Armored Core VI Producer Interview Recap

The BNE FUN LIVE 2023 event at the Taipei Game Show has concluded, and with it we get an 18-minute interview with AC VI producer Yasunori Ogura.

The full transcript is up on Gematsu, but a few choice excerpts stand out to us:

1. On why FromSoftware took so long to release another Armored Core title

Mori: “It’s been 10 years since the last title in the series was released. Can you explain to us why it has taken so long to develop this new title?”

Ogura: “There was never any intention to leave this large a gap. We’ve made a number of titles in the interim, and seen a lot of extremely talented developers grow into their roles. Many of us, including Mr. Miyazaki, our CEO, and myself as well, of course, have always wanted to create a new Armored Core title. So there was never really any question that one day we would return to the series. The only real obstacle standing between us and the development of a new title was that our company always had so many different titles on the go, and we had to make sure that our resources were appropriately distributed. And, unfortunately, it took quite a long time before we reached the situation that we were ready to begin.”

2. Miyazaki will not be the director of this title

Mori: “I see. You mentioned Mr. Miyazaki there, and I understand that he is not the director of this latest title. Can you tell us what his involvement has been?”

Ogura: “His title for this game is ‘Initial Game Director,’ which means he directed the initial phases of the game’s development. Obviously he didn’t do that alone, but he worked together with people like Kenneth Chan, co-director and producer of Fires of Rubicon, as well as a range of other developers, to establish the game’s foundation. This includes such elements as map design, action fundamentals, and other core elements at the game’s heart.”

3. Pushing for greater player freedom in terms of controls and customization (looking forward to seeing how open the game systems will be)

Mori: “What has been the major developmental focus for this Armored Core title?”

Ogura: “We were determined to take advantage of FromSoftware’s experience and know-how to really establish freedom for the player in terms of what can be done with game controls and the customization that lies at the series’ core. That was the key point we focused on. When you play the game, you will see how changing parts affects the action elements. The action and customization elements really do work together symbiotically, and I really think this is the most important thing. Defining the parameters that govern this relationship was absolutely key.”

4. AC VI will not be a direct sequel to previous titles

Mori: “Speaking of previous titles in the series, such as Armored Core V, for example, is there a connection between them and this latest title?”

Ogura: “In terms of actual storyline, there is no direct connection between V and this latest title, which means there is no need to have played previous titles in the series. However, the fundamental concept at the heart of the Armored Core series, involving the free assembly and customization of parts to create your own mech, remains very much a part of this title. We have prioritized this aspect of the series throughout the development process, and combined this system with the know-how and experience our teams have acquired in the development of FromSoftware’s other acclaimed titles to produce a brand-new Armored Core action game that we believe will satisfy our users.”

5. Online multiplayer confirmed (but of course):

Mori: “In terms of other issues fans have asked about, I wanted to discuss what kind of multiplayer elements the game has.”

Ogura: “As focus has been pleased on producing the most dynamic action possible, we have restricted story mode gameplay to single-player only, but as an online element, we are also planning the implementation of battles in an online arena. We plan to release more details concerning this in the coming days.”

6. Emblem sharing is back, and a new weathering system will be implemented:

Mori: “That sounds fascinating. Are there any other online features in the game?”

Ogura: “There is one particular feature I am often asked about, so I will mention it now. This title features so-called emblems, as was the case in prior series titles, which are like logos of sorts that you can use to mark your mech. For some time now, players have had the ability to freely create their own emblem, and from the previous title, these can be exchanged online with other players. This will be implemented this time as well, which means that in addition to the parameters of mechs that you can customize, the visual elements as well, in terms of coloring and weathering and the like, can also be freely customized, allowing you to truly create a unique mech that is all yours in performance and appearance.”

Overall, while we didn’t get anything truly new and groundbreaking, it’s still a positive sign that FromSoft is being very open like this to the AC fanbase. Seems like all is well in development.

Hope it’s full steam ahead to release day!

[via Gematsu on Twitter]

A Look Back at Armored Core 1’s Early Development

A recently translated interview regarding Armored Core 1’s development was released by Shmuplations. It gives a very good account on how Armored Core came about, and how Shoji Kawamori shaped the style that made iconic designs the franchise is known for.

Some interesting choice quotes from the interview that we’d like to clarify on:

—How did you divide up the different design components for the mechs?
Kawamori: It took a lot of time to figure out how finely we should categorize the parts. There were programming limitations to consider, as well as game balance issues. Currently, we have the core torso unit, the arm unit extending from the shoulder to the hand, the option for weapon loadouts on shoulders (left and right), then the head and lower body units.

The lower body unit, in particular, has a wealth of options, from bi-pedal human type legs, to avian-style joints with reverse articulation, and even four-legged mechs and tank-tread types. In the beginning, we’d planned even more categories: the arm alone would have been comprised of three units (a shoulder, arm, and hand unit). But that would have been WAY too much work. (laughs) And the potential combinations would have become truly astronomical then.

Interesting that Extensions became a thing in the PS2 era, when technology finally allowed them to take one smaller step to their initial ideal version of Armored Core design. Maybe From can reach out into its deep past and add those arm and hand weapon mounts this time.

—You said there was a lot of trial and error, but at what point did you ask Kawamori to do the mecha design?
Karasawa: We created a prototype with a robot, and once that was moving and able to fire missiles, then we started to see how this would shape up as an action game. That was when I contacted Kawamori. We don’t have a “mecha expert” among our internal staff at FromSoftware, so the mech design at that point looked like dolls constructed from cardboard boxes. (laughs) However, although the mechs looked crappy then, the movement itself was well done, and I thought it would be a shame to waste that on lame designs, so we decided to contact someone who could make the mechs look right.

