- We talk with Producer Yasunori Ogura and Director Masaru Yamamura about their vision for the upcoming Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon.
- From dynamic battles to mech customization and thrilling boss encounters, Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon is shaping up to be the combat mech game for everyone.
- Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon will launch on August 25, 2023, and is available for pre-order today on the Microsoft Store for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One (with Smart Delivery support).
Since its surprise announcement during The Game Awards this past December, we’ve been eager to learn more about FromSoftware’s upcoming Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon, the first new Armored Core game in nearly a decade. Since the last entry in the franchise was released, the studio’s reputation for delivering high-quality and challenging games has only blossomed thanks to a string of commercial and critical hits like Dark Souls II & III, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and last year’s Elden Ring.
Now that I’ve had a chance to talk with Producer Yasunori Ogura and Director Masaru Yamamura about their vision for the upcoming Armored Core VI — launching for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One (with Smart Delivery support) on August 25, 2023 – we’ve been able to get to the heart of some of our burning questions, in particular if Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon is shaping up to be more of a Souls or Armored Core game; turns out it’s a little of both.
Because of the studio’s recent reputation, it’s safe to say the collective gaming world takes notice whenever a new FromSoftware title is announced. Gamers have come to expect a certain level of challenge when you see the studio’s name on packaging and Yamamura talked about this expectation as well, in particular with regard to the boss fights that we’ll encounter in Armored Core VI — and to not expect those to be as straightforward.
“What we are aiming to create with AC6 is a new mech action game as a product of what the current day FromSoftware can output.”
“In our approach to difficulty, let’s say, for example, that a certain boss is giving you trouble with a devastating laser attack that sweeps across battle arena and it’s very hard to avoid,” Yamamura says. “One possible solution, in such a situation, could be to go back to the Assembly and reconfigure your mech with reverse jointed legs, which have excellent jumping ability. Or a booster with a powerful upward thrust so the attack can be evaded vertically. An alternative approach could also be to use a high impact weapon like a bazooka to stop the enemy’s movement or before it attacks.”
It’s in this way that Yamamura is hoping players will “enjoy using their ingenuity and creativity,” both in terms of observing the enemy and their attack patterns, but also creating their own solutions with the game’s Assembly System to tackle these various threats across these intricately detailed maps.
“First and foremost, what we are aiming to create with AC6 is a new mech action game as a product of what the current day FromSoftware can output, based on the knowledge and experience we’ve gained from developing these recent titles,” Yamamura details. “But we also want to combine that with the original essence of AC, and that is the Assembly aspect and taking your assembled mech into battle and piloting it freely. So, in this process we placed a lot of importance on intricate 3D map design, combat design that allows players to observe enemy movements and deal with them accordingly, and the ability to overcome challenging situations with their own creativity and ingenuity.”
“These are things that FromSoftware action games have always tried to emphasize, and we of course developed AC6 with this in mind,” Yamamura continues. “However, as the basic format of Armored Core is completely different from games in the Souls lineage, there really aren’t any specific aspects of gameplay or mechanics that can be observed as-is. So, we’ve tried to incorporate this know-how and experience at points of the game where it can coexist and be easily digested in the sense of Armored Core, and without tainting those original qualities of what make Armored Core great. So, in this way, we believe we can offer that same underlying mech action goodness, as well as a more advanced game experience to both Armored Core fans and fans of our more recent [FromSoftware] titles.”
In talking with Producer Yasunori Ogura, he revealed that pre-production and conception of Armored Core VI began in 2017 and game prototyping began in 2018. At that time, it was just FromSoftware President (and Souls series creator) Hidetaka Miyazaki and a number of core team members on that initial development, who were scoping the basic concept as well as the game and map designs. The project was then handed over to Director Yamamura to take over the full game’s development.
“We’ve been cultivating a number of development staff both new and old throughout our experience with recent titles in recent years and there were many members of that staff, including Miyazaki and myself, who wanted to make a new Armored Core game for a long time, so it really wasn’t a question of if, it was always a question of when – and not making a new Armored Core game really wasn’t an option,” explains Ogura.
“It really wasn’t a question of if, it was always a question of when – and not making a new Armored Core game really wasn’t an option.”
“We’ve been using our development expertise to affect the timing to get the next AC right. We always have several projects going on at the same time within the company, and so there was a matter of getting the ideal balance of resource allocation and staff, which meant we kept players waiting longer than expected, but we’re happy to finally bring you a new Armored Core.”
Armored Core fans have indeed been patient — it has been nearly a decade since the last entry in the franchise, one that started nearly 25 years ago. Having been such a long time since the previous game, we asked Ogura if Armored Core VI could be considered a reboot of the series coupled with what’s expected in a FromSoftware title these days.
