Among the feats a new player of FromSoftware’s Souls or Souls-adjacent fantasy games must perform is conquering your fear of giants. From the Stray Demons of Dark Souls through Bloodborne’s Cleric Beast to the dragons of Elden Ring, you must learn not to be awed by creatures who look they could kill you with a sneeze. You must learn to run towards that titanic knight with the enormous shield, rolling between its colossal ankles, using its stature against it. You must learn to see past the visual overkill of a swing that would surely fell a skyscraper, registering only the effects on your poise and health bar. It’s a learning curve, for sure, and that makes the modding of mechs from Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon into Elden Ring a little more than the usual act of mischievous fanservice.
While the armored cores aren’t yet playable in the game, it’s pleasantly weird to see one looming over Starscourge Radahn (who would probably fare quite well in Armored Core’s universe, given that he’s an agile juggernaut who can manipulate gravity itself). The modder in question, Zullie the Witch, has yet to share any detailed plans for this act of inter-franchise horseplay, but I’m hoping it’s not just for shits and giggles. I’m kind of hoping it’s the basis for a whole new game. What if From themselves made a fantasy action-RPG that took place from the perspective of a giant? I’m genuinely enjoying thinking about the possibilities.
Of course, playing as a giant would seem to do away with a core thrill of Souls world design, the looming, labyrinthine structure and acute claustrophobia of its environments. But perhaps there’s another kind of game to be made that capitalises on you being too vast for the landscape – uncomfortably big and vulnerable. Remember the old Hidetaka Miyazaki anecdote about designing the Gaping Dragon in Dark Souls, and how it needed to look more tragic than grotesque? How about we build on that, is what I’m saying.
As Zullie the Witch points out in the video, the intrigue is heightened by the fact that it’s easy to forget you’re controlling a building-sized machine in Armored Core 6. The armored cores are often quite dextrous, after all, and they’re humanoid by default. It makes the occasional belated reminder of your own scale – for example, when standing next to a residential building – almost jarring. I’m old enough to remember playing the first Armored Core and being caught out by the sight of a pedestrian gantry down the side of one corridor. It was the first time I realised just how big I was, and also, the first time I realised that the real inhabitants of this world, human beings, were nowhere to be seen.
Fanks to PCGamer for noticing.