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Valiant Hearts: The Great War Out Today on PS4, PS3

Simon Chocquet-Bottani's Avatar + Posted by Simon Chocquet-Bottani on Jun 24, 2014 // Game and Level Designer, Valiant Hearts

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Hello, my name is Simon Chocquet-Bottani, Game and Level Designer on Valiant Hearts: The Great War for PS4 and PS3, out today. 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 recognized 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.

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.

Valiant Hearts: The Great WarValiant Hearts: The Great War

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. 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.

In order to focus on this more “humanized” 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.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War on PS4 and PS3

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!

//Add Your Own

44 Comments

1

+ fededonna2 on June 24th, 2014 at 6:08 am said:

Great, do you know how much will it be? and if it’s cross buy, thanks.


2

+ iREVOLTER on June 24th, 2014 at 6:12 am said:

And PSV Edition ? Cross-buy?


3

+ Exadus on June 24th, 2014 at 6:31 am said:

As someone who loves entertainment that involves historical events, I can’t wait to play this. This game is a true gem. Happy it’s out today too!!


4

+ maxcoronel2014 on June 24th, 2014 at 6:39 am said:

Looks gorgeous. Any chsnce to have s demo?


5

+ hawjboi2009 on June 24th, 2014 at 6:42 am said:

can’t wait to play this game too .. i will try find a way to buy PSN Card for this game today


6

+ Hefestus91 on June 24th, 2014 at 6:43 am said:

I will wait out for the Vita Version.


7

+ Bug42 on June 24th, 2014 at 6:45 am said:

I think the Blog needs to put a rule in place, that states unless you can answer the following questions, then don’t post.

1. The Price
2. Is it Cross Buy

Every post that doesn’t have this information blows up, with people asking these two questions. This game comes out today, and the most basic information is not provided.

on that note, this game does look awesome.


8

+ hawjboi2009 on June 24th, 2014 at 6:45 am said:

hey Simon, when does review embrago lift for this game ?


9

+ Blacq_Soul on June 24th, 2014 at 6:51 am said:

this game looks awesome. saw it at e3 and I’m definitely getting it. I’m hoping it’s ported to the vita as a cross-buy


10

+ tokyopunchout on June 24th, 2014 at 6:52 am said:

Looks absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the day 1 release on PS4 lining up with it’s PC debut – really appreciate it. Will definitely buy.

Agree with @Bug42 – on the info suggestion tip. Would be very helpful. Thanks!


11

+ GummyCore on June 24th, 2014 at 7:03 am said:

On Asia PSN store, it will be HK$105 (~US$13.55), and HK$84 (~US$10.84) for Plus members until 9 Jul. Not sure about cross-buy.

I expect it will be US$14.99 on US PSN store.


12

+ NoWay on June 24th, 2014 at 7:04 am said:

The game is 15$ on Steam so I’m guessing it will be the same on PSN.


13

+ Drew_Croft on June 24th, 2014 at 7:07 am said:

Oh sweet! The website said the 25th.


14

+ xClayMeow on June 24th, 2014 at 7:29 am said:

Waiting for the inevitable Vita version, assuming there are no performance issues with Child of Light.


15

+ Harerazer on June 24th, 2014 at 7:39 am said:

While some may argue about games like this not being “next gen” I love the fact that they are coming out and give my PS4 a much more diverse library than the same old 1st person/3rd person open world shooters that all AAA games seem to end up being. This will sit nicely alongside Child Of Light.


16

+ SolenNguyen on June 24th, 2014 at 8:06 am said:

I will wait for Vita version


17

+ Lu-Cipha on June 24th, 2014 at 8:22 am said:

14.99$


18

+ kdiep on June 24th, 2014 at 8:23 am said:

Vita version please. I would never use my PS4 for the smaller games (I rather play games like Far Cry 4). Anyway, hope you are listening.


19

+ Rezolution77 on June 24th, 2014 at 8:34 am said:

NoVitaNoBuy.


20

+ Crunchewy on June 24th, 2014 at 8:52 am said:

This game sounds really great! WIll put it on my wish list.


21

+ ElementalDivide on June 24th, 2014 at 9:05 am said:

This is great, can’t wait to get out of work to play this. I love being able to download games directly to my PS4 when I am away from my console!


22

+ KidGreengene on June 24th, 2014 at 9:30 am said:

@19: Love that Bob Marley song!

The game looks beautiful. I got a $50 PSN card for fathers day and I am really thinking of using it for this, Child of Light and the First Light DLC for inFAMOUS.


23

+ FistocuffsKERPOW on June 24th, 2014 at 9:57 am said:

I just purchased the download code for this game on my PS4 and it’s not working. Browsing through the PS Store, I don’t even see the game listed. So is it out today or not?


24

+ Chip1010 on June 24th, 2014 at 10:06 am said:

@FistocufsKERPOW

The store will finish updating around 2 p.m. Pacific Time. They post a lot of these blog posts in the morning just to let people know what’s coming later in the day, but the games and other items don’t tend to actually show up on the store at the right price and all that until about 2 p.m. Pacific. That’s the time they shoot for — and generally make.


25

+ klassymike on June 24th, 2014 at 10:08 am said:

@ FistocuffsKERPOW

The store updates around 5 pm Eastern every Tuesday. Sometimes a little earlier, sometimes later.


