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  • Writer's pictureSantiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos

Ace Combat 7 'Release Date' Trailer Analysis

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

The last couple of weeks had Ace Combat fans all over the world were anticipating news and info about the new entry to the flight shooter genre, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. As soon as the doors opened at Gamescom 2018 in Cologne, Germany, a new trailer with a definitive release date was released to the public. Please accompany us as we take an in depth look at every remarkable frame inside the trailer, explaining it and pointing out things that viewers may have missed.

​This analysis will be divided into two sections: Audio and Video. Each finding will contain timestamps inside the video to allow for side by side viewing. These timestamps are made using the PlayStation Europe Release Date Trailer and are only compatible with this trailer.


Video Analysis

0:22 We start the video with some beautiful shots of the F-104C cockpit rendered with extreme detail, artificial horizons, altimeter and even the exhaust temperature indicator were functional, which is impressive.

0:26-0:40 After some shots that we have seen previously and a couple of Ulysses asteroid craters, we cut to a night refueling of an F-15C, which could mean the return of night time missions to the series.

0:44 What follows is quite interesting. We see an F-35C being moved to the deck of a Nimitz class carrier, but this carrier in particular has something rather unique. This carrier seems to be equipped with an anti-aircraft system that is not CIWS. In their place there are what look like large metal balls. As of now we do not know what these are but one can speculate for them to be some kind of laser weaponry or a shield similar to the one equipped on the Arsenal Bird.

0:54 More familiar but slightly altered shots show a scene that was previously thought to be a cut scene. This scene implied the demise of Spare 8´s Super Hornet at the hands of Mihaily in a past trailer. The difference this time is the plane being piloted. Instead of the Super Hornet we are presented with a returning veteran of the franchise, the MiG-29 Fulcrum-A.

1:19 After that we see another incoming aircraft. This time its a JAS-39 Gripen-E being piloted by Trigger as he fights Mihaly.

1:32/1:33 ​A couple of establishing shots of several characters pass. We see a close up of a hanging clock followed by a gunshot; the gun being fired has the markings “XD.50” indicating the supposed model and caliber of the weapon. An instant later we see an object that for the sake of simplicity will be called a “hard drive”. It gets shot by what appears to be the same pistol fired earlier. The hard drive has the inscription: “TESTER: [MIHAILY] VERSION: 13” on the bottom. Meaning that his flight data is being recorded and saved on these memory devices.

1:34 We see the face of the young woman that has been accompanying Mihaly and Rosa in the other trailers, but this time the focus of the shot is entirely on her. It suggests that she will play a more important role than what we thought before. Her dress is royal-like which suggests that she might be a member of the royal family, but she might also be a caretaker for Mihaly. We will see her face again a couple of times in the trailer.

1:35 A screen opens and we see a holographic representation of the satellite network. In the same frame objects named ASAT-01 and 02 hit orbiting satellites. One can deduce from this frame that the trajectory of these ASATs (Anti-Satellite weapons) show that they come from the southeastern part of the Usean continent.

1:37/1:39 Princess Rosa appears crying beneath a dark sky, the same sky that we will see the prisoners of the 444th walk over. This implies that they are at the same location and the same time. Afterwards we see a conversation between Rosa and Dr. Schröder. In this conversation something of great importance appears for the first time: "Harling´s Mirror" with the presence of one of the Erusean royal family sitting on the floor beside it.

1:40 "Harling´s Mirror" seems to refer to the painting that depicts an elven dance, peace symbolism and the use of the International Space Elevator as a symbol of peace. With 5 of these ISEVs being present in the painting along with the Strangereal world seen from space in the background. We will see its role once the game finally releases in January 2019.

1:42/1:45 After that we see a flight of four F-14s with Osean markings (most likely belonging to Gargoyle Squadron) shooting down a V-22 that was protected by MQ-101 drones. This seems to be an event of great importance, as the radio chatter suggests that the V-22 is not Osean and show not be fired upon.

