Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is finally here, and we’ll discuss everything you need to go about the game.
After a miasma of dark fantasy games with unforgiving combat, FromSoftware will be taking us to a dystopian far future filled with mech-clashing. And they are no strangers to that as they released more than 20 Armored Core games in the past, which spanned five generations of game consoles.
Indeed, Armored Core is one of the heftiest series in the gaming landscape, with 13 main entries, tons of spin-offs, and a few remakes. But we thought it ended for good despite some rumors that surfaced in 2017. We believed that FromSoftware was done with its decade-spanning franchise and was sailing for the mesmerizing skies of The Lands Between.
Everything To Know for Armored Core 6
But to the joy of the series’ fans, the studio has returned to its longest-running mecha series with Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon. They announced the glorious return of their critically acclaimed mecha action series on the same night of Elden Ring’s crowning as Game of the Year at The Game Awards.
Whether you are a Soulsborne veteran or an Armored Core fan, you are definitely in a treat for the studio’s most recent entry. Since it has a plethora of predecessors, it is a good idea to keep yourself informed about the series as well.
Here’s what you need to know before Armored Core 6 puts you against hulking mechs and colossal annihilators.
1. What is armored core about?
In Armored Core games, you assume the role of a Raven, a mercenary who pilots massive combat units called Armored Cores (ACs.) Your task is to accept contracts from various factions and mega-corporations. Successfully completing these contracts yields hefty rewards, allowing you to customize your war machine with diverse parts and weapons.
Everything has a cost in the bleak worlds of AC games, though. As a merc, you will be paying for every single piece of bullet that bursts out of your mecha’s Gatling gun. The amount of damage your AC receives will also require you to do repairs, which will drain your funds quickly.
That’s when you need to make more money by clashing with other Ravens in the Arena mode, which has been a core element of the series.
2. How Many armored core games are there?
There are 13 main Armored Core games, supported with seven spin-offs and three remastered releases. Here are all of them:
- Armored Core (PS1, PSP, PS3, PS Vita)
- Armored Core: Project Phantasma (PS1)
- Armored Core: Master of Arena (PS1)
- Armored Core 2 (PS2)
- Armored Core 2: Another Age (PS2)
- Armored Core 3 (PS2, PSP, PS3, PS Vita,)
- Armored Core: Silent Line (PS2, PSP, PS3, PS Vita)
- Armored Core: Nexus (introduced a rework to the series) (PS2)
- Armored Core: Nine Breaker (offered arena-focused arcade-like gameplay) (PS2)
- Armored Core: Last Raven (PSP, PS2)
- Armored Core 4 (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Armored Core: For Answer (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Armored Core V (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Armored Core: Verdict Day (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon (PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Microsoft Windows)
- Armored Core: Formula Front (PS2, PSP)
The games in the series are separated into different generations and timelines. Nearly all of them depict a dystopian far future where humanity tries to survive in underground cities.
Not every game takes place in a future Earth, though. Armored Core 2 and its direct sequel, Another Age, takes place in Mars, for example.
3. Do you have to play the earlier games to understand armored core 6’s story?
No, you don’t have to play the earlier Armored Core games to understand the story of Armored Core 6.
The game’s director, Yamamura, considers the upcoming mecha game as “a completely fresh new story.”
And that’s great both for veterans and newcomers to the series. Those who have spent hours in previous Armored Core games will probably find lots of fresh takes in Fires of Rubicon. And for newcomers, the learning curve of the lore and the mechanics wouldn’t be so steep as it comes with a self-contained narrative.
4. Where does armored core 6: Fires of rubicon take place?
The franchise’s most recent entry takes place on Rubicon 3. As the 3rd planet of the star system with the same name, it is completely sealed off after a massive catastrophe.
While the info regarding the planet is scarce, Rubicon 3 becomes valuable for multiple factions thanks to Coral. This highly valuable substance ignited the catastrophe in the first place, engulfing the whole planet in fiery storms.
5. What is the best armored core game to play before armored core 6?
Those who want to find out all about the decades-spanning series can start with Armored Core 3 (AC3).
The 2002 mecha-action game is the ultimate form of an AC game. It offers a brilliant blend of challenging action, build optimization, and a gripping story. Since it is also available on PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, it shouldn’t be that difficult to get your hands on it too.
Do keep in mind that the level of challenge will increase after AC3, though. If you get the hang of it and proceed with Silent Line and Last Raven, prepare yourself for more challenging battles both in the arena and the story missions.
6. Armored core 6 won’t be very similar to soulsborne games.
FromSoftare honed its craft of tailoring unforgiving combat mechanics that required players to learn the enemy’s attack patterns. This “high-risk, high-reward” combat system has evolved into a gaming sub-genre in the last decade, yielding tons of games under the name of “souls-like.”
The Japanese game giant cemented the Soulsborne gameplay formula in the Dark Souls trilogy and Bloodborne. But their magnum opus, Elden Ring, offered a brilliant combination of Soulslike combat with the open world elements.
While it resulted in a solid blend of challenge and exploration, the studio is taking a hard turn from that with its upcoming title. That’s because Armored Core 6 will not be a Soulsborne game, as confirmed by the studio heads.
During an interview with IGN, Hidetaka Miyazaki, the president of FromSoftware, stated that they wanted to focus on the core concepts of the Armored Core series. Saying that they “have not been making a conscious effort” to make the game more similar to previous Soulsborne titles
That being said, the director of Fires of Rubicon, Masaru Yamamura, did share some details regarding the title’s combat system. During an interview with IGN, Yamamura said that the Armored Core 6’s boss fights are similar to Sekiro’s aggressive combat system.
