Campaign Entirely Free
Ace Combat Infinity was confirmed as a free-to-play Japanese PSN exclusive several weeks ago, but Project Aces have now explained exactly how the system will work. The campaign will be free to play, as will 4v4 multiplayer matches that blend cooperative and competitive gameplay... but if pilots want to run cool, they'll have to run on heavy fuel.
However, "as long as you are willing to take the time, you can play the entire game for free.”
Project Aces Top Gun Kazutoni Kono detailed Ace Combat Infinity's pricing model to Kotaku. The campaign, which looks to get back to the series Strangereal roots of visceral combat against enemy squadrons and menacing floating fortresses, will be totally free to play in its entirety with no restrictions. However, it will also be "more of a tutorial” for the multiplayer suite.
Infinity's competitive multiplayer involves 4v4 matches between two teams of players, but in a neat twist, it's not a straight-up dogfight. Rather, both teams are thrown into cooperative battles where sides squabble over the biggest kill counts and scorelines. Players can create custom weapon loadouts and unlock a weighty selection of planes with in-game currency, though helicopters aren't included this time around.
So, where's the money? That's always the question with F2P titles, and Ace Combat Infinity has a two-pronged approach to earning its crust. Consumable and cosmetic items will be available to purchase from an in-game shop, but more controversially perhaps, your planes draw from a depleting fuel reserve when you play online. Once fully depleted, you won't be able to play until it slowly charges back up over time... unless, of course, you decide to pay for an instant top-up.
Everything hinges on how fast this fuel gauge recharges, and how much it costs to replenish. If it provides plenty of free hours of fun, it will probably deserve a few quid here and there.
It's academic at present, seeing as Western launch plans haven't yet been announced, but we'll keep an eye on it.