FromSoftware announced that its mech series would be getting a new installment with Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon, but newer fans of the developer may wonder about the previous game’s story. The series has often focused on highly customizable mech gameplay, but its story has undergone several iterations. Armored Core was first released in 1997 on the PS1, and over several reboots and spinoffs, the series has released more than fifteen games. While games like Dark Souls and Elden Ring helped FromSoftware gain a larger audience, the developer or its loyal fans haven’t forgotten Armored Core.
The series has been rebooted by FromSoftware three times, and Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon will likely reboot it a fourth time for a new storyline. Each AC game primarily revolves around a mercenary called “The Raven” who pilots mechs called Armored Cores. Mercenaries, referred to as Ravens, are hired by mega-corporations to complete missions that range from sabotaging competitors to assassinations. Armored Core has been known for heavy customization options and large-scale robot battles that pushed the gaming technology of its time. However, much like FromSoftware’s other games, each game’s plot is not necessarily told straightforwardly.
The First Armored Core Began The Tale Of The Raven Mercenaries
Armored Core established the series’ bleak, dangerous world. Warring corporations and devastating weapon testing forced humanity to retreat into underground cities, much like the fate of the Fallout series Vault dwellers. Years after abandoning the Earth’s surface, humankind attempted to relocate its lost lands. New world powers, the Chrome and Murakumo Millennium companies, compete for resources while the player controls a Raven mercenary who completes missions for whichever corporation’s the highest bidder. Unfortunately, AC‘s plot was delivered through long emails players would receive between missions.
The first and third game, Armored Core: Master of Arena, saw players battle to overcome a powerful AI that had been pulling humanity’s strings for decades until its demise forced people to fend for themselves once more. Before the series jumped to a terraformed version of Mars and the PS2, players would also destroy the Shadowy Doomsday Organization and its top-secret weapon in Armored Core: Project Phantasma.
Armored Core 2’s Big Bad Is Master Of Arena’s Protagonist
Launching with the best-selling console of all time, the PS2, Armored Core 2 brought the series to a newly terraformed Mars sixty-seven years after the events of Master of Arena. Once again, giant corporations fight for power, with Zio Matrix gaining supremacy on Mars. Earth’s jealous government sends an elite mercenary team called The Frighteners to shift the tides, but they betray everyone in pursuit of powerful alien technology. Its leader, speculated to be the same Raven player’s control in Master of Arena, fuses his mind with found technology but, ultimately, is defeated by the AC2‘s unnamed Raven protagonist.
The sequel, Armored Core 2: Another Age, takes place on Earth five years after the failed coup on Mars. Unlike FromSoftware’s 2022 GOTY Winner Elden Ring, Another Age offered little of a story. Now that humanity was no longer under the thumb of a rouge AI, the remaining corporations continued to fight against themselves and Earth’s government, providing many missions for the player’s Raven and their Armored Core to complete.
The series saw its first reboot with Armored Core 3. Like the previous games, the plot takes place in the future and centers on humanity wanting to reclaim the surface world after nuclear war devastated Earth. A subterranean society known as “Layered” is knowingly controlled by an AI called “The Controller.” Corporations like Mirage and Crest Industries once again battled for control over Layered’s space and assets. Raven’s who pilot the deadly Armored Core robots now register with the neutral Global Cortex organization, which learns that The Controller is responsible for the warring factions and failing infrastructure. After its defeat, the surface world reopens for humankind.
Armored Core 3 Started Humanities Mission To Reclaim Earth From AIs
In Silent Line: Armored Core, humanity is now free to explore Earth’s once-devastated surface. However, scouts would fail to return after being tasked to investigate a mysterious region known as the Silent Line. The player’s Raven discovers another rogue AI called IBIS, which proves to be as dangerous as The Controller. IBIS decimates a large portion of humanity’s forces and holds a large group of humans captive underground. Much like the AI that fell earlier in AC3, the protagonist destroys IBIS, freeing a new section of humanity.
