The developers of the controversial sequel to Valkyria Chronicles have openly admitted their decision to shift the title to a bishonen-based school RPG on the PSP is based on a desire to exploit the modest success of the anime adaptation and their distaste for the “95% male” fan-base of the original.
In comments on their official blog, they offer the following sentiments:
We’re being asked a lot why we are releasing Senjou no Valkyria 2 on the PSP and not the PS3.
Firstly, there is the issue of not wanting to leave a gap between 1 and 2. Put bluntly, it took about 3 years to make 1. With the experience of making the first one we could probably make a sequel in less time, but we’d have to improve things too, which might take even more time.
Also, with the broadcast of the TV anime we really wanted to get the game out before the impact of the anime subsides.
Secondly, we wanted as many users as possible for the game. Market analysis for the first game indicated fans were older and mostly male. That was the main target, but we had to think about things when we ended up with 95% males.
My vision is to develop Valkyria on both PS3 and PSP… Next generation titles cost a huge amount to create, and if we don’t develop our customer base we can’t get a return on our investment.
PS2-era hit games like Metal Gear have developed expansive fan-bases. If we build up the base of the mountain that is Valkyria, the peak can reach higher.
Put succinctly, the developers are desperate to ride the sequel on the back of the anime and want to capture the female demographic even if it means dumping the existing fans of the game.
Reading between lines also gives a tacit admission of the fact that a cut-down handheld version can be accomplished without innovation or improvement.
Considering the success of the anime was based solely on the impact of the excellent PS3 original, and that the fan-base for a strategic military RPG is always going to be skewed towards a male demographic, the wisdom of this marketing decision is questionable at best.
In fact, looking at the promotional materials it seems their marketing is now 100% concentrated on selling to a female audience, with a clichéd academy setting and female characters well out of sight behind a selection of bishonen lead heroes, as opposed to the original which proudly displayed Alicia and Selvaria alongside Welkin…
Considering the prospect of a true PS3 sequel has already been tied to the sales of this “sequel,” it seems the franchise might just end abruptly here, a truly unfortunate demise for one of the most innovative games of its generation.