Soon after Sony announced its groundbreaking PlayStation2, From Software revealed its development of Armored Core 2. The game now takes place about 30 years after the first game. Armored Core initially was released for the Sony PlayStation back in 1997, and the game was originally a typical mission-based mech-simulator game. However, with the releases of add-ons Project Phantasma and Master of Arena, the title has covered new territory with the arena mode. The arena mode lets two players compete against each other using their favorite mechs, which have been saved onto the memory card. From Software has taken both missions and the arena mode a bit further, adding more missions than ever and letting more than two players play in one arena.
You can expect most of the weapons and parts to return, along with new ones such as a foldable shoulder cannon, a beam shield, and new models of rifles. The game will sport a mech-customization interface that is similar to that of the previous game, with improvements that let even novice players work on their mechs with ease. Though plans are not yet final, developers are thinking of implementing an auto-customization that would select the suitable weapons and parts for you as you see fit. It will also let you edit emblems and several mech-design aspects, such as color changes. Previously, the emblem edit provided you with a 64x64 dot matrix, but it has been enhanced to a 128x128 dot matrix, allowing for more detailed design on your personal emblems.
There will be up to 13 gauges displayed onscreen, and you can select which ones to display. The 13 gauges are: damage, enemy damage, speed meter, system-error messages, energy gauge, cannon trajectory, enemy firepower ratio/remaining enemies/remaining time/winning odds, lock range/altitude meter, radar/weather display, weapons/extension switch, caution message, mech temperature/generator efficiency, and enemy weapons/approximate rounds/energy/mech temperature. With all these gauges onscreen, the game will likely resemble Sega's Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram.
It is not yet known whether the memory-card data from the previous title can be ported over to Armored Core 2. Developers are still deciding on the extent of the usage of previously saved data - it should be enough to satisfy hard-core players but at the same time keep the gameplay balance of Armored Core 2 as a stand-alone.
Armored Core 2 for the PlayStation2 is slated for a summer 2000 release in Japan.
Thanks to Videogames.com for the pictures and for the preview information.