The legend of the Armored Core controller grip just won't die

The legendary Armored Core controller grip
(Image credit: The ancient internet (via Kotaku))

With Armored Core 6 on the way, a legion of new FromSoftware fans brought in through the Soulsborne games are looking to become mech connoisseurs, and that also means a whole lot of new people are in line to learn the legend of the Armored Core controller grip.

The story goes that the complicated controls for the early Armored Core games were so difficult to bear that the game's most dedicated players innovated a whole new way of holding controllers: backwards. The idea, apparently, is that Armored Core requires you to hit so many buttons at once that it's better to keep the face buttons available to be smashed by your fingers rather than your thumbs, since there are a lot more of them.

Nobody's quite sure if anybody has actually used the Armored Core grip, however. I mean, surely somebody tried it at some point because gamers do not know the concept of restraint, but it's unclear whether hardcore AC fans actually found it a better way to play the game. The most detailed English-language breakdown of the thing comes from a years-old Kotaku story with a handful of examples of players using the backwards grip, and judging by the limited selection of anecdotes, this probably started spreading as a joke.

Even old Armored Core titles offer customizable controls, so it's safe to expect the new one to do the same. And even as some players give flack to the off-kilter design choices in games like Elden Ring, it's safe to say FromSoftware has learned a few things about how to make a game fun to play over the past decade. Still, that hasn't stopped the legend of the Armored Core grip from resurfacing again and again in the lead-up to the launch of the next entry in the series.

The biggest new games for 2023 probably won't be asking you to flip the controller around.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.