26

+ NICTOOLOOSE on June 24th, 2014 at 10:57 am said:

look like a great game


27

+ AbscissaAbscissa on June 24th, 2014 at 11:13 am said:

While this does look like a good game, I’m really, REALLY sick of games trying to “take me on an emotional journey”. It’s always pretentious, unwanted filler. For example, “Brothers” had some nice casual puzzling, but the last two “chapters” went from jumping the shark (so to speak) into a bunch of barely-interactive artsy-fartsy BS. And the whole thing had a downright obsessive fixation on morbidity (“The more we obsess over death, the more ‘artistic’ we’re being! Yay!”). It sounds like Valiant Hearts is aiming for the same thing. Valiant Hearts definitely has my attention on the gameplay and art direction fronts, but this “Rehashing ‘Anne Frank’s Diary’ but in a WW1 setting” stuff is likely to keep me far away.


28

+ FistocuffsKERPOW on June 24th, 2014 at 12:17 pm said:

@ Chip1010

I did not know that. I’ll remain patient. This game looks soooo good. There may not be alot of interactive action but if the story is there and gripping I’m fine with that. Either way I’m going to thoroughly play through this one.


29

+ Chip1010 on June 24th, 2014 at 12:35 pm said:

Yeah, I’m quite excited. I’ve got a bunch of good old-fashion, violent, explosiony stuff in my backlog that will be a lot of fun once I get to it. In the meantime, this game seems to match the mood I’m in right now. Looks quite touching.


30

+ Bahgra on June 24th, 2014 at 1:04 pm said:

Valiant Hearts is up on PS store, but i keep getting “this content cannot be selected right now” message…. :(


31

+ VegasAceVII on June 24th, 2014 at 1:16 pm said:

I can confirm it is $14.99 (US) and NOT Cross-buy. I accidentally got it for Ps3 and noticed it was still asking me to buy the Ps4 version. A little annoyed but it’s not like it makes much difference which system you play these types of titles on.

Buyer beware, make sure you’re purchasing the correct version before checkout!

Looking forward to this title anyway, it looks amazing!


32

+ Rainwater on June 24th, 2014 at 1:21 pm said:

No Vita, no buy. If/When there’s a Vita version, I’ll definitely buy (just like I’m definitely buying Child of Light when it comes out for Vita). The lesson here? Put games on Vita, sell more copies, make more money. Here endeth the lesson.


33

+ PrimeroIncognito on June 24th, 2014 at 1:30 pm said:

@ Rainwater

It’s not that easy…


34

+ tusunami on June 24th, 2014 at 1:30 pm said:

Stop crying about why this game doesn’t come to the ps vita its not a big deal at all really. Publishers can’t bring out every game they make and it be on all platforms it doesn’t work like that. Finish the games that you have first why people complain about why these games are not on the ps vita. But on another note this game looks incredible can’t wait to broadcast this on twitch.


35

+ predalien64 on June 24th, 2014 at 8:45 pm said:

When i saw the trailer at showed at E3 it moved me, the impression it left on me was this looked like a deep and powerful story that i could not wait to experience. Having played it i can say I’m 100% enthralled by it. Plus the added historical facts spice it up even more for me being a fan of history. The game is great loving every second of it.


36

+ Amnalehu on June 24th, 2014 at 11:07 pm said:

I downloaded it 2 hours ago and haven’t stopped playing it. Very unique game full of history and facts. Very engaging story as well. A must have!


37

+ StalkerD on June 25th, 2014 at 5:42 am said:

Where can I by the Soundtrack? Why isn’t it available yet??


38

+ PhoenixDowny on June 25th, 2014 at 10:42 am said:

I’m with everyone else on this! No PS Vita Release, No Buy! I’m going to be purchasing Child on Light on the PS Vita and I’ll wait and buy Valiant Hearts on PS Vita also!


39

+ Elvick_ on June 25th, 2014 at 11:59 pm said:

PS Vita please. :D

Child of Light is something I’ll replay, so I don’t mind buying it again on Vita. This looks more like something to experience and put away. (ie; looks depressing, but good… plus the gameplay isn’t my typical thing)

So I’m holding off awhile to see if it comes to Vita before I take the plunge. Because I’d prefer to play it there.


40

+ Welmosca on June 26th, 2014 at 12:37 pm said:

This game seems really cool….great concept….but I would like to have a demo on PS3…any chance of that?


41

+ vronski88 on July 2nd, 2014 at 6:15 am said:

Downloaded on the PS3 and enjoying it. Fantastic production. Not only that but you learn something too. I highly recommend this. The gameplay, the art, the voices, the fact sheets and history, the soundtrack etc are all extremely well done and well to the theme.


42

+ King_Trax_999 on July 2nd, 2014 at 3:26 pm said:

Add me in but don’t see playing this at home. I’ll get it for Vita day one.


43

+ Yuleiva on July 5th, 2014 at 2:34 pm said:

Waiting for Vita Version too. Child of Light Vita Version was a D1 Buy. Vita Version for this Game will be D1 as well.
Hope we’re getting it for Vita. Retail just like Child of Light would be awesome ;3


44

+ oles0012 on July 9th, 2014 at 7:33 am said:

I’m about 3/4 of the way thru the game, and can attest that it’s nothing short of amazing. I can say that it’s not a very complex game, so if you’re looking for a challenge in the same light as “call of duty” or “final fantasy”, you’re not going to get anything out of it. However, if you appreciate the more subtle elements of a video game, such as the accuracy in following actual events of The Great War, then you will absolutely love it. One of the side-goals within the game is to find as many hidden Great War artifacts as possible. Once found, the game gives you a little tidbit about how this particular artifact was used During the War. Between the story line, the brief summaries on the history each stage is based on, and the fascinating information the artifacts offer, I can honestly say I’ve learned more about The Great War than I learned in all of high school. In a nutshell, it’s an ‘interactive History Channel.’ Love it. 5 stars.


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