Ace Combat Flies to 360

The Xbox 360 is already home to a few dogfighting games, none of them particularly good. The latest issue of Famitsu contains great news for fans of missle-locks and evasive maneuvers, with confirmation that Ace Combat 6 will be appearing on the Xbox 360.

Originating in the early days of the Playstation, the Ace Combat franchise has maintained a reputation for offering the most intense and satisfying dogfighting found in the console gaming realm. While one-on-one (and the even more intense one-on-many) battles will still play a major role in the gameplay, the Famitsu article indicates that Ace Combat 6 will place a heavier emphasis on large-scale aerial warfare, now that next-generation technology has offered the developers that opportunity.

In order to provide players with the feeling that they are participating in huge, multi-faceted battles, Namco has implemented a new, Dynamic Mission system. As in previous installments, players will be accompanied into battle by several AI-controlled wingmen that can be assigned to different tasks, but players now have far more wingmen to control and can order them to complete more significant objectives. Each of these assignments will have a dynamic impact on the nature of the battle, and will lead to new, different mid-mission objectives. The game supports up to six of these mini-missions at any given point during each stage.

Namco is also taking advantage of Xbox Live, offering both deathmatch and team battle adversarial modes in addition to a cooperative mode that pits players against a huge force of AI controlled opposition to out-maneuver. Standard fare such as achievements and online rankings are also going to be included, of course. Finally, Namco already has some plans for downloadable content, the first sample of which will arrive well before the game in the form of themes and gamerpics.

This is the first time that the Ace Combat franchise has appeared on a non-Sony platform, and serves as further evidence that the Xbox 360’s lead in the Western markets is having an impact on the decisions of Japanese companies with western-oriented game franchises. As the Japanese public continues to turn away from traditional gaming in favor or quirkier fare, more and more Japanese developers are likely to look to the West for sales of their larger projects.