Valiant Hearts: The Great War marches onto PS4, PS3 tomorrow

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War marches onto PS4, PS3 tomorrow

Everything you need to know about Ubisoft’s striking WWI-set adventure

Hello, my name is Simon Chocquet-Bottani, Game and Level Designer on Valiant Hearts: The Great War for PS4 and PS3, out tomorrow. When we started making Valiant Hearts, we immediately knew what sort of feelings we wanted the game to evoke. That has been our guiding principle throughout the game development process. We tried to make a game that will captivate you and take you on an emotional journey. We also wanted to make sure we stayed true to history, so we built the basis of our story around real events and real places.

As we were moving through and creating prototypes, we recognised many aspects of the war we wanted to talk about. This brought us to the idea of creating not one, but four main characters, each of them with their own experiences and interpretations of the war.


By switching between the four characters, we’re able to tell a story with several cliffhangers, as well as lighten the moments between happiness and sadness as needed. The art style fit this concept perfectly because it allowed us to take people on an emotional adventure where they could be laughing or crying at any period of time.

“From the beginning, we knew that Valiant Hearts was not going to be the typical action-shooter war game.”

We didn’t want to present a black-or-white stance or point fingers showing that these are the bad guys and these are the good guys. We didn’t want to portray the war like you’d usually find it, but rather tell the individual stories of a farmer, a student, a son, a daughter, and all of these families torn apart during The Great War.

From the beginning, we knew that Valiant Hearts was not going to be the typical action-shooter war game; we really wanted to move away from this idea of a war game to making a game about what happens to people during war.

Through research quite early on, we found unique, unknown stories that shed a human essence to the otherwise atrocities of the time — stories of dogs in the trenches and how the men cherished them because of their innocence and the way that they were able to bring joy to the soldiers by playing with them and even help out in certain situations. This fits exactly with the vision we wanted to convey, that people are not inherently bad. And you can see this in the way the dog looks at the characters and how he interacts with them.


In order to make the gameplay mesh with the story and moods of the different situations, we chose a slow-paced puzzle approach and created the core gameplay so that it can be adapted to any situation. Our characters can pick up objects, throw them, activate different things in the background, and punch. By modifying the use of this basic mechanic based on the context, we were able to create a wide variety of situations while keeping the game fairly easy to play.

We really wanted to foster an overall feeling of immersion in the story. For example, to use a lever it will ask you to hold a button for your character to hold the lever, and then mimic the action you want your character to perform using the stick on the controller. The use of intuitively reproducing the same action the character is doing on screen with your joystick allows the creation of a lot of diversity while keeping the game mechanics intuitive.

“Each character has specific abilities that give the feeling that each one is representative of a different aspect of the war”

Of course, we wanted to create a specific bond between the player and the dog, so it was essential for us that the dog be part of the actual gameplay. He needed to have unique abilities that would complement the player’s. A button allows you to enter “dog mode.” In this mode, you can give commands to the dog, such as asking him to fetch, come here, go over there, etc.

Each character also has specific abilities that give this feeling that each one is representative of a different aspect of the war. Emile is older, wiser, and slower than the other characters. He does not want to fight, and so most of his maps will be puzzle-oriented, though he will be confronted with other diverse situations in the game, such as digging through the ground to avoid direct combat.

Freddie is more aggressive and action-oriented because of his back story and will very often be close to the action. Anna has a particular healing gameplay which is based on a rhythmic game. This gameplay is meant to make you feel the urgency of saving someone’s life by having to react quickly while at the same time remaining precise and accurate.

Karl is also an unwilling fighter and he really wants to solve things peacefully, so his ability is being able to disguise himself in order to get out of difficult situations without having to enter into any conflict. The levels in which you play Karl are mostly stealth-based.

Valiant Hearts - PS3, PS4

In order to focus on this more “humanised” side of the war, we were very careful not to have the characters kill anyone. The war kills people, but none of the characters do. We really thought that enabling players to kill someone would lead to a break in the bond between player and the character and would confuse the game’s overall message. Even while performing an indirect action, such as destroying a bridge, we made sure to show the player that the soldiers on the bridge escape BEFORE the explosion.

In the end we are really happy with Valiant Hearts. The balance between gameplay, narration, and history was an interesting challenge for all of us, but thanks to our experience from a wide range of different game types, such as Rayman Origins, Rayman Legends, Beyond Good and Evil, King Kong, From Dust, Raving Rabbids, and others, we were able to create something unique and different.

This balance allowed us not only to create a game with compelling gameplay, but also to give people a touching story, and even a World War One history lesson! We’re really looking forward to see how people will experience the game for themselves — it was made with a lot of passion and love! We hope you enjoy the game!

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  • I really wish essential info would be a standardized part of such game specific blog entries. Especially shortly before release.

    Price? Cross-buy? Vita version following?
    There should simply be an info box on the top right corner, with all such data. Always.

    • And yes, I consider this project fascinating, I like the idea. Will wait for reviews to see if it actually is a good game too. ;)

  • madmanwithabox12

    I’ve been loving the look of this. Hope it comes to Vita.

  • Looks great but holding out for the vita version.
    These games are so great ubi but you need to develop for Sony’s little unloved child at the same time. I’ll instabuy anything you make in this engine for the vita.

  • I’ve been looking forward to this game till the very moment it was announced. Can’t wait!

    • I’ve been looking forward to this game from the very moment it was announced. Can’t wait!

