We’re talking about Dragon Quest X already!? Dragon Quest IX is probably a year away from a North American release, and the carefully rationed trickle of new screens for that game has made the anticipation almost unbearable. With another three and a half months to go until it’s Japanese release and Famitsu‘s… let’s say “efficient” use of the same dozen screenshots, it seems like the wait has only just begun. Fortunately there were some nuggets of information revealed during this week’s impromptu Dragon Quest X announcement. A date (March 28th) and price (5,980 yen! Cheap!) and a demonstration of the game’s multiplayer mode by Yuji Horii, which is the real reason I’m so excited. Not the Horii part, although his balding head and long, stringy bangs look, uh, precious. No, It’s the multiplayer that I find so intriguing.
I’ve been introducing my wife to the DQ series with the Dragon Quest IV remake. We’re sharing a copy and playing in tandem, swapping the cart with every hour or two of game time to keep from getting too far ahead of one another as well as sharing tips and strategies. It’s like our own private Fun Club, except we can’t really play together. Most of the games we share have a prominent multiplayer element, and to be honest, my expectations for DQIX are probably unreasonable considering how little information is known. But when I’m not playing DQIV I’ve been curling up with Dragon Warrior III for the Game Boy Color, and I know this much: generic characters in a DQ game are awesome.
And I can’t deny the twinge of disappointment I felt when I heard the series would be headed for the Wii. I love my Wii, but I don’t get to see it very often. When I’m in front of a TV, it means I’m watching something with my family, so most of my gaming is now done on handhelds. I’m not complaining exactly — it’s encouraging to see a huge franchise like this embrace gameplay over graphics. But my dream of a video game industry that caters exclusively to me has been shattered, like a brick going through a window. Fortunately, the brick is made of delicious chocolate.
P.S. Have you seen the Japanese Dragon Quest hub site? It’s the first website I’ve ever wanted to live inside of.