If today’s trailer for sci-fi tactical shooter (with mecha bits) Left Alive is any indication, Front Mission’s awkward relationship with the PC might not be changing. The Tokyo Game Show trailer gives us a frustratingly vague (if pretty) glimpse at the war-torn future nation of Novo Slava and the characters players will be sneaking around it as. What it doesn’t feature in great quantity is mech battles, despite Left Alive being set in Square Enix’s long-running Front Mission universe. Below: Not the robots you’re looking for.
While Front Mission’s iconic Wanzer mechs (pronounced German-style, so with a hard V sound at the beginning) make a showing, everything shown of the game so far suggests they’re a secondary part of Left Alive. Going by reports from people who got to try it at PAX recently, it’s primarily an infantry stealth/survival shooter – part Metal Gear, part The Last Of Us. As well as saving your own neck, players can try to save civilians caught in the conflict, although this cost time and resources. There’s some Mass Effect style conversations, and multiple protagonists too.
While I do have my reservations about Left Alive, it does have some notable talent on board. They’ve got Toshifumi Nabeshima (a director on FromSoft’s excellent Armored Core mech series), Yoji Shinkawa (character designer from Metal Gear Solid) plus Takayuki Yanase, mechanical designer for a variety of anime and games, including the very cyberpunk Ghost In The Shell: Arise. While Shinkawa seems at home drawing grizzled soldiers in war-torn lands, the rest of the game seems outside of the team’s stompy robot wheelhouse.
While I’d call myself a fan of the traditionally strategic Front Mission series, I’m worried Left Alive’s change of focus will put even more people off the name – especially after the thoroughly mediocre Front Mission Evolved knocked the series into hibernation. Still, even if it doesn’t work out, Front Mission fans would do well to follow Phantom Brigade over the coming months.
You can find Left Alive here on Steam. Square have confirmed the game has been confirmed for a February 2019 launch in Japan, and a more vague “2019” for English-speaking territories. You can read a little more about it on its official site here.