Front Mission

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This article is about the video game series. For the first game in the series, see Front Mission (video game).
Front Mission
The text "Front Mission"
New series logo with font used for Front Mission Evolved
Genres Tactical role-playing game, Third-person shooter, Side-scrolling shooter, Real-time strategy, Massively multiplayer online game
Developers G-Craft, Square, Square Enix, Omiya Soft, Winds, h.a.n.d., Double Helix Games
Publishers Square, Square Enix
Creators Toshiro Tsuchida
Platforms SNES, PlayStation, WonderSwan Color, PlayStation 2, PC, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Platform of origin SNES
Original release 1995
First release Front Mission
February 24, 1995
Latest release Front Mission Evolved
September 16, 2010
Official website http://www.square-enix.co.jp/fm/

Front Mission (フロントミッション Furonto Misshon?) is a collection of video games and related media produced by Square, now Square Enix.[1] The series was created by Toshiro Tsuchida and developed by G-Craft, a studio that was later absorbed by Square and existed within Square Enix as Product Development Division-6. Since the release of the original Front Mission in 1995, the series has gone on to encompass several media, including film, manga, novels, radio dramas, mobile phone applications, and toys. While the series is primarily rooted in the turn-based tactical role-playing genre, it has also ventured into other genres such as side-scrolling shooter, real-time strategy (RTS), massive multiplayer online (MMO), and third-person shooter through its spin-offs. The Front Mission video games have achieved moderate success, selling over 3 million units worldwide since the release of Front Mission 5: Scars of the War.[2]

The main selling point of Front Mission is its storytelling approach. Taking place during the 21st and 22nd centuries, the series revolves around military conflicts and political tension between powerful supranational unions and their member states.[3] Although the Front Mission video games use self-contained, standalone stories, these tie into a greater overarching storyline that encompasses the entire series. In combination with the stories from its other media, the series possesses a level of storytelling depth and continuity comparable to a serial drama.[4] Another major draw of Front Mission is its use of giant mecha called "wanzers" (from the German word Wanderpanzer, or walking tanks) in battle.

Development[edit]

There are two types of Front Mission installments: the numbered entries and the non-numbered entries. The numbered Front Mission titles are all structured as tactical role-playing games. All other Front Mission titles that do not have a number assigned to it are genre spin-offs.[3] Each of the four spin-off entries are classified under different genres. Front Mission: Gun Hazard is a side-scrolling shooter video game. Front Mission Alternative is a real-time strategy video game. Front Mission: Online is a massively multiplayer online third-person shooter video game. The recently released Front Mission Evolved is a third-person shooter video game with rail shooter segments.

In an RPGamer interview with Front Mission developer Koichi Sakamoto in 2007, he suggests that the development team is interested in combining real-time and turn-based aspects for future installments.[5]

However, in July 2012, Yasuo Otagaki, creator of the Front Mission Dog Life and Dog Style manga series, said in a Twitter message that the entire franchise will formally end after the manga's tenth and last omnibus volume is released in early 2013.[citation needed]

Games[edit]

Further information: List of Front Mission media
Timeline of release years
1995 – Front Mission
1996 – Front Mission Series: Gun Hazard
1997 – Front Mission 2
Front Mission Alternative
1998 –
1999 – Front Mission 3
2000 –
2001 –
2002 –
2003 – Front Mission First
Front Mission History
Front Mission 4
2004 –
2005 – Front Mission 2089
Front Mission: Online
Front Mission 5: Scars of the War
2006 – Front Mission 2089-II
2007 –
2008 – Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness
2009 –
2010 – Front Mission Evolved

Since 1995, the Front Mission series has released 11 video games, seven of which are main (numbered) entries and the other four are spin-off entries.[3] Additionally, the series has spawned a number of video game ports, remakes, and compilations over its 15-year history. On July 12, 2002, a direct port of Front Mission was released for the Bandai WonderSwan Color. A year later, the video game entry received a Sony PlayStation remake under the title Front Mission First on October 23, 2003.[6] Shortly after its release, a compilation titled Front Mission History was released in Japan on December 11, 2003. The compilation contained the Front Mission First remake, a modified Front Mission 2, and Front Mission 3.[7] Front Mission First also spawned an enhanced port of the game on March 22, 2007 for the Nintendo DS.[8] A second remake for Front Mission 2089 was developed and titled as Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.[9] This remake was released for the Nintendo DS in Japan on May 29, 2008.[10]

