Forget the number in the title. Armored Core 6: Rubicon’s Fire may be a return to FromSoftware’s mech combat series, but it’s also a fresh start, on a new planet, with a new story.
Yet the studio’s legacy is impossible to ignore. It’s not just previous Armored Corps games that went on hiatus after 2013’s Armored Corps 5, Soulsborne Games’ recent success – notably Elden Ring. How to bring back a cult series with a fervent following, but make it relevant to fans of the recent games and to new players?
It’s a delicate balance, but one that Armored Corps 6 is ready to attempt when it’s released in August.
“As well as using our experience from recent years and combining it with the core elements of what we believe makes Armored Corps special, it’s still a new game and we want it to be a new mech action game.” feel like one that fits the current climate of games,” producer Yasunori Ogura told me during a preview event.
“We didn’t want it to feel out of place. We took a number of steps to ensure that it not only fit our own game design philosophy but would feel like a brand new modern action game in the mech genre. And in that way, we want it to feel like a new beginning and a new first step towards a successful future for mech action games.”
So, for newcomers, what exactly is the Armored Corps?
Each game in the series involves the player as a mercenary piloting a mech – titanic Armored Corps units – through battles in the distant future. Regardless of the number, there have actually already been 15 Armored Core games and expansions since its debut on the original PlayStation in 1997. The series is known for allowing players to create battle mechs with deep customization as well as its lore-inspired environments. punishing difficulty, and systematic combat. How much from software!
However, this game is a complete reboot of the series. It takes place on the planet Rubicon following a cosmic catastrophe that engulfed the planet in a fiery apocalypse. Years later, the Rubicon is encased in a giant constructed shell where numerous factions and corporations fight for control of coral, a rare material found only on this planet.
With Armored Core 6, FromSoftware wants players to experience a dark sci-fi world through the eyes of a lone advanced human. Furthermore, it aims to combine the optimization known for the studio’s “action game philosophy”, including smooth controls, detailed and dynamic maps, and a fulfilling sense of progression.
The gameplay footage I saw certainly embodies that hard sci-fi vision (watch the video above). The environments are primarily elaborate factories and facilities, with metal surfaces glistening in the light of the setting sun or hidden beneath snow and ash. The action is explosive – literally and figuratively – as chunky, insect-like mechs attack and swipe at each other under a rain of bullets and rockets. And its world tonight is just as grim and punishing as you’d expect from the studio.
So why bring back Armored Corps now after the massive impact of the Soulsborne Games and the phenomenal success of Elden Ring?
Ogura says its return was inevitable. “We’ve obviously been cultivating staff members and our development process and our design philosophy over the last ten years and we have a variety of staff members in various titles, including myself and [studio president, Hidetaka] Miyazaki, who had always wanted to create another Panzer Corps. So there was really no question of whether it would be built or not, it was just a question of when.”
Armored Core will retain the “core” (forgive me) of the 6 series.
“Assembly, putting together your own unique mech and building your own unique armored corps, is obviously a fundamental part of the series,” game director Masaru Yamamura tells me, “and what makes the game fun.” He is building this unique mech and taking it into battle and tuning it and swapping out parts in different ways, assembling these parts, testing different weapons and weapon combinations. ”
Developing this core, he says, was “a challenging point in the game’s development”, but the team was able to rely on their action game expertise. For example, swapping out leg parts and weapon parts has real effects on both speed and combat, beyond just numbers going up and down. Changes to parts now affect the movement and behavior of a player’s mech and how enemies react to it. Yamamura says: “We wanted to make these things very tangible and very intuitive for the player to enjoy the moment.”
I’m told the combat in this game will be fast, dynamic and tactical, with multiple approaches to success. It rewards careful yet aggressive play, with mechs able to seamlessly transition between ranged and melee combat.
This is just one example of how working on more recent games is ensuring that the Armored Core 6 fits within the series’ lineage and FromSoftware’s output. Equally, many of Armored Corps’ distinctive elements are rooted in FromSoftware and will please Souls fans, including complex level structures, combat calculations, and overcoming difficult situations.
Yamamura says, “People tend to think of our titles in recent years when they think of these elements but these are actually things that have been present in our company philosophy and our games for a long time.” “With Armored Core 6 we’re trying to incorporate these elements in a way that doesn’t detract from the core qualities of what makes Armored Core so special. We’re trying to incorporate these elements in a way that which allows them to co-exist and gel well. In line with our modern game design philosophy and easily understood by the player without spoiling the core concept of Armored Core.”