1:47/1:48 A shot of a computer that probably belongs to Dr. Schröder monitoring the satellite network as it is being destroyed. This scene is reinforced by a shot of Schröder looking up at a what seems to be a meteor shower but is most likely satellite debris. The hard drive is seen yet again in the background and later in the hands of the Doctor.

1:49 A flight of four F/A-18s, but these do not seem to be conventional Super Hornets due to the unusual red light bar that appears beneath their cockpits. It's reminiscent of some sort of laser.

1:50 through 1:52 ​After some shots that we have previously seen of the Avril Mead, we see a very fast succession of shots. The first of them shows a hand with white nail paint looking at a map of Usea. The next transition reveals the darkened sky scene now over the Prisoners from the 444th. We can somewhat identify the location thanks to the background. A Mass Driver, rocket launch pads and cranes, along with a shot of a Space Shuttle that is being investigated by the 444th. There is only one place in Usea that is known to have these facilities - Riass Space Center located on the Comona Islands. The assertion of Riass being included can only be considered speculation based on the terrain.

2:00/2:02/2:07 A transition to more action shots, showing what appears to be Stonehenge being activated. A gigantic base or airport suspended above the ocean, located in a snowy area with a C-17 a top of one of the platforms. A visual that is familiar to Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies players is the shock wave and shot effect of a Stonehenge cannon. This is undeniable proof of this once defunct railgun being reactivated. 

2:12 We see a soon to be destroyed Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier being approached by an Su-33 Flanker piloted by Trigger and a familiar shot of the Su-30SM of the Erusean Sol Squadron, but what follows is what grabs attention.

2:21/2:22/2:24 ​We see a line of trucks opening their cargo compartments upwards, showing that they are in fact drone launchers equipped with MQ-99. As they launch we see that this is inside a city. Possibly the opening strike of the drone attacks mentioned during the mission briefing for Mission 03. One thing I noticed about these MQ-99 is that they do not appear to posses landing gear. Only weapons bays and optical sensors are seen possibly meaning they are disposable UAVs. This is followed by the image of what appears to be the drone´s targeting cam and the Doctor´s face while he looks at the destruction of the satellite network.

2:24 ​We see a drone that is completely new flyby a looks like a C-17 Globemaster. This aircraft seems to have similar design features to the other fictional we get to see later on the trailer. ​

2:29 A taste of the real power of the Arsenal Bird is shown as it deploys its shield. The shield survives an impact of 15 missiles without any wavering on the shield´s part.

2:36 After more combat the return of the Machine Gun Pod (MGP) special weapon is confirmed with it being deployed on the MiG-21BIS; which is also a new confirmed aircraft.

2:39 Another new aircraft confirmed, the Su-47 Berkut.

2:45 ​We see yet again the girl of the royal family during a night shot. This is followed by a shot of a Su-57 equipped with 'laser gun pods' attacking at night. We only knew of this weapon equipped on the F-15C before this, so it is good to know that it will be available to more planes.

2:56 We again see the unknown drone, now in better detail. Its shape is reminiscent of the ADF Falken design. The design is most prominent in the nose of this drone.

3:02 We see our first glance at what might be one of the new fictional aircraft available to the player. It also appears to be based on the ADF-01 Falken design made by Gründer Industries. It lacks vertical stabilizers and the front canards are heavily modified. This aircraft seems to feature a Connection For Flight Interface (COFFIN) system rather than a standard cockpit. This aircraft will prove important to the main plot.

