Did the popularity of games such as Call of Duty inspire the change?
We didn't have direct influence from Call of Duty, but I do think it is a spectacular game and we would like to reach the same level of success.
Can a flight-sim game be as popular as a first-person shooter on a mass market scale?
We believe there have been a lot of FPS games coming out recently - the market has been a little saturated with them. We'd like to bring something new where you're shooting in a high-speed environment. We want to bring something new to the table.
A lot of people who aren't flight-sim players are telling us how Assault Horizon is really cool and they're interested. To hear that feedback is reassuring and we hope that we'll nail it.
Why is now the right time to re-invent the franchise?
The reality of the situation is that the sales for the series were dwindling. To make sure it wouldn't just fizzle away we decided it was right to give the series a rebirth. There were also some things going on at the company that made this possible.
I also believe that the team that I'm working with right now has the history, background and experience necessary to make an Ace Combat I can call a true rebirth.
Did the team pay much attention to the tastes of Western gamers when considering how to reboot the franchise?
From the get go we wanted to pinpoint the North American and European audience. So we talked to people in America, France and UK to try and make a game to fit that audience as best as possible. Of course it needs to sell well in Japan but that isn't the biggest focus.
Also, when I was talking with the French they didn't like the American military (laughs).
What measures have you taken to make sure veteran Ace Combat fans are satisfied with the new game?
In terms of controls, there is full 360 movement so players still have the freedom to move and shoot from different distances. The people working on the game have worked on previous titles so when it comes to storylines the same kind of dramatic, epic storytelling will be implemented.
Do you expect Ace Combat fans will be happy with the game?
Yes, I believe so. I think the new control scheme and exhilarating up-close combat will be things that fans will enjoy. Even amongst the development staff the feeling is that previous games feel slow in terms of tempo and combat. The new one in comparison feels a lot faster paced.