Headscratchers / Ace Combat

The series features many two-seater aircraft: the F-14 Tomcat, F-4 Phantom, the Mig-31, the Su-32 Fullback (Strike Flanker in-game), and others. They clearly show two heads in the cockpit when viewed in the hanger. So just who is that mysterious guy up there with the player character? Why is he never mentioned? For that matter, in Ace Combat 5, who are the four guys up there with the four main characters?
  • Disposable WSOs? You'll also note if you fly any of those planes in a mission where someone gets shot down in a cutscene, the WSO never gets to eject.
    • Hmmm...fanfic fodder, maybe?
    • It could simply be that the RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) isn't important to the actual plot of the game. May be nice to think that the pilot and RIO friendship thing would be cool, but it's not essential and therefore not included.
    • Note that Ace Combat is partly based off Area 88, where one of the main characters is a former USN pilot who flies a modified single-seater F-14. The RIO isn't important in the case of Area 88 because the pilot used the Tomcat purely to dogfight using short-ranged heat seeking missiles (which is also similar to how Ace Combat plays), and you only need the RIO to track enemy targets on the radar for long-ranged missile strikes anyway.
    • Its probably best explained by the fact that often your country of origin is short on qualified individuals. Not to mention most of the engagements are short-range dogfights and a RIO, or a BN for the A-6 series planes, is really only necessary for navigation and long-range engagement, we can see they're kind of superfluous. You'll also notice Swordsman in 5 also seems to lack a RIO, so he's either a skilled pilot or, again, they're short on personnel since its later revealed he's the last of his squad anyway.
      • Consider also that the recurring EA-6B Prowler is a four-seater. If you made the unconscionably-poor decision to own and use four of them at once, that's twelve people silent and unaccounted for.
    • In the second AC5 mission, Bartlett gets shot down. He is on a two seater aircraft, and it's clearly seen that there is somebody on the rear seat of his F-4G. This somebody doesn't eject. Sure, the airplane is not shown for about a second when Bartlett ejects, but we see only one chute. And, besides, it's never mentioned if the guy was either rescued or dead. A similar thing happens when Chopper gets his plane critically damaged. If he is in a two seater, his RIO/WSO doesn't say a single word. However, canonically the Wardog Squadron had F-5 (single seaters), but still.... This Troper's opinion is that all those "heads" maybe are of human-shaped ballast. In a JAG episode, a similar thing was shown used on a radio controlled aircraft, so why not?
      • It might be possible, similar to the mention of Area 88 above, that Bartlett doesn't actually fly with a WSO. It's shown in the intro cutscene that he had Genette sitting in the rear seat to take footage of him and the other planes while they were in-flight. That said, there's still the issue of the in-game model showing a second guy, and Genette was coming along for a training flight rather than actual combat ops like the first two missions are, so it's hard to say.

What kind of super Phlebotinum is the Morgan made out of that it needs to be hit through the air intakes in front because missiles of any size won't dent it from the outside, but its next-generation model can be shot down like any other plane?
  • Pixy still has his Gameplay Ally Immortality turned on. The air intakes are the only way to bypass it. You'll note that when you get to fly the Morgan, it's just as fragile as any other plane.
    • You never get his plane. You fight the ADFX-02, but you only ever get to fly the ADFX-01, whose laser, missile, and electronics systems lack the deific might of its successor.
    • The Morgan that you have to fight is specifically stated to be a very powerful, extremely advanced fighter. Considering the fact that we have amazing things like laser systems and huge mass-drivers in space, the indestructibility of the Morgan is small potatoes. Besides, it's not technically invulnerable: the radar jamming on the plane is supposed to prevent missile strikes from any direction except the front of the plane. Lucky strikes that hit (like in the first phase of the battle) either only destroy the extra equipment on the plane (the tactical laser and such), or miss hitting the plane, at least canonically.
      • You know what, I'll give them points for stashing the laser on the airplane, but where do those missiles come from? The second phase, he somehow obtains missiles that could sterilize a small country, and they disappear after the second phase.
      • Here's an idea: when you're able to not go down even when he's mounted the TLS, it just becomes dead weight that he detaches from the Morgan, just like drop tanks, leaving it unburdened and regaining maneuverability. He does use regular missiles during the second phase if he can get on your six o'clock, but if you "beat" him in phase two, you're proving good enough against him that the burst missiles have to go too. Like the TLS, their destructiveness if they hit no longer justifies your ability to outmaneuver, even with the ECM system for deflecting missiles. (See the fact that it is possible to "gun kill" the Morgan during those phases.)
  • The Morgan's toughness is attributed by your AWACS to a bleeding-edge, one of a kind Electronic Countermeasure (ECM) system. I could believe that he just hadn't had it on for the entire battle out of either some warped sense of chivalry, or because the system has very high energy demands that are quickly exhausted and can't be abused for long. This explanation does have several holes in it, though. This could make many of your missiles ineffective, but really shouldn't affect heat-seekers, to my knowledge; that's work for flares. Maybe the system also uses copyrighted energy fields to convert the plane's heat output into more jamming waves. This could, in fact, account for the workings of the entire system. Why the fuck not. But unless the entire plane also begins emitting electromagnetism on a scale inconceivable to man, there still isn't any explanation for your cannonfire visibly deflecting off of the hull of the Morgan if you attempt to dogfight its third stage, and even if it did do that, it seems like a force of this magnitude would render inoperable or destroy outright both of your planes. To recap: The ADFX-02 is a Su-47 powered by the bones of wizards.
    • This troper assumed that it simply fried the missiles with
    • Actually, if you look at Pixy's Morgan while you draw a bead on it with your gun, you can see your bullets being "deflected" off by some sort of pulse energy weapon coming from the back of the Morgan. At least this troper thinks that what he saw.

