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Valkyria Chronicles Set for PSP

Producer Shinji Motoyama discusses some of the changes and explains why Sega went portable again.

Sega's Valkyria Chronicles 3 teaser site is scheduled to open today, but details have leaked out in advance.

Valkyria Chronicles 3 ceased to be a mystery title when it accidentally appeared on a Tokyo Game Show event schedule off Sega's official site. But the game's platform remained a mystery -- until now.

Famitsu confirms this week that Sega will be bringing Valkyria 3 to the PlayStation Portable. A retail and download release is set for January 27, priced respectively ¥6,279 and ¥5,660.

The magazine has a huge blowout on the game, which is fully titled Valkyria Chronicles 3: Unrecorded Chronicles

Similar to the changes Sega made for VC2, part 3 will have an original story with an original cast. It's set in 1935's Europe and tells the story once again of war-torn Gallia. This is the same time period as the original Valkyria, but the story is all new.

The story is centered on Gallian Army squad 422, also known as the Nameless. This group, consisting of criminals, deserters and other baddies, gets its name because its members are referred to by number rather than name.

All the characters introduced in the magazine are Nameless members and thus have numbers associated with their name. The magazine introduces the hero and two heroines.

The game's hero is Number 7, real name Kurt Irving (voiced by Yuichi Nakamura). He was once a brilliant officer with a great future, but an incident which goes unexplained in the magazine caused him to fall to Nameless status. He's hoping to fight well and return to his former battalion.

On the heroine side is Number 01, Imuka (voiced by Masumi Asano), the ace of the Nameless force. Her village was wiped out by the Valkyria. She went off in search of the culprits and was rescued by the Nameless. As you might expect, compared to other members of the squad, she's the quiet type.

The other heroine is Number 13, Riela Marcellis (voiced by Aya Endo). Reila is a descendent of the Valkyria, but she and those around her do not realize this. When her entire squad was killed off, she alone survived and was deemed a "god of death" and expelled to the Nameless.

Famitsu interviewed Valkyra 3 producer Shinji Motoyama this week and asked the big questions about story and gameplay, but first about platform. Why did Sega decide to go with PSP for part 3? Motoyama cited a number of reasons. First off, they wanted to further develop the series on PSP beyond what they'd achieved in the first one.

Motoyama admits that there are likely many players out there who want a PS3 entry. However, he feels that a new PS3 entry would require new ideas beyond just a few gameplay updates -- so much so that you might not even be able to call it the same series. He and his team are always considering new ideas, but they've yet to come up with the revolutionary idea that they feel would warrant a PS3 sequel.

Motoyama did not rule out a PS3 entry, though, replying in the affirmative when Famitsu asked if the series could come to PS3 if he were to come up with the appropriate idea.

However, Motoyama feels that for the current story-focused series, the ability to play wherever you want is important. "In an era where everyone is busy, we felt PSP was best in order to make Valkyria Chronicles bigger."

The rest of Famitsu's interview focused on Valkyria 3 itself rather than on the platform.

As detailed above, Valkyria 3 takes place in the same time period as Valkyria 1. However it tells a different story from a different front. While there are connections with the events of part 1, everything you'll need to follow 3 is in 3.

Fans of the series can expect some of their favorite characters to make it into part 3. Motoyama confirmed that characters from part 2 will appear in part 3 in important roles. He also seemed to hint at appearances from Valkyria 1 characters, as one of the team's desires has been to make a game where everyone appears. He said that the characters players are most interested in seeing will likely make it in. He wouldn't get any more speicfic than that.

Regarding the Namless squad, Motoyama said that the group does the dirty work of the army -- the stuff that would cause problems if done by the main army. This is why the group selects criminals and troublemakers for its members.

As you progress through the story, you'll end up with some 20 or so members of your squad, although with guest characters this will increase considerably.

Getting into specifics on the announced three, Motoyama revealed that Kurt is the only officer in the Nameless squad. As detailed above, he doesn't accept his placement in the Nameless and hopes to return to his original squad.

Imuka is a girl who lives for revenge. Motoyama describes her as "extremely quiet," and someone who thinks only about battle. She makes her own weapons.

Motoyama also confirmed something you might have expected from the above character descriptions. Imuka and Riela may not end up being on the best terms. Actually, in the game's prologue, when Riela has yet to learn of her Valkyria descent, there's no problem, but afterwords the conflict between the two will become a major part of the story. Imuka will have to decide weather to live with revenge on her mind, or place the importance on the bonds with her allies.

Image from Valkyria Chronicles 2. Despite being on the same platform, Valkyria 3 will see some big changes.

The Famitsu article was lacking in gameplay details, but Motoyama filled in a few bits on this area. The game will carry over the best features from part 2, he revealed, although things that don't match with the game at hand are being changed.

Getting into specifics, he said that the game's progression is being reworked to deliver something closer to the feel of the original Valkyria. Unlike part 2, the game will not be mission based. You'll advance through the story and get into battles, a method of progression that Motoyama feels makes it easier for players to get into the story.

The game's battle component is seeing some changes. The command interface is being renewed, and you'll find more things to do during the action part. The maps are are still area-based, but they'll be more expansive and have more varied design, which Motoyama feels will make battle more interesting. There will also be some changes to the game's growth system, including a new interface. Unit types are being combined under the policy of quality over quantity, and Motoyama feels that the various units will now have a clearer role.

Getting into completely new systems, Motoyama revealed that the heroines have their very own "Super Modes." Riela's is a Valkyria mode while Imuka's is a mode that unleashes the true power of her weapon. He did not share further specifics.

The Super Mode component will be available for play in the game's Tokyo Game Show demo, but Motoyama said that there are plenty of other areas being kept secret at present. Famitsu seems to have unearthed one of these new features, as one screenshot shows Kurt and the two heroines running around together. The magazine speculates that this might be one of the new features.

One surprising revelation in the interview is that the game will not have wireless play. The reason for this, explained Motoyama, is that the theme the game is meant to be Valkyria played for its story. He promised that the resources that would have gone into wireless play are being poured into implementing changes for the various other gameplay systems.

As mentioned above, Tokyo Game Show attendees will get a first sampling of Valkyria Chronicles 3 this week. The demo will consist of an original scenario and will introduce players to many of the new features.

Famitsu also confirms that Sega will have a talk stage featuring the voice actors. During the stage, Sega will also share new details about the game's release, including its pre-order bonus.

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