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Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

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"Unmanned fighters are no longer a dream. Pilots taking to the skies will soon be a distant memory."
Our Science: Era of the Drones[6]

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown[a] is the 17th entry in the Ace Combat franchise. It released on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One on January 17, 2019 in Japan and Asia,[3] followed by the rest of the world on January 18, 2019. The game released on the Steam platform on February 1, 2019.[1][2] On the game's fifth anniversary on January 17, 2024, it was announced that the game would release on Nintendo Switch on July 11 of the same year.[4][5]

Advertised as a return to the world of Strangereal, the single-player campaign takes place in 2019. The player character is Trigger, an Osean Air Defense Force pilot fighting against the Kingdom of Erusea during the Lighthouse War. After Trigger supposedly commits a heinous crime during a mission, he is sent to a military penal unit known as Spare Squadron. The game's cutscenes follow Osean flight mechanic Avril Mead, EASA researcher Dr. Schroeder, and other characters in the war. Three additional missions available as downloadable content take place in the middle of the war; they feature a small additional self-contained storyline following Osean analyst David North as he tracks the case of the Erusean super-submarine Alicorn and its captain, Matias Torres.

The game's multiplayer is comprised of two player-versus-player modes: Team Deathmatch and Battle Royal. Ace Combat 7 also features a VR Mode, exclusive to PlayStation VR, which includes three exclusive missions set in 2014 featuring Mobius 1 against a resurgent Free Erusea, an airshow mode, and Free Flight. The game's single-player campaign and multiplayer modes cannot be played in VR.

As of November 22, 2023, Ace Combat 7 has shipped over 5 million copies worldwide, making it the most successful Ace Combat game in the franchise's history.[7] Reviews for the game have been largely positive, primarily for the game's presentation, core gameplay, audio design, and virtual reality experience.

The game features a large amount of downloadable content, including nineteen playable aircraft and three additional missions. In April 2022, Bandai Namco announced a downloadable content pack in collaboration with Paramount to promote the film Top Gun: Maverick, which was released on May 26, 2022.


Basic Info

Multiplayer Modes

Game Mechanics




A battle at the International Space Elevator

Prior to the game's events, the Osean Federation constructed the International Space Elevator (commonly referred to as the Lighthouse) in the Usean continent to help reconstruction efforts following the Ulysses Impact Event and the Continental War. Tensions rose between Osea and the Kingdom of Erusea, a major Usean country, because of Erusea's suspicions that Osea aimed to control the entire Usean continent through the space elevator.[8] This culminated in an Erusean UAV attack in Osea[9] and Erusea simultaneously capturing the space elevator and its surrounding facilities.[8] Erusea also captured the two large unmanned UAV carriers—Arsenal Birds—defending the space elevator.[10]

Trigger begins in the war fighting for Osea and the IUN, defending the Fort Grays Island air base[11] and helping Osea destroy both a captured air base and anti-air radar near the Scofield Plateau.[12] The IUN learned that former President Vincent Harling was hiding in the space elevator since the start of the war, but Osean squadrons suffered losses in the Chopinburg Rainforest due to attacks from one of the two Arsenal Birds.[10] The IUN instead sent Trigger to infiltrate Erusea's radar network around the space elevator to open a path for Sea Goblin to attempt a rescue. While Harling was being airlifted out, a missile identified as Osean struck his aircraft, killing Harling. Trigger was the closest and blamed for the assassination.[13] At the same time, Osea attempted to perform early attacks on Erusea's capital, Farbanti, but abandoned these attacks after losing the aircraft carrier Kestrel II.[10]

The 444th Air Base

Trigger was transferred to the prison at the 444th Air Base and its penal unit, Spare Squadron. After defending the base[14] and destroying Erusean forces at Roca Roja,[15] Trigger encounters Erusean test pilot Mihaly A. Shilage for the first time while dogfighting over Yinshi Valley.[16] Spare Squadron is then sent to destroy an Erusean oil pipeline[17] and a drone radar facility. At the radar facility, a squadron of unmanned F/A-18F Super Hornets—posing as Osean aircraft—ambushed Spare Squadron with fire support from the Helios, a new anti-air burst missile equipped onto the Arsenal Birds. Spare Squadron shot down all of the UAVs and escaped the area.[18]

Osea's General Staff Office decided to make the Spare Squadron legitimate, pardoned all of the convicts, and sent them to recapture Tyler Island. The staff office requested 444th Base Commander McKinsey and Trigger—believing Trigger may not have killed Harling—to temporarily transfer to a base in North Point. McKinsey requested that Trigger and Spare 2, Count, escort him on the way. During the flight, McKinsey's transport came under attack by an unidentified drone, which Trigger shot down, earning him respect from other Osean forces.[19] He and Count were subsequently transferred to Osea's Long Range Strategic Strike Group's two main squadrons: Strider Squadron (Trigger as Strider 1) and Cyclops Squadron (Count as Cyclops 2), operating out of New Arrows Air Base in eastern Usea.[20]

The reactivated Stonehenge railgun firing on the Arsenal Bird

Osea tasked the LRSSG squadrons with an extended plan to capture Farbanti, recapture the space elevator, and end the war. This included attacking Erusea's Njord Fleet in the northern part of the continent,[20] reactivating the final Stonehenge railgun to shoot down one of the Arsenal Birds,[21] destroying missile silos attempting to fire IRBMs at Osean forces,[22] and capturing Cape Rainy as a forward operating base for use in the capture of Farbanti.[23] With the completion of this strategy, Osea launched a three-pronged invasion of Farbanti with the LRSSG providing support. Erusea sent Sol Squadron to protect Farbanti and, after an extended dogfight, both sides disengaged after losing all satellite connections. The LRSSG landed at Gardos Air Base, an IUN forward base, following the loss of communications.[24]

