Part 14: EX Chapter 1 Muscle Tracers and Armored CoresEditor's note: this applies to Chapter 1
The Armored Core games have quite a bit of backstory and technical details behind them that arent readily presented to the player. Youll learn about them through emails sent to you, but there are some details that youd never know unless you read the instruction manual or other outside sources. The origin of the Muscle Tracers is one of those details, and I will explain to you what they are.
So the Great Destruction resulted in the surface becoming inhospitable to humans and forcing them to live underground. With a massive shift in environment and living conditions, robot technology advanced to accommodate the needs of humans underground. This resulted in the creation of what are known as Muscle Tracers, MTs for short.
The MTs were first designed to assist in construction and other duties in the underground cities, but as to be expected shortly after the technology was adapted for combat purposes and used by the various corporations and private military contractors. The design of the MTs quickly expanded into various models beyond the simple heavy lifting duties used in construction. Eventually what would come out of this expansion of MT technology is the Armored Core itself.
Because of the various types of MTs and the purposes they are tailored to, one type of MT standardized several concepts that would be used in the Armored Core concept. Bipedal legs were used instead of the reverse joint legs used by earlier MT models, and various experimental energy weapons were utilized by these MTs. Shortly thereafter, the concept of the core model was made, where every other part of the mecha would be designed around this central component. They were known as Cored MTs, and once the modular design of all the parts was fully standardized, they came to be known as Armored Cores.
The Armored Cores proved to be more effective than most combat MTs, especially in the hands of a very capable pilot. This is where the Ravens, the pilots of the ACs come in. Because each Raven has their own set of skills and preferences for battle, the modular design allows them to design equip their ACs in any way that suits them. At the current time of the game, Armored Cores are associated with the Ravens that pilot them, and very few are directly hired to work only for one group. MTs still follow the same framework used for years and are easy to mass produced, and this is why they are the most common enemies in the game. An encounter with another Armored Core is rare, but when it happens it is much more challenging.
Oh, and for an explanation of where the names of various MTs come from:
- The WR750R and CW-283 names come from concept art on the Revolution Disc for Armored Core Nexus. For those who do not know, in 2004 From Software released AC Nexus as a two disc game. The second disc, which was titled Revolution, featured remakes of several missions and parts from the PS1 Armored Core games (even though Nexus and its game mechanics are from a whole other generation and timeline of ACs). There is concept art with these enemies and their names, but unfortunately I do not have access to the game and this artwork. Instead I have images of the MTs so you can see which is which.
- As for the Storks, the MTs you fight in the very first battle in the game, Im not entirely sure where the name comes from or if its actually meant to be its name. There is a short page for it on the Armored Core Wiki that says this under trivia: Name comes from a Japanese website and the translation is pending. Kind of strange considering that most other MTs have their names revealed in the AC Nexus concept art.
- Lastly, the name Muscle Tracer itself. While the name of Armored Core has been explained based on the concept of the core, no real explanation for what the name Muscle Tracer means has actually been given. If the name is being taken somewhat literally, it could probably refer to the control method of the machine. No one knows though.