Like Rockstar and Naughty Dog, FromSoftware has become a household name for anyone who’s neck deep into single-player games. The studio that snagged the game of the year award twice really caught us off guard. They spilled the beans about Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon coming in 2023, just nine months after Elden Ring‘s big reveal at The Game Awards. And it was actually moments after the announcement that Elden Ring won Game of the Year, so yeah, things have been pretty wild since.
It’s the first major game in the past ten years by FromSoftware not set in the SoulsBorne genre or one that’s not an action game with swordplay — the last one ironically being Armored Core: Verdict Day which was released in 2013.
FromSoftware’s cult following has immeasurably increased in the past decade, and today thousands of media outlets, and millions of gamers, including both franchise veterans and newcomers, are all anticipating what the next Armored Core 6 game will be like.
Spoiler alert: it’s going to be brutal, and beautiful, and will come packing with the elements that made From’s Souls series so popular.
Armored Core 6 Month Is Finally Here
Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is scheduled to release on August 25, 2023, which is only a couple of days away. FromSoftware plans on supporting last-gen hardware, which to me is bewildering since when the PS4 and Xbox One came out, AAA developers dropped the Xbox 360 and PS3 like they never existed.
In any case, platforms for the newest Armored Core 6 include the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. Additionally, even Valve’s Steam Deck will come fully supported at launch.
Game Name: Armored Core
Available on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
Developers: From Software
Release Date: 25 August 2023
Games are becoming more demanding each year — just look at Hogwarts Legacy — so this might be the final time FromSoftware releases a game on the previous generation of consoles. And it’s totally not owed to most of the studio’s fans being pissed at Armored Core 6’s dated graphics. The graphics are way better than what they were, but many people do hold the opinion that they aren’t what they should be.
Armored Core VI is freakishly fast-paced. Mobility plays a huge part in its dynamic mech combat, and the scale of battles is massive in comparison to previous entries. The gameplay is exciting and there’s no doubt that it’ll be fun to play.
Having said that, it’s obvious the studio had to craft content that was capable of running on the old generation of consoles, and in doing so they didn’t tap into the wonders of what the latest gaming hardware can do — not that any other developer has shocked us yet. Still, there’s a decade’s difference between Armored Core V and VI, so many new things await.
Is The New Armored Core 6 Just Like Dark Souls?
There’s also the big elephant in the room: is Armored Core VI just like Dark Souls? Well, answering that is a little complicated.
You can tell at a glance that Armored Core, and the SoulsBorne games, especially Elden Ring, are different. One of them has got giant robots, while the other has giant dragons and monsters. Till Armored Core: Verdict Day, the last game in the series, the distinction would’ve been easy, but now everyone looks up to FromSoftware as the “Souls studio”.
If you’ve watched Armored Core 6’s gameplay, it’s brutal, decisive, and tough. All things are hallmarks of the Souls formula, something which has proved enormously successful for FromSoftware these past few years. It isn’t surprising that all of their games going forward will retain hints of that magic. Though, yes, Mech Souls would be a better term to describe the Armored Core games from now on.
Armored Core 6 Is A Shorter, More Action-Packed Game
Recently, preview events for Armored Core VI took place, and attendees are speaking highly of their experience. Reports flooded in that its length is around 50-60 hours, however, sources weren’t sure whether that was for the main story or the entire game.
If it’s indeed the latter, and I do believe it is, considering FromSoftware’s current focus on Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC and other potential undertakings, we can expect Armored Core VI to be briefer in comparison to recent AAA releases such as Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, a game that boasts three times the reported playtime. But even the indicated 50-60 hours in total will make Armored Core VI the longest in the series.
While a shorter length may seem disappointing, it does mean that the experience will be adrenaline-pumping from start to finish. On top, there’s also a multiplayer mode which will surely gobble up hundreds of your hours. The true extent of the multiplayer mode hasn’t been revealed either, but what we do know is that 6v6 team battles are allowed. And as for the gameplay itself, Sekiro fans are in for a treat.
It’s Being Directed By Sekiro’s Lead Designer
Another reason why Armored Core 6 should have you excited is because it’s being directed by Masaru Yamamura, Sekiro’s lead game designer. So yeah, it’s going to be pretty tough — not that FromSoftware games aren’t already.
Sekiro was FromSoftware’s first-ever game of the year win, and it isn’t difficult to see why. The game has an innovative combat system and is more challenging than even Elden Ring — not counting the Malenia encounter which gives players PTSD.
Masaru Yamamura is no Hidetaka Miyazaki, but if his work in Sekiro is anything to go by, Armored Core VI is going to be one of the best games of 2023.
The latest in-depth trailers have really shed light on the gameplay, revealing an abundance of details. The level of customization is nothing short of astonishing. Virtually every facet of your Armored Core 6 can be tweaked – be it weapons, colors, aesthetics – you name it.
The story progresses in expansive but linear missions instead of being set in an open-world like FromSoftware’s SoulsBorne games, however, the mission design perfectly suits Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon.
The core gameplay loop is the same as in any AC game. It involves you moving around in your Armored Core, and going into battlefields gun blazing, though in the newest installment, the visuals and customization are far superior. The customizability factor enables you to choose from a plethora of weapons and styles, so the shoot ’em up aspect remains fresh. And lastly, some missions have you taking on really tough bosses.
“Boss battles are the highlight of the game in this title,” director Masaru Yamamura told IGN in a statement, though that’s true for every FromSoftware game. If there’s one thing that’s unmistakably made its way from the Souls games to Armored Core VI, it’s unquestionably the boss battles. They retain that extreme level of difficulty, putting your skills to the ultimate test.
The Franchise Is Getting Rebooted, Again
With there being a huge gap between mainline entries, Armored Core 6 was anticipated to be a reboot, and it is. It’s the third reboot for the franchise, with the previous instances being Armored Core 3 & 4.
Unlike most games, reboots in the Armored Core series aren’t bad at all. The story always takes place in a dystopian post-apocalypse where a cataclysmic event either happened or is about to, come to think of it, that’s every FromSoftware game in a nutshell. The vehicular combat never goes away either, so muscle memory comes in handy.
Armored Core 6 in particular is more of a reincarnation than a revival, at least in terms of combat. While the core principles are still intact, customization has expanded tenfold, mobility plays a larger part, and the gameplay has become more snappy and requires you to make decisions in the heat of the battle. Overall, it’s shaping up to be a high-octane experience, which is quite different from FromSoftware’s recent portfolio.
Armored Core 6 is a huge improvement over its predecessors, and it’s a strong step forward in the right direction by FromSoftware. With the franchise finally returning after so long, it’s likely that we’ll be seeing a lot more entries in the near future. Perhaps even an expansion or small follow-up game in 2024.