Erusea and Osea had simultaneously sent anti-satellite attacks against each other, and the resulting debris field destroyed scores of other private and government satellites, plunging Usea into chaos.[25] The LRSSG attempted to cover defecting Erusean general Édouard Labarthe during a civil war that broke out in Anchorhead, but he was killed by an Osean pilot due to the communications breakdown.[26] The LRSSG then attempted to rendezvous with Spare Squadron and other friendly forces at Tyler Island, but discovered that Spare's Tyler Island offensive had been a failure. The LRSSG provided support for starved forces on the island and helped refugees escape, including Erusea's Princess Rosa Cossette D'Elise and the remaining members of Spare Squadron.[27] With no other options due to being low on supplies, the LRSSG attacked Shilage Castle to resupply with the castle's resources. Sol Squadron attempted to defend but Trigger shot down most of them, including Mihaly, who entered the battle in a railgun-equipped X-02S Strike Wyvern. Mihaly ordered the remaining two members, Wit and Seymour, to retreat.[28]

The second Arsenal Bird activating its shield against a saturation attack

Upon being confronted, Doctor Schroeder revealed to Princess Cossette and the members of Spare Squadron that Gründer Industries had partially orchestrated the war by developing the UAVs and sending him to Erusea for research and development in the Erusean Air and Space Administration. Schroeder and the others resolved to deactivate the space elevator to prevent any more drones from being manufactured.[29] Meanwhile, Osea formed a coalition force with Erusean conservatives and breakaway Erusean factions, including Wit and Seymour, to end the war by defeating Erusea's radical warmongers that continued to control the space elevator. A massive dogfight broke out at the space elevator, attracting the surviving Arsenal Bird. After Princess Cossette destroyed the space elevator's energy transmitters, the Arsenal Bird's shield went down and Trigger fully destroyed it. Two new drones—ADF-11F Ravens manufactured before the space elevator was disabled—entered the airspace and fired on the coalition forces, leaving them heavily weakened as a result.[30] The remaining members fled to the nearby Osean carrier Admiral Andersen.[31]

An ADF-11F flying past the space elevator

The next day, most of the remaining coalition pilots engaged the two ADF-11Fs. Trigger shot them both down, including one that detached from its main wing unit and continued to fight. The other ADF-11 escaped the battle and flew into the tunnel network leading to the base of the space elevator, in an attempt to transmit its data to other automated drone factories across Usea. Trigger and Count pursued through the tunnel, eventually destroying it. Count landed in the tunnel network due to battle damage while Trigger flew through the space elevator to escape.[32]

After both drones were shot down, the coalition force gathered at base of the space elevator to accept refugees from across the continent, ignoring their original national allegiances in the name of peace.[33]


The Alicorn fights its way out of port

On September 4, 2019, between the destruction of the IRBMs and the seizure of Cape Rainy, the Osean Maritime Defense Force attempted to seize the Erusean submersible aviation cruiser Alicorn under the orders of Brigadier General Howard Clemens. The operation was conducted in the hope of finding nuclear weapons on board, and using them as leverage to gain an advantage in post-war peace talks.

Strider Squadron—led by Trigger—and the other Osean forces overcame the Erusean defenses despite the interference of a mysterious duo of assassins, Mimic Squadron. Erusea's senior officers ordered Captain Matias Torres to scuttle the Alicorn immediately, but Torres refused the order and went rogue. Leaving dock with its fanatical crew, the Alicorn sank several Osean ships and escaped. OIA analyst David North, a consultant on the Alicorn, later remarked during the debriefing that it was as if the Alicorn leaving port was planned, and wondered why the crew would take such actions, unless they knew about Osea having intelligence about the supposed WMDs aboard the submarine.[34]

Six days later, Clemens ordered Strider Squadron to attack Anchorhead to prevent the Alicorn from joining forces with the Erusean fleet there. Strider devastated the Erusean fleet and other defenses, and was in the process of withdrawing when Mimic Squadron appeared again for a rematch with Trigger. Ignoring Clemens' order to disengage—which revealed that the Brigadier General was in league with the assassins—Mimic dueled Trigger and Count, but were ultimately defeated and killed.

While this was happening, however, David discovered that the supposed plan to link up with the Erusean fleet was disinformation transmitted to Clemens by Alicorn agent Edgar Saxon; the true intent was to have Strider destroy the Erusean defenses to allow the Alicorn to resupply at Anchorhead, loading two tactical nuclear shells. Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Edwards accused Clemens of suspected treason due to both this and his collaboration with Mimic, ordering his immediate arrest.[35]

Using intelligence gathered from the missions prior, David deduced that Torres planned to use the Alicorn's main rail cannon to fire a tactical nuke at the Osean capital of Oured on September 19, 2019, the 15th anniversary of the end of the Usean Continental War. Osea intercepted the Alicorn in a shallow region of the Spring Sea, utilizing sonobuoys and a magnetic anomaly detector to locate the submarine, before using ASROCs to force the submarine to surface. The LRSSG battled the Alicorn and its air wing, eventually damaging the submarine sufficiently for Torres to announce his crew's surrender. However, this proved to be a ruse to buy enough time fire a long-range shot at Oured. Trigger deflected the shot with a last-moment hit on the rail cannon's barrel, however, and the LRSSG renewed its attack on the Alicorn, destroying it before it could fire its second shot. They then returned home in triumph.[36]

David later asked his AI partner, Alex on whether she thought Trigger could ever become like Torres: a hero gone rogue, who inspired fanaticism in his followers. She responded with her conclusion: that tactical elements that followed in Trigger's lead or mimicked his actions had an increased chance of survival. This inspired David to write a favorable report regarding both Trigger and the incident with the Alicorn.[36]


