Square Enix’s Left Alive is set in the same world as the Front Mission series, but it’s a rather radical departure from the tactical JRPG genre of the original games. That’s the main reason why the publisher opted not to call it Front Mission.
Producer Shinji Hashimoto and Director Toshifumi Nabeshima talked about it during a chat with DualShockers at Gamescom 2018. First of all, Hashimoto-san explained the change in direction, but confirmed that it will also prove familiar to Front Mission fans:
“We thought it was a way to show the newness of the franchise, and it would help to have a different name to show that it’s a new direction. It’s still very much Front Mission. We know that some know and love Front Mission. All the lore is still very much the Front Mission universe. The names, the Wanzers, the locations, the historical events in the series are all there. People who know Front Mission will get straight away that this is a Front Mission game.
The name Front Mission is very closely tied to the idea of the traditional simulation strategy style of gameplay. To give that impression of a different genre of game, we changed the name.”
That being said, since Square Enix is doing quite well with old-school JRPGs like Octopath Traveler, I asked Hashimoto-san if they would consider making a full-fledged Front Mission tactical JRPG game if Left Alive goes well. He certainly did not close the door to the possibility.
“If the director of the project wants to take it in that direction, I’d support him on that.” […] “If Nabeshima-san wants to try different things like that, it would be very good to give it a try.”
Obviously, at that point, I asked Nabeshima-san himself if he would like to:
“I do. There are lots of different way you can do a simulation game.We could even try to do a combination merging action and simulation.”
[Editor’s Note: “Simulation” in Japan is used in a different way that in the west. It doesn’t indicate something like a flight simulator or a Mechwarrior-style mech simulator, but it indicates the tactical aspect of a game. “Simulation RPG” is the classic Japanese way to call what we call “Strategy RPGs” or “Tactical RPGs” like the original Front Mission franchise.]
If you want to learn more about Left Alive, you can check out a ton of new details from Gamescom 2018, an earlier batch of screenshots, the original teaser trailer and the first full trailer with a glimpse of gameplay from last year. You can also read how Square Enix managed to recruit legendary Metal Gear Solid artist Yoji Shinkawa to work on the game’s character design, and how the game is intended to be a solid single-player experience.
The game is in development for PS4 and PC, with no release date announced for now. Square Enix might consider other platforms after launch.
Left Alive can already be pre-ordered for PS4 on Amazon.