Ravens are mercenaries managed by a mediator like Ravens' Nest, Global Cortex, Nerves Concord or Ravens' Ark. Piloting customized mechs called Armored Cores (ACs), Ravens are contracted to carry out missions for their employers, and may either work exclusively for a particular organization, or independently.
A Raven is an Armored Core pilot under the employ of a private military company. Ravens are highly sought after by corporations, terrorists, city guards and warlords to perform tasks that would be considered too difficult or politically damaging for a normal military unit to engage in. While the names of the companies that handle Raven contracts have changed over time, the function of Ravens themselves remains largely the same - carry out missions given by the highest bidder.
Because the companies that employ these mercenaries are neutral in affiliation (Ravens' Nest, Ravens' Ark, etc.), Ravens are free to work for whomever they wish. Because of this, it is not uncommon for Ravens employed by opposing entities to fight each other on the battlefield. The unstable nature of a Raven's work and affiliation can lead to complicated relationships among each other and the companies, leaving most Ravens to lead a detached life.
In addition to carrying out missions for corporate clients, Ravens often participate in an arena league administered by the organization they work for. These matches are broadcast for additional revenue, and more popular, skilled Ravens can earn an easy living as arena combatants. It should be noted that while all Ravens are Armored Core pilots, not all Armored Core pilots are Ravens. The more affluent organizations have a stable of in-house Armored Core pilots, as was the case in Armored Core 2's Frighteners, which were a special forces unit of the Earth Government.
In Comparison With Conventional Units and ArmiesEdit
Ravens are a very skilled group that are highly capable and very accomplished in warfare; they have been known to be able to handle most situations which would be difficult to impossible with conventional weapons and MTs. In most scenarios, simply having a Raven on your side guaranteed success in a mission,unless an opposing corporation decides to hire one as well. Any Raven can be hired for the right price and the client usually has many to choose from thanks to organizations such as the Ravens' Nest and Ravens' Ark. Most Ravens are very reliable, carrying out their missions even if it costs them their life. They are also confidential on all matters concerning missions; there have been times where companies have eliminated outsiders or even people inside their organizations for knowing too much, but there has never been a documented case where a Raven has been eliminated for any such reason. By outsourcing the most dangerous jobs to mercenaries, companies can avoid having to completely cover the cost of directly owning such expensive machines (ACs with their repair cost, maintenance, and ammo costs).
Ravens are very difficult to control, as a majority of them answer only to a Raven organization, meaning that any job that they give must first go through said group. They are also horribly expensive to hire, with some jobs paying the same amount as that needed to buy a brand new, fully equipped Armored Core or several MTs; this is especially true for company exclusive Ravens, which are a capable of bankrupting the company with their high salaries (which almost occurred with Crest during the Mirage/Navis conflict). On top of this, Ravens charge by mission, meaning that in order to continue using the Ravens services, it is necessary to constantly send out mission requests.
Armored Core SeriesEdit
Ravens worked for the Ravens' Nest, an organization allegedly created by the Hustler One AI. After its destruction, the Ravens' Nest ceased to exist.
Armored Core 2 - Armored Core 2: Another AgeEdit
Ravens worked for the Nerves Concord, which was created some time after the fall of the Raven's Nest. Two branches exist: the Earth division and the Mars division. As a result of the Civil Commotion of Mars, the numbers of Ravens dropped considerably in the Mars division.
Armored Core 3 sequenceEdit
Ravens, during the Controller's reign, worked for Global Cortex but were largely not under the control of the AI. They, like their predecessors, worked for Corporations and with the demise of the Controller, they along with all other remaining Corporations survived to deal with the unknown threat of The Silent Line.
Armored Core 3 - Silent LineEdit
Ravens worked for Global Cortex, an organization founded sometime after the first Armored Cores were developed by the corporations. They maintain equal footing with the corporations and therefore are able to ensure the freedom and independence of Ravens under them.
Armored Core: NexusEdit
Ravens worked for the Raven's Ark; unlike its previous incarnations, the Ark worked actively to protect its members. In one mission in which Mirage launches a strike that ends up killing a Raven they hired, the Ravens' Ark retaliates and destroys one of their facilities. After the Attack of the Unmanned Suicide Weapons, the Ark ends up dissolving.
Armored Core: Last RavenEdit
Without a mediation organization, Ravens have split into three groups - those who work for Alliance, those who support Vertex, and those who have struck out on their own. At the end of the conflict, only one remains, and he is given the title of "Last Raven."
Armored Core 4 SequenceEdit
Armored Core 4 - Armored Core: For AnswerEdit
The title of Raven has been attributed to common mercenary Armored Core pilots after the widespread use of Normals in battle began. Their high degree of specialization and the impressive power of their crafts represented the chaotic era in which they fought. After the close of the National Dismantlement War, however, most Ravens have been forced to become lackeys of the Companies and patrol the Colonies for next to nothing, or give their all to independent armed groups. Their current struggle to survive is a far cry from the glory they once held as the unchallenged masters of the battlefield in the days before the advent of NEXT technology.
With the advent of the company controlled LYNX organization Collared and the (presumed) death of White Glint, the mercenaries known as Ravens have all but vanished from the pages of history, leaving little left of their tradition or legacy.
Armored Core V sequenceEdit
Armored Core: Verdict DayEdit
In the Verdict War, Magnolia Curtis mentioned that her ancestors witnessed the coming of the first "Dark Raven", the protagonist of Armored Core V . The name itself was brought up by only two individuals: The first was Magnolia Curtis. she has a great obsession with the Dark Raven, going as far as to leave Fatman and join Reaper Squad to hunt down top ranked mercenaries. And last the Foundation Leader, but unlike Magnolia, he saw the legacy nothing more than a false myth and believed to be the reason of humanity's downfall if 'such a myth existed'.
- It is notable that Anatolia's Mercenary was also a Raven who fought against the corporations in the National Dismantlement War. He was injured and taken in by Fiona and then became a LYNX. This may be part of the reason he out-classes everything on the battle field, as Ravens are known for their natural skill (depending on the Raven) compared to "pure" LYNXes, who primarily rely on the superior technology of their NEXTs. A Raven-turned-LYNX, therefore, would have the benefits of both designations.
- It is revealed in Armored Core 2: Another Age that Nerves Concord is a branch run by the Concord Corporation.
- In the original game, due to General Purpose Armored Cores and Mass Production Armored Cores, although many Armored Cores were faced, only a small number were piloted by Ravens.
- In the side story Armored Core V: The Forgotten Day, Chief appears to be the one who coined the term "Dark Raven" saying to The Mercenary, "Now then, I'm gonna make you and that AC disappear, Mr. Dark Raven!"