  • Callsign Trigger (real name unknown) is the player character and the silent protagonist of the game. Clown signed him on prior to the war to fill an empty spot in Mage Squadron, but Trigger shows true combat potential throughout the conflict. Following an incident during a mission, Trigger is sent to the 444th Air Base as a prisoner.
  • Avril Mead is a mechanic imprisoned at the 444th Air Base. She earns the nickname "Scrap Queen" for her skill in restoring mothballed aircraft to full combat effectiveness. She later joins the force at Tyler Island and leads the refugees into fighting the radical Erusean forces and disabling the space elevator.
  • Mihaly A. Shilage is a former Erusean Air Force ace pilot and the flight lead of Sol Squadron. He currently works for the Erusean Air and Space Administration as an experimental test pilot. His combat data is used to develop an artificial intelligence for Erusea's UAV program. He was once the heir to the Grand Duchy of Shilage, but joined the Erusean military after the small country was annexed by Erusea.
  • Dr. Schroeder is Gründer Industries' chief UAV researcher. He signs onto a contract with the EASA to advance their UAV development. He leads the drone development effort with Mihaly.
  • Princess Rosa Cossette D'Elise is the Princess of Erusea during the war, which her father initiated. She was convinced that the International Space Elevator was Osea's way of interfering with Usea and especially Erusea.
  • Matias Torres is the captain of the Erusean super-sub Alicorn. He defects from Erusea to pursue his personal goal of taking one million lives. He hides this depravity behind a seemingly well-intentioned goal of ending the Lighthouse War by taking extreme measures - namely, nuking Osea.
  • David North is a military analyst for the Osean Intelligence Agency and has been keeping tabs on the Alicorn. He provides helpful intel to Trigger and the rest of Strider Squadron during their missions to stop the submarine.
  • Howard Clemens is a Brigadier General in the Osean Air Defense Force and is the commander of the operations to stop the Alicorn. He is an oppressive officer with no respect or concern for those under his command.
  • Otto van Dalsen, callsign Rage, is a mercenary assassin who was hired by a mysterious figure to kill Trigger. He is the flight leader of Mimic Squadron and brother of his wingman, Scream.
  • Elke van Dalsen, callsign Scream, is the older sister of Otto and is an assassin who was hired by a mysterious figure to kill Trigger. She flies as her brother's wingman as part of Mimic Squadron.


Core Mechanics

Cockpit of a Typhoon during "First Contact"

The flight model in Ace Combat 7 feels similar to Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War and Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.[37] The HUD is very reminiscent of Ace Combat Infinity. Flares return for player control from Ace Combat: Assault Horizon.[38]

The retry menu during "Long Day", allowing players to restart from a checkpoint

Checkpoints also return, allowing players to restart a mission from a particular checkpoint if they die in the middle of a mission.

Allies in need of an escort, like in previous entries, feature a large blue container around their box on the HUD. For the first time, if an ally is pinned down, the radar will ping their location and the pilot will call for help on the radio. If the player does not respond in enough time, the ally calling for help will be killed, in most of the cases, ending the mission in failure. This feature is also available in multiplayer when using certain radio messages.

Clouds play a major role in gameplay for the first time in the franchise. Units inside of clouds, including the player, gain stealth but lose visibility. The player may risk crashing into other aircraft and the terrain. The player's plane can also ice and stall if they stay in cloud cover for too long.[39] In addition to clouds, direct lightning strikes interfere with the player's flight control and fire-control system and distort the HUD.[8]

Helicopters and Piston Fighters do not make an appearance in Ace Combat 7. The game only focuses on playable fighter jets.[40]

An Su-35S Flanker-E performing a Post Stall Maneuver to get behind its enemy

The player can also manually perform Post Stall Maneuvers. If successful, the player can get behind an enemy aircraft and turn a dogfight in their favor.[41] This mechanic replaces the automatic Close Range Assault counter-maneuvers from Assault Horizon. Like in previous games, certain enemies can also perform Post Stall Manuevers in combat, forcing players to adapt to their increased mobility.


The Aircraft Tree from Ace Combat Infinity returns to Ace Combat 7. Players can purchase aircraft, special weapons, and tuning parts within the tree by spending MRP (Military Result Points), earned by completing campaign missions or multiplayer matches. Unlike Infinity, aircraft and weapons cannot be leveled up for higher performance.

Like in Ace Combat X, Joint Assault, Assault Horizon Legacy, and Infinity, aircraft can be tuned via the Hangar. Players can equip tuning parts to enhance aircraft and special weapons performance or adding special features to aircraft such as stealth, health regeneration, anti-icing, and more. Players can also change the aircraft skin and equip emblems on the aircraft's body, wings, and tails.

The Aircraft Set system from Infinity also returns in Ace Combat 7, but only for multiplayer. Players can create custom sets of an aircraft, skin, emblem, nickname, and tuning parts for repeated use in future matches.