What's up with Hamilton? He convinces the Sand Island commander the Wardogs are spies because he's in league with Belka and trained by the Belkan aces, but in the last mission, he starts raging about how he blames the Wardogs for dragging the war on and how he wants to use the nuke to force peace on the world. Is there some sort of weird prequel-itis going on here and the only reason he's not outright stated as a member of A World With No Boundries is because they hadn't written Zero yet?
  • Hamilton is a nut. He helped start the war, and then got pissed when Yuktobania didn't capitulate. He doesn't realize that he's being manipulated along with everyone else, and he delusional enough to believe that he can change the world all on his own.
  • Hamilton is a nut. He is a Belkan spy, but he had to be very young by the time the Belkan bad guys had to go underground to start plotting against their hated enemies so he spent much of his life as an Osean. There is a bit of Becoming the Mask and Villainous Breakdown happening to Hamilton by the end of the game.

My problem is where does Osea recruit its military from? It's like your wingmen are hippie anti-war protesters while they are aiding you in missions to destroy entire enemy armies.
  • If you think about it soldiers are often some of the people least enamored with war. Some idiot back home that's never left his quiet urban life can wax philosophical about how glorious it all is, but the guy that actually has to do the fighting and see his buddies and others suffer and die tends to get over any such illusions real fast. Doing your duty hardly implies having to enjoy or even approve of it.
    • That said, the members of Wardog take things to an extreme. They're not very well disciplined. Chopper in particular has problems concentrating on the mission at hand, interrupts his flight lead in a combat zone with random chatter. Conversely, it seems like a lot of the senior officers in the Osean military are traitors (the generals who backed Appelrouth's coup) or obnoxious idiots (everyone else, save Captain Andersen). So there do seem to be some underlying problems with the Osean Defense Forces.
      • At a guess, the ODF was a fairly healthy military patterned along US-style lines before the Belkan War (they perform well enough against the competent Belkans). But the use of nuclear weapons and the atrocities committed by advancing Allied forces during the war shocked Osea into pacifism - compare with the effects of World War I on The Lost Generation. By the time of the Circum-Pacific War (2010), the younger generation (everyone under 30 or so) is mostly pacifist. As a result, junior members of the military (like the Wardog pilots) tend to rebel against military discipline.
      • Meanwhile, President Harling's decision to downsize the Osean military means that a lot of career military officers are leaving the armed forces as the number of available commands shrinks. The ones who are left are likely to be the ones who are best at playing politics. Some political generals are competent commanders, but others... are not. Among both the competent and incompetent senior officers, most of whom served in the Belkan War or even before it, there's a feeling of disgust as they watch the armed forces' discipline fall apart. So a lot of them don't respect their troops very much, and they are ripe for the Belkan Gray Men's manipulations.
    • Might be worth noting here that while the presentation is significantly downplayed compared to works that put a larger emphasis on how War Is Hell, it's a reasonable assumption from various bits of dialog that the pilots are all suffering from escalating degrees of combat fatigue. Losing a wingman and then being backstabbed by their own commanding officers and forced into hiding probably wasn't very relaxing, either. Their states of mind aren't likely to do anything but exaggerate their reactions to the things causing it; namely, the events of the war going on around them. Chopper tends to get more loudmouthed and Nagase gets more blunt and less polite as time goes on. It's particularly evident with Grimm, who can't stop thinking of everyone on the battlefield as other human beings and can't detach himself from that notion; there's a reason this idea is literally trained out of military personnel going into combat roles. It's a wonder he can function, let alone fly.
    • Nagase seemed rather enthusiastic about the Arkbird, so perhaps she entered the military primarily as a means to become an astronaut in Osea's version of NASA. As for the others, well, Osea did characterize their military as a defense force. Perhaps the fact that they were invading another country didn't sit well with them.
    • I'd say the whole schmozz was inspired by a number of anti-war war games and films...witness Metal Gear, Full Metal Jacket and Platoon as examples. Heck, look at the Punisher series Born. In it we are treated to mass slaughter of friend and foe, fragging of officers, a Vietcong girl raped, and numerous war atrocities. Through all that blood and gore there is an underlying message that War Is Hell.
    • It's canon that it doesn't sit well with them; listen to the comm chatter in the mission where you fly air support for the Osean ground forces launching the invasion of Yuktobania. It's even worse for them considering they personally had the chance to talk to the President and listen to him express his own wishes for peace, only for the war to suddenly escalate when no one was expecting Osea to invade Yuktobania that early on when it didn't yet seem necessary.
  • They are also all Attention-Deficit, which is a no-no for pilots, but must be the case. Due to the nature of the script occupying the same space as unscripted commentary on your actions, maudlin commentary on the dire state of the world and the gruesome pointlessness of warfare rarely are heard without preceding or precession by ecstatic shouts of "Good kill!" and "The Captain got another one!"

