When building-sized war machines have a bit of a rumble, it’s because they’ve been designed specifically for that purpose. Archangel Hellfire is Skydance Interactive’s latest VR game, one that explores a future where XXL mechs wage explosive wars. There are decades worth of cinematic and comic book influences out there, so let’s simply venture through the worlds of mecha stories that inspired the shooter.
The 2013, Guillermo Del Toro’s movie Pacific Rim brought seventy years of mecha anime culture to the mainstream. A very imaginative plot involving giant sea creatures rising from the titular Pacific Rim is really a great excuse to get humanoid machinery standing shoulder-to-shoulder with skyscrapers, running amok in the streets. Unlike the solo-operated mechs in Archangel Hellfire, the machines created by Del Toro require a team of two pilots working in perfect sync. Hellfire’s 2v2 deathmatch mode does benefit from great teamwork, but mechs are still commandeered with one pilot.
They came to existence as toys, but when the Transformers movie hit the big screen, the franchise expanded just as remarkably as the featured machines. Its success put Shia Laboeuf onto the Hollywood A-list, and the world gained a beloved cartoon series along the way. The core premise of Transformers is irresistible at any age: supremely powerful, sentient robots going about as mundane machinery. An articulated lorry, a giant telescope, a muscle car- all robots in disguise! Mechs in Archangel Hellfire are not disguised, but the spectacular destructible scenery and lighting effects in the game were inspired by the technical aspects of Michael Bay’s movies. The benchmark set for modern day mecha is evident.
In 1979, a TV series called Mobile Suit Gundam aired in Japan. Nearly four decades later, Gudam became a cultural phenomenon encompassing movies, toys, books, comics, and videogames. If Michael Bay’s Transformers movies set the visual standard for mecha on the big screen, Gundam sets just about everything else. Details such as the cockpit’s position within the torso or the mech’s head operating as a camera, began with Gundam’s concepts- the ‘real robot’ design. The mechs also use ballistic weapons much like those used in our modern military.