Strangereal Study: The Prototype Strangereal Map
Updated: Sep 12
The map of prototype Strangereal has been seen in low-resolution images for over a decade now. Its source image is from one of the most unexpected places, it shares certain similarities with Strangereal and has clear real world Earth landmasses included.
The first complete overhaul of the Ace Combat franchise came with the development and release of Ace Combat 04 (2001). With the release of Ace Combat 5 (2004) the first official maps of the original world of Ace Combat were seen in the game, guidebooks and on the official Japanese website for Ace Combat 5. From the development of Ace Combat 04 up to the release of Ace Combat 7 (2019), the name "Strangereal" has been used unofficially and officially to refer to the original world of Ace Combat. With that in mind, this article will refer to this world as Strangereal from now on.
Strangereal has become more detailed since 2001. Each video game, lore from books or websites and other unexpected sources that pertain to Strangereal add more depth and detail to the world and in turn, update the official map. This map of pre-2005 Strangereal comes from the Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies Official Guide (October 6th, 2001, ISBN4-7577-0642-1). On April 18th, 2013 a medium sized scan of the book was made available on Electrosphere.info which provided the first internet searchable scan of this map of what we will refer to as Prototype Strangereal for this article. The image has reappeared over the years, but a new scan for this article provides a much larger size for easier comparison.
A few things catch the eye immediately at first glance:
The Usea continent is present as seen in Ace Combat 2, 3 and 4 but much smaller in size and in closer proximity to other continents (center, top). With Usea seen so often since its introduction in Ace Combat 2 (1997), it's no surprise that the continent looks unchanged in shape even in Ace Combat 04. The overall design of Usea is definitely finalized by this point. There are very clear connections to real-world Earth in this map. Africa, Asia and Europe (far left) appear as they do in the real-world for the most part. Their proportions are somewhat exaggerated or thinner in certain areas, but their overall shape remains easily recognizable. Greenland, some of its nearby islands and, Iceland in the real-world do appear in the finalized Strangereal map with minimal changes. Some land masses in Prototype Strangereal already have similar forms to their finalized versions. The Osean Federation, Democratic Republic of Leasath and the Federal Republic of Aurelia can be recognized but their proportions undergo noticeable changes between 2001 and 2004. As mentioned before, Usea appears finalized but the Anea continent also looks almost the same way it does in the finalized Strangereal map. The most visible changes between finalized Anea is the addition of some islands near the Federal Republic of Estovakia and change of the distance between the mainland and the islands to the west of the Republic of Emmeria and Kingdom of Nordennavic.
About the Author
Aaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza
The Director of Operations for Skyward Flight Media. A lifelong aviation enthusiast with a special interest in flight simulators and games. After founding Electrosphere.info, the first English Ace Combat database, he has been involved in creating aviation related websites, communities, and events since 2005. He continues to explore past and present flight sims with his extensive collection of game consoles and computers. | Twitter | Discord: RibbonBlue#8870