FromSoftware says Armored Core 6 isn't a Soulslike, describes it in the most Souls way possible
FromSoftware has repeatedly insisted that its upcoming mech game, Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, isn't like the Souls games, but in a new interview the studio can't help but describe it in curiously Soulslike terms.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Armored Core 6 producer Yasunori Ogura explained how the developers incorporated elements that'll feel familiar to fans of Souls games, as well as modern games more generally, in order to avoid making the long-awaited sequel feel dated in any way.
The thing is, a lot of the terms Ogura uses to describe Armored Core 6 sound a whole lot like FromSoftware's recent string of Dark Souls and Dark Souls-adjacent games – Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Elden Ring. For example, game director Masaru Yamamura said his time as lead designer on Sekiro indirectly influenced Armored Core 6's combat.
"I'd say some of that is definitely present in the aggressiveness of combat in Armored Core 6," he said. "We wanted to make something that was very visceral, very aggressive, and has a very clear and distinct rhythm or tempo to the combat. We want players to feel those highs and lows, fighting at near distance and far distance."
Yamamura said in the same interview that Armored Core 6 "is not really supposed to be a story-driven game" and that the developers "feel like there is more of a drive to the narrative through the mission structure." I don't know about you, but that sounds a lot like the indirect storytelling that's become synonymous with FromSoftware titles.
"We hope that players, as they encounter these various factions and powers at play, that they're going to be thinking to themselves, 'What am I fighting for, what is my place in all of this? And how am I going to tackle these unfolding developments in the story?'" he added.
Oh, and we haven't even mentioned the giant boss battles that require you to learn attack patterns through repetition. Again, in the context of FromSoftware's continued insistence that Armored Core 6 isn't like the Souls games, this is all just the tiniest bit eyebrow-raising.
Of course, as Yamamura pointed out, FromSoftware games have been known for their lore-heavy worldbuilding and challenging, methodical combat since long before Dark Souls came out in 2011. Perhaps these shared elements just seem more similar to fans who don't have a top-down view of the studio's design pipeline.
"With Armored Core 6 we're trying to incorporate these elements in a way that does not taint the original qualities of what makes Armored Core what it is," Yamamura told Eurogamer. "We're trying to incorporate these elements in a way that lets them coexist and gel nicely with our modern game design philosophy and be understood easily by the player without spoiling that core concept of Armored Core."
That being said, there are some significant differences distinguishing Armored Core 6 from the Soulsborne games. Chiefly, Armored Core 6 is mission-based and purely single-player, whereas most Souls games have a multiplayer element and a largely open world. The scope of combat, particularly how you move around, seems dramatically different from the weighty medieval fights we know. Armored Core 6 is also more forgiving when players die, letting them retry missions repeatedly with only "subtractions and detriments to the compensation that they receive."
The Armored Core 6 release date is set for August, and it just revealed a fancy $230 Collector's Edition that'll cost another $220 if you want the premium "garage."
Here are some more games like Dark Souls to play while you wait for Armored Core 6.