Why do people keep calling the destruction of Excalibur "pulling the sword from the stone"? As a teammate's Pun once or twice, sure. But what justification is there for everybody on both sides calling the destruction of a Wave Motion Gun "pulling the sword from the stone" in a completely sincere voice?
  • Oh, god! There's Arthurian legend all over the damn place in Ace Combat 0, and you chose to discuss that? Does ANYONE have a problem with naming a battle field "The Round Table?" I get it, its a round plateau surrounded by cliffs, but they couldn't think of anything better?
    • Was that sarcasm?
    • And technically, in Arthurian myth, it is the sword Caliburn that is pulled from the stone, not Excalibur, as it is so commonly mistaken for. So it's the wrong metaphor for the legendary blade in question anyway. That said, the mistake and the use of the phrase did not actually bother this troper at all.
      • Technically, they weren't incorrect in using Excalibur as the Sword in the Stone. Some versions of the Arthurian legends do consider both swords to be one in the same, hence why Excalibur and Caliburn are often thought of as a single sword.
  • I'd simply say that it just... stuck. A lot of terms do.
    • Not very well, though. From what I remember, the metaphor's only used twice: once by Crow 1 just after it happens, and once by a random Belkan pilot in the next mission, and then the whole incident's pretty much never mentioned again.
  • Does anyone else find some moral dissonance in a lot of the anti-war spiel in many of the Ace Combat games? The bad guys, random sympathetic point-of-view pilots aside, are always for the most part evil and do evil things, and are almost never the defenders. The Estovakians want to gas every man, woman, and child in Gracemeria, and we're supposed to feel sorry for them?
    • The Estovakians are also led by a military dictatorship who won the Estovakian Civil War against other factions with varied end goals that could've resulted in a much less belligerent nation solely because the remnants of A World With No Boundries sold them Belkan technology to win with. Voychek's story arc is essentially his coming to terms with the fact that the dictatorship is not in the best interests of his people for what it's turning them into and the fact that, although a military officer, he has every right to do something that makes positive change in his nation even if it means treason. Given the obvious parallel as it is, it's probably safe to say that the vast majority of Estovakians aren't okay with using WMDs on a neighbor's civilian population, but it's one thing to disapprove of your dictatorship and another to resist it (and in the end, the dictatorship is overthrown, so it would seem that this is exactly what happened and the Estovakian population eventually came to believe that while their economic ruin from a natural disaster sucked ass, it didn't give them the right to recover by way of destroying another nation.)
    • In addition to the above: welcome to war. It may not be intentional given Ace Combat's preference for old-school military drama (with the usual batshit Japanese flavor we've come to expect from the series and Japanese media in general) but war is a whole helluvalot of Grey and Grey Morality. In Generation Kill, there's a very powerful scene where a group of Recon Marines are watching a very tiny village because it's possible a mortar crew used it as cover hours before while launching an attack. The Marines, prone on the ground, see nothing but a woman and several children playing outside, and radio back as such. A few minutes later, the hamlet is promptly and spectacularly bombed off the face of the earth, women and children included; other forces believed they spotted the actual mortar fire coming from that location, and still others believed that it was a mis-call because of an outdoor oven puffing out smoke. And no one was unaware that there were civilians right in the center, but the air strike was called anyway; and then Sergeant Colbert, though obviously very bothered by the entire thing, actually says out loud, "We don't have the full perspective...I'm not the one who told the enemy to use the civilian population for cover." Essentially, the point is, pretty bad shit happens in armed conflict, but it's not necessarily an excuse to view an entire people as the enemy beyond their military.
  • Whats up with the whole "Dance with the angels" thing in Ace Combat 6? It gets really annoying.
    • If memory serves, and I didn't have the game long, "Go dance with your angels" is something the girl's mother said in anger to her fighter pilot husband, who was recalled on a night he was supposed to take her out dancing. The child figured this to be their way of saying goodbye to one another, and started repeating it.
    • LITERALLY the first thing the game does is explain what this means. Just... watch the opening cut scene.
  • Why, in AC 0, is your nickname "Demon Lord of the Round Table"? I get it, you're in the 66th unit of the 6th division who proves himself in the "Round Table", but damn it, WE KNOW YOUR NAME IS CIPHER INGAME! I mean, everyone else gets to be called a "knight", and you're the demon lord. God, did they do that just to pull the whole "666" pun along WITH the Arthurian Myth?
    • Are you the same guy who was ranting about the whole "Pulling out Excalibur" thing? Dude, just admit it. You hate Ace Combat Zero. One or two little things don't bug you, the whole basis of the damn game does.
    • The 666 pun fits in with the player's squadron, Garm, the hound that guarded Helheim (intermittently, depending on version of myth and translation), and given their status as mercenaries, the epithet "dogs of war". Not enough was made of this, at least in the translated version, choosing instead to copy the "Demons of Razgriz" from the previous game.
      • "Not enough was made of this?" Are you serious? The lyrics to Cipher's theme ("ZERO") are the exact same lyrics used in the main theme of Ace Combat 5 ("The Unsung War"). The translated version was not being lazy. The symbolism of Cipher being a "demon" and a "dog of war" are meant to go hand in hand with the theme of the Demon of Razgriz.
      • Zero has lyrics?
    • If you add an 'n' to "Knight" in Japanese, you get"Demon Lord" in japanese — "Kishi (騎士)" = "Knight", "Kishin (鬼神)" = "Demon Lord"
