Armored Core 5 was a thing that existed -- however, with a new batch of gameplay info fresh from Famitsu (via Andriasang), we now doubt we'll be able to forget it. Producer Toshifumi Nabeshima has detailed the game's new team-based, online multiplayer focus, which sees four-player teams struggling to claim, control and protect territories on a battlefield. This sounds like standard stuff, until you factor in the other players, each an "operator" for one of the teams, watching the action from a special map screen and coordinating strategies.
The goal, as Nabeshima explained it, is to have the game's online mode be a seamless, persistent extension of the single-player campaign -- for instance, teams will have to set up defenses, such as turrets, in their controlled territories to protect them from attackers while they're offline. Piled on top of the series' ever-savory mech-building formula, these multiplayer features have officially sent our interest in Armored Core 5 into the stratosphere.
Check out Andriasang for even more details about the game's new co-operative focus.
Update: At a press event in San Francisco today, Namco Bandai announced release windows for Armored Core 5: late 2011 in Japan, and early 2012 in North America and Europe.