Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown Staff Discusses Game Difficulty and How Ranks, Medals Work

Nearing the release of Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown, Kazutoki Kono, Manabu Shimomoto and Ken Tamaki discussed the game's difficulty, rank and medal systems.

January 16, 2019

As we’re nearing the release date of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, Famitsu published an interview with Brand Director Kazutoki Kono, Producer Manabu Shimomoto and VR Producer Ken Tamaki (who served as Director of Summer Lesson). They chatted about the overall warm reception the game is getting on social media, and how did they balance the game’s difficulty. In particular, they explained the game’s Rank system, which like in past Ace Combat games, judges the player’s performance depending on certain criteria. The Medal system was detailed as well.

Kono, Shimomoto and Tamaki regularly check impressions towards Ace Combat 7 on social media, and are quite happy with the reception the game is getting in everyone’s minds. Tamaki especially is happy to see people tweeting they have bought a PlayStation VR specifically for Ace Combat 7. Shimomoto also commented on players buying hardware specifically for the game:


We often see tweets such as “I’ve bought a PS4 or Xbox One for Ace Combat 7!” or “I’ve bought a PlayStation VR for Ace Combat 7“. We’re glad to see such a warm reception, and the incredible amount of people looking forward to the first numbered Ace Combat game in 12 years.

Next, the discussion shifted towards Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown‘s difficulty and the rank system. According to Shimomoto’s explanation, rank attribution follows the same rules as in past Ace Combat games:

The rank you obtain at the end of a mission is determined by your score, as in the numbers of enemies you shot down, and how fast did you manage to clear the mission.

In short, you’ll get S rank, the highest rank,  by killing a lot and fast. Shimomoto also explained the Medal system:

Medals are special rewards we’ve prepared for veterans of the series. The conditions to obtain them are extremely difficult, and some medals can only be obtained in Campaign Mode.

In short, you won’t be able to “cheat” and clear the conditions for medals in Free Mission mode, where you have many more advantages at your disposal. You can redo past missions in Campaign Mode as much as you want though.

This concerns veteran players, but what about newbies and everyone else? Well, according to Shimomoto, Ace Combat 7 has a checkpoint system and difficulty levels, to makes things easier for those not accustomed to the series:

The game has checkpoints. Even if you fail in the middle of a Mission, unlike past games, you’ll restart at a near checkpoint. You don’t need to redo the whole Mission. We’ve also prepared different difficulty levels players can choose from. People unaccustomed with the series shouldn’t worry as they will definitely be able to clear the game.

Kono added that the Checkpoint system was quite hard to make and balance properly. Some in the team also thought it would make the game too easy, but the most important was to make it so anyone can enjoy and reach the game’s ending. Especially since they poured even more work into the final missions of the campaign. In particular, the BGM there and radio lines go particularly well with the gameplay and how players will act during the Missions, instead of simply triggering BGMs as a scripted event happens. They used various ways to make the BGMs fit at the right time, like the previous BGM naturally looping until certain events happen.

Stay alert for more coverage regarding Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown coming soon on DualShockers. Meanwhile you can take a look at the game’s launch trailer, the trailer covering multiplayer modes and the opening movie trailer.

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown releases on January 18 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game will also be ported to PC slightly later, on February 1. If you’d like to pre-order the game and haven’t yet, you can do so via Amazon.

Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been loving anime and Japanese games for over 25 years and plays Genshin Impact for its story and exploration. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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