Ubisoft are becoming brave with their new intellectual properties (IP), perhaps more so than any other major player in videogame publishing. After the success stories told by digital exclusives Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon there’s clearly enough evidence to support the argument that smaller titles can perform just as well digitally as AAA retail releases. And with a positive reflection like that comes a fertile breeding ground for experimentation.
Valiant Hearts: The Great War is one such title that has benefited from the success of it’s peers on digital channels. A hand-drawn 2D side scrolling videogame that tells the tales of a handful of unique characters during World War 1, Valiant Hearts: The Great War has all the hallmarks of a videogame that shouldn’t exist. However, Electronic Theatre is very glad that it does as rarely has a videogame looked so promising with so little information to go on.
The preview build of Valiant Hearts: The Great War was short and simple, showing a collection of characters running through a variety of different locales and interacting with a small amount of objects. There is really very little else to go on in terms of how the videogame will actually play at present, but what is important to note is just how much emphasis is being put on characterisation. The environment design is fantastic, teeming with life and maintaining a unique look throughout, but it’s the personality of each lead that promising to move beyond the run-of-the-mill videogame adventure.
Starbreeze’s Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons pushed against the boundaries of the expected storytelling tropes and their immersion in videogames, and came out much stronger the other side of its shocking twist despite a complete change of pace. There’s no telling whether or not Valiant Hearts: The Great War will achieve the same groundbreaking delivery this early on, but one thing is for certain: it’s going to try. Each of its 2D heroes has a story to tell and each delivers spades of unique personality through simple animation with gestures and expressions. Each character is connected by a singular entity which makes Valiant Hearts: The Great War not only unique, but also smart. Each character is set to face a predictable struggle, and each player will surely pick and choose those whom they most desperately want to succeed. Valiant Hearts: The Great War shouldn’t exist; it’s a videogame that no one should bet on, but Electronic Theatre is glad that Ubisoft has.