The Characters of Valkyrie Profile – Developer Interview
originally featured in the World of Valkyrie Profile mook
—What is the meaning of the scene in the prologue, with Valkyrie in the bridal dress?
“An image of the Valkyrie being reincarnated as a God.” That’s how it’s been explained on certain Valkyrie Profile sites, as Valkyrie being called to Valhalla by Odin. I think that’s the basic idea. At first we planned to just show a basic transmigration scene, but that seemed a little uninspired, so we changed it to this. I guess it was a little hard to understand though. (laughs)
—What was Valkyrie like when she was a human?
She hasn’t always been like Platina, in her past human lives. There have probably been times when she lived as a wicked person, too. I think this applies to the other humans who become Einherjar as well—and the event scene in the city of the dead, Dipan, also suggests this—but Valkyrie, like Mystina and Arngrim, has probably experienced many different personalities.
The reincarnation scene from the Valkyrie Profile prologue.
—Was Valkyrie created by Odin?
Whoa… straight to the heart of the matter. (laughs) It does seem doubtful that she was originally created as a “God”… actually, I’m going to let you in on a secret now. It’s possible to classify what happens to each of the different beings after death, like so:
Humans….. [Human —> Human reincarnation cycle)
Gods… [After death, they disappear]
Immortals…. [They return to life after a certain amount of time has passed]
Valkyrie… [Human —> God —> Human reincarnation cycle]
This is why the Gods and Humans value different things, and Valkyrie is clearly different from the Gods. She’s her own unique being, not a God like Odin or Freya. There’s an acknolwedgement of that in Ending C, with Freya and the Awakening Ceremony.
—Can you say more about the three Valkyrie sisters?
In the backstory, the eldest sister Hrist is the most God-like, and the youngest Silmeria is the most human. Lenneth is somewhere in the middle, but her “divinity” (a charisma stat of sorts?) is the highest. We have a lot of backstory written for these three sisters, actually, but right now that must remain Top Secret!
—Why does Valkyrie have two different outfits?
This has less to do with the story, and more because we thought that given the world, it made more sense for Valkyrie to have an outfit that’s suitable for battle. Also, at first, Valkyrie could use every weapon and magic, but this created balance problems, so we changed it.
—Why was Arngrim unable to become a real knight?
It’s not that he couldn’t—it’s more correct to say that he chose not to become one. Arngrim hates authority. His family wasn’t descended from a long line of knights; they were just commoners like everyone else. He lost his parents in war, and that probably accounts for his becoming a soldier as well. Despite all that, Arngrim is quite a character, and he’s well-known among adventurers.
—What was his relationship with the old Captain of the royal knights?
Arngrim was the person who taught Lawfer how to fight and wield arms, and he was introduced to the Captain throught Lawfer. He calls him “oyajisan” (old man), but he doesn’t see him as a father-figure or anything. However, the Captain does respect Arngrim, probably in deference to his great martial prowess.
—Why is Arngrim rejected by the Aesir?
His personality makes him a dangerous person for the Gods to keep near, I suppose. The same could be said for Mystina, too. The two of them have a very deep connection with Valkyrie, though, and there’s a scene in the A Ending where Valkyrie tries to save them. They’re people Valkyrie needs, even though they aren’t wanted in Valhalla—those two just don’t seem like the kind of people who would listen to others. (laughs)
—When did he get the scar on his face?
Even Arngrim was a young inexperienced soldier at one time, and he probably got it during some battle then.
Arngrim and Jelanda.
—After Jelanda dies, what becomes of Artolia?
It’s most likely that Artolia is destroyed by Villnore. Artolia lies in the middle of the continent, and Villnore, Crell Monferaigne, and Gerabellum all have designs on that territory. Even if Jelanda had lived, Artolia probably would have been consumed in the fires of war. It was a doomed kingdom.
—One would have expected Jelanda to hate Arngrim; why does she end up befriending him?
