Valiant Force – Interview with Singapore Developer XII Braves

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Some of you might know that I’ve attended Gamestart Asia 2015 last month and the one game that caught my attention was Valiant Force, a local developed game with beautiful Japanese art-style and graphics. I’ve managed to get hold off one of their founders to find out more about the game! Read on to find out more about the game!

Kbp: Hi Sir, can you please introduce yourself to the readers here at kongbakpao.

J: Hi all, my name is Jonathan Leong. I am one of XII Braves’ co-founders. I oversee all development aspects of our first game, Valiant Force, as the Chief Operating Officer.

Kbp: Could you share with us the history of XII Braves?

J: XII Braves started in late 2014 with 2 co-founders who are very familiar with the gaming industry. Our team comprises of seasoned individuals who hail from highly successful game companies including Nexon, Gumi Asia, Gameloft, and Nubee.

We currently have about 21 staff, including Indonesia, with the majority being developers, designers and artists. The team in Indonesia primarily consists of artists, although our Art Director and senior art team are located in the Singapore office.

As for the programing side of things, we have very seasoned veterans that I can count on, they have an excellent track record with many published titles under their belt both from the console and mobile platforms. Even though age and culture might differ, the passion and respect for each other in programming has gelled and strengthen them together as a team.

Kbp: Can you briefly introduce the game to us?

J: Valiant Force is a strategy turn-based mobile game, with reminiscence of classic Japanese RPG titles. In Valiant Force, players must gather heroes to face the imminent revival of a powerful evil being, who is bent on destroying humanity in the world of Arathos.

Players can form their own Force, pick and customize from  over 180 heroes, over 42 unique classes & jobs. They can be equipped  with different rarities of equipment either from dungeon loot or crafting them at the Forge. Players can also progress and advance with each of their heroes, and unlock new and more powerful classes. Each new class, has its own unique skill, 2D and 3D avatars.

Valiant Force will launch as a Free-to-Play title with IAP.

Valiant Force - Load screen screenshot Valiant Force - Map screenshot

Kbp: Valiant Force seems to take on the Japanese Art-style approach (there’s even Japanese text on your website), can you tell us more about it?

J: Aside from our love and passion for this style and approach, we had to be practical and sensitive to what the market demands. In pre-production stages, we did our own research into not only art-styles, but also other things such as gameplay and genre. We had very clear goals as to what kind of gamers and from which regions we wanted to cater to. We also had to ensure that with this art-style, that the production cost and pipeline were feasible for our team and timeline.

We do not have any Japanese artist in our team, and as mentioned, our artists are mainly from Indonesia and Singapore. We get asked this question a lot, and most were surprised with the answer. I can’t really blame them ☺

However, Valiant Force’s music is entirely composed by a former Square Enix staff, Mr Hitoshi Sakimoto and his Basiscape Team. He has worked on games such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Valkyria Chronicles, Tekken, and many more. We are really honored to have him onboard for our music. I also believe XII Braves is the first Southeast Asian developer he has worked with.

Valiant Force - Hero window 3D Valiant Force - Hero window 2D

Kbp: Can you describe to us more on the gameplay mechanics.

J: In Valiant Force, the battle takes place on a 3×6 battle grid. On the lower half of the screen, players can simply tap and drag hero icons across the grids, to either attack or move its position. Think of it as a simplified chessboard where even the newest of gamer would understand. Of course, for gamers with minimal time, there is the auto-battle mode, though not recommended for boss fights.

The unique but deeper mechanics of our combat system is the Aura Trigger system. During battles, each hero has his or her own Aura Trigger, these aura’s of each hero can affect each other in combat, but they are limited to direction and range. Therefore, team formation and position is key to fully utilize this feature. Players will not be required to learn or depend on this, early stages of the game, it will however be extremely useful at later stages of the game.

Outside of combat, another feature is our Garrison system. Think of it as building your own city, where different structures provide different benefits for players on their adventure. These buildings provide gold, send teams out on expedition for extra loot, craft items, and more. There are limited land plots, hence it is crucial for players to very selective and build the right ones to suit their play style.

There are also time-specific event dungeons in Valiant Force with very desirable loot. We are now working on new features such as guild system and PVP, which would most probably launch a few weeks after launch.

Valiant Force - Battle screenshot 2 Valiant Force - Battle screenshot 1

Kbp: We know that Singapore isn’t exactly famous for its mobile games industry, and there isn’t many “A” titles being developed here. What were some of the difficulties faced during development of Valiant Force?

J: One of the major challenges we face, is common with other industries, which is finding the right person for each role. As a small team, our weight and role becomes more significant, therefore we had to find our ‘spartan’ members, individuals with the right technical skills, like-mindedness and attitude to fit with the rest of the team. It took us awhile, but we eventually found them.


Kbp: How is game-balancing in Valiant Force? Will the game be manageable for F2P players? 

J: We have in-house staff balancing and performing quality assurance (QA) checks on each hero. But that is only one side of the task, as we would really need feedback from our future players. Game balancing will always be an on-going refinement process for XII Braves.

Our gacha system involves the rolling of either heroes or items. While Gacha definitely helps in player progression. It is still up to players to find the winning combination for different battles. Those who pay nothing can still get ahead by being tactical during each battle and progress faster.

Kbp: Are regular updates planned for Valiant Force post-launch? How often will we see these updates? Will there be free characters given in Events

J: We will be having many events prepared to excite and engage the community of our users, such as in-game new characters or set-item launches, new dungeon boss challenges, and more. We also have major patches with new features, set to launch in the next few quarters. We will also continue to engage our community via social media and forum with upcoming news and events.

Kbp: Are there multiplayer options like PVP or Co-op play?

J: As mentioned, we are still working on the guild and PVP features. We have decided to have these features come in later, due to the fact that we want something that really works well within the rest of game’s eco system and that it does not feel like an afterthought or something just being slapped on.  We want to make sure that the system is 100% ready, well tested by our focus group, before launching them.

As for launch, we do have the friendship system, where players after adding a friend in-game, can both collectively contribute to their friendship level, achieving higher levels will give both players a friendship buff in battle. Adding a friend will get you the friendship level of “Friend”, leveling it higher to say “Comrade” will give you a more powerful buff, when using selecting his hero as a reinforcement unit for your mission.

Valiant Force - Garrison screenshot Valiant Force - Tavern screenshot

Kbp: When can players expect to see Valiant Force?

J: We are having a soft-launch of Valiant Force in the Philippines early 2016, followed by Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand a few weeks after. The gamers in Philippines are very passionate and vocal, and we are sure to get good feedback from them. This will also certainly be followed by the SEA launch and worldwide by mid of 2016.

Kbp: Lastly, a shoutout to your fans!

J: Hail to all gamers reading Kongbakpao!

We at XII Braves, are all very excited and cannot wait for all of you to join us in the world of Valiant Force! Thus, we are doubling-up our efforts to ensure everything is perfect for everyone to explore and enjoy the game. We would like to thank you for your support and patience.

Also, do drop us feedback and suggestions when the official forum is up, we would love to hear your thoughts on Valiant Force. Thank you and see you all soon!

 

There you have it! Pre-registration event for the game is already up. Follow the links below for more news on the game!

Pre-register Here
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