There’s a chance that you have never even heard of this game and that’s almost as sad as the story it’s planning to tell you. Valiant Hearts: The Great War releases this month and I really hope it doesn’t get buried beneath all of the E3 announcements and hype.
Ubisoft’s year has already started extremely strong with the critically acclaimed Child of Light and the not quite ground-breaking but record setting seller, Watch Dogs. Indie games as a whole have proven to be some of the most unexpected gems of gaming over the last few years and with titles like last month’s Transistor, it sure doesn’t look like that trend will be slowing down any time soon.
Enter in Ubisoft Montpellier’s upcoming Puzzle-Adventure game, Valiant Hearts: The Great War. The title will feature a dark and sad story, drawing inspiration from actual letters recovered from the terrible period of history. With a rather beautifully drawn art style, Valiant Hearts will follow five separate characters throughout the conflict, while showcasing the tragedy, sacrifice, horror, friendship and even love that could be found on the battlefield.
The characters of Valiant Hearts are diverse in their backgrounds, not only having different motivations to see themselves through the war but also being represented through all sides of the conflict. There is Karl, a German soldier who was separated from his french girlfriend as soon as the battling had begun, and is desperately trying to reunite with her. On the other side, you have Freddie, an American volunteer who’s motivation to carry on is fueled by the commitment to honour his deceased wife. Then there is Anna, a Belgian nurse tasked with roaming the battlefield trenches in search of aiding the wounded, be it friend or foe. If those particular stories haven’t drawn you in, there is also George, the British citizen who lied about knowing how to fly a plane, just for the chance to defend his country. How about Emile then? A french soldier who watched his comrades slaughtered in a failed assault, only to be taken prisoner and tasked with peeling potatoes for his captors meals on the front lines.
Ubisoft Montpellier has stated that they are taking great care in preserving the seriousness of such a conflict and while they will have lighter, even comedic moments, they will not downplay the scale of the horrific events of the first World War. In sequences where the player will be controlling Anna, you will come across situations that involve creative problem solving to treat certain wounds and often, as was the case in that period, the solution isn’t just a simple bandage.
Valiant Hearts isn’t just trying to tell you a story or give you a history lesson. It wants to do both, while having you engage with and experience a horrible conflict that is now a century in the past. While you’re being blasted from all sides at the exciting and visually impressive announcements that will reveal themselves at E3 in a few weeks, don’t forget to take a minute and ask yourself the question that seems to be forgotten all to often. What is the story doing in this title that makes me care?
Ubisoft Montpellier won’t be pulling any punches with this title and as the trailer below is all to calm to remind us, “Some made it. Some, did not.”
Valiant Hearts will be releasing on June 25th for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC at a pricing of $14.99.