Armored Core VI gets tagged as “Cute, Relaxing Dating Sim” on Steam

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon has some peculiar user-defined tags on its Steam page, including “Cute,” “Dating Sim,” and “Relaxing.” Yet this is not as unusual as it might seem when you consider that the same thing happened with FromSoftware’s previous title, Elden Ring.

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 most recent title in the series, Armored Core: Verdict Day, was released in 2013. Over nine years later, Armored Core VI, the next game in the series, was finally announced. While series fans are undoubtedly elated about the news, the title has also attracted a great deal of attention from gamers who have never played an Armored Core game before.

Possibly a byproduct of this surge in popularity, the game’s Steam page has a number of user-defined tags that stand in stark contrast to the world of the Armored Core series, which is often violent and rife with conflict. These tags have actually caused Armored Core VI to appear on Steam’s Dating Sim genre page.  

These unexpected tags are obviously the prank of some mischievous fans, and surely not tags that were chosen by developer FromSoftware or publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment.

The tags that are present on a game’s Steam store page can be defined by both the developer/publisher of the game as well as by users. The intention is to provide tags that explain what kind of game it is. Before the Steam page for a title can be launched, the developer/publisher must select at least five tags, though Steam recommends adding up to 20 (Steamworks). When Armored Core VI’s Steam page first became available on the site, it included the following tags: Action, Futuristic, Multiplayer, Singleplayer, and Third Person.

After a game’s page has gone live, users are free to add whichever tags they like. That said, a user-defined tag does not immediately become visible on the game’s page. Tags can be weighted based on the number of times they have been applied by users, and only the top 20 are visible to users and used by Steam to influence visibility in the store. In other words, the tags “Cute,” “Dating Sim,” and “Relaxing” have likely been set for Armored Cored VI by a significant number of users.

However, it appears that a number of these prank tags have been dealt with following the launch of the Armored Core VI page. If you take a look at the history of the changes made to the page, you can see that some user-defined tags like “Sexual Content” and “Psychological Horror” have been removed as they are unrelated to the game (SteamDB). Even the “Cute,” “Dating Sim,” and “Relaxing” tags have been removed in the past, so the fact that they are currently on the game’s page suggests that users are continuing to add these tags and causing them to reappear.

The back-and-forth battle of user-defined tags is nothing new for FromSoftware titles, with Elden Ring being a notable example. After the launch of the game’s Steam page, “Dating Sim,” “Cute,” and “Casual” were listed as its top three user-defined tags even though they all proved to be unrelated to the game’s content (related article). These tags were eventually dealt with, and as of the time of writing, all the tags appear to fit the game save for the “Family Friendly” tag sitting at number 20.

But why are there so many users who feel the desire to add the “Dating Sim” tag to games such as Elden Ring and Armored Core VI? The reason may be the mindset with which some fans approach these titles. Many of those in the fan community of FromSoftware games like the Dark Souls series and Elden Ring have strong feelings of affection for the NPCs that appear in those titles. You can even see a number of people who state that they have romantic feelings for some particularly dreamy NPCs. This has given rise to the almost meme-like notion that “FromSoftware games are dating sims,” and it has started to spread among part of the fanbase. We can’t be sure if these people are truly serious or simply doing it in jest, but it may be quite likely that these are the users who are adding the “Dating Sim” tag to FromSoftware games.

There are fans who have even discussed the topic of which NPCs are their favorite in FromSoftware’s early action RPGs, such as King’s Field and Shadow Tower. Although you rarely see the human forms of characters in the Armored Core games, they have still proven to be very popular. You normally only hear the character’s voices, but the games often have magnificent voice casts whose performances capture the hearts of fans. In particular, there are some who develop a deep attachment to the operator-style characters that serve as the player’s partner. It’s almost a kind of tradition for a number of players to be driven wild by the charm of the in-game characters.

Armored Core: For Answer

That said, Steam tags play an important role in how users search for games, and having a bunch of tags that are unrelated to a game’s content could produce a negative effect on both search visibility and sales. This is no doubt the very reason that action is taken to remove these tags from a game’s Steam page.

Details about Armored Core VI remain shrouded in mystery, including the characters who will appear in the new title. Every player is free to harbor any kind of feelings they wish toward the characters, but let’s wait until it actually launches and then apply tags that appropriately describe the game.

Written by. Marco Farinaccia based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date:2022-12-24 16:52 JST)