|Developer(s)||Square, Square Enix|
|Publisher(s)||Square, Square Enix|
|Genre(s)||RPG, Turn-based strategy|
Front Mission (フロントミッション Furonto Misshon?) is a series of turn-based tactical role-playing video games produced by Squaresoft, now Square Enix. The series was created by Toshiro Tsuchida. It began in 1995 with the release of the first game, Front Mission.
The main draw of Front Mission is the use of giant mecha called "Wanzers" (from the German "Wanderung Panzer", or walking tanks) in battle. The storyline in the series revolves around military conflicts and political tension between powerful consolidated nations that form during the 21st and 22nd centuries.
Five main games in the series have been produced:
- Front Mission (SNES, 1995, WonderSwan Color, 2002, PlayStation, 2003, Nintendo DS, 2007)
- Front Mission 2 (PlayStation, 1997)
- Front Mission 3 (PlayStation, 1999)
- Front Mission 4 (PlayStation 2, 2003)
- Front Mission 5: Scars of the War (PlayStation 2, 2005)
In North America, three titles have been released:
- Front Mission 3 (PlayStation, February 29, 2000)
- Front Mission 4 (PlayStation 2, June 15, 2004)
- Front Mission (Nintendo DS, October 23, 2007)
In Europe, only one title has been released:
Front Mission was remade for the PlayStation in 2003 as Front Mission 1st and for the Nintendo DS in March 22, 2007 under the same title as the PlayStation remake. The PlayStation version was not localized for North America. The Nintendo DS version, on the other hand, was released in North America on October 23, 2007. In Europe, only Front Mission 3 has been released, on August 11, 2000.
These titles are Japan exclusive.
- Front Mission: Gun Hazard
- Front Mission: Alternative
- Front Mission History (compilation of Front Mission 1st, Front Mission 2 and Front Mission 3)
Front Mission Online
Front Mission Online was a multiplayer online game developed by Square Enix using the world setting in the Front Mission series. The multiplayer access was provided by the online service of Square Enix, PlayOnline. The game went into beta testing in November 2004, and on May 12, 2005, Square Enix officially released the PlayStation 2 version of the game. The PC version of the game was developed and released some seven months later, on December 8, 2005. Support for Front Mission Online was discontinued on May 31, 2008.
Front Mission 2089
Front Mission 2089 is a mobile game developed by MSF and Winds and published by Square Enix on March 7, 2005 (i-mode services) and October 27, 2005 (EZweb services). A second version titled Front Mission 2089-II was also released. A remake for the Nintendo DS was released in Japan on May 29 under the title Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.
Front Mission is structured like a traditional tactical role-playing game. All of the main installments and the 2089 series installments are classified under this specific genre. The other three spin-offs are classified under different genres. Front Mission: Gun Hazard is a 2D side-scrolling shooter. Front Mission: Alternative is a 3D real-time strategy (RTS) game. Front Mission Online is an online 3D shooter similar to Armored Core. Although the majority of the series have been turn-based tactical role-playing games, a recent interview with Front Mission developer Koichi Sakamoto suggests the development team is interested in combining real-time and turn-based aspects for future installments.
Front Mission deviates from similar offerings in the genre due to several factors. They are as follows:
- Wanzer Concept - Each combatant pilots a wanzer, which is created from a Body, Right Arm, Left Arm, and Legs. This makes up the frame of a wanzer and have specific purposes. Arms allow for holding weapons, Legs enable movement and evasive actions, and the Body keeps the wanzer operational. Each part has its own Hit Points(HP) bar and upon destruction, the wanzer's performance is significantly weakened. Destroying the Body is vital to completely destroying a wanzer, although disabling its Arms or Legs is often beneficial and suggested. Destroyed Arms will disable weapons equipped on it, while destroying the Legs negates movement and evasion.
- Wanzer Customization - Instead of a typical weapon/armor/accessory style of setup in similar genre products, Front Mission deviates with wanzer construction. A wanzer requires the four frame parts to be usable in a battle. From here, a wanzer can be loaded with arm or shoulder weapons to enhance its combat performance. In several Front Mission installments, there are built-in weapons among the Arm parts of a wanzer. Furthermore, a backpack can be loaded onto a wanzer for various functions. A jetpack enables the ability to scale high elevation whereas an EMP specializes in disabling wanzer functionality. Front Missions 2, 4, and 5 implement the ability to purchase role-specific wanzers to assist newcomers to the series.
- Action Point(AP) System - Introduced in Front Mission 2, the Action Point system dictates the amount of actions that can be taken during a Player and Enemy Phase. Every action takes up a certain amount of AP to use, such as movement or counterattacks. After one full turn, Player and Enemy Phase, has passed, a certain amount of AP is regenerated. Exclusive in Front Mission 2, the amount of AP determines the potency of various factors. These factors include accuracy, evasion, counterattacks, etc. In Front Mission 3, wanzers can be strengthened by sacrificing AP to boost its attribute defense, accuracy, or evasion. In Front Mission 4 and 5, only the basic AP system fundamentals are implemented.
- Links System - Introduced in Front Mission 4, the Links system allows multiple pilots to assist one another in battles. Offensive and Defensive Links can be set up to provide assistance during the Player and Enemy Phases. The only key factor in Links is the AP amount of the combatants. Combatants may participate in Links as long as they have enough AP to use a weapon. In Front Mission 5, the setup process is simplified and the maximum combatants has been raised from 4 to 6.
