Tomorrow, Valkyria Chronicles will be released as a PS4 remaster in Japan, and today we celebrate the return of one of the best JRPG franchises of all time to home consoles with something quite special. You could call it a pipe dream.
It’s fairly obvious that the release of Valkyria Chronicles 2 and Valkyria Chronicles 3 on PSP was quite detrimental to the continued popularity of the franchise in the west. While in Japan Sony’s portable was blessed with fairly strong sales, on this side of the Pacific Ocean it really wasn’t much of a commercial success, and most games released on it dropped pretty much under the radar of a large percentage of gamers.
The result is that Valkyria Chronicles 2 didn’t really make much of a splash sales-wise, and Valkyria Chronicles 3 didn’t even get localized, causing us to miss on the game that was the crowning jewel of the series, and very possibly on par with the original.
Now that Valkyria Chronicles Remastered is officially coming west this summer, could Sega give new and old fans alike a chance to play its sequels on PS4 and PS Vita?
While I’m not exactly holding my breath, the publisher could make that dream come true with a very limited budget, with the cheapest possible, and I think that many would still be absolutely happy to play the games on their TV screens.
A budget-limited port would probably involve the following:
- Adapting the code to run on different consoles. It’s not easy to gauge exactly how work-intensive this would be, but both games are officially playable on PS Vita in Japan, so I’m going to chalk this as not much of an issue.
- Upping the resolution of the 3D models. This is very easy and cheap to do, so much that PSP emulators already do it with no issue whatsoever.
- Replacing the textures with higher resolution ones. This should also be rather painless, as textures are normally prepared in high resolution by the artists, and then sized down to fit the platform’s memory. The development team should still have the original high definition textures in their archives.
- Changing the control scheme to fit a twin-stick control setup. In particular, the camera would need to be shifted from the triggers to the right stick.
- Applying anti-aliasing (at least on PS4), anistropic filter, and possibly other shaders to make everything look better on a large screen.
Of course Valkyria Chronicles 3 would need to be localized, but if Sega really wanted to keep the budget low, they could simply purchase the fan translation, which is 99% complete, and integrate it. The quality is actually fairly high. I would go out on a limb and say that it’s actually higher than the official localization of the first Valkyria Chronicles, that takes quite a few liberties especially with the way characters relate to each other (I still shudder every time I read “Welks”).
In order to simulate how it looks, we loaded both games in the PSP emulator PPSSPPP, tweaked the settings to match the resolution of PS4 and PS Vita, and applied filters that shouldn’t create problems with either console, and that are commonly used in remasters.
Before we move on, here’s an important disclaimer:
DualShockers does not endorse or encourage the user of emulators to play games you don’t own, on consoles you don’t own. The author of this article legally owns both games, and a PSP to run them. An emulator was used exclusively for the purpose of this experiment.
Now that we got that out of the way, below you can see the results. Keep in mind that remasters made by the actual development team at Sega would still look quite a lot better, especially in the texture department and in the UI. The emulator doesn’t have access to high resolution textures, it upscales them, creating a “posterized” effect. This wouldn’t be present in an actual remaster.
Valkyria Chronicles 2 – PS4
Valkyria Chronicles 2 – PS Vita
Valkyria Chronicles 3 – PS4
Valkyria Chronicles 3 – PS Vita
Personally, I think that the games wouldn’t look that bad, especially considering the arguably and relatively effortless porting process from PSP to PS4 and PS Vita. Of course Sega could do much more, with a full-fledged visual overhaul like the one done by Square Enix with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. Honestly, thought, considering Sega’s attitude towards the franchise, I would already be happy with this, and I would buy it without a second thought.
What about you? Would you buy these remasters made on the cheap if the price was reasonable?