As any fan knows it's been quite a while since any game in the Front Mission franchise landed on English-speaking shores. So long, in fact that a few dedicated gamers went and did it themselves.
Now, the series is set for a return, albeit in a decidedly different form, as Front Mission Evolved is more of 3rd-person action game than a turn-based strategy title. Old fans and new players alike simply must know more about this latest, current-generation installment.
To that end we sent Square Enix a bunch of questions, and got a bunch of answers. Read on for Destructoid's exclusive Front Mission Evolved Q&A with Square Enix producer Shinji Hashimoto. You can also check the gallery for some hot new screens they sent just for you!
Destructoid: Front Mission Evolved is certainly a departure from the previous games, which were turn-based titles. What was the creative drive behind the change of style?
Shinji Hashimoto: The genre for previous numbered Front Mission titles that we’ve released was turn-based strategy games. There were several spin-off titles, which were real-time simulations and side-scrollers, but I believe users have developed a strong recognition that Front Mission is a turn-based strategy game.
Among its fans, the Front Mission series is known for having a very dense, involved backstory. Where does Front Mission Evolved stand in that canon? Will the game's story be making any references to previous (or future) events?
This title is set farther in the future than any other game in the series. In 2171 AD, the human race, seeking supremacy on Earth, began to reach for the stars, racing to build orbital elevators.
The game apparently offers on-foot action alongside the Wanzer-piloting. Just how much can the player do when he's outside his Wanzer? Will he be able to get in and out of it at will? Can he hijack other Wanzers?
During the single player mode, there are several missions in which the player character will exit the Wanzer to explore surrounding buildings and areas. Due to the map design and story, however, the player cannot get in and out of the Wanzer nor hijack other Wanzers at will. The third-person action as the pilot is exciting for any shooter fan, though.
Will there be a strategic or tactical element in Front Mission Evolved's gameplay? Will the player be able to control a squad or be part of a larger operation?
Front Mission games have traditionally featured a fair amount of customization, with players able to choose from a variety of weapons and body parts to use in combat. Will Front Mission Evolved also have this sort of feature?
Yes, there’s an incredible amount of customization elements you can look forward to! The title offers a variety of stages, as well as vast choices to customize your Wanzers for the online PtoP mode to fully express your unique designs. I’m excited to see all of your Wanzers!
That concludes our exclusive Q&A with Square Enix's Shinji Hashimoto. We would like to thank him for his time. I for one am quite excited, and can't wait until new gamers get to know just what a "Pile Bunker" is when related to robot weaponry.
Front Mission Evolved is in development for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and is due for a Spring 2010 release.