Virtual Reality

Cockpit of an F/A-18F Super Hornet prior to takeoff in PS VR

Ace Combat 7 features an optional[42] VR Mode exclusively through PlayStation VR on PS4.[43] VR Mode contains an exclusive set of three missions separate from the main campaign, as well as an airshow mode and hangar mode. Players cannot play these modes without PlayStation VR, but VR is not available for the main campaign or multiplayer. VR Mode sacrifices some visual detail to maintain the required 60 frames-per-second.[44]

When playing in VR Mode's missions, the player must use cockpit view; first-person and third-person views are not available.[37] The player can turn their head to look at an enemy to lock on to them, at which point they can fire missiles as usual.[45] Holding down the Options button will re-calibrate the headset.[46] The player can look down and see the entire cockpit, including the pilot's legs. The in-game pilot will interact with the plane's control sticks, despite the player's use of a DualShock 4 controller.[37]


Battle Royal gameplay featuring an F-22A over Fort Grays Island

Ace Combat 7 features two online multiplayer modes at launch, Battle Royal and Team Deathmatch. In Battle Royal, players engage in a free-for-all deathmatch where the first player reaches the score limit wins, or the player with the most points wins if the timer runs out. In Team Deathmatch, two teams must shoot each other down until the timer runs out or when one team reaches the score limit. Both modes support up to 8 players at once.[47]


Global Bonuses

The pre-order bonuses for PS4, Xbox One, and PC

All Ace Combat 7 pre-orders and "launch editions" on PS4, Xbox One, and Steam came with additional bonuses, regardless if they were purchased physically or digitally. The launch editions were removed one month after release (February 18, 2019 on PS4 and Xbox One; March 4, 2019 on Steam).[48]

  • All pre-orders and launch editions on PS4, Xbox One, and Steam received the F-4E Phantom II + 3 Skins DLC pack for free.
  • All PS4 pre-orders and launch editions included a digital copy of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War for the PlayStation 4, which is not available by any other means.[49]
    • For three years after release, seemingly unintentionally, European PS4 players could still acquire Ace Combat 5 by purchasing the Digital Deluxe Edition of Ace Combat 7 until that edition was replaced in 2022 by new post-launch editions.[50]
  • All Xbox One pre-orders and launch editions included a digital copy of Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation for the Xbox 360. Ace Combat 6 was also added to Xbox One and Series X/S's backward compatibility program, allowing users to play the game without the need for an Xbox 360.
    • The backward-compatibility update also allows those who own a physical disc of Ace Combat 6 to play the game by inserting the disc into an Xbox One that has a disc drive or an Xbox Series X.

Retailer Extras

Players who pre-ordered Ace Combat 7 also received an exclusive extra specific to the retailer they pre-ordered from. Most of these extras were exclusive to Japanese retailers; however, PlayStation Store's digital PS4 theme and GameStop's OADF pin were available to American customers, and the luggage strap was available to most Taiwanese customers.

Launch Editions

Various special editions were announced for the release of Ace Combat 7. All of these editions are listed below.

Players who purchase a digital copy of Ace Combat 7 on any platform, regardless of edition or pre-order status, will receive the F-104C -Avril- aircraft as a digital incentive.


Edition Standard Deluxe AAW Collector's Strangereal
Format or Physical Region Retail Digital Retail[b] Digital NA/SA JP KR/TW EU/OCE SEA
Available Platforms
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Digital Bonuses
F-104C -Avril- skin
Season Pass
8 Popular Squadron Emblems
Physical Bonuses
Collector's box
Aces At War: A History 2019
(language depended on region)
F-22A steelbook
Trigger emblem patch
Legacy emblem stickers[note 1]
Arsenal Bird 40 cm diecast figurine
Trigger 3 cm metal pin
OADF and Erusea patches

Deluxe Edition

The contents of the Deluxe Edition

The Ace Combat 7 "Deluxe Edition" included the game's Season Pass, as well as eight additional in-game emblems: "Aquila", "Wardog", "Garuda", "Gryphus", and low-visibility variants of each. In almost all regions, this edition was only available digitally and could not be purchased with physical copies.[51]

On the European PlayStation Store, this edition always granted access to the digital PS4 version of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War even after the pre-order and launch edition window closed.[50]

The digital Deluxe Edition was removed from sale on May 26, 2022 with the release of replacement post-launch editions.

The United Kingdom retailer GAME allowed players to purchase a physical Ace Combat 7 Deluxe Edition. GAME had exclusive rights to the physical version of this edition in the United Kingdom.[52][53]

Aces at War Bundle

The contents of the Aces at War Bundle

North American and South American players have the option to purchase a special edition dubbed the "Aces at War Bundle" exclusively through Bandai Namco's online store. Players can purchase an Aces At War Bundle for PS4 or Xbox One; there is no Steam version of this edition. The Aces at War Bundle comes with the following physical goods:[54]

  • A copy of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown on PS4 or Xbox One
  • An English[55] copy of Aces At War: A History 2019
  • A steelbook case for the game disc featuring an F-22A Raptor

By December 19, 2018, both the PS4 and Xbox One Aces at War Bundles had sold out of consumer copies, forcing customers to join a wait list for the edition.[56][57]

Collector's Edition

The contents of the Collector's Edition

Japanese,[51] South Korean,[58] and Taiwanese players have the option to purchase a special PS4 Collector's Edition. There is no Xbox One or Steam version of this edition. The Collector's Edition comes with the following physical goods:[59]

  • A copy of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown on PS4
  • A copy of Aces At War: A History 2019 (in Japanese, Korean, or Traditional Chinese, depending on the region)[51][58][59]
  • A copy of the game's Season Pass (only for South Korea and Taiwan, not for Japan)
  • A steelbook case for the game disc featuring an F-22A Raptor
  • A specially-designed collector's box featuring the International Space Elevator
  • An embroidered Trigger emblem patch
  • Six emblem stickers (Galm, Aquila, Garuda, Razgriz, Mobius, and Sol)

Strangereal Edition

The contents of the European and Oceanic Strangereal Edition
The contents of the Southeast Asian Strangereal Edition

European, Oceanic, and Southeast Asian players have the option to purchase a special collector's edition dubbed the "Strangereal Edition". Players in Europe and Oceania can purchase a Strangereal Edition for any of the three launch platforms (game disc for PS4 and Xbox One, digital code for Steam);[60] players in Southeast Asia can only purchase it for PS4.[61]

