First Dragon Quest IX details revealed
sifar    2006-12-12, 22:32 pm.

Today, Square Enix held a press conference in Tokyo to inform the public on the current projects that they have planned for their Dragon Quest line of games and to commemorate the series' 20th Anniverysary. The event started with a movie that showed footage of the earliest of Dragon Quest games, followed by an opening speech by Series Inventor, Yuji Horii.

Link » Official Dragon Quest IX Homepage Link » Dragon Quest IX TV Spot Download Link » Forum Discussion about Dragon Quest IX (Right click and choose the Free download).

Dragon Quest IX is being made exclusively for the Nintendo DS, and will take advantage of the platform's Wi-Fi techonology allowing up to four players to enjoy the game at a time (similar to Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles). This move is not suprising considering the great sales that Nintendo has had on the handheld, and the predicted success of Square Enix's upcoming title, Dragon Quest: Joker. The game will feature the usual variety of dungeons, but offer a slightly more action RPG oriented battle system.

After the opening movie and speech, audience members got a chance to see some actual gameplay from the title. Four characters were up on the screen and seemed to carry the jobs of Monk, Thief, Black Mage, and Hero (Leader of the group). Its not yet clear whether there are more job type options or whether these are actual fixed characters of the game. One interesting element was that, similar to Final Fantasy XI, characters' external appearances will change as their equipment is modified. The presentation featured the four characters going into a dungeon to save a lost child, and fighting an enormous boss at the end of it all. Square Enix has stated that it did not have any plans to make conversations possible in the game or have any sort of data exchange with the Nintendo Wii.

Link » DragonQuest IX Gameplay Footage Link » Screenshot: Exploring a City/Town Link » Screenshot: Dual Screen Usage of Map Link » Screenshot: Character Equipment Change

Yuji Horii (Scenario) mentioned how there were restrictions and limitations when bringing the game to a handheld device. But it has always been his goal to bring Dragon Quest on the most popular gaming device to ensure its enjoyment by as many fans as possible. The music of the game is being worked on by Kouchi Sugiyama, who discussed how he hoped to continue making music for the Dragon Quest games till the end of his life. Character Designs as always have been worked on by Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Quest, etc ...), and the actual game is being developed by the people at Level 5 (Dark Cloud, Dragon Quest VIII) located in Fukukoka, Japan.

Link » Screenshot: Dragon Quest Team Members Link » Screenshot: Yoichi Wada, SE President

Analysts in the business community have indicated that Sony will suffer a huge impact due to Square Enix's decision to place Dragon Quest IX on the Nintendo DS. The series was a major draw for Japanese gamers to purchase Sony based gaming platforms. The Dragon Quest line of games have sold over 41 million copies worldwide, and this is the first time since 1995 for a numbered title not to be featured on a Playstation console.

In addition to Dragon Quest IX, Square Enix revealed their new arcade styled game, Dragon Quest: Battle Road. Players will be able to control upto 3 characters on the field, play on various types of maps, and fight many familiar fiends. It is unclear if whether character from all of the Dragon Quest games will be featured, only confirmation is that on characters from Dragon Quest VIII (PS2). Taito has created the look of the arcade machine, while the game itself will be designed by Rocket Studio. The game will cost 100 Yen (including tax) to play.

Link » Screenshot: The Arcade Machine Design Link » Screenshot: Gameplay Image #1 Link » Screenshot: Gameplay Image #2 Link » Screenshot: Gameplay Image #3

The following is a list of the games shown during the event and their approx. Japanese release dates as stated by Square Enix:

01. Dragon Quest IX: Guards of the Starry Sky (NDS) - End of 2007 02. Dragon Quest: Battle Road - Summer 2007 03. DQ: The Masked Queen & the Tower of Mirrors (Wii) - Spring 2007 04. Dragon Quest: Joker (NDS) - December 28, 2006

Dragon Quest: Joker is currently in the 10th spot on Famitsu's list of Most wanted games in Japan, while Dragon Quest: The Masked Queen & the Tower of Mirrors for the Nintendo Wii is at the #30 spot on the list. Dragon Quest IX is sure to make its way up to the top five games of the chart in the next upcoming weeks. This page may be updated/edited as more information is made available.

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