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Will the West Ever See Dragon Quest 11?

Earlier this year Dragon Quest series creator Yuji Horii released a statement welcoming the New Year and teasing plans for the series’ 30th anniversary.

“Happy New Year, everyone. There is just one year to go until the 30th anniversary of Dragon Quest.

In February, we will release Dragon Quest Heroes, and in March, Theatrhythm Dragon Quest. Additionally, while still to be announced, there are many projects in planning as we head towards the 30th anniversary. And then there’s the release of Dragon Quest X Version 3.0 in the spring. Together alongside our fans and development staff, I hope we keep making the series even bigger and better!

Life is a role-playing game. Here’s to many more years to come of Dragon Quest!”

A heart-warming message well received by fans of the series, and one that in recent weeks has borne late summer fruit: next year will mark the 30th anniversary of Dragon Quest, and what better way to celebrate than with the release of the eleventh game in the venerated series? While there is no solid release scheduled it seems a fitting date for its first real foray into the next generation of home consoles.  Takeshi Uchikawa, who worked on Dragon Quest 9 and the 3DS game Dragon Quest Monsters, will be directing the game alongside composer Koichi Sugiyama who will return to work on the game’s score.

Dragon Quest 11 Screenshots PS4
Gorgeous-looking PS4 screenshots of Dragon Quest 11

Set to be released on both the PS4 and the Nintendo 3DS, development of both games is being handled by the same team and will not be a port. Each version of the game will tell the same story, but the way in which it is presented will reflect the strengths of the individual platforms: the 3DS will display top-down 3D graphics on one screen and 2D sprites on the second, and the PlayStation 4 version will offer what looks to be a more traditional third person experience.

Recent screenshots of the game demonstrate the two distinctive visions that Square has for the two platforms. On the 3DS the 3D-rendering techniques utilised in more recent portable Dragon Quest games is put to good use with the second screen displaying what looks like a top-down 2D overworld of the 3D environment, handy for those of us that prefer old school adventuring or useful as an aid in navigating the 3D map.

Dragon Quest 11 3DS Screenshots
The 3DS version of Dragon Quest 11 looks more basic but utilises both screens

On the other hand, shots of the PlayStation 4 version feature a colourful array of mountainous areas, towering buildings and a dungeon inhabited by large toad-like creatures. The process of developing on the new generation of consoles seems to have benefitted the game at least in terms of the graphics. There’s no telling what it will play like but the HUD seems to indicate a type of active time battle system with an interface for the attacks on the bottom left in the style of Final Fantasy XII or possibly Kingdom Hearts.

These screens confirm that Dragon Quest 11 is alive and well and is reported to be a single player offline experience tailored especially for the PS4 and Nintendo 3DS. This was revealed during a recent stream from Square Enix and it will supposedly run on Unreal Engine 4 – not unlike Kingdom Hearts 3. Square  also dropped a hint that Dragon Quest 10 and 11 are both being considered for Nintendo’s next home console codenamed “NX”, but Square has been reluctant to address this and it remains unconfirmed at this point.

Dragon Quest 11

In the face of all this good news there remains a solitary seed of doubt: we could be waiting quite some time for a Western release of this highly anticipated game as Square Enix has yet to state whether or not the game will see the light of day outside of Japan. If we look at the franchise’s localisation record it doesn’t bode well for us seeing a copy any time soon, with previous entries for the 3DS like Dragon Quest 7 and 8 still awaiting localisation even years after release.  Despite this and in light of the series growing popularity along the success of Square’s other ventures into the Western market, I hold out hope that we won’t be kept waiting for long.

Samuel Tobin is an avid gamer that can usually be found either grinding out Auron's Masamune in Final Fantasy 10 in a haze of sweat and silent protestations of "no more" or dashing to the fridge between frantic sleep deprived bouts of Hearthstone.