"Vanquish" takes place in the near future where Earth's human population has grown so rapidly that nations are fighting for the scarce remaining resources. The United States of America has attempted to alleviate its energy problems by launching an O'Neill Cylinder space station harboring a solar energy-driven generator to provide them with an alternative source of energy. However, the government of the Russian Federation has been overthrown in a coup d'état by ultra-nationalist]forces calling themselves the Order of the Russian Star. Russian forces capture the space station and divert its harvested solar energy into a blast wave that devastates San Francisco. The main antagonist, Victor Zaitsev, demands that the American government surrender or he will choose New York City as his next target.
The President of the United States of America, Elizabeth Winters, takes Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Burns, a decorated war veteran, and puts him in charge of a newly-commissioned task force called Bravo Company. This team consists of several space-faring special forces, veteran Marines, and the remnants of the defending U.S. forces on board the space station. She also gives them the game's protagonist and playable character, Sam Gideon (voiced by Gideon Emery in the English version.) Sam is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) researcher equipped with an Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS), a cutting-edge mechanical suit outfitted with a vast array of functions, including jet boosters attached to both arms and legs. He is armed with an experimental Battlefield Logic Adaptable Electronic Weapons System (BLADE), which is capable of scanning any existing weapon and then transforming into a perfect replica. Its ability to store three scans at a time means that at any given time the BLADE can shapeshift between three different weapons.
This mission gives DARPA the perfect chance to test the ARS. The President and the Secretary of Defense give Sam classified orders to rescue a scientist named Dr. Francois Candide, who was working on-site when the station was attacked. The doctor has decided to take matters into his own hands and is trying to disable the array before it can be used to attack another city. ...
Did You Know? The game's director, Shinji Mikami, stated that "Vanquish's" graphics were partially inspired by "Casshern," a 1970s anime television series by Tatsunoko Production.