What To Expect From Armored Core VI, Elden Ring Devs’ New Game

Armored Core mechs prepare to jump out of an airplane.

Image: FromSoftware / Bandai Namco

Elden Ring Studio FromSoftware is pivoting from demigods to giant mechs in Armored Core VIand warning fans not to expect the cult-classic sci-fi franchise to go all “Soulsborne” on them. Instead, a new IGN interview with FromSoftware president Hidetaka Miyazaki and game director Masaru Yamamura indicates the latest sequel will stay authentic to what players love about the series, including a heavy emphasis on mech customization.

Armored Core VI had far and away the best trailer at The Game Awards 2022. While news of FromSoftware’s latest game had leaked a while agofans lost their minds at the crunchy metal, apocalyptic vibes, and haunting synth soundtrack when the game was finally properly revealed. The trailer looked anime-as-hell, and the mechs, explosions, and world all looked incredible compared to the last game in the series a decade ago.

But it wasn’t a gameplay trailer, and didn’t give a clear sense of what to expect from the first new Armored Core game since the PS3 era. Will Armored Core VI go the Elden Ring open-world road? Will it feature a Dark Souls RPG progression system, gold Bloodborne-style storytelling? Not quite. “We’ve not been making a conscious effort to try to direct it towards more Soulsborne type gameplay,” Miyazaki said. “First of all, let me just make that clear.”

ARMORED CORE VI FIRES OF RUBICON — Reveal Trailer

Instead, Armored Core VI will focus on the series bread and butter: assembling mechs. Players can swap out everything from legs to rocket launchers, prioritizing one type of speed boost over another, to engineer their own personal death machine. In battle, meanwhile, players will be rewarded for aggressive play styles that try to keep enemies on the back foot. “Severe and intense battles is still very much a focus,” but customization and mech movement are still the foundation.

Here’s what else we learned about Armored Core VI from IGN‘s interview:

  • The story is segmented into missions
  • You customize your loadout in-between missions
  • Earn money from missions to buy better gear for your mech
  • There will be a versus mode but multiplayer isn’t the focus
  • Brand new setting and story that doesn’t connect to earlier games
  • Boss battles featuring violent machines are the “highlight of the game”

The interview acknowledges that some aspects of Soulsborne games are really just FromSoftware’s general house style, including stories told through mystery and lore and apocalyptic worlds filled with challenging foes. So while Armored Core VI is very much a mech fighter, the studio also isn’t pretending that its next incarnation will feel like a dramatic shift in direction from its more recent hits.

Part of the reason fans of the series are so excited for Armored Core to come back, beyond the nitty-gritty mech-head tinkering, is to see how FromSoftware, which has expanded and matured since Dark Souls effectively became its own genre, uses its new resources and experience to tackle a long-dormant series.

Debuting back in 1997 on the original PlayStation, releases in the Armored Core series slowed to a trickle in the PS3 era. 2006’s Armored Core IV was a mixed bag held back by sterile graphics, while 2012’s Armored Core V was better but still too esoteric for mainstream audiences at the time. In the years since, FromSoftware’s capabilities have grown, but so too has what’s possible on game consoles, with the series now having skipped an entire console generation. Player tastes have shifted too, possibly laying the groundwork for Armored Core‘s back in a big, big way.

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