“I suppose you could consider it a reboot, in essence, but I just like to say that we try to incorporate our experience that we’ve gained across several game development projects over the years while simultaneously keeping the core aspects of what makes Armored Core great and combine those in a modern day FromSoftware game,” says Ogura.
That experience is being poured into the aforementioned Assembly System which will allow for a large variety of customization options for your Armored Core mech. Being able to construct and customize your own mech through a variety of arms, legs, heads, and weapons configurations is a defining characteristic of the series, allowing you to find a setup that not only suits your playstyle but one that helps you accomplish a task at hand in any given mission.
“I suppose you could consider it a reboot, in essence, but I just like to say that we try to incorporate our experience that we’ve gained across several game development projects over the years.”
“The main thing we focused on in AC6 was to make sure that this customization element is not just about the parameters going up and down and numerical values; we want to reflect these changes in customization in the way the game and action feel as much as possible,” explains Director Masaru Yamamura.
“For example, you obviously you have the head, core, arms, and leg parts of the AC. The leg parts in particular control the mech’s movement and so these will change the basic behavior of the AC depending what type they are. Like, tank-type legs will be able to perform drift turns. Weapons will differ in terms of how they fire, how much recoil they have, and how the projectiles behave. We’ve been conscious of how this all affects the game feel and the individuality of different builds.”
Armored Core VI takes place on the remote planet of Rubicon 3, many years after a cataclysmic event has left it, and the surrounding star system, engulfed in flames — thought to be the result of an energy source turning volatile, one that had originally helped advance humanity’s technological capabilities on the planet. Now this substance has reappeared many years later, and corporations and resistance groups are fighting over what they can find.
This is where you come in, as an independent mercenary who sells their skills as an Armored Core pilot without belonging to any specific company or faction. In this case, you’re not only an independent mercenary, but an augmented human who has been optimized solely for piloting a mech and now you have been thrust into this planetary conflict, taking on missions as they come.
Yamamura stressed to me that Armored Core VI will not be a game where every mission is supposed to be brutal and difficult. After all, part of the appeal of the Armored Core series has been found in a variety of mission types that can range from a mix of taking out many mechs that are vastly inferior to your own, or more strategic boss encounters.
“There are missions that focus on important boss fights at key points in the game. There are missions that focus on exterminating many smaller threats that are very exhilarating and very refreshing to play through, which are designed to give a nice change in tempo and pace,” explains Yamamura. “There are also the more large-scale cathartic battles with enormous threats and unmanned machines the player is tasked with destroying.”
Yamamura stressed to me that Armored Core VI will not be a game where every mission is supposed to be brutal and difficult.
In addition, there will be side objectives like data collection and wreckage scanning where you can uncover new information and parts, on top of the massive exploration aspects where you’ll be piloting your AC through vast, intricately crafted megastructures. Of course, you could also just fly around and take in the view of a decimated, post-apocalyptic world. That’s always fun.
The newest trailer for Armored Core VI shows many of these dynamic mechanics and mission types in action, and how different mech parts affect movement as well as some facets of world building. “The trailer also includes a preview of how we hope the actual gameplay will feel,” says Masaru Yamamura. “We hope that players will be able to watch the trailer and anticipate how these mechs will control and how it will feel to fly around the battle with these new Armored Cores.”
From what we’ve seen, it appears that Armored Core VI is looking to strike a great balance of accessibility, excitement, and rewarding difficulty that we’ve come to expect from this developer. Longtime fans who have been patiently waiting for a new AC game have only a few months to wait before they can drop onto the planet of Rubicon 3 and experience this for themselves, while new fans of the series can look forward to another high quality FromSoftware title.
“Thank you to everybody for waiting so long for this new AC,” Producer Yasunori Ogura says. “We’ve been anticipating it for a while as well and we’re just so happy to finally be able to release it to the world. We want this to be a game that the old fans can see and appreciate and to recall the best parts of Armored Core and what made them love this series in the first place.”
“We want this to be a game that the old fans can see and appreciate and to recall the best parts of Armored Core and what made them love this series in the first place.”
As someone who tends to prefer their mechs as slow, hulking beasts that can withstand a nuclear blast or two, seeing the swift and furious action of Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon‘s has me incredibly intrigued to experience this intense (and gorgeous looking) level of combat for myself. After everything I’ve learned recently, I not only feel like I’ll be able to handle this level of exhilarating mech combat, but I think I’ll be able to excel at it as well.
With everything from dynamic battles to deep mech customization and thrilling boss encounters, Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon is shaping up to be the mech combat game for everyone on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One. August 25 can’t get here soon enough.
ARMORED CORE™ VI FIRES OF RUBICON™ – Deluxe Edition
Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc.
ARMORED CORE™ VI FIRES OF RUBICON™
Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc.