Nintendo started its 2018 E3 press conference not by showing us a glimpse of Mario, Samus or Link. Instead, we were treated to thunderous metal and speeding mech suits in a vibrant, crumbling city. The trailer immediately set the tone for Daemon X Machina, which doesn’t seem like any other title coming to Nintendo Switch right now.
If the trailer gave you unshakable Armored Core vibes, it’s because Daemon X Machina’s producer is Kenichiro Tsukuda, a veteran of that series. Daemon X Machina’s Arsenal mech suits let you fly your custom character around a variety of cityscapes, each containing multiple missions, including boss fights.
You’ll pick up items scrounged from the world or from enemies you’ve killed and slot them in your mech suit. You can even use them to repair damage you sustain while you’re in a level. Tsukuda grabbed a sign post laying next to a demolished building and brandished it like a sword during my hands-off demo to demonstrate. In addition, you can modify items you find when you return to your hangar, or purchase new ones from other characters you befriend.
Tsukuda didn’t give up too many details on the story, but said the title’s play on “deus ex machina” referred to the game’s enemies: corrupted AI controlling robotic bodies, some of which have been dormant for years and years. (Our demo included a boss fight against a giant robot covered in plants and grass to show just how long it had been left to nature.) He also said the dramatic reds seen in the trailer were from a moon crashing into the planet, changing the color of the atmosphere.
The game’s entire color palette — a mix of vivid reds, oranges, turquoise and mustard yellow — is an attempt by Tsukuda and his team to make Daemon X Machina stand out.
“Games these days have a lot of the same color palette, and I just personally wasn’t very happy with it,” Tsukuda said. “The colors that you see are chosen specifically for each of the orders and missions that you go on, based on how we want you to feel when you’re playing.”
The music is also influenced by Tsukuda and the team’s personal taste, as the game’s soundtrack is driven entirely by rock and metal — the trailer’s song is also featured in the game. Tsukuda said that metal goes beyond the soundtrack though, underscoring the action and sound effects as well.
“Shooting a gun sounds like a drum and there’s a laser blade that actually uses the sound of a guitar, “ he said. “So when you’re playing with a group of Arsenals, I was hoping to create a game that kind of felt like you were like having a jam session.”
That was as much about multiplayer that Tsukuda was willing to give away, declining to answer if the game would utilize the NIntendo Switch’s local multiplayer capabilities. Daemon X Machina will launch on Switch exclusively in 2019.