What bugs me is how a whole unit (8492nd squadron) of a military could remain so well hidden that nobody actually believes they exist, and yet be so well known as to be lauded. Comments made in-game point to the 8492 never having existed, and yet they were folded into the OSF at the end of the Belkan Conflict 15 years ago. There would HAVE to be documentation of the squadron. Not only full dossiers on the pilots, but also documentation on their planes, base of operations, and combat record. I'm not willing to believe that everyone in the military was in on the Belkan's Batman Gambit, but it seems like people were covering up something in the investigation into Wardog's involvement in an attack on a civilian college.
  • It would seem to me that as the Gray Men slowly began to insert its members into the Osean political and military heirarchies or inculcate its beliefs into Osean soldiers and politicians, which must have begun immediately as the Belkan war ended or even during or before the Belkan War, members of the OADF believed to be sympathetic to the Belkan cause began to be cycled through the shadowy 8492nd Squadron, which began disseminating men like Hamilton throughout the ranks of the OADF. These would all be officers, due to their status as pilots, and would, over the course of fifteen years, eventually rise and spread through the OADF to form a large and varied society of traitors encompassing Squadron Leaders, Base Commanders, Intelligence officers, people who oversaw movement and maintenance of Weapons of Mass Destruction, astronauts, generals, and likely anything and everything else. These core members likely kept in secret, infrequent communication with each other, and would recognize other members and enforce secrecy with persuasion and intimidation while growing and organizing their own defectors throughout their commands, eventually forming a cabal of Belkan-loyal members, led by 8492nd Squadron Leader Ashley Bernitz, himself a member of the Gray Men themselves. This cabal could sign off on and support the plans of the group's core members even if they themselves held no direct stake or participation, which would reduce the chance of any single member knowing too many names or participating too heavily in 8492nd-led treason. If the magnificent and terrible Bernitz and his core cadre of elite fighters and society members, the 8492nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, needed to go somewhere, or tap specific personnel, or requisition certain supplies or intelligence, there was always someone, probably someone with stars on his epaulets, to make sure that what they wanted, they got, and where they needed to be, they were. At some point following their formation, likely only a few years after the end of the Belkan War, the 8492nd officially ceased to exist and began to serve their own interests entirely for more than a decade afterward (It is inaccurate to say they were well-known or lauded; only Pops is shown to have known the 8492nd or perhaps even the Gray Men ever existed, and he and Ashley served together in the War. How he found out Hamilton had served with them is unknown.). All of this is likely true for Michael Heimeroth and his Ofnir Squadron as well, who must have been in constant communication with Grabacr since day one. It is indubitable, though perhaps not necessarily concretely evidenced, that Bernitz and Heimeroth served with one another or knew each other personally, and, since they were already assigned to different squadrons late in the war, this could mean their relationship dates back many years. The premise of the game not only allows such a network to exist, it practically demands it to be so for any major plot points to be possible: the war itself, the freedom of the Ofnir and Grabacr, the spy on Mother Goose 1, the relative nonissue of the President's disappearance and the resistance to his resurfacing, the Arkbird's sabotage and subtle change of hands, and so on. The futures of Osea and Yuktobania will be difficult at best and horrible at worst. Now that the subtle plans of the Gray Men have been foiled, there is nothing holding this group back from direct and violent, if unorganized, action. Though they are now known and are doubtless being hunted, the large and brutally effective network of traitors in the Osean and Yuktobanian governments and militaries and the deep and abiding hatred and bitterness that they held didn't simply disappear with the end of the Circum-Pacific War. It was a wise but onerous decision by Harling to keep Razgriz operations a secret post-war; all Razgriz members, with the possible exception of Marcus Snow, would certainly have to assume new identities for fear of assassination. Harling and Nikanor themselves will likely be targeted for assassination. Valuable intelligence is certainly compromised, and the Belkans will have put plans in place to sabotage, burden, and otherwise inconvenience any number of vital agencies, organizations, and facilities in both countries if discovery is threatened or catastrophic mission failure should occur. This will go on for years, or even decades. The Gray Men are without reservation the most devious and dangerous enemy the world or the series has ever seen; Ofnir and Grabacr were merely the tip of their sword.
    • A quick addition to the above; classifying records of certain people in combat roles for fear of assassination actually happens in reality, because assassinations like that have happened in reality.
  • Furthermore, if the Kestrel had lost its compliment of aircraft, shouldn't they have gotten replacements? Even if the forces were primarily defensive, there should be a slew of newly trained pilots ready to go out of training, especially after the article "The Four Wings of Sand Island." Also a carrier (especially the ONLY carrier) operating continued sorties, especially in unauthorized areas away from the main battle, should have gotten investigated at some point in the timeline. No military officer is stupid enough to not think anything about a carrier suddenly getting a squadron of crazy skilled pilots and carrying out sorties in odd places.
    • The Kestrel was the only surviving carrier of the Third Fleet, not of the entire Osean Navy. In Sea of Chaos, you do actually come across another Osean carrier. My guess - after the Third Fleet got obliterated in the opening salvoes of the war, it was sent to the northern seas to defend there until they could be replenished, and was too decimated to be considered for frontline operations. When the war escalated, the rest of the navy was sent in support and little to no supplies were given to the Third. By the time Wardog joins the Kestrel, the carrier only has Snow left, most likely because they were still doing CAP and probably engaged Yuke attack groups trying to hit the north (pure speculation, but it fits) which whittled down their combat strength. That or they got transferred to other units on the frontline, but Anderson managed to hold on to Snow.

