Aside from Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Kingdom Hearts and other stellar (and sometimes not so stellar) titles, Square Enix delivered games that defined my childhood. However out of all of their games Front Mission became one of my all time favorite series.
With last year announcement of “Front Mission being revived by Square Enix Japan”, it left me thinking up at night “when are we gonna hear more of this than Final Fantasy 15 right now”. With that out of the way, let’s talk about the Front Mission series.
Front Mission was created by Toshiro Tsuchida and developed by G-Craft better known for creating the Playstation tactical RPG Arc the Lad 1 and 2 (1995-1996). After the success of Front Mission 1 (1995) and 2 (1997) in Japan, G-Craft would later be absorbed with Square Enix to become Product Development Division-6. Over the years the success of the series helped spawn 7 numbered series, four spin-offs, merchandise, a manga series and novels in Japan.
However, for the global market we only get FOUR titles out of the series. Front Mission 1 (2007 DS version), Front Mission 3 (2000), Front Mission 4 (2004) and that one spin-off that left the series at a bad end for the global people… Front Mission: Evolved (2010), unless you want to count the fan translation of the best conclusion Front Mission 5: Scars of War (2009).
The main numbered series plays out as a tactical grid based RPG with the emphasis on giant walking mechs or “Wanzers”. Based on players decisions Wanzers can be customized with variety of parts from body parts, computer, backpacks and different weapon classes like melee, short ranged, long ranged and support fire.
During combat Wanzers would display four health bars for the body, left and right arms and legs, if the legs are destroyed Wanzers can only moved one space, if both arms are destroyed you are unable to use any weapons set on any of those arms and when the body is destroyed… you’re dead.
Taking place during the 21st and 22nd centuries, each of the main titles in the series (including spin-off) involves around military conflict and political tension between supranational unions and other countries. Each entry in the series contains a self-contained plot that around the idea of losing something (friends or love ones), political issues, rebelling against the government and etc. that would later be combined to an overarching story line for the entire series.
When it comes to the original soundtrack in the whole series, you’ll be amazed to hear different composers being involved in the series. From Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts and Parasite Eve), Noriko Matsueda (The Bouncer and Final Fantasy X-2), Hayato Matsuo (Shenmue series), Garry Schyman (Bioshock Series), Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Series and Xenogears), Masashi Hamauzu (Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XIII), Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy Series) and introducing Hidenori Iwasaki (Front Mission 5: Scars of War being his best work).
The main series ended with Front Mission 5: Scars of War being exclusive to Japan only in 2005, unless you find the fan-translation then it’s a different story. While the last game being released was Front Mission: Evolved developed by Climax back in 2010.
Toshiro Tsuchida, the creator of the series would later move to a social game company called GREE after helping complete the development of Final Fantasy 13.
It wasn’t until 8th June 2015, we heard news of a new Front Mission game being developed by Square Enix Japan with former Armored Core and Chromehounds producer Toshifumi Nabeshima.