Many gamers have fond memories of playing the Ace Combat games. The series of arcade-style flight simulators are more than a dozen games deep, with its latest installment, 2019's Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, setting records for the best-selling entry in the franchise with more than three million units sold.
Given the continued success of the 25-year-old franchise, Bandai Namco had no reason not to work on a sequel - and that's exactly what Kazutoki Kono just announced.
Ace Combat celebrates its 25th anniversary with a new game announcement
The franchise celebrated its 25th birthday on YouTube with an Ace Combat retrospective broadcast. However, it's in Japanese, so if you don't understand it or don't like watching videos using subtitles alone, we'll tell you the skinny: a new Ace Combat game is in the works.
The official announcement comes from longtime series producer, Kazutoki Kono.
As per Gematsu's translation, Kazutoki Kono dropped the proverbial mic by letting fans know that the "next game is underway."
ILCA will join Bandai Namco in the development of the next Ace Combat game. The former previously worked with Bandai Namco in a limited capacity on the cinematics and environments for Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. ILCA is also working on the upcoming Switch remakes Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearlm while GameFreak has its hands full working on Pokémon Legends: Arceus.
Unfortunately, that is all we know of the next Ace Combat game for now. Bandai Namco did not announce a release window, platform, or even a title. While the game is indeed in development, this lack of information suggests the next installment in the high-flying franchise is still ways away from releasing.
If it's any consolation, the next Ace Combat game will be developed using Unreal Engine 5. For a franchise that's known for its visuals, this is a big deal. We can expect ILCA and Bandai's joint work to result in what's likely to be the most beautiful Ace Combat game to date.
In addition to the graphics engine, Bandai Namco also announced that it is still going to support Ace Combat 7. The latest set of free content, Japan Air Self-Defence Force aircraft skins, will release on August 31. In addition to aircraft skins, the new content will add classic background music from previous games.