♦Square Enix Won’t Nail Down Dragon Quest IX Release Date
By Chris Kohler
Same As It Ever Was Dept.: At a shareholders meeting in Japan today, Square Enix executives said that they won’t nail down a release date for Dragon Quest IX, which is coming to Nintendo DS in 2008.
You don’t say. Dragon Quest games can’t ever seem to make it out in Japan without a volley of delays and uncertainty. This is so routine in Japan that it was just parodied in Game Center CX, down to the last detail: The parody RPG in the game gets a December 31 release date (check), promises up to the last minute that they’ll make schedule (check), then a delay into nowhere for vague reasons containing the word “quality” (check).
Seriously, this is like a pathology. Check out this IGN article from 1999.
Dragon Quest VII Delayed
The highly anticipated Japanese RPG from Enix has been delayed once again.
November 17, 1999 – Heart Beat today announced that Dragon Quest VII, which was scheduled for a December 29, 1999 release for the Sony PlayStation in Japan, has been delayed. The release postponement was made because Heart Beat, the company developing the game, felt that more time was needed to guarantee a high-quality game for the consumer. A new release date was not given, but the company says that they will announce more details as soon as they are decided.
You could seriously just replace the numbers and run the same story.
Why does this happen? To their credit, Square Enix does realize that Dragon Quest is way too important to go screwing around with, and releasing anything but a remarkably polished product that sells four million units in a day would be a gigantic failure. I am not exaggerating. If they sold two million copies of Dragon Quest IX in Japan, it would be read as the beginning of the end of the company. So everything has to be perfect. If that means releasing all three Dragon Quest remakes on the DS to prime the pump first, then they’ll do it (and it’s looking very likely that they’ll do exactly that).
Of course, it’s also important to remember that Dragon Quest IX, above and beyond all other editions of the series, has had a major development overhaul. It was originally shown to be an online action RPG in which four players could team up to adventure together. This sounded like a fun concept, but it also drastically changed the nature of Dragon Quest, which since the series began has been the most straightforward Japanese RPG of them all, never wavering from the standard tropes.
Faced with severe fan backlash, Square Enix then showed the game with bog-standard Dragon Quest gameplay and all was right with the world. (Although if I was the brash young visionary at Level 5 who came up with the first idea, I’d be a bit annoyed.) But they quickly delayed it, and now it’s back into limbo. After disappointing sales of their last n games, they’re hoping it eventually becomes the big hit Square Enix needs to prove they’re still on top.
Dragon Quest Release Date Not Decided [Game Watch]