The lore of Armored Core has never been never particularly fun, but the story of Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon makes Dark Souls seem like a children’s book.
Armored Core may be a mech shooter series, but its backstory is straight out of the Cyberpunk genre. The story has been rebooted a few times over, but it consistently revolves around the concept of a fascist dystopia where corporations have taken over the planet following an apocalyptic event. For whatever reason, their primary means of asserting control always ends up being giant mechanized weapons called Armored Cores.
The games’ stories rarely go well for anyone involved, with endings ranging from corporations stamping out all dissent to the complete extinction of mankind. That said, Armored Core 6 has a story that is arguably worse, given the nature of this depressing new universe.
Armored Core 6 story trailer tells the story of the box art character
The Armored Core 6 story trailer offers little insight into the game’s story but explains what is on the game’s box art. Much like Armored Core’s sister title Elden Ring which has a box featuring a failed Elden Lord candidate, Armored Core 6’s box art shows the demise of the pilot the player is replacing.
The player character’s codename is 621, and they are activated in order to help replace a batch of AC pilots that were wiped out. The story trailer reveals that the box art shows one of those pilots, 617.
What is the story of Armored Core 6?
The story of Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon revolves around an uprising on the planet of Rubicon. As with past Armored Core games, the universe is seemingly ruled by a group of corporations. The player is actually on the side of the corporations and is helping them accomplish their nefarious ends.
What makes the story of Armored Core 6 particularly tough to wrestle with is the situation on Rubicon. By all accounts, Rubicon is a planet being sucked dry by corporate imperialism. But instead of being a mercenary helping one corporation fight against a rival or helping the rebels reclaim their occupied home planet, Armored Core 6 sees the player working for the corporation to help quell an uprising by the locals.
This isn’t completely new subject matter for the series, which has previously made the player attack the story’s actual good guys. What makes this new installment particularly awkward is the modern presentation. In some cases, the player will be forced to eavesdrop on civilians panicking over a corporate-sponsored Armored Core coming to kill them.
Armored Core and Dark Souls developer FromSoftware hasn’t shied away from making players do objectively bad things to advance a game’s story, whether that’s stabbing an old dragon in its eyeball or causing the extinction of the Fire Giants so they can light a tree on fire. Those bosses are typically silent throughout that process, though.