Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is not Ace Combat 7. In a lot of ways, it isn't an Ace Combat game -- outside of the branding and the fact that it's got planes, it's unrecognizable from its predecessors. AC: Assault Horizon is a more visceral game, doing away with the open-air, long-distance dogfighting of the series' roots and exchanging them for closer encounters and more environmental interaction.
Executive director and producer Kazutoki Kono describes the game as "a complete rebirth of the franchise" and it's immediately evident in the brief bit of gameplay Kono showed off at Namco's Ignite 2011 event in San Francisco. Dogfights are a lot closer now, with the camera zooming in over the shoulder of the player's plane to give them a better look at their target. Because of this new system (aptly titled the "Close Range Assault System"), the game's combat has shifted away from an emphasis on missile locking in exchange for a more machine gun-heavy scheme, making for some jarring combat -- planes erode and explode under fire in a fantastic display of shrapnel fireworks. Flying around a metropolis, Kuno was not only destroying planes, but flying between buildings and a massive crane at the center of this seaside city.
The game takes place in 2015 in Africa, where a new type of WMD threatens the world. Players will assume the role of William Bishop, whose job it is to stop the impending mass destruction -- though Kuno promised players will also see events unfold through the perspectives of other characters. AC: Assault Horizon will feature real-world locales and is set to launch on the Xbox 360 and PS3 "later this year."
Hit the jump for a teaser trailer.