Watching a FromSoft dev nerd out about mechs in an Armored Core 6 theater was a highlight of Summer Game Fest

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

One of the best parts of this job is meeting passionate, creative people and listening to them gush about their craft. As is often the case, the in-person experience beats the virtual one here, and this makes the rush of summer gaming events an especially valuable source of face-to-face opportunities. 

I knew Bandai Namco and FromSoftware were bringing Armored Core 6 to Summer Game Fest 2023 in Los Angeles, so I was looking forward to getting a proper look at the hotly anticipated mech-action game – which I did, per my Armored Core 6 preview. The show was presented by producer Yasunori Ogura, who's worked on the series for some time now, and whose enthusiasm for mechs I found infectious in-person, even through a translator. 

Stage setter

Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon

(Image credit: From Software)

As I'm shepherded into a dimly-lit theater wallpapered with faux pipes and rivets and crimson alarms, and an endearing stage emulating the guts of some alien machine, I begin to suspect that somebody around here likes mechs. There's a corniness to the act that you get used to after attending enough of these things, but there's no denying the commitment to the bit. These press events are explicitly set up to sell journalists on products which become the subjects of reporting that ultimately conveys details and impressions to readers, but there is some real fun and humanity to be found in them if you meet the right people and keep your head on straight. 

Ogura, I think, was the right person for this presentation. I don't know how to put it – which is a shame, because it's my job, so here goes nothing I guess – but he strikes me as a man who owns some Gunpla. There's something in the way he evangelizes the superiority of mechs that makes him sound like a CEO or general in a Mobile Suit Gundam anime, and frankly it's great. 

The target genre for Armored Core 6, Ogura explains, is of course "mech-action." After all, it's "an action game in which you play with your own personal mech." Naturally, a key component of the game's foundational design philosophy is therefore "mech-likeness." An extension of this is "three-dimensional, large-scale map design that allows for the dynamic traversal action unique to mechs." 

This verbiage comes up, I don't know, a thousand times in the presentation and gameplay walkthrough. Here are some of my favorite snippets of mech propaganda:

  • "Explore vast, intricate levels with the unparalleled mobility of mechs"
  • "Experience a level of freedom of movement and exploration only possible in a mech game"
  • "Players may traverse this stage using the mobility that is unique to mechs"
  • "This is the experience of a mech-action game that cannot be reproduced with a human character"
  • "Assembly and battle design focuses on tactics and applies the freedom and dynamism unique to mechs"
  • "The player can move freely in all directions utilizing the mobility of the mech"
  • "Players can use a dynamic 3-dimensional maneuver that takes advantage of the unique capabilities of the mech"

This is a mech game. Did that come across? This is a mech game! 

I unironically love this nerdy shit, and I'll take it over the hammy, E3-standard multiplayer comms any day. Ogura stopped just short of encouraging me to shed my fleshy bonds and give myself over to the borg, embracing the virtual salvation unique to mechs. Good thing, too, because I'd honestly have to seriously consider the offer.  

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Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.