Producer Kei Mikami details how real world conflict impacted next year's PS4 release
In case you missed it, the beloved Valkyria Chronicles series is making a grand return to the west with Valkyria Chronicles 4! Revisit a WWII-inspired world with a refined tactical RPG battle system, rich painterly aesthetic, new ensemble cast of characters, and a captivating story about growing up on the battlefield.
Although the Valkyria Chronicles 4 team has been super busy, we were able to ask producer Kei Mikami a few questions about his experience working on the newest mainline entry of the Valkyria Chronicles series.
When did Valkyria Chronicles 4 begin development?
Kei Mikami: 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.
What brought you back to the world of Valkyria Chronicles 4?
Kei Mikami: 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.
What inspired the story, characters, and setting?
Kei Mikami: 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.
What makes Valkyria Chronicles 4 different than the rest of the mainline series?
Kei Mikami: The first Valkyria Chronicles games focused on the small country of Gallia. This time around, the world itself is expanding to reveal an epic story that covers the full scope of the Second Europan War. We recreated a world history loosely based on the frontlines of the Eastern Theatre and want you to experience a different side of the Europan conflict. How did the war impact other continents? What lies beyond the Gallian front? Discover the global impact of EWII through the mechanical improvements and narrative innovations of our latest creation.
What’s new about the Canvas system?
Kei Mikami: 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, watercolour aesthetic, we deepened the shadows to make its colours 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 will be available on PS4 and will come out in Europe in 2018.