Valkyria Revolution, the first full-fledged entry in Sega’s strategy RPG series since the Japan-exclusive Valkyria Chronicles III in 2011, is set for release in the second quarter of 2017 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Xbox One.
Rather than a direct sequel, Valkyria Revolution represents a sideways step for the Valkyria IP, moving away from the narrative and gameplay of previous entries to offer a unique take on the established formula.
Although the underpinning story elements of human drama, international conflict, and the presence of the god-like Valkyria remain intact, they are transplanted to a new setting, a new war, and new characters. Gallia is left behind, and players will follow Amleth, a commander in the army of the Kingdom of Jutland, a small dominion fighting for independence from the Empire of Rus.
Amleth is one of ‘The Circle of Five,’ a group of friends who use their political influence to agitate the populace and turn discontent against colonial rule into full-blown revolution. Other characters include Ophelia, princess of Jutland, and Brynhildr the Valkyria, who acts as the main antagonist.
Revolution also jettisons the turn-based strategy gameplay of the Valkyria Chronicles series, implementing instead a real-time system that, nevertheless, allows almost complete control of the battlefield. Because Valkyria Revolution takes place earlier in the timeline than the Chronicles games, firearms merely supplement a main arsenal of swords, axes, and polearms.
In each mission, players assume the role of a small squad of characters, each with their own unique perks and weaknesses, and have the ability to switch between them on-the-fly in order to take advantage of their strengths. Furthermore, players still have the ability to pause the action to switch between their weaponry, including guns, grenades, and the magic-like substance Ragnite, ensuring that at least something of the series’ heritage is retained.
Other returning features include battles against oversized and overpowered foes that will test the skills of the player, permanent death for characters who fall in battle (excluding the protagonists, of course) and the stunning watercolour aesthetic that has defined the franchise to date.
The Valkyria IP has a chequered past. Though it began in 2008 with the well-received Valkyria Chronicles on PlayStation 3, the series migrated to the PlayStation Portable for the next two entries. The latter of these sequels never saw release outside of Japan, and the series languished.
As far back as 2011, there were reports that various pitches had been made to continue the saga, but development on Valkyria Revolution did not begin until 2013. At that time, the game’s director, Takeshi Ozawa, approached Sega with the intention of making something fundamentally new, but still tied to the franchise.
Ozawa previously worked as a designer on the first game, before stepping into the role of director for both of the PSP entries. The development team, Media.Vision, is perhaps best known for its work on the Wild Arms series, and previously created Valkyria Chronicles III. The game’s soundtrack is being composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, whose previous credits include Chrono Trigger, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Soul Sacrifice.
Valkyria Revolution was officially announced in late 2015 as Valkyria: Azure Revolution, aiming for a 2016 release. When Sega released a demo alongside the Japanese remaster of Valkyria Chronicles, fan feedback led to a slight delay so the team could make a number of changes, including the addition of more strategic elements.
The game is now set to launch on January 19 in Japan, and at an undisclosed date later in the year for Western territories.
Despite the existence of Valkyria Revolution, Ozawa recently mentioned the possibility that the original Valkyria Chronicles series will continue, as the two are considered subseries of the Valkyria IP, rather than having the new title replace its forebears.
Valkyria Chronicles was a breath of fresh air when it first released, marrying engaging gameplay with stunning visuals and a story powerful enough to bring the player to tears. Valkyria Revolution may be a radical departure from its predecessors, but it remains an enticing proposition because of its unique blend of action, strategy, and RPG elements, while its narrative promises a deep, dramatic tale of personal conflict and political intrigue.
With the promise of one-of-a-kind gameplay and an in-depth story, Valkyria Revolution makes the list of OnlySP’s most anticipated games of 2017.