In terms of the elapsed game time, it may seem like Jelanda dies right away, but she actually had ample time to develop trust in Arngrim. Growing up, Jelanda only ever had scheming adults around her; there was never anyone she could open her heart to or develop any intimacy with. Then she meets Arngrim, who is so direct and lacking in ulterior motives. I think that even if she had wanted to hate him, she couldn’t have: he’s the first real human being she’s ever known.
—What kind of person was Belenus’ wife?
She was your typical good wife. It could also be said that she was an obstinate woman, seeing as she let her own jealous heart destroy her body, but she was a devoted wife to Belenus. However, once she realized that she could not win Belenus’ affections no matter how devoted she was, she became gloomy, and this is the opportunity the demon Lady Beliza seized upon. Although a noblewoman, in a way you could say his wife was a victim of the class system too. Belenus tried to be kind to her, and tried to love her, but she saw what was truly in his heart.
—How did Asaka end up in Gerabellum, so far from Yamato?
Yamato has a slave trade too, and she was brought by a slave trader. The servant Maria happens to see her there in the slave auction and takes pity on her. She buys Asaka without her master’s permission. In general, though, the slave trade deals in many different kinds of people, so slaves from Yamato aren’t all that rare.
—What becomes of Asaka after Belenus’ death?
We wanted to add a scene for her where, like Argnrim’s younger brother Roland, it shows her living quietly in a town somewhere. Unfortunately we had to cut it due to other issues in the development. After Belenus dies, she is cared for by Belenus’ people, and she’s doing well.
Belenus and Llewelyn.
—How was Llewelyn making a living before he became a soldier?
Although he is an archer, he didn’t make his living as a hunter. He was probably employed in some normal everyday job somewhere. The character Janus is another archer from Crell Monferaigne, but that’s just a coincidence: Crell Moneraigne isn’t some “kingdom of bowmen” or anything. When you consider that Llewelyn is completely new to combat and fighting, he can actually become very powerful if you develop him. (laughs)
—Was Milia of a different social class than Llewelyn?
Milia was the daughter of a wealthy family, while Llewelyn was fairly poor, so there was a difference there I think. Milia’s parents never recognized the two of them, and that is why Llewelyn hesitated in proposing to her.
—Did Llewelyn die in combat?
Well, he did die in the war, but technically it was because the ship he was on capsized and he drowned. By this point Crell Monferaigne’s army was really faring poorly and had been mostly decimated; Llewelyn was just one of many to die.
—Lawfer was close to Arngrim. How did that relationship come about?
They had a kind of teacher-student relationship. I wouldn’t say they were “close” so much as Lawfer respected Arngrim’s personality and the way he lived. Lawfer came from a good family and was the typical “good son”, respectfully doing what his parents said. He’s not the kind of person to be easily swayed by the bad influence of others. It comes as a shock to Lawfer when Arngrim points these things out to him.
—How did Lawfer die?
This isn’t shown, but just as you would imagine from the story, he was executed.
Lawfer and Nanami.
—Was Nanami an orphan?
Nanami was adopted from an orphanage by the Shinto priest, who intended to make her the heir to the family shrine. When Minayo appears as a spirit she is an adult, but she actually died before she was born, and was stillborn. So Minayo and Nanami had never met before that.
—Minayo possesses Nanami’s body…
This is the same Soul Transfer that occurs in Belenus’ story. In the final scene where Nanami is standing in front of the shrine and looking up at the sky, that is Minayo in Nanami’s body. They look exactly the same so I guess it’s hard to tell. (laughs) As she died before birth, Minayo never had a body to begin with, you see, so Nanami was able to offer hers.
—What was Nanami’s personality like?
She has a ladylike demeanor, with much inner strength—your stereotypical demure Japanese girl.
—What was Jun’s profession before death?
He was a samurai. Numerous warlords vie for power in Yamato, and Jun was in one of their employ. I don’t think that his personal homeland was involved in any wars, though.
—Was Ai blind from birth?
Yes, she was born unable to see.
—The name “Jun” has a strangely modern ring to it…
Well, I’m revealing a secret here, but it’s actually the name of one of the developers. That developer has a younger sister named Ai, too, whose name we used. They aren’t twins though. (laughs) With character names, we didn’t feel particularly beholden to the mythology; we exercised a lot freedom in choosing them.
Jun and Kashell.
—For an Einherjar, Kashell seems to have experienced relatively little tragedy in his life…?
Yeah, he’s the character with the least “dark parts” to his personality. In fact, you could say that among all the other twisted, messed-up Einherjar, he’s the weirdo. (laughs)
—What was his life like as an adventurer?
Like Arngrim, he’s one of the many mercenaries without a home, wandering the land in search of work. Having visited so many places his information network is very developed. His companions Grey, Celia, Lemia, and Aelia were all met through his mercenary work—he doesn’t see them as friends really, just people he’s doing a job with. It wasn’t always the 5 of them traveling together. There has been a lot of mercenary work in Artolia, which is where Kashell met Celia, and they are somewhat closer.
—Is Celia his lover?
They’re more than friends, but not quite lovers. They have both experienced attraction for each other, though. In the game Celia always seems to be crying, but in reality she’s always looking after Kashell like a big sister, and is quite a reliable, loyal person. When they work together, Kashell kind of lets himself be pulled along by Celia. (laughs)
—Kashell was born in Gerabellum, but was he a commoner?
He was born in the same place as Lemia, and they both grew up in a slum. He probably felt he had to get out of there as soon as he could, if he was going to make his mark on the world.
—Was Janus a spy? An assassin?
He was a member of the royal knights, but because he was so loyal, he was burdened with a lot of dirty work, including espionage and assassination. Janus rose up from commoner to knight, so although he’s treated around town as a local success or hero of sorts, there is no doubt some envy there, too. In any event, because of his relationship with the previous king of Crell Montferaigne, he performs his duties with blind devotion. Also, although he uses a crossbow as an Einherjar, in his mortal life he was also proficient with other weapons, including blades.
—Why does he stand there silently in front of his house?
10 years have passed since Janus left the royal knights and was expelled from his country. When Valkyrie sees him there, he has just returned to Crell Montferaigne out of concern for his King who he left behind. In that moment, he had just found out that his King had passed away, and he stands there stunned by the news.
—Didn’t Janus bear a grudge towards the current King?
None at all. He accepted exile as simply another one of his duties. When he stops the spy who was stealing the documents, that too was not done out of revenge or a desire to restore his personal honor: it was out of pure loyalty to the kingdom.
Janus and Yumei.
—What did Yumei think of Fuyuki?
She certainly felt a little guilty about lying to him. Her guilt was too strong to prevent any feelings of love from forming, I think. The kinder Fuyuki was to Yumei, after all, the more he would be hurt by her. That’s why she says “gomen ne” [[“I’m sorry”]] at the end there. Her story is very sad, but Yumei originally had a cheerful, bright personality, and becoming an Einherjar allows her to move past the pain of her parents and become her normal self once again.
—Why is Yumei so flirtatious?
Like Kashell, Yumei has a bright, happy personality. Despite her troubles, she remains undaunted. But I think a lot of that youthfulness is largely owed to the voice actors. There’s many aspects of the characters in Valkyrie Profile which were really helped out and developed by the voice actor’s performances. Yumei’s flirting, well… it was kind of a joke. (laughs) We figured it wouldn’t hurt to have one character like that in the game.
—Now that Yumei has become an Einherjar, does that mean her wish won’t come true?
We actually wanted to include an event during the Sacred Phase in which she gets to meet her parents, but this was also cut due to a lack of time. We don’t depict it in the game, but she is reunited with her parents in Valhalla.
—What is the dragon gem?
It’s different from the Dragon Orb that Gandar seeks. Aelia found it by chance on one of her journeys.
—Why did she become and adventurer?
Aelia came from the same slum as Kashell. It wasn’t a good place. This is touched on in Belenus’ scenario as well, but Gerabellum is a kingdom with a huge divide between the rich and poor. There’s many adventurers like Aelia from the slums. As such, adventurers aren’t really all that rare in this world.
—Why does she hate men?
Well, it’s not because of some deep dark secret in her past. (laughs) She has a rather masculine personality, so probably she doesn’t like to rely on men.
Aelia and Lorenta.
—Why didn’t Lorenta’s pupils like her?
I wouldn’t say her pupils disliked her—its more that there were two extreme cases. (laughs) Lezard didn’t hate Lorenta either, but he is who he is. (laughs) For Mystina, I think it appeared to her that Lorenta only paid attention to Lezard. And she also had a streak of youthful rebelliousness.
—What was Lorenta like when she was a student?
She had the same refinement, and as Flenceburg Magic Academy president she was admired by the many students whom she tutored. Her floating wand in battle, by the way, was something her character designer absolutely insisted on. (laughs)
—Isn’t it rare in an RPG, to have a woman in her 30s as a party member?
At the beginning of the development, Lorenta wasn’t going to be a recruitable player character. (laughs) Valkyrie Profile has many unusual characters for an RPG. Lots of villians too. In contrast it has fewer of the typical young boy and girl characters which are so common in RPGs.
—Does Mystina not have any relatives?
It sure seems that way, doesn’t it? The Flenceburg Magic Academy collects talented children from around the world, and Mystina and Lezard become a part of that group. Both of them seem to have been phenomenal geniuses from birth.
—When she says she prefers dreams to reality, is that because of something that happened in her past?
Well, in the real world there exsists the genius Lezard Vales, whose existence prevents Mystina from being #1, so I think that’s why she says that. Mystina is kind of like a female version of Lezard in many ways: an egoist, narcissistic, and beautiful. (laughs)
—How did someone as apparently unvirtuous as her get selected as an Einherjar?
Well, now that you mention it, there sure are a lot of villainous Einherjar. (laughs) When you send a character to Einherjar it’s their hero value that serves as a yardstick, and tells the Aesir how suitable that person would be. Those with a low hero value are difficult to make use of.
Mystina and Lucian.
—Why doesn’t Lucian get poisoned by the lillies when he’s burying Platina…?
We get asked this one a lot. (laughs) I think it becomes clear if you get further into the game, but the lily poison wasn’t the cause of Platina’s death per se. She was definitely poisoned, but it wasn’t enough to kill her. Lucian couldn’t bring Platina’s body back to her home, so he wanted to bury her in a pretty grave among the flowers.
—Why does Lucian give Valkyrie an earring as a present?
I don’t think it had to be earrings specifically: it just needed to be a pair of items. Plus, the earring was something Lucian acquired after becoming an Einherjar, so he never got to give it to Platina while she was alive.
—Does Lucian marry Valkyrie in the end?
I think for the story, it’s simpler to just say that they are bound together now. We don’t show this in the ending, but after the world is destroyed and Valkyrie restores it, the humans are also revived. Lucian and the other Einherjar are brought back, but the Einherjar stay as Einherjar: they don’t transmigrate to human bodies. It would be natural then to assume that Lucian and Valkyrie are living together in Valhalla.
—If Badrach likes women so much, why is he single?
Because he likes women so much. (laughs) Do you really think he could bear being tied down to a single woman?
—What is that dust he throws out during his special attack…?
What indeed! Along with Grey’s true face and the exact details of Jelanda’s plan to take back the throne and restore Artolia, this is one of the game’s prime mysteries. (laughs) It’s probably some kind of detonating agent.
—Why was Badrach made an Einherjar?
The power of persistence? (laughs) I always felt like he badgers Valkyrie into making him an Einherjar. To be sure, in Badrach’s scenario he does nothing good. Even in the “touching tale” he tells about saving the girl from slavers, he abandons that girl at the church once she becomes a nuisance to him! (laughs) His quotes during battle are all sleazy too. We had always planned from the beginning to make him a recruitable character, though. His Purify Weird Soul, Sphere Strike, was also something we thought up relatively early on.
Badrach and Grey.
—Why are Grey’s age and birthplace hidden?
We did that deliberately—we thought it would be more interesting not knowing. (laughs) You never see his face under the mask either, do you? I think he’s probably really handsome, but we decided to leave it up to your imaginations. (laughs) Grey was one of Kashell’s group at one point, but he always remained aloof: his relations with the others was cool, businesslike. So there isn’t anyone who knows his true self. (laughs) Of course, in the past he wasn’t always wearing that armor, so there was a time when he showed his face to others.
—What was he doing in the Arkdain Ruins?
Arkdain is a place of great mystery and possibility… somewhere on his journeys, Grey must have heard that the secret of the Soul Transfer ritual was hidden there.
—Why didn’t Grey tell his companions the truth about Lemia’s death?
I think he felt strongly that he was responsible for her death. He likely feels that if he had not fallen in combat, there would have been no need for Lemia to perform the Soul Transfer in the first place. Lemia was a sorcereress who loved Grey, but Grey pretended not to notice her feelings.
—What was Jayle like before she joined the knights?
She was a young commoner. Magnus, her mortal enemy, wanted to conquer other kingdoms, and her parents died as a sacrifice to his ambitions. Jayle is thus presented as a tragic heroine in the finished version of the game, but early in development she had a darker past. We intended for her to have a deeper connection with the sealed sorcereress, Lyseria. That scenario was entirely changed though.
—Who taught her to use a sword?
She’s completely self-taught. She probably had an innate talent for it. There’s also her revenge motivating her, but in any event, Jayne has a very earnest, serious personality. She studied swordplay diligently.
—Was Magnus of a higher rank than the royal knight’s captain, Fahn?
Magnus is an officer of the court at Crell Montferaigne, so yes, he’s probably a little bit higher in rank than Fahn.
Jayle and Shiho.
—What was Shiho’s past and childhood like?
Her talent was recognized early and she was raised as a Song-Maiden. Possibly she comes from a line of Song-Maidens, and her mother raised her to be one herself. She’s been on the battlefield since she first became conscious, and she is blind, which has made her a kind of puppet for others to control, never knowing anything but singing. In that sense being a Song-Maiden is a tragic existence.
—Are “Song-Maidens” only used in Yamato?
They’re tradtionally from Yamato. Shiho’s abilities may have been honed by the fact that she lacks all five senses. She’s also quite sickly.
—Did Shiho like Suo?
She recognized that he helped her, but it’s probably more accurate to say that Suo was smitten by her.
—Who are the “Hundred Demons” exactly?
Numerous warlords vie for control of Yamato, not unlike during the Warring States period of Japanese history. The Hundred Demons are just one of the powerful actors on that stage. As shown in the scenario, their trademark is their crimson armor and demon’s masks. Right now they’re vigorously trying to expand their power and dominion.
—What was Suo’s rank/standing in the Hundred Demons?
They basically consider each other as equals, and there are no clear divisions in the ranks between soldiers. There is a commander who organizes everything, but other than that everyone is the same.
Suo and Gandar.
—Why is Gandar so obsessed with becoming more powerful than the Aesir?
Gandar has the same basic personality as Mystina and Lezard. (laughs) Had he been born an ambitious noble, one could imagine that his aims probably would have been turned toward conquering other kingdoms; Gandar, however, aims for something higher, the domain of the Gods themselves. (laughs) The intrigue of simple military conquest is beneath him.
—What is Gandar’s ultimate goal?
This is touched on slightly in the scene in Dipan, but Gandar seeks immortality.
—Why was he allowed to enter Valhalla?
It’s true that Ganossa makes Arngrim look like a paragon of virtue. (laughs) People like that can be highly useful to the Gods, though, if their purposes align. In this case I think both the Aesir and Gandar are trying to use each other.
—How many years has Lyseria been sealed away?
Lyseria is a prophet who was born at the time the world was created. She sealed herself away during that same era. When was the world created, you ask? Well, there are many theories about that. We don’t want to spoil anything for future games so we’re going to have to keep that secret for now. A certain strategy guide says its many hundreds of years old, though… hmmm… (laughs)
—Why did you choose to make her a hidden character?
That wasn’t the plan in our original designs, but as we wound our way through the development she ended up being relegated to a hidden character. (laughs) Jayle’s scenario was supposed to be connected to Lyseria, but once that got changed, making her a hidden character was the best we could do.
Lyseria and Freya.
—What’s the nature of the relationship between Freya and Odin?
To compare it to a company, if Odin were the President, Freya would be like the Executive Secretary. Freya wears the garb of an empress, but that’s not meant to imply that she’s Odin’s wife. He does die protecting her, though, and his death devastates Freya… so there’s something weird going on there.
—Freya has an imperious, queen-like demeanor… is that her personality?
In the story she is cold towards humans, but kind and loving towards the Aesir. This resulted in many difficult requests for Freya’s voice actress.
—What becomes of Freya after the world is destroyed?
In the A Ending, when Valkyrie revives the world, only the humans and Einherjar are brought back. The Aesir are not included. It’s natural to conclude Freya and the other Aesir no longer exist, then.
—Why did she seal Valkyrie’s memory?
Freya decided that Valkyrie’s previous memories would interfere with her completing her current mission. Did you see the scene in the A Ending, where Valkyrie, having regained her memories, stands up to Freya? Freya is deeply connected with each of the endings, and we hope players watch all 3. We want you to experience what a terrifying person Freya is. (laughs)
—When did Lezard first encounter Valkyrie?
There are various theories for this, too. (laughs) But it’s certain that he didn’t learn about her secondhand through research: he actually saw her somewhere in person. As for his attraction to her, it’s more about his interest in her as an object of research than as a woman. When Valkyrie’s body is stolen by Hrist, and Valkyrie’s soul is put into the homunculus, didn’t some part of you, deep down, go “ah hah, he was right!” That incident proved his theories, after all.
—Why did he make multiple homuculi?
Those were various prototypes, built as he worked towards making the perfect homunculus. Remember the scene where Valkyrie sees the homunculus, but refrains from destroying it? In that scene, for an instant she is remembering her human life as Platina. I’m sure players noticed, but after that event Valkyrie’s seal rating drops a lot.
—What are Lezard’s true intentions?
Aside from capturing Valkyrie, his true intention is probably to become a God himself. His ambitions are as strong as Gandar’s.
Lezard and Brahms.
—When was Silmeria captured, and why?
In a previous age, Brahms and Odin fought, and in that fight Brahms captured and sealed Silmeria’s soul, and using her as a hostage, brought a halt to the war. I believe Hrist says that same thing actually. That’s the official story told by the Aesir (Odin’s group), at least… but you may have noticed some inconsistencies with that version of events and Brahm’s actual personality. He doesn’t seem very villainous, and something seems off about Silmeria being able to be taken hostage.
However, her soul really was sealed in that place against her will, and she really was used by Brahms as a hostage to stop the fighting. Still, the incongruency with Brahm’s character and actions remains… perhaps he had some reason, something that compelled him to do what he did. More than that, I cannot say. (laughs)
—How did he survive after the world was destroyed?
Because he’s strong! That’s the only reason. (laughs)
—What of Brahm’s mysterious words at the Seraphic Gate…?
Ah, that. That comes from one of the developers who believed, to the bitter end, that Brahms would be added as a playable character. (laughs) There’s a lot of Brahms fans at Tri-Ace, actually. This particular developer was a firm believer in Brahms being added, so much so that it really fueled his enthusiasm for his work. (laughs) So I think he was a little disappointed in how it actually turned out, with Brahms being relegated to bonus content in the Seraphic Gate (which is practically like another world, in how separate it is). That dialogue was his joking payback.
—Why would Brahms not fight Valkyrie?
Probably, he has some plot or scheme for the world to come. He’s taken up a neutral position for the moment, watching and observing. He’s not particularly commited to Valkyrie one way or the other…