Interview: Valkyria Chronicles 2's Takeshi Ozawa and Shinji Motoyama

The announcement of Valkyria Chronicles 2 came as a surprise for most. In spite of the modest sales of the first game, Sega greenlit a second title in th franchise, this time for the PSP. We spoke with Sega director Takeshi Ozawa and producer Shinji Motoyama about the difficulties in translating the experience to PSP, and the cameos we can expect from the upcoming sequel. [Note: While two people were interviewed, only the responses from our single Sega-provided translator are transcribed. We apologize for the lack of proper attribution.]

Joystiq: Obviously, many people were surprised to see a sequel not on PS3, but on PSP. Does this open up the chance that the franchise will move to even more platforms, like the 360, for example?

Translator: It's difficult for us to comment on because, actually, we weren't thinking about specific platforms when designing the game. And it just turns out, we developed for the PS3 and this time we chose PSP as the platform. We do take into consideration, in terms of game design, and delivering the game world and experience to the users. This time, we thought PSP was the ideal platform to do that. It's as simple as that. But, it's because of this that discussions became kind of widespread, and people started asking questions "why there's no 360 version?" We don't want to say anything that would enrage the fire of that discussion.
With the military school setting of VC2, there are some concerns that the game may be more less serious, more childish than the first game.

At first glance, it may seem that [Valkyria Chronicles 2] may be filled with young people, and the game might turn into something a bit more childish. But, what usually happens when there's military scouts going on, they evaluate everyone regardless of their age. So, if they think people have the potential, if they've done well in the past, they get drafted in. So, actually, in this title, it's not just a young youthful characters; there are various other characters that are a lot older than the rest of them, so there's still there that age-range within the characters that have been prepared.

Speaking of characters, the first game featured a lot of surprising cameos from other games. Can you give us any clue as to who we can expect in the sequel?

There's still a lot of unrevealed information with regards to that, so we can't comment right now. What we can say right now is that characters from the previous title such as Alicia and Welke have been included in the story, so you can expect to see those past favorites.

And maybe, you can see some of the other characters from the 7th Squad that were popular. Maybe ... (laughter)

Obviously, the PSP isn't as powerful as the PS3. Did you run into any memory issues when developing for the PSP?

So, it goes without saying obviously the hardware capabilities have dropped developing for the PSP. So, it wasn't possible to deliver the large-scale maps you see in the PS3 version. However, we just divided the entire map into different areas and people might think "oh well, that's the way to get around it, so it's just simple." But, the team has been considering this from the very beginning of development and thinking of ways to not make it a negative element, but turn it into a positive thing.

So what we've done is prepared a different gameplay element with the maps being divided into different sections. You might have the starting area, the finish area and several areas in-between, but now it's been prepared so that users have a choice of which path to take. So, they take one path and there might be a lot of enemies; but if they take the other path, there will be less enemies, but there's loads of traps, and the actual path is more challenging. Also when you're taking over different points against someone else, you have to think about which areas have been taken over, and which areas you might get stuck into. So, it adds another level of depth to the gameplay. We've turned something that was incapable for the PSP to replicate, and we've changed it and added a new element to the gameplay. We see it as a positive thing.

Do you think you'll return back to the PS3 original to create more DLC, or has the team finally moved on away from the first game? [Note: At least one more DLC pack is coming to the US next year.]

The team's very busy focusing on development of Valkyria 2 on PSP, so we haven't gotten around to working on anything yet. But, if there were an appeal for more DLC to come, it's something we'd very much love to be working on in the future. Nothing's been decided yet, though.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.