After its logo was leaked a few days back, ahead of a dedicated Japanese press conference for a Dragon Quest announcement, Square Enix has predictably announced Dragon Quest XI today at said private keynote. The hotly anticipated RPG sequel is coming to PlayStation 4 and 3DS, will be developed in-house at Square Enix, with some assistance by another developer, Orca, and has so far only been announced for Japan. Some reports also claim that Dragon Quest XI may only be playable on the upgraded New 3DS handhelds as well, though Square Enix hasn’t definitively confirmed this.
It’s likely however that at least one of these versions will make it to the West at some point, with the PlayStation 4 version having better odds. The unorthodox console and handheld variations are possibly being made to create one version of Dragon Quest XI better suited to the West, and the other better suited to the franchise’s native Japan. To clarify, in Japan, the PlayStation 4 has been selling poorly, despite being a runaway success just about everywhere else in the world that accommodates console gaming. This is because Japan largely favours handheld gaming, and primarily focuses on mobile games at present, despite Nintendo’s line of 3DS handhelds also being highly successful in the Land of the Rising Sun, as they are worldwide.
Previously, Level-5 employed a similar strategy with their own Studio Ghibli collaboration RPG, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, which received both a Nintendo DS version and a PlayStation 3 version, though only the PlayStation 3 version ended up being released outside of Japan. Like Ni no Kuni, Dragon Quest XI will tell the same story, be set in the same world, and have the same characters between its two versions, though the presentation will be vastly different between the two platforms. Specifically, the 3DS version will have a portable-friendly top-down 3D presentation on the 3D Screen, while having a sprite-based 2D presentation on the Touch Screen. The PlayStation 4 version meanwhile will run on Unreal Engine 4, boasting more wide-scale three-dimensional environments and animation.
Details on Dragon Quest XI are very slim for now, including its characters, premise and specific gameplay mechanics. Square Enix previously stated however that, unlike the previous Dragon Quest X, the game that would become Dragon Quest XI would not be an MMORPG, and would be a more traditional console-style RPG that’s played purely offline and single-player. If this is still the plan, this makes it both the first single-player-only mainline entry and first mainline entry to come to PlayStation platforms since 2005’s Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King for PlayStation 2, which has since expanded to iOS and Android devices worldwide, and also to 3DS for Japan.
Sadly, there was no word on any potential plans to localize the 3DS port of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King for Western audiences, nor the previous 3DS re-release of Dragon Quest VII: Warriors of Eden either, both of which still currently sit exclusively in Japan, despite both of their original versions for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation respectively releasing in the West. Square Enix did however confirm that MMORPG entry, Dragon Quest X will come to PlayStation 4 in Japan soon, after previously being released on Wii, Wii U, mobile phones, PC and 3DS. Dragon Quest X is now the series’ only mainline entry to never be released in any form outside of Japan, after the initially-denied releases of Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride and Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation finally made their way outside of Japan with Nintendo DS remakes during the previous decade.
Keep adventuring to Eggplante for all news and updates on Dragon Quest.