Preview: Dragon Quest X
Yep, Dragon Quest, one of the longest lasting, successful, and most addicting RPGs of all time, is rounding out its decalogue. This is the series that has release laws in Japan to prevent businesses from shutting down and riots from ensuing when a new installment comes out. This is one of the most influential game titles of all time, even if many gamers don’t realize how far its reach extends.
And, in a startling reveal, a coup de tat on Japanese gaming households, Square-Enix has announced that Dragon Quest X is an exclusive for the Wii and Wii U.
Oh, and its also an MMO… WTF?
Square – Enix does not fuck around.
This week, they made a series of announcements and launched their DQX Web Portal, which held not one, not two, but three major announcements for Dragon Quest X. First off, its going to be developed completely in-house by Square – Enix developers (who, we hope, have learned from their mistakes in FFXIV). Secondly, in a major departure from the usual DQ formula, its an MMO (wince). And its also an exclusive for the Wii U (with a lower-tech, yet compatible, Wii counterpart).
Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that DQX is going for a Nintendo exclusive pact. The two companies have been very buddy-buddy lately, and DQ9 was a DS exclusive, afterall. But 8, which was originally supposed to be a model for X, was on the PS2, and Sony still holds a huge chunk of Sqare-Enix stock… well, either way you shake it, the announcement of an MMO for the Wii U certainly hints at the system’s online capabilities and the idea that developers, at least, are taking that aspect of the system seriously.
That aside, we don’t know a ton about the game yet, but only because I don’t speak Japanese beyond how to ask for beers, where the toilet is, and apologize for my shitty Japanese, because I’m only a student. There’s quite a bit of information tucked away here in this video:
The gameplay and menu system seem to be a strange hybrid between the MMO style that WoW popularized, and traditional pull-down interaction from the DQ series. The combat is free flowing, but looks slower, perhaps meant to be a nod to the usual turn-based system.
What is known is that there will be a pricing system for the game. The website references an initial cost and a ‘usage fee’, but doesn’t say yet what that will be. Also, while developers want to promote community and multi-player experience in the game, it will be possible to play through the game completely solo. I appreciate that, because so many gamers (but not you, dear reader, of course!) are complete douchebags. There is also a main storyline with scripted NPCs and a definite ‘goal’ and ‘end’ to the main plot, if you just want to power through a game all old-school.
The interaction between the different platforms is still being worked on. While the Wii and Wii U versions are supposed to be compatible, its uncertain how the Wii and its Friend Codes will work with a traditional server base. There is also talks of some downloadable content for the 3DS, but no word yet on what that will be.
Will this herald in a new era for Dragon Quest? Or will there be rioting on the streets of Japan for dicking with their most beloved franchise and its combat system? Only time will tell…
… but I can tell you right now I really only want to play single player and I dont’ want to have to pay a subscription fee for that. Geh.
For those looking for a more traditional experience, the Dragon Quest Anthology pack is coming out on the Wii this month… but probably only in Japan. Nintendo, can we get some RPG love over this way? Thanks.