Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War (2006) - Naoto Maeda
What are your feelings on Ace Combat Zero?
Ace Combat Zero was a struggle between maintaining the spirit of the series, while at creating a unique gaming experience. The pressure of having to follow in the footsteps of the extremely well crafted and successful Ace Combat 4 and 5 was enormous. However, we took every idea that was cool and included it in the game, and because of that I think we ended up with something like no other. Zero was also a chance for me to work with and be supported by many extremely talented people.
What aspects of Ace Combat Zero were unique to the series?
Tough dogfights with distinct enemy aces and the ability for the player to decide what type of ace they want to be, defined the Ace Combat Zero experience. The Spanish inspired soundtrack also helped elevate the intensity of the aerial combat. In the end all of Zero's unique characteristics enforce the feeling that the player is the hero, and that's precisely where it succeeds in continuing the Ace legacy.
Now that it's over, is there anything you think could have been done better?
There weren't really any instances where we failed. Actually, the project development schedule was so tight that we couldn't afford to make any mistakes. It was like running full-speed across a hundred foot high tight wire. It goes without saying that it was the experience of the team that got us safely across to the other side.
Are there any features you would like to have included, but couldn't because of time constraints?
I was disappointed that we couldn't include worldwide online gameplay. However, this has been successfully implemented into Ace Combat 6. I know a lot of people have been waiting for this and we’re certain they are going to love what we have for them!
What are some things you tried to do, but didn't quite work out?
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Actually I've never told anyone this, but my original idea for the story was something along the lines of an "Ace Combat Saga" which followed a mercenary pilot who had fought his way through both Ace Combat 4 and Ace Combat 5. I couldn't proceed with the project for several reasons, but the idea is still brewing in my head.