Dragon Quest is a franchise that has been around for as long as anyone can remember. Really, when the landscape of the industry changed with the arrival of the NES on the scene, there were some tentpole franchises that helped define the industry and their own genres going forward. Dragon Quest was one of them, and somehow it has managed to retain its relevance, popularity, and quality throughout the last 30 years- there are very few franchises like that.
And for the entirety of that 30 year period, three figures have remained a constant in the franchise- art director Akira Toriyama, music composer Koichi Sugiyama, and writer Yuji Hori. The three of them together created Dragon Quest, and have been instrumental in the series’ progress ever since. But even though it’s been 30 years, Yuji Hori feels he can keep on making Dragon Quest games for 20 more years, for which he gets inspiration from Sugiyama, who, at 87 years of age, is still composing music for Dragon Quest.
“Looking at him, I think I can still go strong for another 20 years or so,” Hori told The Verge. “There has never been a moment where I felt tired of working on the game.” The reason for that, according to Hori, is the fact that the gaming industry is constantly changing, so working on the first Dragon Quest was a lot different for him than working on Dragon Quest VII, with a completely different look and a much larger team behind it, which in turn was much different from working on Dragon Quest X, which was an MMORPG. “I believe we have always strived to maintain the good aspects [of the series] while actively incorporating the new,” said Hori.
Interestingly enough, Hori noted that for the first ten years of his work on Dragon Quest, it never occurred to him that the series might end up lasting as long as it has. “It took me about 10 years to get a sense that the series may potentially last,” he said. ““It had never occurred to me that it would continue for 30 years when I initially started developing the game.”
The longevity of Dragon Quest is truly worth all the applause it can get, and it doesn’t look like the series is going away anytime soon. It’s spawned some excellent spinoffs as well, like Dragon Quest Builders, a sequel for which is arriving not long from now, while the next mainline entry, Dragon Quest XI is also an absolutely stellar game.
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age launches for the PS4 and PC on September 4- check out its PC system requirements through here. A 3DS version of the game was also released in Japan last year, but that, sadly, won’t be localized. That said, a Switch version is in the works, so there’s that to look forward to.
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