Game Trailers (GT): First, give us a general overview of the series, and a background, since this is the first one.
Koichiro Sakamoto (KS): The basic storyline in Front Mission, is it's about a world that's evolved a little different than the reality we live in. The two major countries that control the world are the OCU, which control Japan and Asia, and the USN, which controls the US and Canada area. Basically, this is a world where these countries are constantly at war, and there are large-scales going on. There are also emotional battles going on that you can see from the viewpoint of one soldier. This first titles goes over the Huffman conflict, which starts all the wars in the Front Mission series.
GT: Do you control a single character and manage his own resources, or is it a party of characters that you control?
KS: So you basically control a unit of about ten-plus characters, and you'll be in charge of controlling [all of their actions.]
GT: How does controlling the [wanzers] change the game from, say, Final Fantasy Tactics, where you're modifying the [wanzer] instead of buying swords?
KS: If you could imagine customizing your car, you can get an idea of customization in Front Mission. The players are riding in these mechs called Wanzers, and you'll be able to customize the body, arms, and legs of that Wazner. There are 300-plus parts that you'll be able to switch between that have different attributes, such as increased accuracy.
RPGFan: What had changed in the DS version of Front Mission since the Super Famicom release?
KS: [When] the title was originally released on the Super Famicom, you could only play the OCU side of the story. In the DS version, you can play both the OCU and the USN side of the war. [This is even more expanded from the PlayStation version, which was never released in North America.]
RPGFan: This is less related to Front Mission DS, but are there any plans to re-release the second Front Mission, which we never saw in North America, on any other platform?
KS: The reason it's so difficult to bring the second Front Mission over, there are certain things that are okay to say in Japan, but [it would be a faux pas] to say these things in America. However, Front Mission DS has the same type of vocabulary, and we were able to get past that, so if there's an opportunity, it'll be good.
GT: How was the development on the DS version of the game, after it had been released for all of this time, and how do you use the DS functionality?
KS: One thing that was definitely improved for the DS edition, with the dual screen functionality, you can actually display information and data on one screen, as opposed to having to keep everything on one window. For this reason, the DS is a very suitable outlet for the Front Mission games. The thing that we realized on the DS is that we now have the stylus, which allows more intuitive gameplay.
RPGFan: Now, with the DS, the Front Mission series has been on four different platforms. Where do you see the next part of the series going, and what platform would you like to see it on?
KS: The Strategy/Simulation titles are very limited as a genre, so it would definitely be planned for a platform that was very popular at that time.
RPGFan: With Front Mission 5, while it hasn't been released in the United States, the Front Mission series took a much more cinematic turn with its movies and such. Is that the way that the Front Mission series appear from now on, with a much more cinematic turn, or will it return to focus on the wanzers and less on the pilots?
KS: The development team had originally planned to make FM5 a very movie heavy game. That was the plan for that title, but not necessarily the plan for the Front Mission series as a whole. The movies were definitely well recieved, however.
RPGFan: What do you think of the Gun Hazard spinoffs of Front Mission? Do you think those have any sort of future beyond the release that we saw on the Super Famicom?
KS: Personally, it’s something that really just a spin-off, because there’s nothing that connects it other than there are Wanzers in that game. So, there are no plans to make a Gun Hazard 2, but the action element in that is very popular in Front Mission Online, which has been released only in Japan. We’d like to do something with that in the future, but there’s currently no plans.
RPGFan: What would you say is your favorite game in the Front Mission series?
KS: Because of [my] ties with the first Front Mission, I’d have to say that one.
We’d like to thank both Square Enix’s Japanese and American offices for the opportunity for us to interview Mr. Sakamoto!