Front Mission Alternative is a real time strategy game, the second spin-off entry and the fourth entry overall in the Front Mission series. Unlike other Front Mission titles, Front Mission Alternative is the precursor to the serialized storyline and features a completely standalone story and cast of characters.
Set in 2034, the story of Front Mission Alternative takes place in Africa. In the early 21st century, nations around the world form regional entities to combat a global recession and other crises. While many regions thrive under their newly formed supranational unions, the nations of Africa fall deeper into environmental, racial, and ethnic conflicts. In an attempt to help them, the European Community (EC) and the Oceania Cooperative Union (OCU) assisted the African countries in forming a continental alliance called the Organization of African Consolidation (OAC). Although it initially thrives in the first three years, disputes flare up between the OAC's five regional blocs - the Union of Northern African States (UNAS), the South African United States (SAUS), the Community of Central African States (CA), the East African Communities (EA), and the West African States Community Union (WA). Tensions rise and with diplomatic efforts failing, the nations go to war, leading to the outbreak of the African Conflict.
The plot of Front Mission Alternative revolves around the Independent Mobile Assault Company (IMAC), a special joint unit of soldiers from the OCU and the SAUS led by OCU Ground Defense Force 2nd Lt Earl McCoy. The SAUS government deploys the IMAC to stop the civil conflicts in its territory and in the other blocs. Piloting a new bipedal weapons platform called the Wanderwagen or WAW, the IMAC successfully quells the violence across the continent. As they travel north to support the Western African Liberation Front, the company starts encountering unknown WAWs and WAW-vehicle hybrids known as "mobile weapons" being used by terrorist forces. The EC intervenes through the deployment of an elite anti-terrorism unit, but appear to be aiding the UNAS in prolonging the war. As the IMAC starts fighting their way into UNAS territory, they uncover connections between the terrorist uprisings, civil conflicts, the true cause of the war, and how the EC factors into the situation.
The games main character is Bruce Blakewood, an O.C.U. lieutenant and a member of the Independent Mobile Assault Company (IMAC) in the years 2034 to 2035. Bruce was sent to the O.A.C. to fight in the African Conflict. He is the father of Willas E. Blakewood, and the grandfather of Natalie F. Blakewood. Bruce is also referenced in Front Mission: Online.