Inven.co.kr journalist played the press version of ARMORED CORE VI FIRES OF RUBICON mecha action game and interviewed game director Masaru Yamamura and producer Yasunori Ogura. We have prepared a translation of this interview.
This is the first game in the series in 10 years and there are many gamers who have never played Armored Core before. I wonder if they will be able to enjoy the plot of the new game without knowing anything about the existing series, such as corporate relationships.
Yamamura: Armored Core VI is a completely new game with a new world and a new story. Even though it is number 6, we have made sure that even newcomers to the series can enjoy it without any prior knowledge. Of course, if you’ve enjoyed the series in the past, you’ll probably smile at the familiar terms and titles used in the game.
Given that the story and world-building are aimed at newcomers to the series, are there any additional elements for fans who have been waiting for the release of the new part of the series?
Yamamura: We’ve tried to include elements that longtime fans of the series will appreciate, and we hope you’ll find them as you play.
Ogura: We won’t be using the world or characters from previous games. But if you have played this series before, then you will be able to recognize the references and smile.
It seemed to me that at the beginning of the game there was not enough story introduction. Are you preparing any plot clarifications for those who want to start their Armored Core series with this game?
Yamamura: We didn’t include content outside of the main story. The main storyline of Armored Core VI is much simpler than previous games in the series, and we’ve made it easy enough for players to follow as they play.
In Armored Core VI, melee attacks look especially powerful, and it’s curious why they were designed that way.
Yamamura: Melee weapons were originally designed to be powerful, because there is a risk that you need to be close to the enemy to use them, as well as the risk that you will not be able to perform other actions at the same time besides attacking. If you are using an assault rifle, you can perform actions such as a rocket attack at the same time, but this does not apply to melee weapons. But it’s hard to say that melee weapons are always stronger than long range weapons. At the beginning of the game, you may feel that melee weapons are stronger, since the opponents are not so strong, and you have more opportunities to implement melee attacks.
In some early fights, there are places that cannot be cleared from opponents without using melee attacks. I’m worried that situations like this will continue in the second half of the game. Will this happen in the second half of the game?
Yamamura: No need to worry. As I said, melee weapons have their weaknesses. If you run into difficulties due to weaknesses in melee weapons, and you do, you’ll have to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the different weapons you can use and try to approach tasks in different ways.
The first 10 missions of the game seem easy compared to previous FromSoftware action games. We’re used to hearing about the difficulty of the Armored Core series of games, so this seems a bit off. Was this a deliberate choice by the developers to attract new gamers?
Yamamura: In previous Armored Core games, not every mission in the game was difficult. If in normal missions we are faced with a mass of enemies, then the fights should be fast and exciting, and when you get to the boss, the difficulty of the battle increases. This is what the series has always been famous for. If the boss fight seems easy to you, it’s simply because you have good gaming skills.
How many story missions are available in single player?
Yamamura: The total number of missions in Armored Core VI’s single player campaign is about 50.
The concept of weapon attributes, which was an important part of the previous game, has been removed and converted to “attack power”. I’m wondering what explains this decision?
Yamamura: The attributes themselves are still present in Armored Core VI, but not to the same extent as in its predecessor. Naturally, we also relaxed the relationship between attributes. This decision was made in order to prevent “stuck due to the build”. Think of it as a way to prevent the situation where you face an opponent that is impossible to defeat unless you have a weapon with a certain attribute, and give players more freedom in the game.
What will be the final content of Armored Core VI? Will it be PvP content or will the game push for multiple playthroughs like it was in the Dark Souls series?
Yamamura: The main content of Armored Core VI is the campaign mode, which can be enjoyed in single player. The campaign has multiple endings and we believe this will encourage playing through the game multiple times to see all the endings. In addition, the mission replay feature will allow you to earn an S rank in all missions of the campaign, and PvP content can be another interesting point in the game.
Please tell us more about the aiming system in Armored Core VI.
Yamamura: The Armored Core VI has a Target Assist feature that makes the controls more intuitive. By turning on Target Assist, you can fix the direction of the camera and mech to the target. Combat requires quite a lot of maneuvering, so I wanted newcomers who are not familiar with the controls to be able to enjoy combat without worrying too much about aiming the camera.
