PS3 Interview

Sega talk Valkyria Chronicles

Producer and director discuss this ambitious genre-mixer

Out this November, Valkyria Chronicles is an ambitious new Sega release, developed in Japan. The game hopes to mix strategy, action and role-playing elements in a fictional world inspired by 1930's Europe. Lavish environments are promised in this PS3 exclusive, and in a bid to find out if Sega can pull off this unusual concept, we cornered producer Ryutaro Nonaka and Japanese version director Shuntaro Tanaka for a chin-wag.

What is the premise behind Valkyria Chronicles?

Nonaka: Our development team have worked on titles with a strong focus on drama, such as "Skies of Arcadia" and "Sakura Taisen". We wanted to create a title with a focus on drama, but also with completely new content. Sega talk Valkyria Chronicles

This is how Valkyria Chornicles project started.

Why the fictional, but real-world influenced setting?

Nonaka: First, we wanted the audiences to feel that VCs world and our world are close. The fictional setting adds dynamism and catharsis not existent in our world. Also, the fictional setting helps the theme to stand out more.

How far will VC push the PlayStation 3 console?

Nonaka: This is our first PS3 title but we gave it our best and pushed the console as far as we can.

What can you tell us about the art-style of the game, and the impact this has on the overall game experience?

Nonaka: We wanted a graphic-style that portrays the theme well. We also wanted the graphics to be "warm", so people who do not like realistic graphics can enjoy this game. We think CANVAS really accomplishes those two goals.

Is it tough mixing tactical and RPG elements together in one experience? How will this blend feel to the player?

Tanaka: When you think of tactical RPGs, you think of swords as the main weapons and we've had experience in those kinds of titles.

However, bringing in guns as the main weapons (usually found in FPS and TPS) in this genre was difficult and we had a lot of conversations about that. Such difficulties really paid off, however.

We've succeeded in putting two unique elements together; "management of tactics", which is difficult to do in FPS/TPS, and "dynamic action", which cannot be found in simulation games.

What impact do the real-time controls have on the gameplay?

Tanaka: In RPG and simulation games, enemies won't attack in the player's turn. In VC, however, enemies will fire at the moving units during the player's turn, and it's really thrilling.

In SEGA, VC was often called "real-time chess". This game will bring you a "realistic sensation of war" like no other RPGs... as well as chess!

How diverse are the battlefields we'll be experiencing?

Tanaka: There are about 30 environments with completely different looks. Most of those environments have different sets of enemy positionings and have several difficulty levels. That adds up to quite a lot of battlefields to play.

Also, players will be evaluated by ranks depending on how well the player has fought in the battle. In some cases, higher ranks may reward you with rare weapons and this adds replay value to the game.

We hear talk of over 50 characters. With so many involved, how do you ensure the plot stays meaningful?

The characters in this game can be separated to two different groups; important characters tied closely to the story, and characters who only take part in the battles. So we can assure that the story does not get tangled up.

On the other hand, players who only participate in the battles are not just simple units. Their names, physical appearance, and even their voices are all different. Since these characters are somewhat free from the story, we were able to add many more unique characteristics to them; boys to aged men, brave soldiers to timid girls, etc.

These characters will also learn their individual skills as they earn experience. We think these characters are adding depth to the overall experience of the game, so please have fun using them.

Will there be a multiplayer element?

Nonaka: Unfortunately, not in this title.

Will the European release be identical to the Japanese one?

Nonaka: They are basically identical, but the European (and North American) release has both English and Japanese voice-overs. The Japanese release only has Japanese voices.

Lastly, what is the feature of VC you're most proud of?

Nonaka: We've put in so many features, but at the same time, the atmosphere of the game has really shaped up. We'd like as many people as possible to play this game and experience the world of VC.

Tanaka: We take pride in bringing in "3 new" things: new graphics, a new atmosphere, and a new battle system.

Also, we'd like the players to notice that "Valkyria" is like the mass-destruction weapons of today. We position this unsolved problem of today's world as one of the story's themes.

Thanks for your time, gentlemen.

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