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Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon - What We Know So Far

There were a lot of big announcements of games both expected and unexpected at the 2022 Game Awards, but the star of the show was FromSoftware. Not only did "Elden Ring" prove to be one of the best FromSoftware games by winning four awards, including Game of the Year, but the developer also revealed a return to a long-dormant franchise by announcing "Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon." 

FromSoftware hasn't really touched the sci-fi genre since it established the Soulsborne formula, but before the success of the "Dark Souls" games, FromSoftware was known for the explosive, fast-paced "Armored Core" series. Though many fans of "Elden Ring" were hoping for DLC, "Armored Core" fans have been waiting more than a decade for any kind of continuation to the once-beloved mech series.

The announcement wasn't completely out of nowhere as there have long been rumors of FromSoftware's eventual return to the "Armored Core" series.  The reveal trailer didn't reveal too much about "Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon," but interviews following the announcement, coupled with listing details, tell us much more about FromSoftware's long-awaited return to science fiction. 

When does Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon release?

"Armored Core" fans have been waiting for more than a decade for any news about a new game in the series, and by the time "Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon" comes out, it could be closer to 11 years. The game's announcement revealed much about the long-awaited sequel, and at the very end an approximate release window was given. Provided that there are no delays, FromSoftware and Bandai Namco plan to release "Armored Core 6" in 2023.

This is, obviously, a huge window of time, but the game has already been in development for many years, and FromSoftware very rarely delays its game releases. "Elden Ring" was an exception as it was originally meant to come out about a month earlier in 2022 than it did, on January 21 instead of February 25. This wasn't a huge delay, especially not compared to Starfield, which was pushed back from a precise November 11, 2022, to an ambiguous first half of 2023. "Elden Ring" development also coincided with the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, though that isn't to say that it didn't affect "Armored Core 6" development too.

If it doesn't get delayed, "Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon" will come out sometime in 2023. If it does get delayed, FromSoftware tends not to push back release windows very far, so fans can likely expect it by early 2024 at the latest.

What does the trailer reveal about Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon?

Just judging by the trailer, without even knowing official details revealed since, "Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon" looks to be quite the departure from the typical FromSoftware style of the last decade. That's not to say it won't be influenced by "Elden Ring" and its predecessors at all — they are some of the best RPGs of all time, after all — but almost everything about "Armored Core 6" looks about as different as can be.

Though the trailer does give fans a general look at what to expect from "Armored Core 6," it's ultimately just a stylized, pre-rendered cinematic. It doesn't show off any actual in-game footage, but it does display the game's aesthetic. In typical FromSoftware fashion, "Armored Core 6" seems to have a uniquely dark and eerie tone. Areas seen in the trailer appear to be annihilated and war-ravaged, and the story may tie into these apocalyptic visuals — the mechs themselves aren't exactly of the colorful "Voltron" variety either, at least not those shown in the trailer. 

Aside from a brief glimpse at a pre-rendered duel between two mechs, the trailer doesn't give away much about the gameplay of "Armored Core 6." However, more in-depth details about its game loop and influences were revealed by digital store listings and from an IGN interview with co-directors Hidetaka Miyazaki and Masaru Yamamura.

What will gameplay be like in Armored Core: Fires of Rubicon?

In the IGN interview, the co-directors said "Armored Core 6" will stick to the series' missions and mech assembly systems, but it will maintain an "air of mystery ... and sense of darkness" that FromSoftware is known for. Miyazaki said it's a completely new story, a reboot that people who've never touched previous "Armored Core" games can still enjoy. Miyazaki and Yamamura discussed how "Armored Core 6" will be mostly inspired by its predecessors with key influences from the developers' successful "Souls" formula.

The co-directors emphasized this detail, that "Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon" would be made up mostly of contained, individual missions instead of open worlds. Soulsborne mechanics did affect the team's approach to combat, though. The Steam listing for the game says it will introduce "groundbreaking gameplay found in the developer's recent action games." In a statement to IGN, Yamamura said that bosses are a main highlight of "Armored Core 6," and that it gives "dynamic and intense boss battles that only mechas can offer."

According to Miyazaki and Yamamura, the sixth "Armored Core" game will have the series' fast-paced bullet-hell combat while also incorporating new features, like the posture system of "Sekiro" to encourage aggressive play. Miyazaki also said the team learned from the elaborate customization systems of "Elden Ring," as it gave players a sense of freedom that devs want to replicate. Fans will just have to wait until 2023 to see how "Armored Core 6" incorporates the series' hectic mech mechanics with FromSoftware's more recent approach to combat.