I would like to thank this Eurogamer article for convincing me to play Valkyria Chronicles Remastered on PS4. I missed out on Valkyria Chronicles the first time it was released on PS3 back in 2008, all because I thought it was a traditional JRPG. It’s actually a turn-based tactical strategy game with some light RPG elements, set in an alternate World War II setting.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against JRPGs. Some of my favourite games of all time (Final Fantasy VI, Devil Survivor 2, Persona 3: FES) are JRPGs. But if Sega’s western marketing for the original PS3 game had been more clear, if they had made the turn-based WWII element stand out more, I would have picked up the PS3 version earlier without a second thought. I love turn-based tactical games. The localised title for the game doesn’t really help, either. The word “Valkyria”, of course, comes from “valkyrie”, which are female spirits in Norse mythology. Valkyries, valkyrs, etc. are commonly found in many fantasy literature and games.
The original Japanese title of the game is actually 「戦場のヴァルキュリア -Gallian Chronicles-」 (Valkyria of the Battlefield -Gallian Chronicles-). Why didn’t Sega just use “Gallian Chronicles” for the English title? Were they trying to appeal to fantasy JRPG fans with “Valkyria Chronicles”, even though the game isn’t really a JRPG to begin with?
In my opinion, I think this was a slight mistake on Sega’s part. After playing the game for about 30 hours, it’s fast becoming one of my favourite turn-based games of all time, rivaling that of XCOM, Jagged Alliance, and even Fire Emblem. And Valkyria Chronicles came out in 2008, four years before Firaxis’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012) remake, and before Fire Emblem: Awakening (also 2012 for the JP version). Both those titles went on to become huge hits, and helped to reinvigorate the turn-based genre. It’s kind of sad that Valkyria Chronicles didn’t get the recognition it deserved due to poor sales.
Moral of the story? Marketing can sometimes make or break a game’s popularity. And you have to be very careful when choosing the translated title for your localised game.