ace Combat’s 25th anniversary, a livestream was hosted by the series creators to discuss various topics surrounding the series, as well as its future. An area of discussion that perked up a lot of people’s ears was in regards to the success of Ace Combat 7. Ace Combat has, in the past, been developed by a small team of developers known as ‘Project Aces’. Bandai Namco has always been involved with Ace Combat as a series, but the first game to be joint developed by both Namco and Project Aces was Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
Bandai Namco has mainly been helping in the production of audio visuals; hence the massive bump in quality from Ace Combat 6 to Ace Combat 7. The wordage that was used to describe the relationship between Namco and Project Aces implied that it was ongoing and most likely will be for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, it’s not hard to believe that there is a new Ace Combat Project in the works. This belief is anything but unwarranted as a new project was confirmed to be in development during the livestream.
In the Stream,. Kazotoki Kono, one of the game’s creators stated that:
“We’ve started work on a new project in the Ace Combat series. Project Aces staff will of course continue to be involved in the development of this new project, but as we celebrate 25 years and three million copies sold, we’ve come to understand we have many fans of all tastes. Our small team can’t handle it all alone, so we’re looking to expand the Ace Combat team in a big way.”
To be clear, Kono did not explicitly state that this ‘new project’ is in fact an 8th Ace Combat installment. What’s interesting though, is that this new project most likely is not just another DLC for AC7. Ace Combat 7 DLCs have been constantly released ever since the release of the game. The Ace Combat creators made this new project seem like a very big deal; which they have not done for any of the AC7 DLCs in the past.
Currently, this project is set to release any time from now until 2025.
The Success of Ace Combat 7 And What That Means For An 8th Installment
Since its release in 2019, Ace Combat 7 has sold over 3 million copies worldwide. This is a lot for any game, but it was much more than the Ace Combat developers anticipated. A good problem to have! with this in mind, the fact that AC7 did so well following its release is most likely the biggest driver for another Ace Combat installment.
The massive success of Ace Combat 7, was a wakeup call for both Namco and Project Aces. Realizing just how large of a fanbase they really had and how much they could potentially profit is probably what is pushing Namco so hard to make another game. The Ace Combat community is extremely invested in the series. If Namco and Project Aces don’t make another game, people will surely be upset about it. Furthermore, the creators of Ace Combat as a series are also extremely invested, pouring their entire lives into writing these games.
This is good, but can also be a bad thing. I don’t believe that it would be, but I surely hope that an 8th Ace Combat installment will not just be a cash-grab piggybacking off of the success of AC7. However, seeing how dedicated the creators are to their craft, I highly doubt this will be the case.
All of this to say, from a business perspective, it would be stupid NOT to make another game. There is obviously a high and growing demand for one. This only increases the odds of this ‘new project’ being an 8th installment in the series.
— エースコンバット公式 (@PROJECT_ACES) August 19, 2021
Why Ace Combat Needs Another Game
Aside from everything we know from the livestream and everything we can infer from Namco and the developers at Project Aces, I believe that Ace Combat needs at least one more game in order to truly complete its story. Every Ace Combat Game thus far is completely separate from any of its counterparts. Each game has you play as a different pilot, on a different portion of the story’s timeline. That being said, all Ace Combat Games occur within the same universe and connect quite flawlessly.
With this in mind, I believe that the Ace Combat series needs to, and probably will be, wrapped up by connecting all of the different stories in one big finale. This would not only be an incredibly satisfying ending for all Ace Combat fans, but it would, in my opinion, be the best way to end a series. I have no doubt in my mind that the final game in the series will be something of this sort.
All that Being said, I am in no way stating that Ace Combat 8 would be the end of the Ace Combat series. There is currently no reason to believe so. There could be five more games for all I know! However, if the series is to end on the most positive note, I believe that an 8th game is required.
What Would Ace Combat 8 Look Like?
As of late, the Ace Combat team has been diving into the world of virtual reality. There have been a couple of VR DLCs released in the past couple of years. With this is mind, there is a very good chance that the next Ace Combat installment will be a complete virtual reality experience. Ace Combat games have always been incredibly immersive; allowing the player to feel as though they really an an ace fighter pilot. I believe that the ultimate goal of the series’ creators is in fact to provide extreme game immersion. Utilizing VR would be taking this immersion to a whole other level.
As far as the storyline goes, only time will tell. I, nor anyone else is certain what the content of another game would entail. But I am certain that it will be much more immersive than any previous games. Bandai Namco and Project Aces have had quite a bit of time to implement VR into their games and we’re finally starting to see them show their work to the public.
With this in mind, the chances of Ace Combat 8 being a VR experience are rather high.
Ace Combat Merch!
For the die-hard Ace Combat fans, there is quite a bit of merch out there to get your hands on. I’ll put a few of my favorite items below!
Ace Combat games are MUCH more fun with a HOTAS. If you want some other HOTAS options you can check them out here!