As part of a letter to Ace Combat fans, Franchise Director Kazutoki Kono explained that the extra time will give them the chance to achieve their original vision for Ace Combat 7:
The Project Aces team and I have been working hard on Ace Combat 7 and we’re determined to achieve the vision we have set for the game. In order to reach that vision, we have decided to move the launch of Ace Combat 7 to 2018.
We would have loved to launch Ace Combat 7 at the end of 2017 as we originally intended, but doing so would compromise our goal for the game. We take our art very seriously and that means we have instead chosen to devote additional time and effort to perfect and optimize this newest chapter of the Ace Combat saga.
The combination of the Unreal 4 Engine and the power of current generation consoles and PC hardware have literally opened the “skies of opportunity” to us to develop the best Ace Combat experience to-date. At no other time in Ace Combat’s 20+ year history has gaming technology allowed us to deliver the minute details of flight combat – such as cloud cover and air currents – or give players a new way to experience dogfights and attack sorties through hardware such as the new PlayStation VR.
Ace Combat 7 will be at E3 2017 next month, where Bandai Namco will reveal a new demo showcasing one of the non-VR missions.
When Ace Combat 7 launches next year, it will be available on PlayStation 4 (with PlayStation VR portions), Xbox One, and PC.