I know. Reading is hard. This interview wasn’t able to be captured on camera (as it was standing in front of Team ICO’s Fumito Ueda at the time — more on that next week), but I’m sure Valkyria Chronicles fans will be very interested in reading it, nonetheless. I snuck down to the show floor during a rare quiet period — more of those next year, please! — and got my hands on the TGS playable demo. You guys are going to love it.
What made you decide to develop the official sequel for Valkyria Chronicles on the PSP? (Submitted by user: Trollkotte)
For the original PS3 version of the game there were two key features: The Canvas graphics system and the BLiTZ combat system. So when we were discussing the sequel we obviously wanted to bring these two features over, but we wanted to upgrade it somehow. When we looked at the BLiTZ battle system specifically — especially in the Japanese market — co-op play and wireless play is becoming more and more popular and we felt that would expand the gameplay for the title in a great way. When we went further in that direction we discovered that the PSP is the perfect platform to take advantage of that.
Are you adding new unit classes, weapon types or vehicles? Will there be any returning characters from Valkyria Chronicles 1? (Submitted by user: BigBoss712)
Yes. In terms of new weapons and units, not only will there be more of each, but there will be expanded customisation options for both. We have Scouts and Stormtroopers, as we did in the first game, but Scouts may branch into Scouts who run faster or are more meant for battle. In that way, each of the units will branch into new units. In terms of weapons, in the first game a rifle might branch into three different rifles as you progress in the game. The amount of variation is even greater in the sequel. In terms of returning characters, you’ll definitely see Alicia and Welkin come back and you might see other members of Squad 7, too.
We can also customise tanks this time around. You can equip different weapons and change the colour, which will affect how the tank moves. There are many ways for you to customise your own troops, just based on all the different character, tank and weapon options.
With Valkyria Chronicles 2 going portable next year there have been rumours of its return to the PS3. Is that likely? (Submitted by user: G-Force08)
We’re still developing Valkyria Chronicles 2 so, to be honest, we’re not really thinking about Valkyria Chronicles 3, 4 or 5 at this point. Just in terms of how our team develops titles and our way of thinking when we choose the platform for each of our titles, it’s not necessarily “let’s make a PS3 game!”. It’s more a case of “what kind of game do we want to make?”. For example, the first Valkyria was on the PS3 because of all the features we wanted to incorporate into the game and we felt the PS3 was the most suitable platform, so that’s how we develop games in our team. So potentially Valkyria Chronicles 3, or another title that we work on next might be on the PS3, it might still be on the PSP, we don’t know at this point.
Because we’ve already got experience of working on the PS3 and now we’re developing another game on the PSP, that just adds to our level of experience and understanding of these platforms and will definitely help us in determining what is the best platform for the next game that we make.
The PSP is seeing a lot of success, particularly in Japan, with regards to its online and ad-hoc multiplayer. Will you be taking advantage of that in Valkyria Chronicles 2?
We are incorporating wireless ad-hoc play into the game, which will feature both co-op and versus modes. We can’t really talk too much about it in detail yet.
Are there any plans to add a versus mode to Valkyria Chronicles 1?
Valkyria Chronicles’ engine wasn’t made for this sort of gameplay, so we can’t just patch a versus mode into the first game. But if fans really want that, and the development team really feels that it would be a compelling addition to the Valkyria Chronicles franchise, then that might be when we create another Valkyria Chronicles game for the PS3.
How does the difficulty of Valkyria Chronicles 2 and the character progression system differ from the first game?
What has changed the most is the way the game flows. If you remember back to the first game, it’s like reading through a book, with a certain number of missions per chapter. So if you hit a particularly hard mission you have to use trial and error to get past it, or you’ll never progress. But Valkyria Chronicles 2 is mission based, so if you reach a mission you can’t clear, you have the option of trying other missions before returning to the more difficult one. By doing that you can level up your characters or you might meet someone who can help you clear this mission. It’s a different method of progressing through the game. Overall the game’s difficulty will be about the same as Valkyria Chronicles, but because the game flow is different you might find the game is easier or, depending on the player, more difficult