It’s been a decade since last we last played the Armored Core series, but the wait is nearly over. Recently, FromSoftware has released gameplay footage of the upcoming Armored Core 6 as well as giving us more details and news in various interviews. The biggest news is a confirmed release date only a few months away. We’ll be dissecting the latest trailer and interviews to bring you what we know so far about Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon.
Release Date & Platforms
The latest gameplay trailer revealed that Armored Core VI is officially releasing on August 25, 2023. It’ll be available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Steam. Therefore, as long as you have a fairly recent console, you’ll be able to play!
Pre-Order Bonuses and Editions
Pre-orders are available now and come in four separate editions. All pre-orders include an early unlock of certain AC parts and emblems, as well as exclusive decals and customizations.
The Standard Edition costs $60 and comes with the base game and pre-order bonuses, nothing more.
The Digital Deluxe Edition costs $70 and gives you a digital artbook and soundtrack in addition to the game. As you might guess, this version is only available digitally.
The Collector’s Edition is where things get wild. For $230, you’ll receive:
- Armored Core VI Base game
- Armored Core figurine (19cm)
- Steel book case
- Set of four pin badges
- Set of 45 stickers
- 40-page hardcover art book
- Digital soundtrack
The Premium Edition is for those amongst you with a burning passion for the Armored Core series or a lot of extra money to burn. For $450, you get all of the above, plus a detailed garage model to place the AC figurine into.
Story and Setting of Armored Core 6
The story takes place on Rubicon 3, a planet filled with the mysterious “Coral” substance. Coral was believed to be able to provide massive advancements in technology and communication. This led various corporations to go to war over control of the substance. Unfortunately, Coral is also an extremely volatile substance, and the war caused a catastrophe that left the planet abandoned.
50 years later, Coral has resurfaced on Rubicon 3, sparking a renewed conflict as various factions vie for dominance over the planet.
You’ll find yourself fighting in the massive industrial ruins left behind by the previous inhabitants. These mega-structures will constantly be towering over you, giving a sense of scale and verticality that surpasses anything seen in the prior entries. Missions are designed to take advantage of this unique setting as you destroy automated mining robots, fight against other corporations, and recover lost data.
Your role in all of this is that of an independent mercenary – a genetically modified human specifically suited for piloting Armored Cores, albeit with a range of emotions that are somewhat limited. As such, you can select whichever missions you want, and you fight solely for the pay.
Despite this, you will play an enormous role in determining the outcome of the corporate war. Depending on which missions you choose, there will be a variety of different endings to the story, much like those found in Armored Core: Last Raven or For Answer.
Long-time fans of the game will be pleased to learn that you will be referred to as a “Raven” at some point during the story, although it is unclear how you acquired this title.
Armored Core 6 Gameplay
Will it Be Like Dark Souls?
After years of developing the Souls series, many may wonder if FromSoftware will incorporate any of its elements into Armored Core 6. However, based on the trailers and news we’ve seen so far, Armored Core 6 appears to remain true to its own identity.
Despite that, there are certain features that should please Souls fans. For instance, the combat flow revolves around anticipating enemy movements and finding gaps in their defenses, similar to Dark Souls.
You’ll select individual missions from a hub area, where you can also buy new parts and equip your AC. Once you complete a mission, your pay will be determined based on your performance, with ammo and repair costs deducted. The missions in this game will range from data retrieval to clearing out groups of enemies, as well as large boss fights.
Compared to previous games, the maps in Armored Core 6 will be larger, more intricate, and feature greater verticality. Consequently, missions will be longer in duration as well. To accommodate this change, missions will include automatic checkpoints, along with repair and restocking kits to replenish your health and ammo.
FromSoftware is committed to keeping the deep mech customization of Armored Core intact in Armored Core 6, while also making it more approachable for newcomers. While not providing many details, they have promised an intuitive introduction to AC assembly.
Each part has its own unique feel when it comes to performance, whether it’s the quad legs’ hover mode or the tank treads’ drifting. FromSoftware emphasizes that each weapon will have a distinct role and won’t be defined solely by its stats. They hope players will choose weapons based on what they like the feel of rather than simply going for what has the strongest stats.
