Earlier this year I compared the MMO Lost Ark to grey carpet, in the sense that the MMO Lost Ark is exactly like a grey carpet: trendy yet drab. At the time I'd been in the market for a new – and entirely necessary - underfoot experience, so I turned to a local Carpet Man to procure said plush. In the end he seemed pleased that I rebelled against the majority and opted for a sunny corn colour.
But the latest Armored Core 6: Fires Of Rubicon trailer from this year's Geoff Awards had me in a contemplative mood. "Perhaps", I thought, "Carpet Man would appreciate FromSoftware's use of grey". Even though there isn't a fuzzy floor surface to be seen, could the trailer have triggered grey's redemption arc?
I'll be the first to admit that I know nothing about the Armored Core series. Technically, I suppose, I know that the games feature big robots that fight each other, but that's it. And it's never interested me, either, as machines can't ragdoll down cliffs like the deer from Oblivion. They only fire large gatling guns and rarely flinch, because they are unfeeling, unthinking slabs of metal. Yawn, am I right?
Then at the Geoff Awards I saw "FromSoftware" flash up on the screen, having just watched a world succumb to some fiery apocalypse (it wouldn't be FromSoftware without fire and cinder, would it?). Then: blam! GREY. There's ash all over the gaff, with a grey sky, and the disintegrated remains of a grey building. Even the colour of the font they use is grey, not white (aside from the "FromSoftware" pop-up) rather than white. A grey robot wearing a backpack hoists a grey limb from the floor.
And I know that I'm only judging Armored Core on a CG trailer, which isn't the same way I targeted Lost Ark's more metaphorical greyness. Yet, I believe that Armored Core has the potential to redeem grey in the eyes of Carpet Man. The use of grey in the game's trailer isn't like my Dell monitor stand, or the cover of my Fourth Edition copy of Strunk and White's classic writing reference book The Elements Of Style. No, it's charred and chipped and what you'd get if I dragged my Dell monitor stand through some shingle or punted my Elements Of Style into a bed of nails. The grey isn't chic, it's shabby chic.
I can see Carpet Man's eye ignite with new excitement as various mechs slide into view and their components clunk into place. Look at all the shades! The fumes and the streaks of grey from helicopter blades! The machines genuinely seem like ancient warriors who once were the very embodiment of primal grey, before the humans watered it down and tinted their silly little curtains with it. "Ooo, a bit of sunlight too much for you?", these mega-bots would say. "Grow up. We mechs had to deal with the fires of Rubicon, for fuck's sake."
And Carpet Man would take the mech's history on board and see his stocks of grey carpet in a new light. Maybe he'd chuck out all of his stock and order in some metal sheets and start his own trend for cold, unfeeling flooring. I hope he does. Maybe I'll return one day, when I too want to play Armored Core VI in my silly little living room and want to replace my silly little carpet with some of the shabbiest, chic-est metal sheets on the market.
Thanks to FromSoftware, maybe grey could be cool again.