Theoretically, the TLS on the Morgan, Falken, and other advanced fighters aught to have infinite range, or at least a much longer range than any other weapon. In gameplay, I've noticed the TLS doesn't have a much better range than the all-purpose Sidewinder missiles.
  • You can't possibly be serious! The standard heatseekers have a range of about 1500 meters, tops. I think the game may have an arbitrary, unstated maximum range for the weapon, or perhaps enemy planes may no longer be eligible to take or receive damage beyond a certain range. But if that is so, this range must be at least six kilometers, because I personally have wiped out multiple enemies at ranges exceeding five kilometers. If you can't hit enemies further away than one or two kilometers, it is because you are simply missing.
  • Not quite. Laser beams tend to "dilute" and lose effectiveness as it travels through the atmosphere; an effect called "Blooming." This troper once read somewhere that a hypothetical laser weapon on an aircraft would only have a range of ten miles with current technology.
    • Precisely. Not only does the energy dissipate, but the high temperatures roil the air and break up the beam.
    • This is all well and good, but there is empirical evidence (if it applies to video games) of TLS kills at five kilometers.
    • FYI, 10 miles > 5 km. 10 miles is roughly 16.09 km. So, in Real Life (as it tends to be with regards to the AC series), the weapon would have a better range than in the fiction. (Further proof: according to The Other Wiki, the AIM-9 Sidewinder has an operational range of 0.6 - 11.3 miles [1.0 - 18.2 km]; compare the range of the "standard missile" in the various AC games. Hell, ACJA gives it a maximum lock-on range of 900 feet.)
    • I'm not sure one guy's statements on the matter count as empirical evidence, but yeah, the TLS has probably the longest range of any special weapon in the series. I think the issue people have with getting kills at long range is that the heat issue mentioned above isn't replicated - you actually have to directly tag a guy with the beam to deal damage, rather than getting them with the heat surrounding it, making the weapon pinpoint-accurate in a manner that's actually not a benefit.