7. Armored core 6 gameplay features elements from different generations of previous titles.
AC3 kicked off the third generation in the series gloriously and became a great entry point for newcomers.
But Armored Core 6 gameplay videos showcase a formula inspired by the fourth generation of AC games. This means that the gameplay is a lot faster and more intense than those in the third-gen.
That being said, the developers repeatedly mentioned that they wanted to address core elements from other games. So there is no doubt that the upcoming game addresses both third and fourth generations, with a touch of fifth.
At the end of the day, you still don’t have to play the earlier games or beat the third generation, though. But for those interested, AC3 and AC4 are the best games to play before Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon.
8. Armored core 6 multiplayer Will feature six-player matches.
FromSoftware is also known for integrating solid multiplayer experiences into its games. Their successful track record also shined in the earlier entries, especially in Chromehounds and Dark Souls.
But the AC games had the multiplayer feature since the first game launched in 1997. The last entry, Armored Core: Verdict Day, focused heavily on multiplayer battles alongside co-op missions.
Fortunately, the upcoming installment will also feature six-player multiplayer. At the time of writing, we don’t know whether there will also be co-op missions. As we get closer to the release date, the studio might reveal what to expect from the game’s online component.
9. Arenas are big in armored core games.
The arena feature is one of the best features of FromSoftware’s acclaimed mecha series. It allows players to test their AC’s capabilities to the fullest while battling against enemy ACs with incredible AI.
The arena feature is also a great way to take a break from the story missions. And it isn’t just a pastime feature too. With every enemy put down, the arena pays you a reasonable sum of money, allowing you to delve into more customization and engineering.
The good news is that the Arena mode will return in the franchise’s forthcoming entry, as confirmed by the developers.
10. Armored core 6 trailers are great for preparing for the game.
The celebrated studio shared a volley of gameplay and cinematic trailers as we get closer to the Armored Core 6 release date. Including the first one with brilliant Vangelis vibes, the most recent trailers offer a glimpse into the title’s desolate world.
They also introduce some of the most important characters in the game. Alongside the protagonist C4-621, we constantly hear Handler Walter’s voice throughout the trailers. He serves as the Operator of the player’s character.
Previous games also featured mission control actors who accompanied the players during the missions.
11. The game’s director is a sekiro: Shadows die twice veteran, masaru yamamura.
Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is helmed by Masaru Yamamura, a FromSoftware veteran who previously worked as a lead game designer on Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Yamamura also served as a designer for previous Armored Core games. Alongside them, the game director also left no stone unturned during the development process of Bloodborne and Dark Souls.
12. Studio head hidetaka miyazaki was involved in the earlier development process.
FromSoftware president Hidetaka Miyazaki was the initial game director of the project. He then stepped down from the director position like he did back in Dark Souls 2.
According to his interview with IGN, Miyazaki worked on the early concepts of the game during the pre-production phase.
This will be the second time Miyazaki passed on the torch as the game director. In the past, he directed the most successful FromSoftware games: Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Elden Ring.
13. Armored core 6 boss fights are one of the strongest aspects.
The upcoming entry features a ton of gameplay elements we’ve seen in the earlier games. But it also comes with an emphasis on boss fights. According to the game director, Armored Core 6 boss fights are one of the most prominent aspects of the game.
It is possible to see the player fight against colossal machines and massive units of destruction in the recent gameplay trailers.
While fans of the series are no strangers to boss fights, it is the first time an Armored Core game heavily emphasizes this feature. Indeed, AC players have had their share of battling against hulking mechs and gigantic machinery, like the massive submersible boss in AC3.
But these boss fights were not exactly similar to the ones we’ve seen in the Soulsborne games. Instead of trying to figure out the boss’s attack pattern, players had to stay mobile while damaging the boss as much as possible.
The team at FromSoftware will be changing that in the new entry. And it is only natural considering their wealth of expertise in creating epic boss battles in previous titles. After mastering their boss designs in titles like Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and the Dark Souls trilogy, we might also be in for a similar ride in AC6.
And while we’re on the topic, here is a list of all Armored Core 6 bosses that we currently know:
- Shredder Mech
- AH12 HC Helicopter
- Four-legged Mech
- Mech Tank
- AAP07 Balteus
- Entangle Sulla
14. Mech customization is the core element of armored core games.
Mech customization is the cornerstone of the Armored Core games, allowing players to foster creativity and strategic depth.
It is possible to come up with the most distinct playstyles thanks to the flexibility of the customization system. Since players can sell the parts for the same price they buy them at, AC builds can get quite creative.
The mech customization system has a significant impact on gameplay. Beyond simple cosmetic alterations, customizing your AC allows you to tailor your play style and achieve very contrasting outcomes. For example, reverse joint legs work great for more mobile ACs while forcing you to reduce your firepower.
Tank legs, on the other hand, let you become a moving fortress at the sacrifice of swiftness and mobility.
This creative freedom allows you to explore the true potential of your AC. And this trial-and-error formula is one of the best aspects of the Armored Core games. Getting better outcomes after customizing your mech with new parts also yields a true sense of achievement.
The mech customization got better in earlier entries. That’s why veterans of the series expect this feature to be the epitome of in-depth customization and creative freedom.
As the fires of excitement continue to burn, we listed everything to know before Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon makes planetfall on August 25. While the fans of the series are in for a treat, the franchise’s new entry should be a fresh departure for Soulsborne fans, too.
Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon is now available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Microsoft Windows.