The early, pre-Kawamori designs can be seen in Armored Core’s (very early) PV right here:

“Armurrred Cuorrr… In the summer of ’97 you will meet your makurrr…. yurrrself!”

Read up on Shmuplation’s whole translated interview here, it’s an interesting read for sure.

Thank you Nix for sharing the interview, and special thanks to Hellhound 13th for archiving Armored Core’s first PV.

Gundam EXVS Philippines x Armored Core?

On January 28, 2023, the Philippines’ newly-revived Gundam EXVS community held a monthly play-off at Playbook Circuit Makati, with nearly two dozen participants in a community meetup on a mock tournament. The Gundam EXVS Philippines community reached out to us, as they have an interest in Armored Core as well, so we had to go check their community out.

The EXVS mini-tournament used an MMA-style ladder bracket with a round-robin system and will move on to a double elimination format later. PS4s lined the venue setup with an equal number of flatscreen TVs, a giant projector on the wall to view matches, and Playbook’s own streaming channel online on Twitch for anyone to view online.

The event was well-organized and serious, but also had a fun atmosphere. There was also a PS3 set up with a copy of Armored Core for anyone to play, which this author gladly tinkered with outside viewing matches.

The community is also excited for the release of Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon and can’t wait to create their own ACs.

Congratulations to the winners, and may fortune be with you in Rubicon 3 when Armored Core VI is released!

You can find the Gundam EXVS community page here if you’re interested in joining. If you’re interested in booking your own game event, check out Playbook’s socials here.

Need to Scratch that Armored Core V or Verdict Day Itch? Try Hammer

Developed by RedRoryOTheGlen, this indie game project combines elements of previous Armored Core titles, featuring mech action and a garage for tinkering with your mechs. Movement and combat mechanics in particular are heavily inspired by ACV.

In his words, the game “started out as a learning project to make things walk in Unity so it’s still called ‘Walker’ in places…” but honestly, its already got the rough foundations of an Armored Core game, especially the 4th and 5th generation releases.

Best of all, it’s free. Give it a try and download the game here.

Check out a gameplay video:

Some additional info from the developer:

The yellow bar above HEALTH is your ARMOR. As long as you have any amount of ARMOR, damage to your HEALTH will be reduced by a certain amount dependent on the PENETRATION of the damaging weapon. If the weapon has a penetration of 20%, you take 20% of damage to HEALTH and 80% of the damage to ARMOR. Once your ARMOR is depleted, you’ll take 100% damage to HEALTH. Enemies also have armor and you may see the red !ARMOR! alert flash occasionally if an enemy you hit has some and reduces your damage.

STABILITY is the white bar between your HEALTH and ARMOR. You have a specific amount of it (standard is 1250) and regain it faster depending on your stabilizer as well as whether you are grounded or moving. Your STABILITY is reduced when you take damage or when performing certain maneuvers (jumping, bursting, wall-kicking). If your STABILITY is greater than 1000, your weapons will be more accurate and fire faster. On the other hand, if your STABILITY is lower than 1000, your weapons will have higher spread and fire slower. Some weapons are more affected by STABILITY than others.

AC VI Producer Livestream Incoming!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled RR programming to bring you this special announcement.

Armored Core VI producer Yasunori Ogura will be present in the upcoming livestream of Bandai Namco’s BNE FUN LIVE 2023 event, and will be sharing information and taking on questions about the game.

The livestream is set for February 3, 7:00 PM UTC+8 (Manila time) and is estimated to be an hour long. Mark your calendars and set your alarms.

UPDATE: The Armored Core-related segment will now only be 20 minutes long.

Now, back to the show.

[via farmboy28 and ACLegacies on Twitter]

The Mystery of Armored Core Last Raven’s Missing Intro Music

Ah Last Raven, the game that brought Raven Republic together. Somehow, this one was different from the moment it introduced itself. Compared to all other Armored Core games before and after, its opening video didn’t have any music. Sure, one may argue that it had ambient background noise or that the gunfire was the music, but after so long, we’ve finally uncovered what might have been the original music that was supposed to be playing in the background.

A few years back, From Software released the Armored Core Original Soundtrack 20th Anniversary, a series of 20 CDs containing all the soundtracks made for the games. The last CD included missing songs from the game, mostly from promotional videos.

One of them was used for LR’s PV on From’s site back in 2006. Match that with the actual opening, and you get a clear idea of what the original music was supposed to be:

New to Armored Core? You Should Play Armored Core 3

With Elden Ring winning GOTY 2022 and FromSoftware’s reputation as a mover and shaker in the gaming world, the attention has suddenly shifted towards their upcoming Armored Core title. No doubt, people unfamiliar with the franchise are curious as to what it’s all about. Why would FromSoftware, the developer known for Soulsborne titles, go back to a clunker robot game? And with more than a dozen entries in the series, each generation serving as a soft reboot of the franchise, it’s a daunting task to pick where to start, right?

I’ll help you out. You should start with Armored Core 3.

A Look to the Future; A Blast from the Past

Merry Christmas everyone! Wishing you all happy, safe, and healthy holidays!

Who’d have thought that after a lengthy hiatus, FromSoft was going to give us the gift we’ve all been dying to receive: the official announcement of Armored Core VI.

As a result, in the last two weeks there’s been a flurry of activity, discussion, and new content for this once-dormant franchise. It’s great seeing a revitalized fanbase.

Case in point: this cool animation short made by RedEyeLobine in Unreal Engine 5, showcasing some Crest designs from the PS2 AC era. Check it out!