While all Front Mission video games have seen releases in Japan, only a few been localized overseas. Front Mission 3 was the first entry to receive both a North American and European localization on March 22, 2000 and August 11, 2000 respectively.[11] Front Mission 4 became the second entry to undergo an English localization and was released in North America on June 15, 2004.[12] A three-year gap followed before the localization of the Nintendo DS port of Front Mission First, which saw a release in North America on October 23, 2007.[13] This marked the third time that a Front Mission title was localized for the North American region. Front Mission Evolved became the first spin-off entry to be localized in North America and Europe, making it the fourth and second titles respectively to reach those regions. It was released in Japan on September 16, 2010, in North America on September 28, 2010, and in Europe on October 8, 2010.[14][15][16]

To date, seven (nine for Europe) Front Mission entries have never been officially localized and released outside of Japan.

Common elements[edit]

Gameplay[edit]

Although Front Mission video games venture into multiple genres, each of them contain core elements that are universal to the entire series. In the Front Mission series, players use playable units called wanzers, a term for mecha derived from the German word "Wanderpanzer", or "walking tank". Wanzers differ from the typical combat unit in that it has four modular parts: body, left arm, right arm, and legs. Each part has a specific function and its own health bar.[1] The legs parts enable movement and evasion, the arm parts are necessary to use hand and shoulder weapons, and the body part maintains the wanzer's operability. In the event the body is destroyed, the wanzer is removed from play completely. Destruction of arm and leg parts does not remove the wanzer from play, but it severely cripples its performance.[1] While the player fights mostly wanzers, vehicles, aircraft, and mobile weapons platforms are also featured. These enemy units generally have only one part, the body, and are much stronger than wanzers themselves.

Wanzers can be customized with a variety of parts, computers, auxiliary backpacks, and weapons.[3] The player has full control over customizing their wanzers and can do so as long as its total weight value does not exceed its given power output. To field a wanzer in battle, it must have a complete frame of parts: body, left arm, right arm, and legs. Parts with built-in weapons in the body or arm sections can also be equipped on a wanzer. In most Front Mission titles, computers must also be installed; these improve the accuracy of the weapons equipped on the wanzer. Auxiliary backpacks and weapons are not mandatory equipment to use wanzers, but are crucial in order to progress through the games. Auxiliary backpacks serve to give a wanzer special features during combat. For example, storage backpacks allow the player to carry extra ammunition or armor repair items.

In terms of weapons, there are four classes of weapons: melee weapons, short-range weapons, long-range weapons, and support fire weapons.[3] Melee weapons are hand-to-hand weapons with a tendency to strike the body part of its target. Knuckles, pile bunkers, and rods are examples of melee weapons. Short-range weapons, such as machine guns, shotguns, and flamethrowers are used at close range and deal damage to all parts of a target. Long-range weapons have a long reach and are ideal for avoiding counterattacks. Sniper rifles, bazookas, and Gatling guns are examples of long-range weapons. Support-fire weapons, such as missiles, grenades, and rockets are indirect fire weapons; they can never be counterattacked and almost always hit their target, but have limited ammunition supply. Lastly, shields can be equipped on wanzers to absorb some of the damage taken from incoming attacks.

These are other gameplay features that are commonly seen in multiple Front Mission titles.

  • Arena, introduced in Front Mission, allows the player to participate in special fights to earn monetary rewards or new parts. These fights take place in either individual matches, or team battles. This feature is also present in Front Mission 2, Front Mission 5: Scars of the War, Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness, and Front Mission: Online.
  • Action Points (AP), introduced in Front Mission 2, determines the amount of actions that can be taken during a Player and Enemy Phase.[1] Every action, such as movement or counterattacks, has a certain AP cost.[1] After one full turn (which is made up of one Player Phase and Enemy Phase) has passed, a set amount of AP is recharged. This feature is also present in Front Mission 3, Front Mission 4, and Front Mission 5: Scars of the War.
  • Links, introduced in Front Mission 2, allows multiple units to assist each other in battles. A linked unit can provide support to other units offensively and defensively. This feature is also present in Front Mission 3, Front Mission 4, Front Mission 5: Scars of the War, and Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.
  • Network, introduced in Front Mission 2, is a pseudo-Internet that allows players to gain a better understanding of the Front Mission world, its characters, and the storyline through a series of websites. The player can also access online shopping (to purchase new equipment), battle simulations, and check e-mail messages through the Network. This feature is also present in Front Mission 3.
  • Battle Simulator, introduced in Front Mission 3, allows the player to participate in VR training exercises. These training exercises can be used to increase the fighting proficiencies of the player's pilots and can be taken as many times as needed. This feature is also present in Front Mission 4, and Front Mission 5: Scars of the War.
  • Survival Simulator, introduced in Front Mission 5: Scars of the War, is a survival simulation in which the player goes through a set number of floors with one pilot. Along the way, parts and weapons can be collected and brought back for usage in the main game upon the completion of a simulation. This feature is also present in Front Mission 2089-II.

