Square Enix has kept its upcoming survival action game Left Alive under wraps pretty much since its reveal at Tokyo Game Show 2017. At Gamescom 2018, DualShockers met with Director Toshifumi Nabeshima and Producer Shinji Hashimoto, who explained quite a lot of interesting elements about how the game will play, how much we’ll be able to enjoy some healthy wanzer action, and much more.
While the game is set in the world of the Front Mission franchise, the name “Front Mission” doesn’t appear in the title because this is a different development team, spearheading a new direction. That’s why Square Enix opted to simply call the game “Left Alive.”
The story is set in a “certain city” where a war suddenly broke out. There are three playable characters whose task is to survive and escape from the battlefield. The basic genre is third-person-shooter, but there are a number of features that make it quite unique compared to standard TPS.
Nabeshima-san did not set up to make simply a shooter. He wanted to create a game which provided a lot of choice in the way players can approach different situations, and made them think about how to solve the issues they’re faced with.
Left Alive can be played as a shooter or as a stealth game. Players can use crafting and combine items together to create traps, weapons, and a lot more.
There are situations in which players will be seriously outgunned, and they will be able to create items like Molotov cocktails and wire traps to even the odds. The main characters weren’t prepared for the sudden outbreak of the war, so they aren’t particularly well equipped at the beginning. While they have access to guns, ammunition is very scarce, which is why relying on crafting is important.
In these situations, trying to face the enemies simply by running and gunning can easily cause the player to be overwhelmed, and it’s important to think about different strategies to get around the opposition. It’s even possible to craft a sort of radar that reveals the position of the enemies, making avoiding them easier.
There are all kinds of tools at the player’s disposal, from high-tech ones like the radar to primitive ones like the Molotov. Using them strategically can be crucial, and there are many ways to get through every situation. That being said, very skilled players who can take out enemies without wasting bullets might be able to get away with simply using guns. On the other hand, if you’re completely out of ammo you can still be successful by sneaking around soldiers and avoiding contact.
One of the core concepts of the game is the idea of trial and error, and experimenting on how to combine items and how to use them to get through every situation.
Of course, since this is a game set in the Front Mission universe, there are many mecha named Wanzer in the city. Those belong to the invading army, and they can be very dangerous enemies when you’re facing them on foot. Yet, you can steal those wanzers and use them to take on the enemies on even terms.
The element of choice exists here as well: wanzers are heavily guarded, so stealing them isn’t a cakewalk. You can either take the risk and try, or continue on foot. Of course, there are also times in which you’re simply put in control of a wanzer to begin with.
The game is structured in different stages with different objectives, and some of them are entirely based on piloting wanzers. Those who like robots should not worry, because there will be plenty of chances to enjoy some mecha action.
You can even take the weapons from destroyed wanzers and equip them on your own mecha. If you encounter an enemy equipped with a very powerful gun, you can either decide to take the risk to fight it in order to take its gun for yourself or prudently avoid combat.
While the main objective of the game is to escape alive from the war-torn city, it’s also possible to help other civilians who did not manage to escape in time. This is optional, and you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. Whether you do or not affects the story.
All of the characters you encounter have their own backstories and motivations. They’re not all good people, and there might be some bad guys among them. It’s completely up to the player whether to help them or not. For instance, there is a situation in which you’ll find a father and his daughter. The father is very skeptical and doesn’t trust you at all. He is bent on remaining where he is and waiting for rescuers, which is likely to get them both killed.
You can try to gradually win him over, or you can simply opt not to bother with the stubborn old fool, and focus on saving just his daughter. If you do so you will have to convince her to abandon her father.
At the end of the game, you won’t just find out what happens to the main characters, but also to all of the individual civilians you’ll manage to save, giving you a chance to see what they went on to do afterward.
At times, this kind of choices aren’t done via dialogue, but they depend on your actions. For instance, you may find enemy soldiers about to execute a few civilians. Depending on how you approach them and on how quickly you take them down, you may be able to save all the hostages, only some, or none. You can also simply decided that you don’t want to waste the ammunition, and to take such a risk. In that case, you can move on and abandon the civilians to their doom.
Speaking of the stage of development, most of the content is already in the game. Currently, the team is focusing on balancing and polishing.
If you want to learn more about Left Alive, you can check out the more 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 for to work on the game’s character design.
The game will come 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.
This post contains affiliate links where DualShockers gets a small commission on sales. Any and all support helps keep DualShockers as a standalone, independent platform for less-mainstream opinions and news coverage.