Today Bandai Namco hosted a livestream from Taipei Game Show in Taiwan, starring Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon producer Yatsutaka Ogura.
Ogura-san started by explaining that FromSoftware never intended to have so much of a gap between Armored Core: Verdict Day in 2013 and the next game of the series. In the interim, they have made many games, and many key developers have grown into their roles. Many among the staff have always wanted to make a new Armored Core game including Ogura-san and FromSoftware president Hidetaka Miyazaki himself, so a return to the series was never in question. The only real obstacle was that the company always had so many titles in the works and had to make sure that its resources were appropriately distributed. Due to that, took quite a long time for the developer to reach a stage in which they were ready to begin on a new AC game.
Miyazaki-san's role in the game is "Initial Game Director" which means exactly what it says on the tin. He directed the initial phases of the game's development working together with many developers like Kenneth Chan, who is co-director and producer of Fires of Rubicon, to establish the foundation of the game. This includes map design, action fundamentals, and other core elements at the game's heart.
As a key point of the game's development, FromSoftware wants to leverage FromSoftware's experience and know-how to implement a lot of freedom for players in what they can do with the controls and customization. Changing parts affects the action gameplay and action and customization work together symbiotically. Defining the parameters that govern the relationship between these two elements was crucial.
Ogura-san also mentions that one of the biggest differences with the previous games is that FromSoftware had the freedom to spend more on development and resources. On top of that, the studio has developed many other games between Verdict Day and Fires of Rubicon, including Dark Souls 2, Dark Souls 3, Déraciné, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Elden Ring. The developers have gained a lot of experience and know-how while developing these games, and they made use of that in Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon.
There is no direct connection with previous games of the series like Armored Store V in terms of the actual storyline, so you don't need to have played them in order to enjoy VI. That being said, the core element focusing on the free assembly and customization of parts to create your own mech remains "very much part" of the new game. This aspect of the series has been prioritized during development and it has been combined with the know-how and experience acquired in the development of FromSoftware's acclaimed titles to create a brand new Armored Core action game that the developers believe will satisfy its users.
It'll be a beginner-friendly game (meaning it'll be friendly to first-timers who have not experienced the series before). More details will be revealed in the future, but new users may find the mech customization system as very detailed and complex. It may take a long time to master. As such, there are a number of features to help make mech customization more intuitive and logical than it has been in past games of the series.
The title "Fires of Rubicon" is part of the world that has been created specifically for the game, which is set on a planet named Rubicon 3. The story begins with the discovery of a mysterious new material on that planet and the story's core revolves around the control of that material between various corporations and organizations. The player is an independent mercenary working amid the flames of that conflict, carrying out a series of missions.
The original trailer showcased a weapon called the Pile Bunker which can be driven into the enemy at low range, and tetrapod legs, which appeared in previous games,. The trailer actually hides a lot of new information about the game and taking a closer look may provide a few hints and give veteran players a few ideas in terms of what they may be able to do in terms of strategy, so Ogura-san hopes that we'll watch it a few times.
The developers have strived to create a game that poses a stiff challenge for players, and Ogura-san is confident that they have achieved that. That said, the approach to the difficulty level in Armored Core VI is slightly different than other FromSoftware games. The key element of the series is the customization and combination of different parts, and that is the key to overcoming the difficulties within the game. Yet, they also have designed a game that rewards performing the most appropriate actions to beat the odds and attain a sense of achievement.
Ogura-san believes we'll be very pleased by the intensity of the boss battles, which have always been highlights of the series. This has been preserved in Fires of Rubicon by employing many of the same techniques that have been successful in the past. Boss battles in FromSoftware games require close observation of enemy patterns and catching the small signs that tell you when to attack and how to best make your move, and that's the case in this new title as well. That's why Ogura-san is so confident that fans will find the boss battles extremely enjoyable.
Due to piloting mecha, both the player's and the enemies' movements are extremely dynamic and aggressive. Attack distance changes frequently from close range to long range, and then back to close range, serving the purpose of keeping the players on their toes.
Due to the focus on dynamic action, the story mode is single-player only, but the developers plan to implement online battles in the arena. More details about that will be released in the future. You can also create your own emblems like in previous games and share them online for other players to use. On top of the functional parts, you can also freely customize your mech's colors and weathering, allowing you to customize your original mecha in both performance and appearance.
You can watch the full video below. As a quick note, the subtitles often mention "in the coming days" but the wording simply means a more generic future. It doesn't indicate that we should expect more details in a matter of a few days.
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon releases in 2023 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.