- Discharge Battle(DB) System - Exclusive in Front Mission 3, the DB system allows pilots to climb into and out of wanzers. Essentially, the pilot is a separate fighting unit inside a wanzer. Attacks can cause a wanzer to eject a pilot or damage them inside the wanzer. Enemy wanzers without pilots are automatically gained upon the completion of a mission, thus encouraging ejecting pilots or killing them outright while in their wanzer. The concept applies to both ally and enemy combatants, although certain enemies are immune to the system's features.
- Remodelling System - Exclusive in Front Mission 5, the Remodelling system allows for wanzer optimization and strengthening. A wanzer can be optimized in various paths to perform specific functions in missions. Optimizing a wanzer to a certain path often results in branching to a stronger variation of the original part. Many part variations come with special abilities that are exclusive to them. Some abilities are only accessible by assembling a full set from a specific wanzer, which is known as Set Bonus(SB).
- Colosseum/Arena - A feature seen in Front Mission, Front Mission 2, and Front Mission 5. This feature allows the player to select a character and choose a potential combatant to fight for monetary funds. The combatant's composition affects the Odds rate, which determines how much monetary funds is awarded from the amount the player bets on. In Front Mission 5, the feature is known as the Arena and is filled with multiple cameos from Front Mission characters from previous installments. Furthermore, the AI controls the combatants and the maximum amount of combatants has been raised to 3.
- Network - A feature seen in Front Mission 2 and 3. This pseudo-Internet feature allows players to learn more about the world, the characters, and the narrative itself. In Front Mission 3, the network feature is greatly expanded and offers additional functions. For example, players can check their e-mail inbox for relevant material pertaining to parts of the game. Also, the layout of the Network has changed to resemble the Internet better. Several secrets can only be unlocked through usage of the Network in both installments.
- Simulator - A feature seen in Front Mission 3, 4, and 5. This feature allows the player to partake in training exercises for future missions, later known as Battle Simulator in Front Mission 5. In Front Mission 5, an additional Simulator is implemented known as Survival. The Survival Simulator is a separate mode in which a player chooses one pilot to go through a number of floors and collect items. Upon completion of the highest floor or escaping with a certain item, the player can choose how many items found will be obtained permanently for use in the main game.
Oceanic Community Union
A supernation that consists of the modern day nations of Japan and Australia and encompasses mainland Southeast Asia and includes the Philippines and a number of Pacific islands. The headquarters of the supernation is in O.C.U. Australia. The O.C.U. also has partial occupation of Huffman Island, which the U.S.N. also partially occupies as well. This island in the Pacific Ocean holds much significance in terms of natural resources, which has led to two major wars with the U.S.N.
Although regarded as an equal to the U.S.N. in many aspects, the O.C.U. suffers from civil conflicts.Cambodia was the first to rebel against the O.C.U., with civilian-led guerrilla forces taking over that nation in Front Mission 5. Bangladesh (after a name change to the People's Republic of Alordesh) was the next member to rebel against the O.C.U. in Front Mission 2. The O.C.U. has been struggling to maintain the organization since the events of the coup in Alordesh, the rebellions in Cambodia, and numerous civil disputes in other member nations such as O.C.U. Philippines. The O.C.U. nearly broke up during an attempted coup in Japan, but this was cancelled upon news that Okinawa was invaded by the Da Han Zhong military in Front Mission 3.
United States of the New Continent/United Continental States
A supernation that consists of nations in both North America and South America. The headquarters of the supernation is in U.S.N. North America. The U.S.N. is often at an uneasy standstill against the O.C.U. with regards to the Pacific island region and particularly on Huffman Island. There is a large disparity in quality of life throughout the U.S.N., which has led to disaffectation and open rebellion in several member states. Most of the rebellions occur in U.S.N. South America, such as in U.S.N. Venezuela in Front Mission 4. The U.S.N. is presented as the United Continental States(U.C.S.) in the English versions of Front Mission 4 and Front Mission for the Nintendo DS.
This supernation is the modern-day version of the European Union, with more centralized control. While member states still maintain their own military forces, extra-E.C. foreign policy is set by the E.C. Assembly in Paris, France, which is also the supernation's headquarters. The E.C. also funds several research groups for various technologies such as wanzer warfare. One of these - the United Kingdom-based E.C. Armor Tactics Research Corps, Durandal - is one of the forces of Front Mission 4.
Republic of Zaftra
Comprised of western Russia, Zaftra is a power in decline, particularly as the E.C. is becoming self-sufficient thanks to the discovery of resources in Poland in Front Mission 4. In Russian, "Zaftra" means "Tomorrow", as referred to Communist idea of the "Bright Future". In Front Mission, the Republic of Zaftra used the Peace Mediation Organization (PMO) as a front to establish and maintain control over Huffman Island with the intent of exploiting its people and resources. Later, Zaftra serves as the main antagonist in Front Mission 4.
People's Republic of Da Han Zhong
The People's Republic of China after a cosmetic name change in 2111 with Taiwan. Much of the narrative of Front Mission 3 takes place here. The creation of The People's Republic of Da Han Zhong was a plot concoted by Jie Bo Lao so that he could gain power and control over the Nation as the first step to his plans of world domination.
Chairman Jie would silence anyone that stood in his way or policies. Thus, the people suffered greatly under the brutal oppression of his government. This led to the rise of an internal resistance faction called the Hua Lian Rebels. Although under-equipped and outnumbered by the Changli Army, the Hua Lian Rebels seek to put an end to Jie Bo Lao's dictatorship at any cost with assistance from the U.S.N.