There appear to be several returning systems from previous Armored Core titles. If you’ve played Armored Core 4, you might recall the Primal Armor system, which provides partial damage protection that can be shattered with sustained fire. This system is making a comeback, albeit with a different in-universe explanation.
Additionally, back weapons that were absent in Armored Core 5 are back in Armored Core 6. You’ll be able to choose from various missile and back-mounted cannons or opt for the Armored Core 5 system of keeping spare arm weapons on your back.
During the Playstation Blog interview with director Masaru Yamamura, he tells us about some of the game’s new systems. The first is Assault Boost, a movement ability that allows your AC to quickly close the gap with enemies. Yamamura showcased an example of approaching with machine gun fire and missile salvos, before performing an Assault Boost to deliver devastating melee attacks.
Another revised system in the game is the Stagger system. Taking too much damage will overload your AC’s systems, filling up a stagger gauge that could stun or make your AC vulnerable in some way. Thankfully, enemies are also vulnerable to this, and players can quickly overload enemy gauges by using strong single strikes or several rapid attacks.
In contrast to prior titles, the new stagger system is much more complex, reminiscent of the Posture system in Sekiro. This marks a departure from the prior games, where large hits would briefly stun your AC, but this effect was lessened by a stability stat.
Compared to Previous Armored Core Games
Yamamura notes that the game’s average movement speed will be somewhere between Armored Core 3 and Armored Core 5. However, the combat tempo will match that of Armored Core 4. The recently released gameplay trailer seems to support this statement, showcasing AC movement similar to a faster version of Armored Core 5‘s.
The trailer also revealed sections where ACs demonstrated a Quick Boost function, much like the one in Armored Core 4. This technique was handy for evading enemy attacks, providing an instantaneous burst of speed. It’s worth noting that Quick Boosting is distinct from the newly introduced Assault Boost, which resembles the Boost Drive from Armored Core 5.
Armored Core 6 seems to have a greater focus on melee combat than its predecessors, thanks to the Assault Boost and Stagger mechanics. To support this, the game will introduce a wider range of melee weapons, such as lances, cluster bomb launchers, chainsaws, and pulse blades, in addition to the series’ traditional energy blades. While firearms remain the primary weapons, you’ll definitely be weaving in more melee attacks during battles.
Part of this focus on melee combat may include changing the way the series’ lock-on mechanics work. While we didn’t see any UI in the gameplay trailer, the camera movements implied that Armored Core 6 will have a Dark Souls-like lock-on system. This means that you can press a button to lock-on to an enemy, and the camera will attempt to stay centered on them.
This is a significant departure from previous titles, which usually had a designated area on screen for locking on to enemies. The camera wouldn’t automatically move, so players would have to manually track their targets. There was even a part that specifically determined the performance of the lock-on.
After the grounded combat style of Armored Core 5, you might be curious about whether sustained flight is achievable in Armored Core 6. However, it seems unlikely based on the gameplay trailer. We see footage of ACs leaping into the air multiple times, even being propelled from jump pads, but there’s no sign of direct flight.
Instead, the glide boost from Armored Core 5 appears to have been significantly enhanced, enabling protracted aerial combat. From the brief clip of gliding, the AC seemed far more maneuverable during it, without any loss of altitude.
According to Yamamura, a major highlight of Armored Core 6 will be its boss battles. The gameplay trailer showcases numerous boss enemies, unlike anything seen before in the series. A colossal worm-like creature is present, alongside several demolition robots. Overall, there are significantly more unique boss fights than in previous games.
Fans will be happy to hear that battles against ACs and other humanoid mechs will still exist. There also seemed to be a gargantuan walking fortress, similar to the Arms Forts featured in Armored Core: For Answer.
Join the High Ground!
The new gameplay trailer and Masaru Yamamura interview provide an amazing amount of info, and there will likely be plenty more Armored Core 6 news to dissect in the future. Are you excited for the game, either as a newcomer or a long-time fan? Let us know in the comments below.
Be sure to check back when the game releases on August 25th for our guides on Armored Core 6. We’ll do our best to keep you updated on new info until then. If you want the best way to keep up, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
From this moment on, you are a Raven.