Here is the backstory of Vanguard Bandits, quoted directly from the game's instruction manual. This is for those of you who may have purchased the game without instructions and are interested in how the Second Eptinan War came to be.
When brave explorers from the Ancient Lands first sailed across the vast ocean and discovered the Continent of Eptina, they marveled at its blinding beauty and its seemingly limitless resources. Some of the explorers quickly decided to settle in this strange new world, while others returned home with fantastic stories of the natural wonders they had seen.
These amazing tales inspired tens of thousands of citizens to exchange the boredom and squalor of their lives in the Ancient Lands for the thrill of the unknown. But these new settlers, many of them poor and uneducated, ironically brought with them the very dysfunctions of society that they had hoped to escape: poverty, crime and inevitably, war.
The borders of the Continent were drawn in blood, as hastily formed nations fought against each other over territorial rights and religious beliefs; for the most ridiculous of reasons, and for the most noble of causes. Skies which had once been a brilliant blue were now thick with the ebony smoke of burning forests and smoldering ruins; rivers which had once been clear as glass were choked with the bloated bodies of the dead. And the Continent, which had once been a monument of the beauty of nature, was now a testament to the ugliness of man. Some believed that the Eptinan wars might never end... until a miraculous discovery was made.
In the heart of the Pharastia Kingdom, archaeologists discovered evidence that the Continent had been populated once before - in the stunning form of several mechanical giants, which later became known simply as ATAC (All Terrain Armored Combatants). Each ATAC resembled an armor-clad knight, and stood at least twenty-five feet in height. After months of analysis and experimentation, it was determined how the ATAC were controlled: by the focused thought of a "pilot," who sat inside of the head of the ATAC as the machine literally read his mind.
With the awesome power of the ATAC added to it's already formidable armies, it was only a matter of weeks before Pharastia assumed control of the entire Continent. A few countries attempted to fight the Kingdom, but as news of the ATAC and their unholy strength spread across the land, the remaining nations chose surrender over annihilation.
The Continent was united at last, and the leaders of Pharastia decided that the power of the ATAC, which had proven so useful in war, could now be used to keep the peace. The most powerful of the excavated ATAC, once controlled by the King himself, was locked away in a secret location, while the remaining ATAC were distributed to different regions of the Continent.
But the Pharastia Kingdom was unable to maintain control for very long. Coup d'etats and civil wars erupted, and the Kingdom soon found itself struggling not to preserve its rule of the Continent, but to preserve it's own existence.
It is here, in the midst of the Second Eptinan Wars, that a spirited young man named Bastion is destined to learn of his central role in determining the ultimate fate of the Continent...