In typical Square Enix fashion, the new trailer for Dragon Quest IX on display at this year’s Tokyo Game Show consisted mainly of cut scenes that were in no way reflective of what it will be like to actually play the game. However, hidden among the smoke and mirrors were a few brief seconds of footage that actually revealed a great deal about the basic gameplay systems of this long-delayed sequel. While these clips were so brief in the actual trailer that you could have easily missed them by blinking at the wrong time (even if you can read Japanese), the most significant drops of information that trickled out in this new footage are profiled in the newest issue of Famitsu.
[[image:cg_dq9party.jpg:Let’s get drunk and customize a party!:center:0]]
The ability to customize the appearance of your characters was announced in the very first promotional trailer for this game over two years ago, but now we know even more about its character creation and customization. It’s now official that there will be a job system, most likely based on the one used in Dragon Quest VI and VII. Even more significant is the revelation that you can recruit and customize a party of your choice at the tavern, like in Dragon Quest III.
Nothing announced so far explicitly precludes the existence of story-based characters in addition to the blank ones at the bar. It’s also possible that the characters you recruit at the bar may have backstories rather than being purely generic. However, some circumstantial evidence also seems to indicate party and character systems closer to those found in dungeon hacks than in story-driven RPGs. For example, the cooperative play system makes a lot more sense if multiple players are working together with their unique generic party members than if the game has story-based characters.
While this is admittedly all speculation based on the incredibly limited amount of information Square Enix has released, don’t be surprised if party formation in this entry in the series has more in common with Etrian Odyssey than Dragon Quest VIII.