  • Cross buy. Vita.

  • These guys are so talented but their games so often overlooked (BG&E, Zombi U). Planning to get this day one.

  • Wow didn’t realise this was out so soon!
    Tempted by the PS4 version but will hold out for a Vita announce.

  • i’ll probably buy it, but depends on the price of the game, but it looks a nice game

  • I bought Child of Light for PS3/4 thinking the Vita version (which I’d prefer to play) would also be part of the deal. Having discovered that wasn’t the case and I’ll have to buy it again, I feel a little burned.

    So, I’ll be supporting Valiant Hearts, but knowing the cross buy/save details beforehand would be really handy!

  • Not sure why everyone is so fussed about this game?

    • Because its not another mainstream shooter (we have too many of those), its emotionally striking and has very different visual style. At least thats why im buying it.


  • Unique art style + appealing historical setting + Ubisoft = Instant buy!

  • Emotional! The trailer alone at E3 nearly had me in tears, that poor little dog all alone!!

  • Such a brave and interesting subject choice for a game. I hope that the game tackles it in the correct manner, and is successful as a result.

    As for the Vita version, Ubisoft are arguably supporting the Vita more than Sony at the moment, so I’d say that there’s a decent chance that it’ll come eventually. While that’d be my preference, at the end of the day it’s up to the developers to make that choice, and I won’t be giving it the old “NoVitaNoBuy” malarkey…if it’s good and doesn’t come to Vita, I’ll enjoy it on my PS3 (Sony have put me off buying a PS4…)


  • No Vita release? No customer here.

  • from what i remember i saw it will be around 15 euro….. can’t wait for this to be release tomorrow :)
    child of light was amazing i guess this one will be too

  • Looks superb but it would have been nice to have a price for this. I’ll probably pick it up anyway though!

  • I know this is going to be a beautiful gaming experience, but please please bring this to vita. I bought the system for exactly this kind of game. Both Rayman games were perfect on it, and I have no doubt child of light will also be great, the Ubiart engine looks stunning on that OLED screen. Make it happen. Thanks.

  • Day one buy i hear price is around 12 quid bargain a bargain considering Ubisoft is behind this little gem. I hope it is just as good or better than Child of Light……please don’t make us wait ALL DAY to get our dirty mitts on it !!

  • These are the sort of games they should release on the Vita.

  • This was one of my top games I saw come out of this years E3! So glad it’s out this soon, and hopefully it’ll become a great franchise (if they don’t go over the top like most franchises do theses days). You can tell a lot of heart and soul went into making this game, and I’m glad they went for the first world war, because the second gets too much attention in games.

  • Re-posting what I posted in the previous post a few days ago…

    When this was first announced at E3 2013, I was in, everything about the game looked and sounded amazing. I was happy to throw my money to Ubisoft straight away.

    Flash forward to now, I’ll be waiting. That isn’t to say that the content of the game has changed my opinion, indeed I want to be able to buy it.

    I’m waiting on it because of what happened with Child Of Light. You see, this and Child Of Light were both announced at the same time, at that point neither of them were announced for Vita though. In essence this isn’t a problem, if I knew that Vita was never going either of the games I would pick up the console version.

    However, Child Of Light has since been announced to be ported to the Vita, one data point does not make a trend, but seeing as this game is built on the same engine, there is no reason why it couldn’t be released on the Vita. Even if it is 3-4 months later.

    Call me a VitaDad, whilst I do and can make time to play my PS3/4, 90% of my gaming time is in transit to and from work and the Vita has really become my gaming main for the last 2 years. Ubisoft could outright deny a Vita port if they wanted, but they remain silent, so this leads me to believe that what happened with Child Of Light will happen again.

    I have plenty of backlog to fill in my time until that day happens… if after a few months nothing comes of it, then I will eventually pick up the PS4 version.

  • Been playing this during the night on PS4 and it looks incredible….it’s like an interactive line drawing/wash animated novel with some sweet little puzzles, the slickest of presentations and a wonderfully apt musical score.

    It looks AMAZING with such smooth animations to boot. These don’t look like computer generated images at all.

    Ubi does it again. :)

  • I am searching for this game all over the PSN and it is nowhere to be found. It is already on other systems and also in other PSN regions. It happened before with Child Of Light, with Daylight, with every single episode of any episodic game (The walking dead, the wolf among us…) I really don’t understand why European users have ALWAYS to wait longer to receive the games.

    It is not only the delay with respect other regions or system (Whether it is PC or consoles) it is also the fact that it still suffers more delay and it is never available when it is supposed to. If a product is announced for a specific date, 25th in this case, I expect to be able to buy it on 25th whenever I go online and search for it. This means that I should have been on the PS store since 0:00 last night. It is 13:19 and nothing shows up when doing a search.

    Do I have to keep checking every two hours to see if we are finally lucky enough to get new games like everybody else?

    Of course I can wait for a game but I do not think that this is serious at all and I really want it to change.

  • I agree totaly with newjosh’s comments about Valiant Hearts I’ve been searching psn most off the day and nothing there are even clips of the first few minutes of gameplay on YouTube and have been up for days but we seem to always be the last to get it (europe).
    Released on 25th means to me 00.00am on the day, this has happened with dlc and other games come on Sony why does Europe always seem to be second in most updates if not last?

  • No discount for this game for ps+ members? Child of Light had one.

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