The acronym ARMS (or sometimes ARMs, or just ARM) is the motif recurring throughout the Wild Arms series of games. The meaning of ARMS changes constantly, often within the context of each game itself. The explanation of each of the known uses of the acronym is explained in the titles below.
The first three Wild Arms games used the form "WILD ARMS" for their titles when initially released, with all the letters capitalized. Due to bad localization, the website RPGamer.com put the name forward as "Wild ARMs" (due to the ARMs acronym being used within the game itself). This naming convention has earned a place within the fandom, but has never been correct.
This was officially reverted to "Wild Arms", with correct capitalization, by Sony of America, though documentation for all the games in the series conflates the issue. The original "Wild Arms" game, for instance, can sometimes still be called "WILD ARMS", even in new material.
To confuse matters a little more, in some of the press release material for "Wild Arms 4", xSeed, the localization company, relied on RPGamer's error and cited "Wild ARMs" on a few occasions in their own material. This was an error admitted to later, and was corrected where found. (The rushed release of Wild Arms 4 didn't help matters either, meaning that this and other errors with the release crept through anyway.)
In a final move to end the confusion on the brand, Sony Entertainment has declared that the series itself is named "Wild Arms", with no acronym. This is presumably because both American and European copyright and trademark laws don't allow for the protection of an acronym with multiple meanings.
"Advanced Relic Machine". In this case, the acronym refers to any piece of lost technology, though most commonly refers to the weapons that Rudy Roughknight, Jane Maxwell and a handful of other people are able to use.
In general, this definition of ARMs remains used through the rest of the series, in addition to and often despite whatever else the acronym is used for in later games. Basically, any firearm or special weapon found in the entire game series can qualify as an ARM, though mileage varies.
Wild Arms TV
"Armaments of Ruined Macabre-Sabaoth". This refers to the Batour and other such weapons, so it pretty much means the same thing as the original meaning, but more... flowery?
Wild Arms 2
"Awkward Rush & Mission Savers" is mentioned in dialog at one point, though this is actually the Japanese version of the regular acronym.
Oddly, both Ashley and Brad's weapons are referred to as "ARMs" as well, making the acronym have an official double meaning. Marivel Armitage is also mentioned as an expert on the 'lost technology', making her various mecha as well as Kanon's cybernetic enhancements potentially arms as well. Sadly, the extremely poor translation of the game makes some of this a bit unclear.
Wild Arms 3
A book in the Leyline Observatory, called Artifacts over Memories, uses the phrase "Artifacts from Ruins: Memories" to describe machines that were activated through willpower, specifically portable machine weaponry similar to the ARMs seen in the rest of the series, as well as the technology used to create them.
Wild Arms 4
"Ambient Reorganization Material". This definition applies in roughly in the same sense as the original ARMs acronym, except that the material is explicitly a fantastic view of nannite reconstruction (Jude's "silver sand"). The ARMs in this game were developed by scientists with the purpose of repairing the environment of Filgaia destroyed during a 78-year world war. ARMs in this game can only be used by "Gene Drivers", whether natural-born or artificial. The Global Union scientists developed the four following ARMs:
- XERD_001HS "Howling Spike": A prototype ARM that ends up being wielded by Kresnik Ahtreide.
- XERD_002GC "Gun Claw": The ARM that belongs to Hauser Blackwell.
- XERD_003SS "Shapeshifter": Jude Maverick's ARM, which he inadvertently takes up at Ciel Shelter.
- XERD_004DW "Divine Weapon": Buried deep within the island that would eventually become Illsveil Prison.
Wild Arms 4 also calls any monsters created from out of control nannites, such as the Divine Weapon, "Wild ARMs". These form the bulk of the monsters, as well as a few NPCs, near the end of the game. These monsters can only be found on Illsveil.
Wild Arms 5
Even though the Twin Fenrir that Dean Stark inherits are officially declared ARMs, no acronym is given for the weapons used through the game. Everyone has ARMs, though, as soon as they are of legal age, but the various weapons called such range from simple guns to near-magical swords to powerful canons used by Asguard. ARM, in this case, just seems to mean "weapon".
Aside from that issue, the phrase "Ancient Revolution Memorial" is used to describe enshrined ruins from the war between the Moderate and Radical Veruni factions.
Wild Arms XF
"Automated Resurrection Machines". As the name implies, these are super-powerful weapons and devices that may (or may not) have the power to bring back the dead in a variety of ways. There's a bit of disconnect here because of the two legendary weapons, however, which are also referred to as "ARMs".
The game also uses the phrase "Artificial Reincarnation Medallions", with the exact same context and meaning as the first acronym. The Black ARMs which appear later in the game are a bit more closely linked to the latter acronym, however.
Lastly, all the main characters in the game use "ARMs" of a different type (though related to the Black ARMs somehow), which allow them to change classes as a situation warrants. These are apparently rare enough that Clarissa Arwin is shocked when encountering enemies that make use of them.