Though the hotly anticipated stealth action title Left Alive is due to release on the fifth of March in Western countries, Japanese gamers were able to pick it up at the end of February. Unfortunately, though the Front Mission series—a set of mech combat games dating all the way back to the days of the SNES—has traditionally sold well in the country, this new spin-off title doesn’t seem to be fairing all that well. In fact, things are so bad that Square Enix, the game’s publisher, opted to disable streaming on the PS4, and the title currently sits at an underwhelming 1.8 out of 5 on their website.
This news is particularly disappointing to those looking forward to a new single player-focused, story based stealth survival experience in 2019. It’s no secret that, following the relative demise of the Metal Gear Solid franchise at the hands of Konami, games of this sort are few and far between. While it’s tied to a completely different series which wasn’t previously known for such gameplay styles, plenty of Metal Gear fans had quietly been hoping that Square’s spin-off title could succeed where 2018’s Metal Gear Survive failed.
Yet, hopes of the Front Mission series carrying the torch of the old MGS games looks to be diminishing rapidly; Square Enix seems to be performing some damage control by censoring gamers critical of the release and discounting the product mere days from its launch.
This comes on the heels of the debut of the budget beat em' up title The Quiet Man which released to critical and commercial condemnation late in 2018. Though it's seen recent success with games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Kingdom Hearts III, Square Enix’s recent output has definitely caught the ire of a few once-bitten-twice-shy consumers.
Square still has a chance to recoup some of its losses when the game becomes available to North American and European gamers on the fifth of March, of course. The Front Mission series is a beloved and long-running set of Japanese mech combat strategy titles, and it could very well be that much of the backlash from the Eastern market comes from how drastically separated this game is from its predecessors. Though players do get the chance to take control of a Wanzer—the game’s Germanic name for its all-important mechs—that’s far from the main focus of the title, and longtime fans of the franchise in that region may simply feel a bit betrayed by this major shift in gameplay.
We won’t quite know what public consensus of the game will look like until it sees a worldwide release, but the fate of the title seems uncertain. Nobody wants a game of this caliber to fail, yet Square Enix may very well have put out yet another half-baked, ill-conceived digital dud.