WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for the story of the game. You have been warned.
Emile Chaillon is a playable character in Valiant Hearts: The Great War.
Emile is a French farmer who becomes a prisoner of war during his first battle while searching for his son-in-law. At the end of the story in 1917, Emile kills an officer after he commands the squad to charge, which would lead to certain death. He is sentenced to death by a firing squad. In his final letter to his daughter Marie he expresses his hate for the ongoing war and hopes that Marie and her family will find happiness. Sometime later, he is shot by a French firing squad due to treachery against highly ranked French officers. Emile was a good man, he served his country well. And he had to kill for the sake and lives of others.
According to his official profile, Emile Chaillon was born on March 12th, 1867. His family were miners living in Saulcy-sur-Meurthe, a village in Lorraine, roughly 152 km from Saint Mihiel.
In 1894, Emile was 27 years old and living in Rotterdam, Netherlands. At that time, he fell in love with a Dutch laundress named Paulien. They married in 1895 and shortly after settled in Saint Mihiel, France, to run a dairy farm. There is no information about what Emile's life was like before he met Paulien in 1894, nor about why he was living in the Netherlands.
In 1897, Emile's wife Paulien died while giving birth to twins. Only one of the twins, Marie, survived. There is no indication that Emile ever remarried or fathered any children other than Marie. There is little information about Emile's life between the death of his wife and the beginning of the war; it is only said that he dedicated his life to his work, to God, and to raising his daughter.
On August 13th, 1914, Emile was called to serve in the war that had been declared ten days earlier and ran to an enlistment center. After his training, he was given the honor of raising the French flag at the center. While at the train station, Emile meets and saves Freddie, an African-American in service of the French Army to avenge his wife who was killed in a bombing raid by Baron von Dorf. Soon after, Emile is thrown into combat during the Battle of the Frontiers, serving as the unit's flagbearer. His unit is wiped out, and as he reached the German lines (alone), he was wounded, captured, and forced to cook for the Germans. He was 47 years old.
On June 12th, 1917, Emile was called by the guards (just 2 days after Emile wrote his last letter to Marie about his struggles through war and his last words) for Emile's death sentence. On the way to his last moments, He walks through a crowd of French soldiers where Freddy stands and sees Emile for the last time. After passing through the crowd, he sees visions of his pet canine that stayed by his side for most of the game (Walt), Karl, Anna, and Marie with Karl and Marie's son. As Emile is walking to the post, he expresses in his letter that how much he hates war and that he fells guilty for Karl's presumed death. He also says that he hopes that his family will find happiness. After that, He is taken to a post, blindfolded and guns were raised at Emile. This is where Emile's life ends.
- Emile is the only player character who has a surname.
- In the game, Emile's gravemarker lists his birth year as 1867, rather than the date of 1872 given in his profile on the official Valiant Hearts site.
- Although he received the same training as everyone else in his regiment, all of Emile's positions are non-combat-focused. When attacking as part of the 150th regiment at the beginning of the game, he is a flag-bearer; he later has various roles as cook (while in the German prisoner of war camp) and later as a trench-digger. This is probably do to his age.
- Though Emile's military role after returning to the front is never officially described in the game, he appears to sometimes serve the role of a sapper, by digging trenches or using other means to further his allies' advance while preventing the enemy from advancing.
- In the menu screens and promotional materials, Emile is depicted wearing the "horizon blue with Adrain helmet" uniform of the French infantry. He is never actually shown wearing the full horizon blue uniform in the game, though he does wear the uniform's trousers and the helmet. The only full uniform Emile wears during the game is the blue-and-red uniform issued in 1914; these uniforms were replaced by the light blue in 1915 because the red trousers of the 1914 uniform made French soldiers an easy target on the battlefield.
- Emile is mentioned in an Easter egg in Valiant Hearts co-director Yoan Fanise's subsequent project 11-11: Memories Retold. While in Paris on leave from the the front, the player character can overhear a woman named Madeleine saying she has just received the personal effects of a man named Felix who was killed at Vimy. A man named Marcel responds, "He was at Vimy? He surely fought beside my uncle, Emile Chaillon. A true valiant heart."