In late December 2018, the Strangereal Edition was apparently updated to include the eight emblems from the Deluxe Edition as well as the F-104C -Avril- aircraft skin.[62]

The Strangereal Edition comes with the following physical goods:

  • A copy of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • An English[55] copy of Aces At War: A History 2019
  • A copy of the game's Season Pass and the eight emblems from the Deluxe Edition[62]
  • An individually-numbered collector's box featuring the game box art
  • A 40 cm:500g diecast model of the Arsenal Bird
  • A 3 cm Trigger emblem pin
  • Two embroidered patches of the Osean Air Defense Force and Erusea

Post-Launch Editions

Additional special editions have been made available after the release of Ace Combat 7. Except for the Premium and Switch editions, these were released without prior announcement on May 26, 2022 upon the release of the TOP GUN: Maverick Aircraft Set.


Edition Premium 25th
Retail Digital
Available Platforms
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Nintendo Switch
Available Regions
Digital Bonuses
F-104C -Avril- skin
8 Popular Squadron Emblems
Season Pass
Original Aircraft Series
Experimental Aircraft Series Set
Cutting-edge Aircraft Series Set
TOP GUN: Maverick Aircraft Set

Premium Edition

The retail PS4 Premium Edition

The Premium Edition is exclusive to Japan. It can only be purchased at retail for PlayStation 4, but can be purchased digitally for either PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.[48] It released on November 5, 2020.[63]

The Premium Edition comes with the following:

25th Anniversary Edition

AC7 25th Anniversary Edition Tile.png

The 25th Anniversary Edition is exclusive to Japan and is not available on Steam. It is only available digitally and comes with the following:

Deluxe Edition 2022

AC7 Deluxe Edition 2022 Tile.png

The Deluxe Edition 2022 is exclusive to Japan and is not available on Steam. It is only available digitally and comes with the following:

  • A copy of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • The F-104C -Avril-
  • The Original Aircraft Series Set DLC
  • The Experimental Aircraft Series Set DLC
  • The Cutting-edge Aircraft Series Set DLC
  • The Season Pass
  • The 8 Popular Squadron Emblems DLC

Ultimate Edition

AC7 Ultimate Edition Tile.png

The Ultimate Edition is exclusive to Japan and is not available on Steam. It is only available digitally and comes with the following:

  • A copy of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • The F-104C -Avril-
  • The Original Aircraft Series Set DLC
  • The Experimental Aircraft Series Set DLC
  • The Cutting-edge Aircraft Series Set DLC
  • The Season Pass
  • The 8 Popular Squadron Emblems DLC
  • The TOP GUN: Maverick Aircraft Set DLC

TOP GUN Edition

The Top Gun: Maverick Edition

The TOP GUN: Maverick Edition is only available digitally. The bundle comes with the following:

  • A copy of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • The F-104C -Avril-
  • The TOP GUN: Maverick Aircraft Set DLC

TOP GUN Ultimate Edition

The Top Gun: Maverick Ultimate Edition

The TOP GUN: Maverick Ultimate Edition is only available digitally. The bundle comes with the following:

  • A copy of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • The F-104C -Avril-
  • The Season Pass
  • The 8 Popular Squadron Emblems DLC
  • The TOP GUN: Maverick Aircraft Set DLC

Switch Deluxe Edition

The Nintendo Switch version of the game cannot be purchased on its own; it comes bundled as part of a platform-exclusive "Deluxe Edition" (not to be confused with other Deluxe Editions described above). It will be released on July 11, 2024.

In most regions, this edition is only available digitally, but a physical cartridge will be available exclusively in Japan and the United Kingdom. customers who pre-order the physical cartridge will receive an exclusive X-02S Strike Wyvern desktop wallpaper.

This version of the game comes with the following:[4][5]

  • A copy of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • The F-104C -Avril-
  • The Season Pass
  • The 8 Popular Squadron Emblems DLC
  • The F-4E Phantom II + 3 Skins DLC



The original 20th anniversary wallpaper; the tagline was used to tease Ace Combat 7

After Ace Combat: Assault Horizon released in late 2011, Project Aces used the game's engine to test new cloud technology.[64][65] However, over the next couple of years, the team's limited resources forced development to shift to Ace Combat Infinity.[65] Ace Combat series producer Kazutoki Kono stated in 2014 that a "next-generation" Ace Combat game—and the future of the franchise—would depend on Infinity.[66][67] Kono reiterated a year later that Project Aces was a small team busy with maintaining Infinity, but also stated that Infinity's overwhelming success helped push them to the "next step".[68][69]

When Ace Combat 7 got the green light, the Ace Combat proprietary engine had entered a "state of limbo".[70] Around this time, Bandai Namco's Tekken team used Unreal Engine 4 to develop and release Tekken 7, which saved development time and made porting easier.[71] Project Aces decided to follow suit and develop Ace Combat 7 in Unreal Engine 4 as well.[70] The team also licensed trueSKY for the cloud mechanics[64] and SpeedTree for rendering vegetation.[72]

Project Aces did not consider virtual reality in the initial development stages. When Kono offered the possibility, the team jumped at the chance to include it.[65] Bandai Namco's prior work on Mach Storm and Star Wars Battle Pod provided assistance for the VR development.[73] The team also started modeling the aircraft from scratch in higher detail to make the best use of modern hardware.[65]

In June 2015, Project Aces revealed a 20th anniversary wallpaper featuring the tagline "ACES even challenge the true sky".[74] Kono revealed two years later that "ACES even" was hiding the phrase "ACE Seven", referencing the future title.[75]

