Valkyria Chronicles is one of my favourite PS3 games, and so like many other fans I was delighted to read earlier this week that Sega is bringing out a new VC game on PS4, as well as a HD re-master of the PS3 original. This is music to the ears of Valkyria fans left frustrated at the absence of a genuine sequel on the PS3. There were subsequent Valkyria games released on handheld devices but it is not the same thing, particularly seeing as much of VC’s appeal came from its beautiful graphics.
Ah, those graphics. It was a bold move to use a watercolour style for a military-themed game but the result was quite stunning and exceptional. The game also boasted an interesting story and environment, likable characters, and an engaging and distinctive combat system. No wonder fans demanded another Valkyria console game and it is good to hear one is on the way next year, and a HD re-master of the original is the icing on the cake. Or is it?
As further details emerged about the new game (titled Valkyria: Azure Revolution), fans may have felt reason to pause. The original VC used a unique battle system referred to as BLiTZ (Battle of Live Tactical Zones). Essentially this was a turn-based system that allowed full control of individual units who had their own energy meters and action points. It gave combat a strong tactical and strategic feel as well as a good sense of weight and immediacy. However, the new game is promised to feature a different system, with game director Takeshi Ozawa quoted as saying:
“We wanted to do something new using Valkyria, and one of the things we’re putting in is a real-time system. Initially, we were considering real-time strategy, but we went with an RPG because we think that’s what more users want to play.” (http://gamerant.com/valkyria-chronicles-remaster-spinoff/)
One may well ask which users Ozawa is referring to here–presumably hypothetical new audiences rather than the hardcore fans of the original. If so, that approach may disappoint those fans still crying out for a ‘true’ sequel rather than just another action RPG, but using the Valkyria IP. The original VC sold over 500,000 copies via Steam since its PC release just one year ago, which indicates there is an audience for this sort of gameplay. I think it’s safe to say this provided the incentive for Sega to start work on the new games, so they’re aware that the demand for this style of game is clearly there. One of the things that set the original game apart was its unique battle system. Sega might say this lack of familiarity could put people off, but you could just as easily point out that gamers are always looking for new experiences and challenges.
Still, it’s perhaps churlish to complain too much when we have been promised not one but two Valkyria games on PS4, and there is still a lot of detail lacking about the new game. Hopefully it will kick ass. Let’s also hope that Sega does the decent thing and gives both games a Western release.