Audio Analysis

​0:17-0:32 We start the trailer with the continuation of the dialogue we first heard way back on the Gamescom 2017 trailer. The dialogue is spoken by Avril Mead (female penal squadron pilot). In her tone of voice and her choice of words you can sense that she is very passionate about flying.  0:34-040 Just after that we hear the static of a radio being turned on/adjusted into a new frequency and the newscaster from previous trailers starts her announcement. This time the only difference seems to be that she is repeating the message after that with a tone that strikes the importance of the message to the listeners. 0:50-0:52 Then we get a new dialogue line from Mission 6 never spoken in any previous trailer, in this line Spare 6 “Full Band” squadron makes reference to a character that goes for the name of “Jailer”. Looking into previous trailers and into what we previously know about the penal squadron, the most probable conclusion is that this character is the base commander of the 444th Osean Air Force Base. 0:53-1:02 Just after that, we hear Spare 11 state how he thinks High Command sees the Penal units, just them as “pawns”. After that we hear the reaction of the Spare Squadron pilots (including a female pilot) and the AWACS to their sighting of Mihaily´s SU-30, and the terror that that aircraft truly is in their eyes. 1:04-1:19 We then transition to a conversation between two of the characters, Avril Mead and Spare 11 “Tabloid”. We hear a less detailed and more confusing version of this same conversation on previous iterations of the trailers. This time we do get a more complete version of their dialogue, and now we know that Spare 11 is most likely is referring to Trigger when he is talking about following his flight lead into an enemy squadron formation. Because of that they both jokingly call him a “fool”. 1:20-1:24 Erusean control then contacts Mihaily as his callsign, Sol 1 (Sun 1), and the voice that is on the radio sounds like a young man checking in on the status of Sol 1. Mihaily then responds in a joking manner. 1:25-1:30 We then hear a now familiar line about the Three Strikes as Trigger battles Mihaily. Remarks of the disdain and anger from who appear to be Osean pilots towards Trigger follow the battle, stating that “as long as you´re here, this country will never know peace.” 1:31-1:40 Mihaily states his now famous line "what is a nation?" An important dialogue between Princess Rosa and Dr. Schröder includes the dialogue “I wonder which path you would choose… when looking at Harling's mirror?" 1:41-1:48 Gargoyle Squadron, an Osean unit that was never previously mentioned, talks to an entity by the callsign “Babel”. This is a reference to the Tower of Babel story from the Bible, but in what way we can only speculate. One could assume it is related to the ISEV in some way. The radio chatter during this scene suggests an attack against a foreign countries’ asset by Osean forces. A voice on the radio refers to them as Osean fighters, so it has to be a non-Osean radio operator calling off the attack. Just after that we hear a pilot questioning his assignments.  1:49-2:04 After a couple of known lines from Avril Mead, we transition to more combat oriented dialogue we would hear during a mission. One line stands out: “friend or foe, so be it”. This could mean several things but any conclusion would be just speculation at this moment. 2:05-2:07 We hear who we can only assume are the operators of the only Stonehenge cannon talking over the radio. 2:11-2:14 A radio news broadcaster states a very interesting fact about the penal units. Rumors about these units turning on their allies. Speculation leads one to believe that this means that at one point a penal unit started destroying Osean assets, but that is not confirmed as of now. 2:15-2:23 Dr. Schröder states that the Strangereal society had been functioning thanks to the flow of information, but at the start of the war, maybe because of the destruction of the satellite networks, this is no longer a reality. 2:24-2:44 More combat oriented dialogue, but after that comes what could be one of the most important bits of dialogue in the trailer. Princess Rosa states in surprise “this is the aircraft my grandfather told me about." It is not known which aircraft she is referring to, but as she states that her grandfather was the one that mentioned it to her, it might be the F-104C that we have seen throughout the trailers. 2:45-2:50 Mihaily states that he has knowledge of incredibly skilled pilots of each generation, but that he has succeeded in shooting all of them down. This revelation stoked high levels of speculation into his origins and how he was capable of doing this due to the Strangereal timeline. 2:51-3:05 As the trailer closes what we hear are all of the known characters calling out to Trigger with the only exceptions being an AWACS and the Princess Rosa. The Princess speaks in a concerned tone about an aircraft that “needs to be taken care of." This implies destruction rather than protection.


About the Author

Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos 

Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000's leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities but only started being active around the mid 2010's. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as a writer and content manager ever since. Twitter | Discord: Cubeboy #9034



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