PSX 2015

The announcement trailer's thumbnail/end screen

Ace Combat 7 entered full development by November 2015. Bandai Namco scheduled a trailer to debut during PlayStation Experience 2015. Project Aces added data to Infinity in advance for a celebratory event after the trailer aired. Japanese players discovered this data by November 19 and leaked its existence online.[76] On December 5, the trailer aired at the tail end of PlayStation Experience's VR segment. They only announced the game for PS4, and confirmed it would support PlayStation VR. By this point, Ace Combat 7 was 20% complete, and details began to emerge on the importance of clouds. The game's subtitle, or even if there would be one, was not confirmed.[77][78]

The following year remained quiet on announcements. Project Aces continued developing Ace Combat 7 and supporting Ace Combat Infinity. In March 2016, Bandai Namco's Brasil[79] and Latinoamérica[80] Facebook pages announced that Ace Combat 7 would release that year. No English or Japanese source confirmed this. Later that month, Kono tweeted that the script for Ace Combat 7 was almost complete. Yet, the team had not decided on the player's squadron and name (later "Mage Squadron" and "Trigger"). He joked that they would be "Player" and "Player 1".[81]

Despite no such announcement, some players expected Ace Combat 7 to appear at E3 in June 2016. They expressed disappointment online when it didn't appear. Kono apologized on Twitter and said many things prevented the game from appearing at E3.[82] He echoed this apology following the game's absence at Tokyo Game Show in September 2016.[83] He later revealed that the VR demo had framerate problems, preventing it from showing at Tokyo Game Show.[84]

Keiki Kobayashi tweeted a photo of the third campaign mission's sheet music in November 2016.[85] Later that month, Gematsu reported that Bandai Namco trademarked five new titles.[86] One of them was "Skies Unknown", which later turned out to be the subtitle for Ace Combat 7. The company held the official announcement for two months.

PSX 2016

On November 23, 2016, PlayStation announced that Ace Combat 7 would be playable at PSX next month.[87] Kono thought the appearance was a secret and expressed surprise at the announcement.[88] Project Aces confirmed the demo would be on PS VR and tweeted a cropped photo of the F/A-18F's cockpit in VR.[89] On December 3, the game's first story trailer aired near the start of the PSX presentation. The official YouTube uploads of the trailer confirmed the game would release in 2017.[90] A leak from Gematsu confirmed the game's full title would be Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.[91] Masahide Kito, the radio script writer for Ace Combat 04, announced he will return for Ace Combat 7.[92]

GamingBolt asked Kono if Ace Combat 7 could see an Xbox One release. Kono said "the doors [are not closed] for a multi platform release" but their focus was on PlayStation first.[93] Gematsu reported on January 3, 2017 that Taiwan's games rating board gave Ace Combat 7 an Xbox One rating. The rating board removed it from the website two days later.[94] At that month's Taipei Game Show, Kono announced a Traditional Chinese localization.[95]

Bandai Namco revealed an extended version of the PSX trailer on January 26. This coincided with an announcement of the game's full title, as well as Xbox One and Steam ports. The press release also mentioned 2-player local multiplayer, which was later disproven,[96] and it reiterated that VR would remain exclusive to PlayStation.[43] On May 20 Bandai Namco Entertainment Korea announced Korean localisation for a number of games, including Ace Combat 7.[97]

June–October 2017

Project Aces had an internal goal to have a non-VR demo build ready early for the next E3 in June 2017. The E3 build took longer to complete than the team first thought it would. In May, Kono delayed the game's release from 2017 to 2018. When asked by Famitsu, he denied that VR caused the delay, stating that VR was only one of Ace Combat 7's many gameplay elements.[98]

Bandai Namco released an E3 story trailer for the game a few days before the event. By the time E3 began, footage of the campaign mission demo began to emerge. DigitalFoundry discovered the game's demo was not running at 60 frames-per-second. Kono mentioned the possibility of better framerates on the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. He also confirmed the player could customize their plane's emblem and skin after completing the story.[99]

Two months later, at Gamescom 2017, Bandai Namco released another new story trailer. The trailer mostly used dialogue and visuals from the E3 trailer, but included a few new lines and scenes.[100] The E3 campaign mission demo was available with some framerate improvements.[101] The company also showed off another campaign mission with commentary from Kono.[102] In an interview with DualShockers, Kono said they couldn't port the game to the Nintendo Switch due to performance concerns;[103] these were addressed and resolved by 2024 when a Switch port was officially announced.[4][5]

The team released another gameplay trailer for Tokyo Game Show 2017 presenting Post Stall Maneuvers.[41] The final trailer released in this news cycle was a new VR trailer for Paris Games Week. This trailer revealed the VR side campaign would follow Mobius Squadron and allow the players to view their aircraft up-close.[104]

E3 2018

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Gamescom 2018

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Ace Combat 7 had a strong sales performance upon release. In Japan, the game sold over 200,000 physical console copies in the first week of release, surpassing Ace Combat: Assault Horizon which sold 170,000 physical console copies in its first week.[105] About 1% (~2,000) of the Ace Combat 7 copies were on Xbox One, placing the Xbox One version of the game on Japan's best-selling charts, a very rare event for Xbox One games in Japan.[105] Famitsu estimates that 220,195 copies of the physical PS4 version were sold in Japan throughout 2019.[106] 80,096 digital copies of the PS4 version were sold in Japan by February 27,[107] totaling around 300,000 PS4 copies sold in Japan in 2019, excluding digital sales from March through December.

