Elden Ring Dev Talks Armored Core VI And If It Will Follow The Popular Souls Gameplay Formula

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If you watched the Game Awards last week, you may have been surprised by the reaction to one of the game trailer reveals. The announcement of Armored Core VI prompted a wave of hype from the audience that likely left some gamers bewildered. It would be easy for folks new to the franchise to expect "Souls-like" gameplay from the upcoming title, but FromSoftware's Hidetaka Miyazaki and Masaru Yamamura have confirmed that won't be the case.

In an exclusive interview with IGN, the developers confirmed that no, Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon won't be particularly "Souls-like", and that yes, it will retain the trademark features of the series. That means extensive mech customization with a dizzying array of parts, including not only things like your arms, legs, head, body, and weapons, but also your generator, radiator, fire control system, and even aerodynamic components to adjust the balance of your mech.

FromSoftware's popularity has exploded over the last decade with the immense popularity of the medieval fantasy role-playing games in the "Souls" series. Strictly speaking, that includes Demon's Souls and the three Dark Souls titles, but fans usually loop in Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Elden Ring, as those games use similar controls, structure, and themes.

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This screenshot isn't indicative of open-world gameplay, says FromSoftware.

Given that, it's not totally unreasonable to ask Miyazaki and Yamamura if the new game will continue the trend. Still, we think IGN's interviewer harped on the point unnecessarily, and we would have liked to have seen more questions about the series' mechanics, history, and influences. To their immense credit, Miyazaki and Yamamura displayed remarkable restraint in answering the "will it be Souls-like" question over and over, though.

Despite the interviewer's focus on comparing the game to FromSoftware's recent fantasy titles, there are still some great details to glean from the interview. The developers say that Armored Core VI will carry forward all the qualities that "AC" fans love from the classic games: fast-paced single-player mecha action combat within a mission-based structure. There will be a versus mode, but Yamamura says the focus is on the story mode.

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The scale of the Cores looks more like the older games rather than the smaller mechs in AC V.

In that sense, it sounds closest to Armored Core IV and "For Answer", that title's follow-up game. Armored Core V had an emphasis on multiplayer gameplay, and enjoys a small but very dedicated community for it to this day. Meanwhile, the games before Armored Core IV were much slower-paced and more methodical. Armored Core IV made significant system changes that meant that the mechs typically stayed on the move with constant rocket boosting instead of slowly plodding along while only using boosters for rapid dashes.

It's not as if Armored Core isn't inheriting anything from From's other games, either. Yamamura, who is the director on the game, noted that Armored Core VI will include a sort of posture system not unlike Sekiro, which is the previous game he worked on. By continuing to attack an enemy's weakpoints, you can apparently break the enemy's posture and open up an opportunity to inflict a "critical hit"—likely a lethal deathblow.

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Another reassuring remark for fans of the series is that its trademark difficulty won't be "dumbed down." Yes, friends, FromSoftware was making brutally hard games long before "Souls". In fact, the tweet above—while written in an ironic tone—is barely an exaggeration at all. FromSoftware Creative Director Miyazaki says that, rather than risk compromising the series spirit with reduced difficulty, he's instead tried to focus on increasing players' freedom so that players can adapt to the difficulty in their own way.

In another genre, the first-person shooter, we've recently seen a resurgence in games that hearken back to an older style of gameplay commonly known as "boomer shooters." Is it possible that we could see a resurgence in linear mission-based titles after Armored Core VI debuts on consoles and PC? Sadly, we don't have a release date beyond "2023" to go on for Armored Core VI, but it's looking like it will be an absolute treat for fans of the franchise.