The Target Assist system can be disabled to allow players to control the camera manually. So you can enjoy the controls and combat of the original Armored Core series. It can be quite difficult, but if you’re a fan of the series, you’ll be able to complete the “super game” using all the controls manually.
Along with changes to the aiming system, the traverse force values applied to the ‘Mech’s chassis have been removed. This change affects the design of the game and I’m wondering why you made this decision.
Yamamura: The reason for removing the turning force is the same as the reason for adding aim assist. We don’t want those new to Armored Core not to feel overwhelmed by the control system. First of all, I wanted to make sure that players can focus on the combat content while having fun controlling the mechanical characters.
In the game settings menu, you can find “Manual control”, how is this different from Target Assist?
Yamamura: “Manual control” means all aiming is done manually with the right stick (if you’re using a gamepad). The Target Assist option I mentioned earlier is similar to Armored Core 4. You just aim at an enemy and the weapon automatically follows him, but if he leaves the screen you have to manually search for him again. “Manual control” allows you to aim everything manually and directly, without any aiming compensation. It is very difficult to get used to this function, but once you master it, you will be able to play a very technical game where you will be able to anticipate the movements of the enemy and choose the direction of attack in advance.
In the Armored Core series, each part has its own strengths and weaknesses. And I’m wondering if it’s possible to overcome difficult missions using only the characteristics of our mech, and not thanks to the skills of the player? Is there a system for increasing the characteristics of the mech itself in the game?
Yamamura: This game has an “assembly” feature that allows you to change the details of your mech when you run into difficulties. If you feel that the difficulty of the fight is too high, you can change the details of the mech and try a different approach.
In addition, you can increase the basic characteristics of the mech, such as attack and defense. But to emphasize the importance of weapon assembly, we made sure that the stat gain from upgrading the ‘Mech was not critical.
Will there be legendary parts in the game that you need to get because they are superior to their counterparts?
Yamamura: The parts that are originally installed on your ‘Mech are a little weaker than what you will find in the game. Going forward, new mech parts will be unlocked through training mode rewards or shop purchases, but we don’t want them to be “fully backwards compatible” with existing parts. Each piece has its own strengths and weaknesses, so as you progress through the game, you’ll want to mix and match the pieces to your liking.
Will the “quick turn” that allows you to quickly turn back, be available for all types of mech chassis? If so, I think this will cause balance issues in PvP, and I would like to know if you have a plan for this.
Yamamura: “Quick Turn” will be available on all chassis types. The Target Assist feature will work in PvP, so players will have many tactical options, such as closing the distance with the enemy or jumping on him from above.
The Fire Control System (FCS) is one part of our ‘Mech, but I’m curious about how the range of the FCS works.
Yamamura: FCS range information can usually be found in the tutorial or on the mech build screen. Enemies react to your actions at different distances significantly, so it’s useful to try out different FCSs in a build to see what works best with your weapon set.
The bottom of the mech customization menu was empty in the press version of the game, I would like to know what options will be added in the release version? Will there be something like a weapon modification menu?
Yamamura: The mecha build system can be quite complex and difficult for new players, but we tried to keep the game simple. Of course, weapon upgrades were also discussed during the development process, but in the end we decided against this, as it could interfere with mech assembly experiments and force players to use only previously upgraded weapons.
In the press release, I could sell parts for the same price as I bought them, so I could change and try different parts. I would like to know if this was done on purpose and if there will be any changes in the price of parts, mission rewards, etc. in the release version of the game.
Yamamura: The ability to resell parts for the same price they were bought for will be carried over to the full version. If a store-bought item doesn’t work for you, you can sell it and try something new. However, we wanted to make the core and frame parts a bit more expensive, as that’s a very interesting part of the buying process, trying to decide what to buy first. In the release version, the balance of prices for parts will remain the same.
Do you have something to say to Korean players waiting for Armored Core VI?
Yamamura: It’s been a very long wait for longtime fans of the series who remember past games in the series. I am very happy that we can finally show them the new Armored Core. I hope that new gamers who experience the Armored Core series for the first time can fully enjoy the dynamic 3D controls that make Armored Core a unique game.