  • I can understand Belka resorting to a nuclear strike to stop the invasion of their country, but why did they hit seven of THEIR cities? Even if we assume that lower-yield weapons designed for tactical use were never invented in the Ace Combat universe, wouldn't hitting OSEAN cities be more effective?
    • No, it would not. The Belkan military command was indeed war crazy (due to ultranationalistic ideology), but the entire point of nuking their cities was to impose a literal radioactive barrier between North Belka and the armies of the allied forces against them. Nuking another country's cities might've inspired a peace process, but it would NOT have stopped the other armies from knocking on North Belka's doors if the allied forces really wanted to. But like I said, the Belkan High Command (erroneously) considered the situation to be pretty much beyond the point of logic at that stage.
      • Except that it's impossible for an army to advance if the civilian infrastructure is gone. Slagging seven major industrial centers would have completely (and I mean completely) cut off the supplies of fuel, food, and ammunition which are vitally important, AND a radioactive barrier isn't particularly useful against a mechanized force. Unprotected infantry would be unable to advance, but it would be fairly easy to button up the tanks, APCs, and supply transports and dash through the hot zone.
      • Well yes, but very few armies would be willing to go that far. Not to mention, it was to be more than just a radioactive barrier; it was to show the opposing forces just how far Belkan High Command would actually go. If the opposing forces in question STILL continued their attack after THAT, then the allied countries really WOULD get nuked.
      • Also, the Belkans could just nuke those areas again if the Allies tried to advance.
      • Presumably, given the rarity of nuclear weapons on Strangereal, radiation WOULD have an effect on vehicle crews - presuming that nukes were rare enough, armored fighting vehicles wouldn't have been designed with the prospect of fighting on a postatomic battlefield like in Real Life, though tanks (at least the rounded Soviet ones) tend to be reasonably nuke-proof as it is. It's likely it became a no-go zone because NBC protection isn't standard fare on Osean and Yuktobanian tanks.
    • Not to mention, nuking another country usually prompts that country to fire nuclear weapons back. The Belkans wanted North Belka secured, not burned to radioactive ash.
    • Who says the Belkans nuked cities? The civilian casualty estimate for the nuclear attacks was roughly ten thousand; that's much less than you'd expect from even one nuclear blast going off in a city. It's much more likely that the nuclear attacks were set off in mountain passes or highway interchanges - places where causing massive destruction would make it extremely difficult to move troops over the mountains into North Belka, and where an advancing army would be funneled into the extremely radioactive terrain around ground zero.
    • Several people say that, actually. I agree those casualty figures are absurdly low - though since you're incorrect about no one stating cities were hit, I think I'm going to go back and check that datum, too - but it is most definitely confirmed that the Belkans nuked cities. It's mentioned several times in both Unsung War and The Belkan War that the Belkans targeted their own cities for their little roadblock. That's why everyone is so horrified by it; bad enough to nuke a few mountain passes, but to actually vaporize densely populated cities just as a "blockade"...
    • Also, Belka didn't have a working V2 system at the time, so the only method of delivering the nukes was by bomber. It's not exactly easy getting a bomber all the way to enemy territory when you're steadily losing air superiority and the motherfucking Demon Lord of the Round Table is in the air.
    • If you look at the map when the reporter's talking about the attacks, all seven cities are on a line dividing North and South Belka; my thought was there was probably one or two cities, or maybe the "50,000" figure was a translation issue.
    • Who's to say that there were many people left in those cities in the first place? The allied forces had been bombing the crap out of everything in their path, and were steadily advancing. If I'd lived in one of those cities I'd have gotten out of Dodge with a quickness. It's exactly what happened near the close of WWII, which obviously this game is an Expy of. Millions of Germans fled Poland before the oncoming Soviets. The tens of thousands that WERE killed were simply those too stubborn or somehow otherwise unable to flee.

