Widespread speculation on Ace Combat Infinity‘s free-to-play model has proven to be correct. Namco Bandai is following in the footsteps of Ridge Racer: Driftopia and Tekken Revolution, and it will be releasing Ace Combat Infinity as a free-to-play game exclusively available through the PlayStation Network.
Along with the announcement comes a new trailer, marking the return of a more classic feel to the series. It’s far more elegant than the nitty gritty Call of Duty inspired Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, and it looks to tell a promising story and show off some great music alongside to aerial combat.
It also shows a connection with Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies as the Stonehenge railguns make an appearance to blast asteroids out of the sky. Project Aces is looking to connect our world to the destroyed, one known as Strangereal, found in the classic series.
Fans will no doubt be torn by the decision. The free-to-play model has yet to really take off on consoles, where many Ace Combat fans still get their gaming fix. The return of Strangereal and Ace Combat is a big deal though, showing that great franchises could possibly start finding a new home through digital distribution, especially if little hope ever existed to see it again.
I have no problem with free-to-play as long as the company can bring the same excellent experience it did with previous titles in the series. From what we’ve seen so far, it looks and sounds like Ace Combat, and hopefully it will play just like it too. This is a huge difference from a company slapping a classic title like Breath of Fire on a mobile RPG and calling it a day.
Consider me excited. I’ve been impressed with how Namco Bandai have been handling themselves lately with embracing new ideas but still managing to keep their core values intact. They still need a little tweaking here and there, but I give them a thumbs up for trying.