Setting[edit]

Front Mission series fictional chronology

Original storyline

2034-2035 Front Mission Alternative
2070-2080 Front Mission Zero
2089-2090 Front Mission 2089-II
2090 Front Mission ~The Drive~
2091 Front Mission (film)
2090-2091 Front Mission: Online
2090-2092 Front Mission Dog Life & Dog Style
2089-2093 Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness
2090-2094 Front Mission
2090-2094 Front Mission - Front Line Report
2090-2094 Front Mission Comics
2096 Front Mission 4
2095-2097 Front Mission 4 - Elsa
2102 Front Mission 2
2098-2102 Front Mission 2 ~Wanzers of the Elite~
2112 Front Mission 3
2070-2121 Front Mission 5: Scars of the War

Story reboot

2171 Front Mission Evolved

Alternate universe

2064 Front Mission Series: Gun Hazard (radio drama)
2064 Front Mission Series: Gun Hazard (film)
2062-2064 Gun Hazard - A Mercenary's Iron Legs
2060-2064 Front Mission Series: Gun Hazard (manga)
2064-2070 Front Mission Series: Gun Hazard

These are the fictional nations that play a major role in the Front Mission series.

Oceania Cooperative Union

The Oceania Cooperative Union (OCU) is a supranational union of countries in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Australia. The OCU capital, where the OCU Central Parliament operates, is Canberra, Australia.[17] The union's roots date back to 2006, when the Association of Southeast Asian Nations reorganized itself into the Bangkok Economic Alliance. The alliance is later renamed into the Oceania Cooperative Union in 2019 and finally consolidates as a political union in 2026.

United States of the New Continent

The United States of the New Continent (USN) is a supranational union of North and South American countries. The USN capital, where the USN Central Government operates, is Washington DC. The union's roots date back to 2011, when its relations with Australia began to sour over the detention of an Australian ship named "The Trinidad".[8] The United States and Canada begin negotiations on merging with South American countries after the Republic of Zaftra is formed in 2015. These talks culminate in the creation of the USN five years later.

In the localized versions of Front Mission First, Front Mission 4, and Front Mission Evolved, the USN is presented as the Unified Continental States (UCS). The localized version of Front Mission 3 retains the original naming convention.

European Community

The European Community (EC) is a supranational union of nations in Europe. The capital, where the EC Central Assembly operates, is Paris, France. The union's roots date back to the European Union's (EU) genesis in 1993. In the late 1990s, the EU's founding member-states began to convince other European countries to join their banner. The EU is renamed as the European Community in 2005 as the last of the non-EU countries agree to join the bloc.[18]

Organization of African Consolidation

The Organization of African Consolidation (OAC) is an alliance of African countries. The union's roots date back to 2026, when the EC and the OCU assists the African nations to merge as a super-state. Unlike the other unions, the OAC is divided into five regional blocs – the South African United States (SAUS), Union of North African States (UNAS), West African States Community Union (WA), the Community of Central African States (CA), and the East African Community (EA).[19]

Republic of Zaftra

The Republic of Zaftra is a supranational union consisting of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The Zaftran capital, where the Zaftra Central Administration operates, is Moscow, Russia. The union's roots date back to the end of the USSR in 1991. The former Soviet republics struggled to survive on their own after it collapsed, facing economic hardships and civil conflicts.[20] In an attempt to remedy their issues and make capitalism work, the splinter states reformed as the Republic of Zaftra in 2015.

Republic of Ravnui

The Republic of Ravnui is Belarus renamed after it secedes from the Commonwealth of Independent States rather than join the Republic of Zaftra in 2015.[21] The nation's capital is Minsk.

People's Republic of Da Han Zhong

The People's Republic of Da Han Zhong (DHZ) is formed from the presumably peaceful reunification of China and Taiwan. The nation's capital is Beijing.