Yamamura’s previous work as lead designer on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has also influenced Armored Core 6, albeit indirectly.
“While the base format of the Armored Core games and Armored Core 6 is very different from the Souls series and games like Sekiro,” says Yamamura, “we’ve tried to incorporate some of the design philosophies and our experience from the past.” Year.
“I would say some of that is definitely present in the combat aggression in Armored Corps 6. We wanted to create something that was very aggressive, very aggressive, and had a very clear and specific rhythm or tempo to the combat. We want players to feel those highs and lows, fighting at close range and at long range.”
Another great addition to the game are the huge, towering bosses, which reflect FromSoftware’s penchant for impressive and challenging battles. This would serve as the ultimate test to see if players could adapt their mechanisms appropriately and learn attack patterns through repetition. The latest gameplay trailer shows off some, quite frankly, terrifying-looking giant robots to do battle with, which ties into a sense of the game’s unprecedented (for the series) scale.
In addition, the controls would be modernized – something that had been criticized for their complexity in the early games of the series. Yamamura promised that Armored Core 6 would have a “revised” and “more intuitive control scheme” than previous games. What’s more, it’s in line with making the game a more accessible experience to help expand its audience.
“As well as this improved control scheme, it’s basically a very complex game with many parameters and a lot of depth, especially when it comes to the assembly aspect,” says Yamamura. “This is something we have been conscious of in development and we have carefully designed the onboarding aspect and level design especially in the early stages of the game so that even new players can deepen their understanding step by step. There is one area we are very well aware that there were issues before and we are trying to make it as attractive and intuitive as possible for newcomers.”
For those seeking complexity, however, that is also available. “There’s a lot of potential for these thrilling and exciting and challenging battles once the player engages and once the player is introduced to the game, they’re able to find that challenge and that depth and complexity on their own terms.” go against,'” says Yamamura.
The team abandoned some elements of the previous games as part of this fresh start for the series. For example, the first game included a debt system whereby players lost money each time they failed a mission; Recently, Armored Corps 5 experimented with an online world. For Armored Core 6, these two are out.
Yamamura says, “As a reboot we wanted to recall the best parts of Armored Corps and really make that series special.” “We felt like focusing on those single player elements and designing a challenging and exciting game that taps into our different areas of game philosophy and combat design. Had to take it.”
And instead of being punished with debt or death – as in Soulsborne games – players are free to attempt missions over and over again, but with “compensation and damage to their compensation” as they complete objectives. Yes, Yamamura explains. The mission structure (instead of an open world) and retreat points allow players to experiment with their mech builds, as well as customize their playstyle as a significant incentive to progress.
Don’t expect as much emphasis on story as with other FromSoftware games, though.
,[Armored Core 6] Not exactly considered a story-driven game, but we feel there is more motivation for the narrative through the mission structure and we hope that players, as they encounter these different factions and powers in the game , that they are going to be thinking to themselves ‘What am I fighting for, what is my place in all this? And how do I deal with these emerging events in the story?'” Yamamura says.
“It’s a part that could be considered more direct storytelling, but we also feel like those fragmented elements of the story are what players are able to take and learn about the world and go a little deeper into the lore.” , these elements are still present.”
That story would be a “very indirect and almost cold portrayal of human drama and struggle”, hence the focus on mech, rather than human, adaptations. Yamamura says: “We hope that players – no matter what type of player they are, no matter what identity they identify with – we want them to immerse themselves in that world and in this brand new setting of Rubicon. Become a mercenary supporter. We hope they enjoy a little more. The indirect and lonely aspect of storytelling and the protagonist’s role in the story.”
It’s hard to tell how this will work without having it all in hand. Yet it certainly looks like Armored Core 6 will deliver a familiar experience for fans, adding combat, controls, and a more detailed, boss-filled world to modernize the series in a way that will be appealing to Soulsborne fans. It will take
With Armored Core 6 returning with DLC for Elden Ring still in development, I asked if this was a sign of FromSoftware expanding and working on more games at once.
Producer Yasuhiro Kitao said, “It’s our philosophy that hasn’t really changed that much in the last ten years, especially since Miyazaki has been president of the company.”
“It’s an area that we feel we’ve always strived to achieve: always creating something new, always creating something original, something that we find interesting and fun as players. So in that sense, Nothing has really changed. We do multiple development titles simultaneously, we have multiple teams working on different projects. We expect to stave off our releases and go ahead and do something new after such a long gap. Won’t bring exciting.”
Armored Core 6: The Rubicon’s Fire is set for release on August 25 on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, plus PC.
Manage cookie settings