Interview - Kazutoki Kono (Ace Combat Infinity)


Interview - Kazutoki Kono (Ace Combat Infinity)
At Namco Bandai’s Global Gamers Day 2014, held earlier this month in Las Vegas, we had the chance to speak with Kazutoki Kono, a Namco Bandai veteran who has worked on titles including R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies and 2011’s Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. He was on hand to give us some information about the latest addition to the Ace Combat franchise, Infinity, a free-to-play title that’ll be launching later this year…

Click: Hi Kazutoki, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. We’ve been looking forward to a new installment in the Ace Combat series for a while now, so we’re very excited! Can you explain what the play style or the primary play mechanics are like in Ace Combat Infinity?

KK: In Ace Combat Infinity, the core gameplay aspects are actually going back to the roots of the Ace Combat series, which is very popular with the fans. Ace Combat Infinity takes that original gameplay and adds in some new aspects, such as a new online multiplayer mode called Online Co-op Missions.

Click: That sounds interesting… how will these co-op missions work?

KK: In these online co-op missions, you have four players on the same team and another rival team, also with four players, but you’re attacking the same NPC enemies and so you’re kind of competing in co-op. Cooperating with each other to see which team gets the higher score against the same enemy. Because of this it’s kind of co-op and competitive since you can work with teammates or just go off on your own to see if you can do better than everyone else. There’s a lot of variety and freedom in how you can play the game.

Click: Can we expect any competitive multiplayer where players can go up against other humans, or will it be solely going head to head against AI?

KK: Initially, when the game launches, we won’t have player versus player in the game, but since it is a free-to-play title and we are going to be support live operation of the game, we want to sort of create the game with the users. After seeing how the users are doing with the online co-op missions and the game itself, we are looking for the right timing to add player versus player.

Click: Where does the team draw its influences for the game’s design from in terms of scenarios and battles? Do you look to the real world for inspiration or does it all come from within the series’ already-established universe?

KK: When it comes to the influence for the game’s design aspects, Ace Combat Infinity is taking the best parts of the series, the storyline for instance, and revitalizing them. Part of that is taking real-world examples or trying to see what these conflicts might look like in the near future. For example, right now, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) are very common and flying everywhere in our air so we kind of took that and added it to the design of Ace Combat Infinity.

Click: What do you believe makes Ace Combat Infinity unique among the other games in the series?

KK: Well, starting out with the fact that the game is free-to-play, we still made it the newest installment of the series and we made it to a very high-quality so while producing the game, I asked myself “Do we really want to provide this for free?” because it really turned out as a high-quality game. Right now, at the end of the day, for both PC and console there’s not a real place where air combat fans can go for that kind of thing so that’s what we want Ace Combat Infinity to be.

Interview - Kazutoki Kono (Ace Combat Infinity) on
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