Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon has finally been extensively detailed, as its release date on 25 August gets ever closer. The mech-action game is FromSoftware’s first entry in the series in a decade, although it was the company’s bread and butter for years before they became almost exclusively known for their Souls series, and most recently Elden Ring. As explained by Yasunori Ogura, lead producer of ACVI, this newest Armored Core aims to combine the base concept from the original series with FromSoftware’s action game philosophy, that players may now be familiar with.
What this means exactly is that Armored Core‘s base concept has been piloting your own customised mech with a robust assembly system, allowing for different playstyles from increased power to manoeuvrability. ACVI aims to cross this with FromSoftware’s action game philosophy is defined as what modern players would expect from their games – smooth controls, expansive and dynamic maps, and challenging battles.
Ogura defined the three core design pillars of Armored Core VI – massive, three-dimensional level design (with both expansive exterior locations like snowy mountains, and close-quarters interiors); a tactical combat system expanded with their customisable parts; and the satisfaction that comes with overcoming challenging situations, encouraging players to experiment and repeat tough battles to find the correct tactic to pull through. Armored Core VI will have a single-player campaign, as well as an online PvP mode separately.
In hands-off gameplay footage shown, Armored Core VI seemed much more similar to past entries to the series than some modern FromSoftware fans would be expecting. Separated into missions or levels, this particular one begins with a briefing outlining the mission objectives – capturing a huge facility called ‘Grid 086’ that serves as a base for a group called RaD. The player’s mech was launched up a vertical lift into the level (in a familiar sight to mecha anime fans) to see the expansive level, which looks like a connected series of buildings hanging from some kind of roof, with bridges between them.
The mech is capable of using its boost to fly around, as much as its energy bar allows, allowing you to not only traverse terrain quickly, but hop from structure to structure to carve out your own path into the interior of the base. The demo showed this feature used to get the drop on a group of patrolling enemies, taking them out with multi-lock missiles before closing in for close-range machine gun fire. Doors can be opened by hacking, which requires you to standby and leaves you open for potential ambushes, which soon occurred in the demo. The enemy robots looked a little wacky, with long thin spines and big round club-like hands. The developers also showed off some other features your mech is capable of, including a quick turn, an inbuilt shield and a plasma-sword type attack for explosive close-range hits.
Your mech is also equipped with a scanning pulse to identify enemies through walls, allowing you to plan out your next attack. In the next fight, the demo actually showed what happens if you die during an encounter, where the game allows you to restart from the last checkpoint, but also gives you the option to re-fit out your mech again. If you found you weren’t quick or manoeuvrable enough in a particular fight, you can re-equip your mech with different parts to better prepare your next run. You can change the head, arms and legs, etc, of your mech, including different handheld weapons, melee weapons, or missiles and cannons or shields on your shoulders.
Enemies can be staggered, including bosses, which FromSoftware are highlighting as a major feature of the game (as with all of their recent output). We saw a quick glimpse of one boss, the ‘Smart Cleaner’, a giant industrial-themed robot with glowing grinders for arms. However, we didn’t get to see the conclusion of the boss fight or the correct tactic to take it out at this time.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon is on track for PS5, PS4 (with a free upgrade from 4 to 5), Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC (Steam) for 25 August, 2023.