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Interview   

Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga Q&A

Producer Yoshihisa Ohbuchi tells us a bit about the game as well as what makes it a Wii-exclusive and where the series is headed in the future.

PixlBit recently had the opportunity to chat with producer of the Valhalla Knights series, Yoshihisa Ohbuchi. He gave us some insight into the latest iteration of the series, Eldar Saga, which recently released on Wii.

What is Valhalla Knights and how is it different from other RPGs?

Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga is the third installment of the series jumping to the home console as an exclusive installment for the Nintendo Wii. Players will be able to customize their character freely and project themselves through the characters they have created and experience the world within the game.

What's the storyline of Eldar Saga? Does it relate to either the first or second game in anyway?

The story takes place in the lands of Eldar where it has long been known as the origin of chaos by the Spirit King. When everything seemed to be lost and hopeless the alliance of the four races was able to seal the evil and bring peace to the land. Now centuries later, the lands are slowly being overrun by the reemerging monsters once again. Without a known cause it is up to the main character to stand up and reunite the races and unveil the mystery behind this new threat to bring peace to the land once again.

The story is broken down into 2 episodes. In the first episode you will be able to customize the main characters but cannot select the gender as it is set as the male protagonist. During his adventure the hero will be able to marry a female character of his liking. In the second episode the player will be playing as the child of the first episode and uncover mysteries that weren’t explained in the first episode.

Each Story in the series is completely independent so newcomers will have no problem understanding the plot. However we did implement a lot of minor details to make the returning fans smile.

The series began on PSP. What is being done to make Eldar Saga a Wii-exclusive game?

The overall atmosphere of the game is similar to the previous Valhalla Knights but we really like the challenging concept of what Wii does as a game console and decided to have the Valhalla Knights series expand onto a Nintendo platform. We thought that with the Wii, the user can enjoy more intuitive gameplay controls.

Has the move to a home console changed the game's design in any significant way? Will there be more expansive and intricate environments to explore?

While the PSP version had fields that were presented more in terms of liner fields, the Wii version has fields that are constructed as planar field. It gives the player more freedom to explore and see the world in a wide open view where the world expands visually. The difficulty was to put this all together since all the fields in Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga is a seamless transition to keep the players immersed in the world. Also the battle system has changed from an in-field symbol encounter system to a seamless real-time battle style which was difficult to execute on the PSP.

What influenced the gameplay and design of Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga?

The basis of the world evolved from the dark and gloomy world view that previous entries in the Valhalla Knights series have. However, since this title is on the Wii we wanted to create a more realistic atmosphere where players can actually feel the world around them, so we used fantasy films such as Lord of the Rings for added reference.

The game features real-time battles. How do they function?

In the previous Valhalla Knights, you were able to see the enemies roaming around but once you come in contact with them you were transported to a battle field to duke it out. In Eldar Saga all the battling will take place as a seamless real-time battle. With this style the player will really get to see the sheer volume of enemies they are fighting.

The characters are customizable. Why is it important to give players the ability to make their own unique characters?

As mentioned above, character customization has always been part of a VK game. We think by customizing the character as the player wishes will really deepen the gameplay experience since the players can reflect their style into the game.

What choices do players have in customizing their character?

In Eldar Saga players will be able to select gender, face, and hairstyles to create their own character. Also for hair color, the player will be able to select from 8 different color palettes.

How do the for-hire secondary characters function?

In Eldar Saga the player will be able to hire one mercenary to accompany the players journey. Mercenaries will stay with the player until you either let them go or hire a new mercenary. In the beginning you will have to go to the guild and hire the one you like but as you progress through the story there will be ones that will be happy to help you out.

I've heard there is online co-op. How will that work and will it take advantage of Wii Speak?

In Wi-Fi mode, the player can go on an adventure together with a friend over a network. For this mode, the player must have access to a network connection. After entering a friend code the host player will create a room and the client player will join in and after selecting which quest to tackle, it will transfer the players to the quest field. After defeating the specified monster (one or multiple) the quest will be complete. The players will be able to use their one offline characters in the co-op mode. You will not be able to use Wii Speak. However you will be able to communicate with a friend using special icons or using the Gesture Mode where various actions can be selected.

Are there any other online modes?

The only mode you will be able to play online will be the special co-op quests only for online. Once on the field the game plays similarly to the single player mode. Cooperate with your friend to complete the quest.

What's next for the Valhalla Knights series? Do you see it continuing on Wii?

We would love to work on it for the Wii as well as other platforms if possible in the future.

All the staff at PixlBit would like to extend a big thanks to Scott Fry for setting up this interview, and to Yoshihisa Ohbuchi for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.


 

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