  • AC 6, the Moloch Desert mission - why didn't Ghost Eye just say the stovies were planning to nuke Gracemeria if they lost? I think even Shamrock would have fallen back if he thought he was endangering his wife and kid. Yes, Garuda's teams are supposed to be soldiers and follow orders without question, but isn't the fate of your capital city worth ignoring military protocol for, for a few minutes?
    • Consider how easily comms are intercepted in this game. There's no reason not to believe that the enemy can't hear you as well as you can hear them, and letting them know that you know about their WMD's would be a bad idea, as the enemy could remove your ability to strike at them before they are set off, or worse, prompt their immediate use for fear that you would strike at them and prevent their usage.

The wasted plot in AC 6. So you've got the fighter pilot worried about his family, and the refugee who believes that her fighter pilot husband was killed in the defense of Gracemaria. Obviously they're building toward the revelation that the pilot is the refugee's husband, so when the city is liberated, they can be reunited and everyone lives Happily Ever After, right? Nope, turns out the refugee's husband really is dead, the fighter pilot's family was killed during the initial invasion of Gracemaria. But it's okay, because he becomes a Wheelchair Woobie after a Bungled Suicide (a probably-unnecessary Heroic Sacrifice where he ended up Not Quite Dead), meets the refugee and her daughter after the war, and they presumably become each other's Replacement Goldfish. Holy mother of Esoteric Happy Ending, Batman!

  • So how is it the localization team on Ace Combat Zero arrived at "Galm?" I understand the Japanese have no differentiation between L and R, but really? It bothered me the entire game. Have to wonder if the English VAs brought it up.
    • There's also the case of the briefing officer namedropping an "Operation Bloom" while the screen right in front of you is telling you it's actually "Operation Broom", so, they probably didn't. Someone must have eventually noticed, however, since the cockpit software upgrade in Ace Combat X is "Garm's Eye", but for stuff like callsigns, liveries and emblems they still go by "Galm", probably for consistency's sake.

Reading these I remembered something that bugged me for years: In 5, close to the end of the main story, you need to scramble from the Carrier Kestrel. The Captain tells you to "use any plane you like, I don't care what it does to the Catapult" - But how the hell (and WHY) did they bring non-carrier friendly planes on the carrier in the first place???
  • The planes were intercepted from a transport ship trying to smuggle them into Yuktobania, if I remember right. Presumably they were carrying them around in case they had the chance to stop off at and launch from an actual air base, which does happen a couple times.

Ok, so on Strangereal, nukes are super rare. To the point that only one country has ever been confirmed on screen to have possessed them, let alone used them. That stands to reason, due to lack of experimentation and testing, that many of their properties and side effects are unknown to the wider world. Why do the planes have hardened electronics?

