According to their official site From Software was established on the 1st of November 1986 for the purpose of developing computer software for the consumer market. At the time of their Dreamcast development they were head quartered in the Shibuya-ku district of Tokyo, Japan.
They started actively started persuing game development in 1993 for the Japanese consumer market. It was From Software’s desire to push technical development that in 1994 they started development for the Sony Playstation as the full 3D polygon graphics and the compact disc medium the hardware offered allowed them to experiment with more technically advanced games. In April 2014 kodokawa corporation acquired an 80 percent stake in From Software through shares acquisition and they became a wholly owned subsidiary company of kodokawa corporation.
The first title that From Software published themselves was Kings Field on the Sony Playstation which was probably up until recently a contender for the most popular series that they have developed along with the Armoured core titles. Today they are equally as famous for the Soul’s series of titles which comprise various entries in the Dark Soul’s & Demon Soul’s franchises. They also have had great success with the Bloodborne titles and currently the companies published output is arguably the strongest it’s ever been since their inception.
From Software published one title for the Dreamcast and that was フレームグライド or Frame Gride which was released on the 15th of July 1999 and it retailed for ¥6,800. From Software Looked to take advantage of the technical advancements the Dreamcast offered with its enhanced graphical and aural capabilities and online connectivity. Frame Gride was an early technical showcase for the Dreamcast system sadly despite media coverage outside of Japan the game remained a Japanese exclusive release. Linked to below is From Software’s current sites official entry for Frame Gride. © 1994-2017 FromSoftware, Inc. All right reserved.
The game is similar to the Armoured Core titles in that there is extensive customisation options in your mech’s design. From Software acknowledges that Frame Gride uses a similar system as the previously mentioned Armoured Core in their official synopsis of Frame Gride. I’ll link to it below as it covers the story and a basic overview of the game. (c) 1999 FROM SOFTWARE
The games story is set in an ancient medieval style feudal realm called Curt. The old emperor Regalia has died and with no line of direct succession the realm chooses from one of seven noble Lords each of which could be crowned emperor. But before a successor could be chosen the realm is plunged into open conflict when one of the Lords Zolt led’s a rebellion against the against the other six lords and the ruling establishment. Zolt does this by summoning nine legendary knights from the realms past soon the Loyal knights are defeated and the old emperor’s loyal archbishop Melange who was the last surviving candidate for emperor is all that’s left of the old order. But Melange is too old and on his deathbed to take up the cause of justice realising he cannot hope to defeat the insurrection by himself he defiantly manages to summon forth a knight and bestows the title of knight of the realm to take up the fight against Zolt.
Frame Gride is a 3D mech combat game set over ten stages in which strategic combat is done just as much with swords and melee attacks as it is with ranged weapons. The main similarity the game shares with other early From Software titles is the deep customisation options the game features. When you defeat other knights, they drop stones which are embrued with elemental properties these are used to unlock new parts and can be combined together to create new elements.
The material elements also serve another function you can also use them to create squires that are autonomous combatants which have a wide range of differing types you can experiment with to see what suits your playing style. Below is the official Frame Gride homepage where you can learn more about the various systems the game employs. (c) 1999 FROM SOFTWARE
The main advancement that Frame Gride featured compared to From Softwares previous titles was that it was online network compatible. The game allowed two players to battle online through the games in built Dream passport 2 browser through either NTT’s or KDD’s network service. The game didn’t support the broadband adaptor as it was released well after Frame Gride had been published.
Frame Gride’s network mode featured a total of thirty different lobby arenas that could hold up to 32 players each. These were sub-divided by different categories such as player skill level & frame class type. Each of the players had a chat interface where they were able to host or join an active battle and the game also supported private messaging between players on the same server. The rankings for the online network mode were accessible through the games homepage which you could access from the main menu. Below is the official From Software guide to online match making. (c) 1999 FROM SOFTWARE
Unfortunately Frame Gride’s online mode along with Sega Rally 2’s was terminated on the 28th of February 2001. Below is the official ISAO.net announcement of the cancelation of the games network service. Copyright : ISAO CO.,Ltd 2000
The games network mode was initially announced as set for closure on the 31st of January 2001 but strong player demand persuaded From Software, ISAO Co., Ltd & Sega Co., Ltd to extend the online network service for another month to the 28th of February 2001. Below i’ve linked to the announcement of the network modes extension.
It’s a shame Frame Gride isn’t better known as it’s a fantastic mech combat game with a unique fantasy take on the genre. It features deep customisation options for those willing to put the time to learn the games systems and a fun mech shooting game for those who want something simpler.
T-34201M Frame Gride
SAMPLE cover T-34201M Frame Gride
(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media
As for individual 非売品 discs Frame Gride has two known examples the first is the Frame Gride TEST Operation Disc which is one of the most common 非売品 discs to find. The reason for it being so common is due to the fact it could be obtained in three different ways. The most well-known was its inclusion on the Dreamcast Express Vol.2 非売品 double disc set which the TEST Operation Disc was the second included disc. The Dreamcast Express Vol.2 also included the TEST Operation Disc’s manual. It also exists as a shop front/promo and can be found sealed either with or without the manual all versions of this disc have the same 610- catalog code.
610-FRAME GRIDE TEST OPERATION disc
Dreamcast Express Vol.2 containing the FRAME GRIDE TEST OPERATION disc.
FRAME GRIDE TEST OPERATION disc
The next known Frame Gride 非売品 disc is the FRAME GRIDE pilot style which is significantly harder to come across. Again, this comes with a manual and the disc has different artwork its catalog code is 610-7122.
610-7122 FRAME GRIDE pilot style
From Software’s official Frame Gride website list’s three guidebooks that were released in support of the game. The first book listed is フレームグライド (ドリームキャスト必勝法スペシャル) or A book that enjoys frame glide for the rest of my life (Dream Cast victory method special).
It was published by Keikobusha on the 23 of July 1999 and it retailed for ¥1,200. It’s ISBN catalog codes are ISBN: 4-7669-3299-4, ISBN-10: 4766932994 & ISBN-13: 9784766932997.
The second official Frame Gride book to be released was フレームグライド 公式ガイドブック or Frame Gride Official Guide Book.
which was published by SoftBank through their Dorimaga BOOKS label on the 22nd of July 1999 and originally retailed at ¥1,300 (excluding tax) and it’s ISBN catalog codes are ISBN 4-7973-0986-5, ISBN-10: 4797309865 & ISBN-13: 9784797309867.
The third and final book officially released in support of Frame Gride was フレームグライド (ドリームキャスト必勝法スペシャル) or Frame Gride Dreamcast Victory Special.
which was published by Keikobusha on the 20th of September 1999 and retailed for ¥1,200. It’s ISBN codes are ISBN4-7669-3261-7, ISBN-10: 4766932617 & ISBN-13: 9784766932614.
I’ve been sadly unable to find an official soundtrack for Frame Gride or any other media relating to the game.
Thanks for taking the time to read this entry on From Software and as always if you can help with anything i’ve missed relating to either From Software or Frame Gride itself please get in contact either through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector