If you don’t know that Bloodborne‘s out, then you’ve spent too long in a dark corner of the internet. From Software’s latest rock-hard action-RPG has taken the world by storm. Barely a day goes by where it’s not lauded somewhere on the web. From Software did a bloody good job on it, so now people are clamoring for more content and a sequel. Maybe that’s not what From Software should do, though. Maybe the studio should turn its attention to Armored Core 6.
Throughout From Software’s 21 year history of making games (it formed in 1986 but didn’t release their first fully self-developed title until 1994) the studio has spent time developing software that crosses many genre boundaries. Across this vast swathe of time, two different game types rear their heads time and again. There’s the challenging RPGs that go all the way from King’s Field to Bloodborne, and a healthy dose of mechs. This is where we can all cross our fingers and pray that the studio will be going again.
From Software’s first title centered around the wonderful world of mecha was Armored Core. Blasting its way onto the PlayStation in 1997, Armored Core proved to be the seed from which one of the longest running franchises in gaming was to grow. To date, From Software has created no less than fifteen fully realized entries in the series. These go all the way from Sony’s little grey box onto the PlayStation Portable and right through to Armored Core: Verdict Day, which launched in 2013. It’s a series that’s been running longer than some of those reading this will have been on this earth. With the recent success of Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne, it may be time for From Software to look back here.
Armored Core as a franchise didn’t exactly change the world, in all honesty. What it did do, however, was give everyone the power to create their own powerful mech before taking it out onto the battlefield. This is far from a unique feature to Armored Core, but one that this franchise above all others does the best. Armored Core games turned normal ideas of progression on their head. Your goal in life wasn’t to complete the game; it was to make the most capable mech possible with any parts you could unlock.
It’s not a meta-game progression system that’s particularly new in itself. You don’t play Diablo 3 to get to the end of the game after all, you play to get better gear. Our most prized characters in Dark Souls are not defined by their level, they are a place to display the incredible gear and experiences we’ve gathered. If you’re showing off a Borderlands 2 character, you open up your inventory to show everyone the shiny-ass guns you’ve got. Armored Core wasn’t far off the same. When playing Armored Core V, it wasn’t rare to find a collective chatting about the awesome Overed weapons they used.
Of course, there are those out there who would argue that From Software should bin the whole idea of Armored Core. It’s rarely seen the same success as any of the Souls series, or Bloodborne for that matter. Development usually goes where the money flows, and right now the prevailing winds are forcing From Software down the path of more dark/horror fantasy RPGs. What if From did sail against the wind though? What if the studio could use the tide of mech-loving designers with it to bring Armored Core 6 into the world?
What could actually tip the balance and convince From Software to begin development on a sixth main entry in the Armored Core series is the realization that thanks to its recent releases, the studio’s name carries a great deal of respect. When someone mentions a game is being made by From Software, players intently listen.
The studio seems to have a golden touch. It can turn games that might not have done very well in the modern gaming climate into incredible success stories. On the back of their recent prosperity, From Software could do well to be looking into its library of titles and cherry-picking the next property to work on. No developer should ever find itself stuck in a rut developing games of a similar ilk over and over again. With its history, From Software has every opportunity to make Armored Core 6 a success.
If you need more persuading just think of this. Mechs, on current generation consoles, in a game made by From Software. We good?