  • Why were your squad's planes carrying live ammo and missiles (and/or bombs) for what was supposed to be a ceremonial flyby?
    • The reasoning is mentioned directly in the briefing.
      • Namely afterword you were to go on combat patrol.
  • Ace Combat 1-6 takes place in an alternate universe? So why is it that in this alternate universe, there are the exact same aircraft manufacturers here as there are in our universe? Obviously, the out-of-universe answer is that for legal reasons, the developers needed to put in a little bit of Product Placement for the companies that made them, but from an in-universe perspective, its very weird.
    • Actually, the real life manufacturers aren't even mentioned in the dialog. They are required by law to place real life markings of the real manufacturers on the models as part of the legal agreements. The alternative, is to create a large list of aircraft that -look- close to the real thing, but obviously aren't. This troper is actually in the process of writing a story set in an alternate universe and has run into the same issues, but, I elected to go for 'similar, but different' since I don't have anywhere near the money to pay Lockheed Martin, or Boeing to use their aircraft as is. And considering that the companies in question aren't short on cash for legal purposes... taking them to court will not end well for -any- game company.

In Ace Combat 5, when you flee your own airbase in training jets, Chopper's dog is in the backseat of someone's fighter. Genette is said to be in the back of Pop's aircraft, but you hear Kirk (the dog) barking over the radio at one point. Then you all eject and your aircraft are shot down by Swordsman to fake your deaths. You do see Kirk later, so it's not like they left him to die, but...how did he get out? Doggy ejector seat?
  • It's likely that the characters figured out a way to strap him into the seat, and keep him seated. Kirk is clearly very calm around planes, and is well mannered, so it's likely he had flown in one of the jets atleast once before.

Based on this forum post, Kono himself stated that the localization for Ace Combat 3 was toned down because Project Aces at the time was small, and that localization was difficult. Mind you, Metal Gear Solid was released before Ace Combat 3 and, in addition to keeping the story and voice work for international regions, paved the way for compelling voice work and stories in video games. Why couldn't Project Aces hire whoever was responsible for localizing Metal Gear Solid and have them localize Ace Combat 3? Did they not have the budget, Executive Meddling, or maybe what?
  • Budget is probably the issue. Ace Combat 3's cutscenes were animated by Production I.G, which cost a hell of a lot of money. Having to license them for foreign releases and dub it all in multiple languages probably would have killed Project Aces outright. As I recall, it's also the reason the cutscenes in AC04 are all basically still images with narration by one character - they didn't have the money to even approach the level of quality of 3's cutscenes.

What has Gryphus One been doing before Aubrey Base was attacked?

You'd think a pilot with that kind of skill would already turned the tide before Aurelia got reduced to one operating base... Even in Ace Combat Zero there is a reasoning that the Allied Force were losing so the mercenaries were hired.
  • It's an issue that can just as well apply to Mobius One, I'm noticing. Anyway, my guess is that Gryphus One stayed at Aubrey for the early stages of the war because that's where he was stationed, and they had no reason to be sent out to fight until Leasath bombers were knocking on their door. After that, someone probably noticed the abnormally high number of kills personally attributed to him and had him brought into a combined force (given that nearly the entire flight got wiped out by the Gleipnir's attack) for their first counter-strike just to see if that wasn't a fluke, and when it proved not to be they had him leading everything else they could get him on for. It'd go along well with the series' usual aversion to Dude, Where's My Respect?.
    • Some people also believe that Mobius One and Gryphus One were trainees when they did their first missions, and were sent out of desperation. Mobius One went From Nobody to Nightmare because he was a freshly minted nugget at the start. The same could go with Gryphus One.
      • Then the next question: Why is he suddenly making all the decisions of where to go?
    • Alternatively, Gryphus One might've been a skilled pilot but never had the chance to show himself as top tier in capability. In fact he very well may have been the commanding officer of the base (Crux refers to him as 'sir', which no other AWACS does) and had to get back into a plane because Aurelia was being rolled over so fast there wasn't time to be picky about who was in a fighter jet. Then he manages to do extremely well in the cockpit so he's the tip of the spear. But he also finds himself as the highest ranking officer left and while initially he was only issuing orders to his base, he picks up other Aurelian forces that were happy to have a CO or decided that he knew what he was doing and it worked, so they followed his lead. Then eventually it snowballs to him pulling double duty of commanding Aurelia's remaining forces and then deploying into the field personally due to his skills becoming clear. Crux or other surviving officers probably took over a lot of the admin work to allow that, but Aurelia was in no shape nor had the time to be picky if it worked, at least until after the war ends.