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I’ve always thought Norse mythology was a great theme to use in video games, but it seems developers have never shared my opinion. Just few games were based on the Scandinavian folklore and among others there is one of the most eccentric jRPG of the PS1-era: Valkyrie Profile.
Tri-Ace, under Enix direction, developed this game in the late 90s for the Playstation; a later version, which made the game arrive also in Europe where it didn’t originally come out, was released for the PSP about 4 years ago.

The unique style of Valkyrie Profile makes it really intriguing: the exploration phase reminds both a 2D platform (within cities and dungeons) and a classical jRPG (in the worldmap); against enemies, every character in the party has a button associated in a semi-realtime fast and engaging battle system. Moreover, the story of the game doesn’t follow the usual pattern of the vast majority of jRPGs, being made by missions and a non-linear structure which causes players to finish the game more than just one time.

Valkyrie Profile was a great success at the time, both critically and commercially. Let’s see how it sold in the two versions.

Japan: the original version came out when jRPGs sold like hot pancakes; in fact, even though it was a new IP, it was able to move more than 400.000 units in the first weeks ending with 636.000 units (Famitsu and Tri-Ace data). At the time, it was one of the biggest success on the Playstation for a new IP concerning the genre; only Xenogears and Parasite Eve, published by the then Enix rival, Squaresoft.
PSP version achieved moderate success considering how early came out on the platform. According to Famitsu, Lenneth (as the game was subtitled) sold 168.515 copies.

North America: in the Western countries, Valkyrie Profile sold much less; while the original one had had 73.000 copies sold (Tri-Ace data), the new version moved 60.000 copies (Square-Enix FY2007 Briefing Session), which is actually not so bad comparing to the first result. But in North America Valkyrie Profile was a niche game and treated how it is by the publisher (no advertisement, weak marketing strategy).

We don’t have data for the sales in Europe; anyway, I do think European data are quite small, maybe in par with the American.
Worldwide, Valkyrie Profile has roughly sold 700.000 copies, while Valkyrie Profile Lenneth has sold 230.000 copies approximately. The second result should be adjusted with the sales in PAL countries so Lenneth might have reached 270-280.000 copies worldwide.
Tri-Ace game got a sequel for PS2 and a spin-off for the DS, which both tried to strenghten the popularity of the brand among jRPG player all around the world.  Soon I will explore how these games went so stay tuned!


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