Front Mission 2089 and its sequel Front Mission 2089-II serve as the fifth and seventh main entries and the seventh and ninth overall entries in the Front Mission series. They were originally released on mobile phones and later ported to the Nintendo DS as Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.
Front Mission 2089 borrows many of the gameplay mechanics present in Front Mission First. The game progresses in a linear manner: watch cut-scene events, complete missions, set up wanzers during intermissions, and sortie for the next mission. Missions in Front Mission 2089 are traditional tactical RPG fare, ranging from destroying all enemy targets to protecting a particular allied target. Due to its mobile phone format, the story of Front Mission 2089 is told through episodic content; with new episodes being released for download on a bi-weekly basis. A returning feature in the game is the Arena. Like in Front Mission, players can fight other players to win monetary rewards. Mission rankings also make a return; based on the scoring system of Front Mission 3, players can earn new parts and wanzers by doing well during missions. Another returning feature is briefings. Lastly, players can choose to play two unique scenarios - one for the Oceania Cooperative Union, and one for the United States of the New Continent.
In 2089: Border of Madness, numerous gameplay mechanics from other Front Mission entries were implemented in the game. The most significant of these additions is Links. Links are a unique ability that allows multiple units to provide offensive support to each other during the Player Phase of battle. Up to two units can be linked together to form one "link". All weapons can be used for linked actions, however, linked units cannot use the same class of weapon. The linked units must also be free to act on their turn, as using Links ends the turns of the involved participants. Other returning features include armor coating, mission branching, part sorting, and remodeling. Several weapon classes have also received changes - shotguns now fire multiple rounds per attack and rifles are now purely long-range weapons. Border of Madness does not feature mission rankings or the option to play two scenarios, as the story of Border of Madness was reworked to be more "linear."
Set in 2089, the story of Front Mission 2089 takes place on Huffman Island one year before the 2nd Huffman Conflict. A series of skirmishes across Huffman Island in 2086 causes chaos on the island. The O.C.U. and U.S.N. send in peacekeeping forces on their respective sides of the island to quell the violence. This conflict, known as the "Huffman Crisis", increased tensions between the two supranational unions. By 2089, both super-states increase their military presence on the island and begin hiring mercenaries from all over the world. These mercenaries were then sent on espionage and reconnaissance operations around Mail River - the border that divides the O.C.U. and U.S.N. territories on Huffman Island.
Front Mission 2089 revolves around a group of mercenaries led by Ernest J. Salinger. Given the codename "Storm", Ernest conducts sorties near Mail River. While many of the sorties involve basic reconnaissance and data collection, the mercenaries detect abnormalities by the border. Mercenaries hired by both sides begin mysteriously disappearing, and many of them were last sighted near Mail River. Unsure whether or not the mercenaries are deserting their duties or are truly disappearing, Storm's superior officer Falcon orders them to investigate these disappearances. During their investigations, Ernest and his group come across an unknown mercenary outfit known as the Vampires.
Front Mission 2089-II is a direct continuation of Front Mission 2089, revolving around a mercenary named Albert Masel. As a new recruit for the O.C.U. mercenary outfit Chariots, Albert is given the codename "Tornado" and assigned a role of an assault-type wanzer pilot. In the midst of a large investigation behind the mysterious disappearances of mercenaries on both sides, the Chariots are assigned by the Central Intelligence Unit (C.I.U.) to investigate the mercenary outfit known as the Vampires. During their investigations, Albert and the Chariots eventually discover a link between the Vampires and a medical entity known as the B-Organization.
These are the recurring characters who appear in Front Mission 2089, Front Mission 2089-II, and Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.
Ernest J. Salinger - Ernest J. Salinger is a former O.C.U. captain and a mercenary employed by the O.C.U. He was the part of the O.C.U. Ground Defense Force (O.C.U. GDF) 13th Battalion, B.A.T.S., but left the unit for unknown reasons. Salinger's mercenary codename is "Storm". Ernest also makes an appearance in Front Mission 2089-II.
Kate S. Houjou - Kate S. Houjou is a former operations coordinator and a mercenary working with the O.C.U. military. Her past line of work got her involved with the Central Intelligence Unit (C.I.U.) on many intelligence operations. Houjou's mercenary codename is "Oddeye". Kate also makes an appearance in Front Mission 2089-II.
Lycov - Lycov is an engineer in the employ of weapons developer and medical conglomerate, Sakata Industries. Lycov worked with the company to create Bioneural Device-use models. His real name is "G. Lycov", but few know what the initial "G" stands for. Lycov also makes appearances in Front Mission 2089-II and Front Mission 2.
Stan Williams - Stan Williams is a former mixed martial arts champion and a mercenary working with the O.C.U. military. He won the Triple Crown of mixed martial arts, but left the sport in search of more "meaningful" work. Williams' mercenary codename is "Champ". Stan also makes an appearance in Front Mission 2089-II.
Albert Masel - Albert Masel is a mercenary serving the O.C.U. military and a member of the Chariots mercenary outfit. He was originally from the USN, but immigrated to the O.C.U. half of Huffman Island as a child. Masel's mercenary codename is "Tornado". Albert also makes an appearance in Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.
Dan Nguyen - Dan Nguyen is a former O.C.U. specialist and a member of the Chariots. In his time with the O.C.U., he specialized in launcher-type weaponry as well as gunner-type weaponry. Nguyen's mercenary codename is "Napalm". Dan also makes an appearance in Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.
Griffon - Griffon is a mercenary employed by the Vampires. Griffon is a member of the Vampires platoon known as "Cerberus" and serves Raven. While his real name is unknown, his codename in the outfit is "X-16 Griffon". Griffon also makes an appearance in Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.
Raven - Raven is a mercenary in the employ of the Vampires mercenary outfit. Raven commands a platoon within the Vampires called "Cerberus". While his real name is unknown, his codename in the outfit is "X-06 Raven". Raven also makes an appearance in Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.
Serena Sana - Serena Sana is a former O.C.U. captain and the leader of the Chariots. She befriended and worked alongside Karen Meure during her time in the O.C.U. GDF. While she has no mercenary codename, she prefers to be called "Sana" by her colleagues. Serena also makes an appearance in Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.
In fall 2007, Square Enix announced that it would be creating a remake of Front Mission 2089 on the Nintendo DS and named it Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness. The games producer Koichiro Sakamoto indicated that a survey of the series fans showed that most did not play games on their cell phones, and so Square Enix decided to bring it to the Nintendo DS. This remake of Front Mission 2089 featured completely remade visuals, new character artwork, new cut-scene events, a rewritten story, new game scenarios, and new battle maps. Also incorporated in the game were touchscreen features and a revised interface for more intuitive touchpad controls. Likewise, various gameplay mechanics from other Front Mission entries such as armor coating and linked attacks were added to Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness. The multiplayer mode had to be dropped due to space issues on the Nintendo DS.