The latest title in the Armored Core series, Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon, was recently announced to the excitement of long-time fans. On the other hand, those familiar with FromSoftware’s more recent works have been trying to figure out just what kind of game Armored Core even is.
Armored Core is a mech action series developed by FromSoftware. The first game released on the original PlayStation back in 1997 and let players freely customize and pilot their own unique mechs. Players would sharpen their fighting skills by completing missions and carefully pouring over the details of the mechs they assembled and customized.
The last title in the series, Armored Core: Verdict Day, launched back in 2013. Since then, FromSoftware has gone on to release hits like Dark Souls 3, Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Elden Ring. In the 9 years since the last Armored Core game, the studio has gone on to widely expand their audience and fanbase. This also means many fans of the studio haven’t even touched the Armored Core series.
On the /r/fromsoftware subreddit there are multiple threads poking fun at the idea that FromSoftware fans are excited but haven’t actually had experience with the series. Within these threads, Redditors are leaving comments saying that while they don’t know Armored Core, if it’s FromSoftware, it’s bound to be good. Some are also pointing out that it seems different than Dark Souls.
While fans of Armored Core are trying to explain the appeal of the series, it’s likely hard to do justice with just words. Additionally, these games haven’t received ports to modern hardware and there aren’t any PC versions. For those who want to try out these games and see what Armored Core is all about, this makes the barrier to entry pretty high (related article).
As this has been going on, various outlets have been putting out new information about the game, including this interview with the game’s initial game director Hidetaka Miyazaki and current director Masaru Yamamura from IGN. In the interview, the team explains that Armored Core VI will stick to the foundation of the series, and says, “we’ve not been making a conscious effort to try to direct it towards more Soulsborne-type gameplay.” But even if you say the new Armored Core will be like Armored Core, if you haven’t played the series, all you can really do is imagine what that entails.
In the same interview, Miyazaki says, “we wanted to take the assembly aspect, assembling and customizing your own mech — your AC — and then being able to exact a high level of control over the assembled mech,” when discussing the two core concepts they wanted to explore for Armored Core VI. However, the fun that degree of freedom provides might be hard to grasp for those who haven’t played the games.
While there are gamers around the world who are interested but unfamiliar with the series, the number of FromSoftware fans who haven’t played the games or didn’t know about them seems comparatively higher outside of Japan.
For example, the subreddit for Elden Ring has over 1.6 million members as of this writing. The /r/fromsoftware subreddit has around 150,000 members, and the Armored Core community only has 15,870 members. Before the announcement of the new game, that number was just below 9,000 (Subreddit Stats). Armored Core games have been released globally since the first game in the series, but it doesn’t seem to have reached the same level of name recognition as it did in Japan.
When looking at the Steam Store page for the game, we can see the logo of the Japanese version has “Armored Core VI” in larger text than the subtitle. On the English version, the “Fire of Rubicon” subtitle is larger. While we can only guess as to why they have different designs, it might have to do with the status the series has across different regions.
Between newcomers wondering what kind of game Armored Core is and the series veterans trying to explain it, the announcement of Armored Core VI has brought a lot of attention to the series.
Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-12-13 17:16 JST)