Fifty-five years after Silent Line, Armored Core: Nexus sees corporations again on the brink of war. Armored Core pilots now work as mercenaries under the organization Raven’s Ark. A newer corporation is discovered hoarding ancient technology. After being attacked, it activates an uncontrollable weapon that destroys its users and everything else around it until it’s destroyed by the player’s Raven. However, these events trigger a mysterious weapon system that launches an endless swarm of enemies, killing the player’s character at the end of the game.
In the final PS2 game of the series, Armored Core: Last Raven, the story culminates with an all-out war between the world’s last Ravens and, like Elden Ring, features multiple endings. Over the game’s campaign, the remaining Ravens are taken out by other pilots or a mysterious AI called Internecine. The AI controls Pulverizer mechs whose designs increase in strength with every defeat, and it’s discovered that the Internecine is responsible for the player’s death at the end of AC: Nexus. Most endings include tough final bosses with the AI or rival Raven’s, and the player’s Raven being the last one standing.
Corporate Warfare And Blackmail Leads To Armored Core 4’s Epic Finale
Hidetaka Miyazaki made his directorial debut with Armored Core 4, rebooting the series again for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The reboot begins with Research and Development companies discovering Kojima Particles, a new potent fuel source, at Earth’s South Pole. The KP is used to advance technology and, eventually, the best Armored Core units the series has seen called NEXTs. Several companies gain enough wealth to topple the world’s governments and force Earth’s growing population to work for low wages in increasingly poor living conditions.
AC4 begins with the new pilot fighting off rebel attacks and eventually destroying a notable terrorist leader, earning the trust to take on more lucrative corporate missions. The powerful corporations began using their advanced tech to develop new NEXTs and hiring pilots, now known as Lynx, to sabotage one another. However, completing specific assignments triggered the Lynx War, a full-scale corporate war. Blackmail leads some of The Raven’s closest companions to turn on them, leading to a climactic battle with Raven’s closest teammate in AC4‘s finale.
The Raven’s story continues ten years later in AC: For Answer with a branching narrative that sees more endings than Demon’s Souls. Earth’s population is being affected by radiation poisoning from Kojima Particle use. Corporations decide to build giant floating cities known as Cradles to escape the declining living conditions of the surface. However, the KP used to power the massive Cradles hastens environmental deterioration for the many people stuck on the surface.
To combat NEXTs, certain corporations create Arms Forts. The gigantic and heavily armed flying mobile fortresses are staffed and powered by thousands of soldiers its creators deemed expendable. For Answer‘s endings, see Raven taking down different fortresses and destroying the groups behind them once and for all. There is also an ending where the player goes on a rampage and destroys Cradles, housing millions of people and every NEXT they come into contact with until they are the only one left.
The latest AC games were released more than nine years ago before FromSoftware created most of its Soulsborne games and rebooted the series once more. Armored Core 5‘s story involved rebel forces that would combat a mysterious organization called “The Corporation” led by a man named “The Father” in a post-apocalyptic Earth once claimed to be inhabitable for humanity. Players defeat The Corporation winning the rebel forces the opportunity to reclaim Earth’s land for humanity, no longer being oppressed by The Father.
Armored Core 6 Will Take Place On A New World Known As Rubicon 3
The final game to release before Armored Core 6 was Armored Core: Verdict Day. One hundred years after AC5‘s ending, newly discovered Towers filled with ancient technology and resources are fought over by three factions. Tensions exploded with mercenaries being forced to choose sides, culminating in the game’s Verdict War. Advanced weapon manufacturer, The Foundation and mysterious mech warriors called The Reaper Squad (aka Death God Unit) work together to cause as much damage to humanity as possible, providing great boss battles like only FromSoftware can deliver. Reaper Squad is defeated but not before The Foundation unleashes unmanned weapons worldwide, giving The Raven and his teammates more work to do.
Little is currently known about Armored Core 6‘s plot details. A press release from Bandai Namco stated that the game would be released in 2023 on last and current-gen hardware. AC6 will take place on a remote planet called Rubicon 3, where a mysterious substance caused a catastrophe that previously ignited an entire star system in flames. Half a century later, players control a mercenary working for groups competing for the substance. Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon will be the second game in the series not to take place on Earth. Hopefully, the new territory comes with a new timeline so that more players can enjoy it.
Source: Bandai Namco/YouTube