Interview: Valkyria Chronicles 4 is returning to its roots
Valkyria Chronicles 4 will be the debut of the franchise on the Nintendo Switch when it launches on September 25th. It’s a pesky thing, that number four. Three other games you might have missed out on, a complex story to catch up with? Seems not! We spoke to Andrew Davis, a producer at Sega working on Valkyria Chronicles 4 and looks like this game might be the best place to start your Valkyria Chronicles journey.
Vooks: It’s possible that Nintendo fans may never have played Valkyria Chronicles before, being the fourth entry is there any introduction to what’s going on in the game’s world or is it a new story?
Davis: While there’s a “4” in the title, the story and characters are all-new! The game takes place on the same continent and at the same time as Valkyria Chronicles 1, but no knowledge of previous titles is required—the story is written to introduce all the major concepts and players of the Second Europan War right from the beginning.
While there’s a “4” in the title, the story and characters are all-new!
That said, fans of the previous games might recognize some story developments related to the events of VC1, helping to tie the timelines together.
Vooks: For someone who never played Valkyria Chronicles before, how would you explain in it a couple of sentences?
Davis: Valkyria Chronicles is a unique blend of tactical RPG and ground-level 3rd-person combat, set in an alternate-universe World War II, with a delicate, gorgeous living-watercolor art style. And there’s tanks!
Vooks: We’ve seen in other interviews that Valkyria Chronicles 4 is said to be more like the original, and not the other titles in the series. How is it different?
Part of the concept of VC4 was to return to and build on the fundamentals of VC1. However, the game does incorporate the expanded role of the minor sub-characters seen in the PSP titles, including the optional side stories that explore their personalities in depth.
There’s a new combat class, the Grenadier, that mixes up the dynamics on the field. This class can fire mortars in an arc through the air to land on unsuspecting enemies from far away. An effective tactic is to send in a Scout to identify enemy positions, then have your Grenadier drop bombs on them from a distance. However, the Empire has their own Grenadiers now, too, meaning charging across the battlefield can often be a harrowing game of dodging explosions until you can take out the enemy Grenadier.
Part of the concept of VC4 was to return to and build on the fundamentals of VC1.
Returning from VC1 is the ability to issue “Orders,” commands to the troops with effects like emergency healing or temporary stat buffs. In VC4, at a certain point in the game, you also gain the assistance of a naval vessel that you can use to issue “Ship Orders.” With these powerful commands, you can control the ship’s radar to identify enemy locations from afar, or bombard the enemy with the ship’s artillery.
Troops who fall in battle now have a chance to trigger what’s called a “Last Stand,” a final action they can take before collapsing. Depending on what you choose, you might stagger to a safer area, pump bullets into the Imperial jerk who took you down or just inspire your comrades with your sacrifice—an actual mechanic that gives your nearest squadmate a stat boost and the team an extra Command Point.
Vooks: Can you tell us about the personalities and relationships in this title? There seems to be a lot of in-depth stories.
Davis: Sure! The core cast is a group of friends who grew up in the same Gallian village and joined the Federation Army in shared resentment against the Empire. Leader of Squad E is Claude Wallace, a resolute commander of his troops. As a child, he was notoriously timid and indecisive, but a certain traumatic event caused him to rethink his life and grow into the role model he is today.
Then there’s Raz, a Darcsen and juvenile delinquent. Despite his salty language, hot temper, and penchant for making terrible decisions, he and straight-arrow Claude have been best of friends for years. As a Shocktrooper, Raz loves nothing more than charging headlong into the fray—contrast this with Kai Schulen, another friend of Claude and Raz. A cool, collected Sniper, Kai hangs back, carefully studying the Imperial forces for signs of weakness. Her unflinching accuracy has earned her the nickname “Deadeye Kai.”
And into this group comes Riley Miller, a talented engineer who knew them all as kids. She studied abroad, continuing her late father’s research into the powerful mineral known as ragnite. Now, as a Grenadier, she brings advanced military technology to Squad E, but she only remembers the quivering crybaby Scaredy-Claude—it’s hard for her to imagine that Claude Wallace could really be the leader the Federation needs.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is out on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on September 25th.