Fans of Ace Combat aren't the only ones who've dreamed of soaring through the clouds in a virtual reality-cockpit. Apparently that's been the hope of Ace Combat 7 producer Kazutoki Kono for a good long time: "From the ages of PS2, we already have the image of doing VR [for Ace Combat]," Kono explained in a recent interview with GamesRadar+. "The reason we came up with the idea was that we can change screens when we were in the cockpit inside the game. Using the controller, we can only imagine the TV screen in the living room, but...when we played the VR mode, we can remember the actual experience [of being] inside the cockpit, flying freely around the sky."
While that might have seemed like a pipedream back then, when Ace Combat Zero was still in its infancy and Ace Combat Horizon wasn't even a twinkle in Project Aces' eyes yet, the new wave of VR options headed to market has made it possible for Kono and his team to realize that vision. As a title exclusive to the PS4, Ace Combat 7 (the "true successor to Ace Combat 6," according to Bandai-Namco representative Danny Chiu) will utilize the PlayStation VR headset, and Kono is particularly enthusiastic about what that technology will mean for the project. "By setting it inside a real cockpit, PlayStation VR will give all players the exact image and memory of becoming a pilot. So the experience of playing inside the PlayStation VR is going to be the true memory of the players."
However, if virtually reality sounds like nothing but a headache to you, no need to fear. Counter to some recent reports, the game will not be exclusive to VR, and will be playable on the PS4 without a PlayStation VR headset. Kono likens the Ace Combat 7 experience to an ice cream sundae - "Everything like online mode and campaign mode is in the ice cream. PlayStation VR is going to be a topping."
Kono still maintains that the VR version will be the 'true' Ace Combat experience, but fans who simply can't stomach the tech won't have to do battle with motion sickness to enjoy a series that they love. He is, after all, thankful for all the fans have done for the Ace Combat series. "One brand that lasts almost twenty years is kind of an unbelievable thing," said Kono. "Because Ace Combat is beloved by all the fans, we're very pleased making the announcement of the brand new [Ace Combat] 7. That was possible because the fans supported us for this long period of time."