SEGA surprised and excited many longtime Valkyria Chronicles fans (including myself) with the announcement of Valkyria Chronicles 4 for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch yesterday. Today, in an interview on the PlayStation Blog, Producer Kei Mikami gave us even more information about the title.
Apparently, Valkyria Chronicles 4 has been in active development for about two years, with the planning phase of development going back even further:
“It’s been about two years since the project officially started. It might be a little longer if you include the time our director, Mr. Yamashita, spent in the planning phase.”
According to Kei Mikami, the developers are also aiming for Valkyria Chronicles 4 to attract new players from around the world while still sticking to the series’ roots. As some may have suspected, Valkyria Chronicles Remastered on PS4 helped lay out the groundwork for this new title, while also introducing the series to tons of new players so they would be interested in Valkyria Chronicles 4:
“The aim of this Valkyria Project is to expand the series on a global scale. We haven’t released a mainline title since Valkyria Chronicles 3 in 2011, so our goal from the beginning was to attract new audiences worldwide. Our overarching vision is to return to the original Valkyria Chronicles’ roots, while building on improvements from the rest of the series. Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the culmination of everything we’ve learned up to this point.
We began setting the groundwork for this project with Valkyria Chronicles Remastered for PS4. Our intent was to let fans experience Valkyria Chronicles’ origins and core gameplay on a next-gen console before moving forward with a brand-new numbered entry to the main series.”
Valkyria Chronicles 4 will also signify the series’ return to its more grounded roots, with there being more relatable characters and fewer super-soldiers with fantastical powers. The developers were inspired by the stories of soldiers who fought in World War II and hope to incorporate some of those emotional feelings into the game:
“Valkyria Chronicles 2 and 3 were both released exclusively on PSP, which was a very prolific console in Japan. Their themes, therefore, catered to our Japanese audience, such as a schoolyard environment or a fantastical special ops team. This time we decided to return to the first game’s grounded military setting. As such, we moved away from super soldiers with extraordinary powers. Instead you’ll find characters who are more like people you could see yourself meeting in everyday life.
We gathered reference material by studying countless records of the troops who participated in World War II. In doing so, we learned about soldiers who never lost hope, even in dire straits. Perhaps it was their youthfulness that allowed them to hold onto that positivity. These tales of soldiers whose dreams were crushed by the stark realities of war, only for them to stand back up and face that reality head-on, affected our team on a deeply emotional level.”
Kei Mikama also touched on the updated Canvas system, discussing how the more powerful hardware makes Valkyria Chronicles 4 look better than ever before:
“New hardware allowed us to repaint the gorgeous visuals you know and love in a whole new light. In order to amplify Canvas’ hand-drawn, watercolor aesthetic, we deepened the shadows to make its colors pop. We also added real-time environmental effects — like footprints left in the snow, or heatwaves warping the air around you — to give the sense that you’re actually there in person.”
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is currently set to release on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch sometime in 2018 in both North America and Europe.