Major Dragon Quest Announcements
TSM (and our listeners) have been eagerly anticipating the Dragon Quest 35th anniversary broadcast, on account of the high probability that future Dragon Quest titles would be announced. It turns out that this was pretty much a best case scenario type of deal, with the announcement of Dragon Quest XII. Not too much is known about the game, but there is a little bit of information to go through.
Dragon Quest XII is being developed using Unreal Engine 5, which features support for a nice new real-time lighting system, and Epic’s Nanite rendering technology, which pretty much allows for a near film-quality level of infinite detail in level geometry – Though, granted, these are probably not features that Dragon Quest‘s cartoonish graphics really require.Then again, perhaps they do. Another thing that we know about Dragon Quest XII is that it will be a ‘darker Dragon Quest‘ and that it will be ‘a Dragon Quest for adults’, so maybe this new darker Dragon Quest really will make use of the advanced lighting and rendering technologies available with Unreal Engine 5 to create a more detailed game world. The whole ‘darker Dragon Quest‘ thing does sound a little concerning, but Yuji Horii deserves the benefit of the doubt. It would be quite another matter if Tetsuya Nomura announced a ‘darker Dragon Quest‘!
Speaking of Unreal Engine 5, does the engine even support the Nintendo Switch? Dragon Quest XII has not been announced for specific platforms. Is this because Square Enix are waiting for E3 to announce the game’s target platform/s? Is this because Square Enix are waiting for the announcement of the Switch Pro before they can announce Dragon Quest XII‘s target platform? Time will tell. Apparently the game will have a simultaneous worldwide release.
An announcement that was almost as exciting as the Dragon Quest XII announcement is the revelation that Dragon Quest III is being remade using the Octopath Traveller engine, as part of Square Enix’s HD-2D line of games. This will be at least the fourth remake the game has received. Dragon Quest III initially released for the NES in 1988, before receiving a genuinely beautiful SNES remake in 1996. This SNES remake was then demade for the Game Boy Colour in 2000, while a mobile phone remake of the game was created in 2009, which appears to serve as a basis for all modern versions of the game. This latest HD-2D remake will likely serve as the final form of the game, and manages to look even more beautiful than the SNES version of the game. It is also more beautiful than Octopath Traveller for that matter. No platforms have been confirmed as yet, but this author figures that it is a near slam dunk to assume that this is bound for the Switch. Yuji Horii has confirmed that HD-2D remakes of Dragon Quest I&II are possible if this sells well enough.
It looks like Dragon Quest X may at long last finally receive an official release in the English-speaking markets. Dragon Quest X: Offline will release in Japan in 2022, and while an English release has not yet been confirmed, there is now no reason for Square Enix to keep the game from Western markets. The game’s graphics definitely look to have taken a hit. The graphical quality of the standard version of Dragon Quest X looks quite comparable to Dragon Quest VIII, while Dragon Quest X: Offline looks like a HD port of a DS game (though a little bit better than that description would imply). This had better not be exclusive to mobile phones!
Finally, Dragon Quest Treasures has been announced for worldwide release. The game will be a treasure hunting Action RPG spin-off of Dragon Quest XI, starring Erik and Mia. Release platforms have not yet been announced, yet the low-fidelity pseudo-cell-shaded heavy outlining of the characters makes it look like the game is either intended for Switch or for smartphones.
Non-Dragon Quest Japanese Game Announcements
Dragon Quest games were not the only announcements we had this week. Many other publishers of niche Japanese games also chose to make their announcements ahead of E3, in order to avoid having their games drowned out by other announcements. Dragon Quest also was not the only JRPG series to have an anniversary broadcast stream. This week Kadokawa Games had a stream celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Metal Max series of tank-based JRPGs. Metal Max Xeno: Reborn has been confirmed for a 2022 Western release for Switch, PC, and PS4. This is a remake of 2018’s Metal Max Xeno.
Metal Max Wild West (previously Metal Max Xeno: Reborn 2) has been confirmed for a 2022 release in Japan for Switch and PS4. This title shares the same setting as Metal Max Xeno, but features a different protagonist. Finally, the development of Metal Saga: Hangyaku No Rouka has been announced for Swith along with ‘other’ TBA platforms. Likely Kadokawa will continue to assess which Playstation console will still be the most viable platform in Japan in 2023 and beyond. It will probably still be PS4. It is interesting to see a continuation in the Metal Saga sub-series, as it has not been heard from since a browser-game in 2010.
This week Kadokawa Games also announced the existence of Relayer, a macha-based space opera style strategy RPG being developed by the studio who made God Wars. Release date and platforms have not yet been announced.
The Japanese release date for Falcom’s The Legend of Heroes: Kuro no Kiseki has this week been confirmed as being September 30, 2021. No word yet on a Western release, and no word yet on the inevitable Switch port.
PQube have announced Kitaria Fables for English release on September 3 for Switch, PC, Xbox One, Series X, PS4, and PS5! Damn, that is a lot of platforms for a farming RPG!! As the genre would imply, this looks to have a lot in common with Story of Seasons, however instead of human neighbours all townsfolk are cats. This might be one for Starlight Megaphone’s Imitanis to mark in his calendar.
Now for a title that is more to the liking of Caspius. It would seem that we are probably getting a sequel to Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. 505 Games, the publisher of the first title, mentioned in their 2020/2021 earnings report that a ‘second version’ is in development. The term ‘second version’ might sound incredibly nebulous, yet elsewhere in the report this term has been used to refer to confirmed sequels – so there is a good likelihood that this is also true for Bloodstained.