At a press conference today, Square Enix announced the next installment of the Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest XI: Sugisarishi Toki o Motomete (“The Search for a Bygone Time”), which is expected to be released for 3DS and PS4 in 2016 and possibly even the Nintendo NX. At the conference, Square Enix showed off some gameplay from the PS4 and 3DS versions of the game. The videos can be seen below.
The trailers showed very little of the actual gameplay but showcased the game’s impressive engine and graphics, as well as the iconic art style and character design of the legendary Akira Toriyama. They also revealed unique gameplay that can be expected in the 3DS version, which will display the familiar retro 2D sprites, reminiscent of early Dragon Quest entires, on the bottom screen and 3D visuals on the top. Even cutscenes and combat can be displayed in either 3D or 2D depending on the player’s input (entering battle using the D-pad will make it take place in 2D while using the circle pad will display it in 3D, as seen in the video below).
Unfortunately, North American fans of the series may have to hold off on their celebratory dances. On their official Twitter channel, Square Enix said that they have “no concrete plans at the moment” to go west with the release.
“I’ve been told the team will consider bringing DQ XI to the West as we’ve done in the past for other DQ games but I don’t know anything else,” the company’s Twitter account tweeted earlier today.
North American fans haven’t been able to sink their teeth into an NA release for the series since Dragon Quest IX in 2010. Dragon Quest X, which is an MMO, was originally released for the Wii in 2012, Wii U, Windows, and Android systems in 2013 and 3DS in 2014, but only in Japan.
Though North American fans have been blessed by Android and iOS re-releases of some of the earlier games, many of the later installments only have Japanese re-releases and Square Enix have even been glib on when, if ever, some of the 3DS remakes will be made available internationally.
The original Dragon Quest was first released for the NES (and MSX) by publishers Enix and Nintendo in 1986. Square Enix is hoping for a 2016 release date in order to commemorate the game’s 30th Anniversary.