On February 25, Bandai Namco Entertainment Southeast Asia announced that Ace Combat 7 sold a combined 500,000 units solely in its publishing region of Southeast Asia. The split between formats and platforms was not revealed.[108]

In the United Kingdom, the physical console versions of Ace Combat 7 set a new record for an Ace Combat debut in the UK and earned second-place in that week's sales. 76% of these sales were on the PlayStation 4.[109] The game received similar performance in Australia and New Zealand.[110] On January 28, Europe's Game Sales Data charts were updated to prioritize value over units sold. Ace Combat 7 reached the first-place spot in the newly-updated charts across all of Europe.[111]

The digital PC version of Ace Combat 7 made enough revenue in the first few days of release to reach 5th place in Steam's top selling games (based on recent revenue).[112] The Deluxe Edition was just below, at 6th place.[113] As of June 2021, SteamSpy estimates that at least 500,000 worldwide Steam users own the PC version of the game.[114]

Critical reception

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown received generally positive reception from critic reviews. Metacritic's aggregate scores, as of December 2019, are 80/100 on the PlayStation 4,[115] 79/100 on the Xbox One,[116] and 78/100 on Steam.[117]

OpenCritic holds an aggregate score of 81/100 for all three initial launch platforms. The site summarizes Ace Combat 7 as having refined gameplay and smooth controls but hampered by a complicated narrative, though it explains that it's "just another reason why this is a return to form."[118] Jason Rodriguez for PC Invasion rated the PC version 4.5/5, praising the core gameplay and presentation while finding the story "tacked on, with unnecessary twists and uninspiring characters." Rodriguez also found the missions to be linear and repetitive,[119] a view that Ollie Barder for Forbes disagreed with, finding "a lot of variety" across the game's 20 missions. Barder rated the PS4 version 9/10, but mentioned he "found the Japanese audio coupled with English subtitles a more compelling way to appreciate the story".[120] A French Naval Aviation consultant, Pierre-Henri "Ate" Chuet, was impressed with the game's portrayal of detailed briefings and the accuracy of the Rafale M, his former aircraft.[121] TheGamer's Sean Murray praised Ace Combat 7 for focusing on a robust single-player experience and avoiding the pitfalls of microtransactions and live services.[122] Gameranx's Kevin Thielenhaus singled out "Daredevil" as one of the best original gaming tracks in 2019.[123]

Mike Epstein for IGN rated the PS4 and Xbox One versions 7/10, criticizing the game for lacking tutorials (in fact, tutorials are presented during the first two missions), not updating the controls, and not explaining mission objectives.[124] Kazutoki Kono expressed disappointment at IGN for not using the "expert" control scheme,[125] commenters ridiculed Epstein's review for poorly representing the game,[124] and Chuet instead found the objectives well-explained in the briefings and dialogue.[121] Blaine Smith for GamersHeroes[126] and Ben Wilson for Gameplanet Australia both rated the PS4 version 6/10, viewing the classic gameplay as more of a detriment than other reviewers did.[127]


The Gold Prize and PlayStation VR awards presented to Ace Combat 7

Prior to release, Ace Combat 7 received various awards from gaming media and fans, particularly for its virtual reality experience. DualShockers awarded Ace Combat 7 with "Best AR/VR Game" at Gamescom 2017[128] and Tokyo Game Show 2018,[129] as well as "Readers' Choice Game of the Show" at Gamescom 2018.[130] The Japanese Computer Entertainment Software Association awarded Ace Combat 7 the Japan Game Awards 2018 "Future Division" award alongside 10 other games, as voted on by attendees of Tokyo Game Show.[131][132]

After release, Ace Combat 7 received nominations and awards for its virtual reality and sound design. The most notable of these was the 2019 CEDEC Awards Sound category; CEDEC praised the game's immersive sound effects and dynamic background music that match the player's gameplay.[133] The PlayStation Awards 2019 presented Ace Combat 7 with a VR Award for contributing to the growth of PlayStation VR, as well as the Gold Prize for selling over 500,000 copies in the Japan and Asia regions combined.[134][135] The North American PlayStation Blog, as voted by fans, awarded Ace Combat 7 the Gold Trophy in the Best PS VR Experience category and an honorable mention in the Best Soundtrack category.[136] GameTyrant awarded Ace Combat 7 with their Game of the Year award for 2019,[137] and Metro GameCentral awarded the game's soundtrack their Best Music of 2019 award.[138] The National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers awarded Ace Combat 7 for best Sound Mixing in Virtual Reality, and also nominated the game for best Control Design in VR.[139] The 2019 Golden Joystick Awards nominated Ace Combat 7 for Best VR/AR Game.[140]

Multiple outlets included Ace Combat 7 in their lists of top games for 2019, including Forbes,[141] Eurogamer,[142] GamingBolt,[143] and GameRevolution.[144] 132 of the top Japanese developers and industry celebrities voted Ace Combat 7 as the 12th-best game of 2019, with specific mentions made by producers Shinjiro Katsuda (Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2), Yozo Sakagami (THE iDOLM@STER), and Takanobu Terada (Super Robot Wars).[145] The Reddit community r/PS4 rated Ace Combat 7 as one of the best PlayStation 4 games of all time.[146]

HOTAS support

Upon the Steam release of Ace Combat 7, a large number of users posted negative reviews due to the game's apparent lack of HOTAS support. This "review bombing" led to the game initially showing "Mostly Negative" reception on the Steam store.[147] Thrustmaster[148] and Project Aces asked T.Flight Hotas users to update their drivers.[149] Thrustmaster later clarified that Ace Combat 7 only supports their T.Flight Hotas 4 and T.Flight Hotas One sticks;[150] Bandai Namco added that HORI's HOTAS sticks for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are also compatible, but no others.[151] Charlie Hall for Polygon criticized the review bombing, stating HOTAS support is unnecessary for Ace Combat 7's arcade-style gameplay.[152] The game's Steam reception has since recovered from the review bombing.[153]


