25 September 2013
Ace Combat Infinity announced
Project Aces announced their latest Ace Combat game for PS3, titled Ace Combat Infinity. It will be available to download on PlayStation 3 as a free-to-play online game.
There has been several teaser images and trailer by production team Project Aces and its video game producer Kazutoki Kono throughout the summer, most with little solid information, but the latest trailer released during Tokyo Game Show this month has a bit more detail so far:
Ace Combat Infinity will feature a setting based on Earth but with events based on most of its previous games in a separate fictive world, where an asteroid hits earth despite multiple governments' attempt to build superweapons to stop it. World order has taken a great hit, and there mercenaries are hired to fight. The story is still not exactly known, but the game will feature a singleplayer campaign, and a competitive co-op mode (the main gameplay mode) where two teams fight the same enemies but compete for the most damage inflicted. A lot of boss-like superweapons from previous games such as the Stonehenge railgun network will be expected to make appearance in this game.
Being a free-to-play game, Ace Combat Infinity will feature microtransaction of some sort, and posing limits of game play by having a fuel system, where you use up "fuel" or energy units per play and these need recharging by waiting out a period of time, or pay for extra standby energy units with money. The producer mentioned the system to be similar to that for Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation, which is also a free-to-play game under Bandai Namco Games.
The game is expected to be released sometime this year.
While it's good to hear that there will be a new Ace Combat game, the free-to-play approach can be a little worrying in my opinion. Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation, which Ace Combat Infinity will have its microtransaction system based upon, has a long waiting time. You can play up to three game sessions in a row, which are 10 minutes each, and after that you'd have to wait for the energies to recharge, where the rate is 2 hours per energy before you can play again.
The exact system for Infinity is still yet to be known, but I hope the waiting won't be as long as that for Battle Operation, of which Chinese localisation was released in Hong Kong network back in March. I stopped playing Battle Operation mainly because it's mostly waiting than playing. Free-to-play works relatively well in social games and smartphone games because you can pop in and play now and then, but for game consoles one would expect to sit down and play for as long as he likes.
A lot of games now under Bandai Namco Games have taken the approach of free-to-play concept. This includes Tekken, Soul Calibur, Ridge Racer, and Gundam Battle Operation as mentioned above. Now Ace Combat Infinity will come under this category as well. Unlike the Gundam game this should most likely be a global release, with the producer's intention to attract greater audience. Will it be successful? Well we shall see once the game is released.
Images from Ace Combat Facebook page