Music[edit]

Reception[edit]

Legacy[edit]

Further information: List of Front Mission media

Since 1994, the Front Mission series has spawned numerous products in various media outside of video games.[22][23][24] The series has a long-running line of manga and novels that are expanded universe supplements to the stories of the Front Mission video games. Likewise, the series has produced two live-action films directed by Yoshihiko Dai and a ten-episode radio drama directed by Hiroshi Yamaguchi, both of which further expand the Front Mission universe.[25][26] Some of the actors and actresses that have been involved in these productions include Banjō Ginga, Hiromi Tsuru, Dax Griffin, Danielle Keaton, and Tina Cote.[27] Apart from these media, there have been numerous books, toys, and soundtracks that have been published under the Front Mission brand name.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Pineda, Angelo; Thompson, Kyle; Tam, Wilson. "Hardcore Gaming 101: Front Mission". Gamespy. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  2. ^ Winkler, Chris. "Front Mission Series Reaches 3 Million Plateau". RPGFan. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Dengeki PlayStation Editorial, LogicGate, ed. (March 2007). Front Mission World Historica – Report of Conflicts 1970–2121 (in Japanese). MediaWorks. ISBN 4-8402-3663-1. 
  4. ^ Dengeki, ed. (February 2004). Dengeki GAMES February 2004 Special Edition, "100 Year History of Front Mission" (in Japanese). MediaWorks. 
  5. ^ Boulette, Bryan (2007-07-12). "E3 – Front Mission Interview". RPGamer. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  6. ^ Niizumi, Hirohiko. "New Front Mission 1st, Front Mission History, and Front Mission 4 information". GameSpot. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  7. ^ "Front Mission History". Square Haven. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  8. ^ a b Front Mission The First Official Complete Guide (in Japanese). Square Enix. March 2007. ISBN 978-4-7575-1981-7. 
  9. ^ Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness Official Complete Guide (in Japanese). Square Enix. June 2008. ISBN 978-4-7575-2321-0. 
  10. ^ "More mecha battles in May, Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness dated". Siliconera. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  11. ^ Cassidy, David (March 2000). Front Mission 3 Official Strategy Guide. BradyGames. ISBN 978-1-56686-978-2. 
  12. ^ Barba, Rick (June 2004). Front Mission 4 Official Strategy Guide. BradyGames. ISBN 978-0-7440-0389-5. 
  13. ^ Hatfield, Daemon. "Front Mission Wanders onto DS". IGN. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  14. ^ "Front Mission Evolved Dated for September in Japan". Destructoid. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  15. ^ North, Dale. "Front Mission Evolved Launch Date Updated to September 28, 2010". Square Enix. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  16. ^ Purchese, Robert. "Front Mission Evolved nudged to October". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  17. ^ Famitsu Books Editorial, ed. (January 1998). Front Mission 2 Guidebook – Wanzers of the Elite (in Japanese). ASCII. ISBN 978-4-89366-883-7. 
  18. ^ Iino, Fumihiko; Iwasaki, Hideo (July 1995). Front Mission – Front Line Report (in Japanese). LOGOUT Paperback Adventures, Aspect Novels. ISBN 978-4-89366-375-7. 
  19. ^ Famitsu Books Editorial, ed. (December 1997). Front Mission Alternative Official Guidebook (in Japanese). ASCII. ISBN 978-4-89366-960-5. 
  20. ^ Famitsu Books Editorial, ed. (February 2004). Front Mission 4 Official Perfect Guide (in Japanese). Enterbrain. ISBN 978-4-7577-1782-4. 
  21. ^ Front Mission 3 Perfect Works (in Japanese). DigiCube. November 1999. ISBN 978-4-925075-66-4. 
  22. ^ Famitsu, ed. (1994-07-09). FamiComics Special Edition, Summer 1994 (in Japanese). ASCII. 
  23. ^ Nicholson, Zy (May 1995). Super Play, ed. Super Play Issue 31, "Front Mission Goes Live!". Future Publishing. 
  24. ^ "クロノトリガー・フロントミッションVP" (in Japanese). Show-tv. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  25. ^ "Dai Yoshihiko" (in Japanese). allcinema Movie & DVD Database. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  26. ^ Famitsu Books Editorial, ed. (1996-04-08). Front Mission Series: Gun Hazard Official Fanbook (in Japanese). ASCII. 
  27. ^ "Tina Cote". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 

External links[edit]