Box Art



Announcement Trailer (December 5, 2015)

New Years Showcase Trailer (January 26, 2017)

E3 2017 Trailer (June 9, 2017)

Gamescom 2017 Trailer (August 22, 2017)

TGS 2017 Trailer (September 20, 2017)

E3 2018 Trailer (June 15, 2018)

Gamescom 2018 Trailer (August 21, 2018)

PS4 VR Gameplay Trailer (September 11, 2018)

Aircraft Customization (October 29, 2018)

Golden Joystick Awards Trailer (November 16, 2018)

Multiplayer Trailer (January 10, 2019)

Open Fire Launch Trailer (January 14, 2019)


SP Missions
DLC4 Teaser (July 17, 2019)

Season Pass SP Mission Trailer (September 18, 2019)

DLC 4 Mission Trailer (September 25, 2019)

DLC 5 Anchorhead Raid Release Trailer (October 25, 2019)

DLC 6 Ten Million Relief Plan (November 27, 2019)

Aircraft DLC Series

25th Anniversary Update US Skin Series (August 18, 2020)

25th Anniversary DLC (August 29, 2020)

25th Anniversary DLC Experimental Aircraft Series (April 5, 2021)


Also see Category:Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown for all Ace Combat 7 screenshots uploaded to Ace Combat Wiki!


  • Ace Combat 7 is the first...
    • ...Ace Combat game since Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation to feature a number in the title;
    • ...console Ace Combat game since Ace Combat 6 to take place in the Strangereal universe;[154]
    • ...Ace Combat game to release on 8th-generation home consoles;
    • ...Ace Combat game to use a third-party engine, namely Unreal Engine 4;[155]
    • ...Strangereal-based Ace Combat game on PC;
    • ...Ace Combat game since Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War to have screenplay written by Sunao Katabuchi;[156]
    • ...Ace Combat game to be localized in Traditional Chinese;[95]
    • ...Ace Combat game to be localised in Brazilian Portuguese;
    • ...Ace Combat game to be localised in Korean since Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception;[97] and the first
    • ...Ace Combat game to be playable in virtual reality.
  • The game's final release date in Europe and North America, January 18, 2019, may be a reference to Mobius Squadron's official designation, 118th Tactical Fighter Wing.
  • Before the game's first trailer aired, Asad Qizilbash (head of Software Marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America) described "staying up all night to unlock this Easter egg, it was a FALKEN fighter", referencing Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
  • Katsuhiro Harada (producer for Tekken) said in 2014 that Ace Combat would never get VR support because of how the horizon shakes in aerial flight games, which could make players feel sick.[157]


  1. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (エースコンバット7 スカイズ・アンノウン Ēsu Konbatto Sebun: Sukaizu An'nōn)
  2. The Deluxe Edition was only available physically through specific retailers. See § Deluxe Edition for more details.
  1. The emblems available as stickers in the Collector's Edition were Galm, Aquila, Garuda, Razgriz, Mobius, and Sol.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bandai Namco US [@BandaiNamcoUS] (21 August 2018). "ACE COMBAT 7 Skies Unknown lands on PS4, PSVR, & Xbox One on January 18th, 2019 and arrives on Steam February 1st 2019.". X.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 BANDAI NAMCO Europe [@BandaiNamcoEU] (21 August 2018). "ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN launches January 18th 2019 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and on February 1st on PC via Steam!". X.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 ACE COMBAT [@PROJECT_ACES] (21 August 2018). "「ACE COMBAT™ 7: SKIES UNKNOWN」 PlayStation®4版/Xbox One版 2019年1月17日発売、STEAM®版 2019年2月1日発売となります。" ["Ace Combat 7 SKIES UNKNOWN PS4 / Xbox One version will be released on January 17, 2019; Steam version will be released on February 1, 2019."]. X.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3
  7. エースコンバット公式 [@PROJECT_ACES] (November 22, 2023). X.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "「エースコンバット7」,ストーリーの導入部や最新スクリーンショットなどが公開。UGSFシリーズとの関連も明らかに" ["Ace Combat 7 story introduction and latest screenshots have been released. A clear connection to UGSF"]. Published on 21 June 2018. Retrieved on 21 June 2018.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Mission 03: "Two-pronged Strategy", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  11. Mission 01: "Charge Assault", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  12. Mission 02: "Charge the Enemy", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  13. Mission 04: "Rescue", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  14. Mission 05: "444", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  15. Mission 06: "Long Day", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  16. Mission 07: "First Contact", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  17. Mission 08: "Pipeline Destruction", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  18. Mission 09: "Faceless Soldier", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  19. Mission 10: "Transfer Orders", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Mission 11: "Fleet Destruction", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  21. Mission 12: "Stonehenge Defensive", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  22. Mission 13: "Bunker Buster", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  23. Mission 14: "Cape Rainy Assault", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  24. Mission 15: "Battle for Farbanti", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  25. Cutscene 11: "Offline", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  26. Mission 16: "Last Hope", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  27. Mission 17: "Homeward", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  28. Mission 18: "Lost Kingdom", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  29. Cutscene 14: "The UAV Factory", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  30. Mission 19: "Lighthouse", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  31. Cutscene 15: "Admiral Andersen", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  32. Mission 20: "Dark Blue", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  33. Cutscene 16: "The New System", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  34. SP Mission 01: "Unexpected Visitor", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  35. SP Mission 02: "Anchorhead Raid", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
  36. 36.0 36.1 SP Mission 03: "Ten Million Relief Plan", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
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  47. スカイズ・アンノウン」のマルチプレイは2種類のルールで他プレイヤーと対決。SASMやTLSも使用可能.
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