Everyone, meet Valiant Hearts. Valiant Hearts, meet everyone. I think you guys are gonna get along pretty well.
Of all the games that Ubisoft had on display at last week's "Digital Day" event, Valiant Hearts: The Great War was the most welcome surprise. Out of nowhere comes a gorgeous, hand-illustrated tale of lost souls finding one another during World War I.
The game, as I saw it demonstrated, looks like a 2D puzzle/adventure game; it's not really an action platformer, and while it's set during World War I, it's not really a "war" game. It stars several playable characters: Emile, a French prisoner of war; Lucky Freddie, an American soldier; Anna, a medic; and George, a British pilot. With the help of a plucky dog, they all set out on their own journeys and while doing so help Karl, a German soldier.
Each character has a special ability, and they'll all team up at various points in the story to make their way around the battlefield and help one another. There's no actual dialogue or text in the game, and characters speak in animated voice-bubbles sort of like in Machinarium. While Valiant Hearts is cute on the surface, it also has the potential to be a real heartbreaker.
The moment the dog turned up onscreen, I asked the developers if he was going to die. This, of course, mostly prompted by Call of Duty dog, who I continue to believe they had better not kill. Ubisoft Montpellier's Kevin Erwin laughed, and told me that no, the dog wouldn't die. I later pressed him for confirmation, and he began to walk it back. The dog probably wouldn't die, but they hadn't made the entire game yet.