Square-Enix has officially unveiled Dragon Quest X: Mezameshi Itsutsu no Shuzoku (loosely translated to The Five Awakening Races – Online). The big news is that it’s set to hit the Wii in 2012 and Wii U sometime slightly later on. The other big news, it’s an online RPG, but not necessarily an MMORPG. It is being internally developed, so no Level-5 guys, sorry. Think of it something like Final Fantasy XI, where other players will form parties and work together to play through the game. The biggest difference will be the heavy focus on story and that there won’t be thousands of players online at the same time. The idea is that it will still feel like a traditional DQ, but with real-world players taking on the roll of your party members.
Yuji Hori, Koichi Sugiyama and Akira Toriyama are returning for their roles as designer, composer and character designer.
The Wii U version will feature enhanced gameplay options thanks to the Wii U controller, but will work within the same online world as the Wii version. Naturally the Wii U version will also sport HD visuals. Yuji Hori also confirmed there will be some sort of connectivity with the 3DS, but failed to mention exactly what that could be.
The game’s official site has also been opened and can be accessed here. Square-Enix promises players will have the opportunity to partake in the online beta sometime next year. How exactly that will work hasn’t been disclosed as of yet.
The Wii version of the game will be released on a DVD and a USB stick so that players can download additional content. No word yet on how the game will ship for the Wii U. At the very least Square-Enix made it clear that fan will be able to use keyboards, the Wiimote, and even the classic controller for experiencing DQX.
Square-Enix also confirmed that there will be an offline mode where NPCs will take on the role of human-partners. Obviously this never turns out as good as while playing online, but at least they’re thinking of those fans who want to experience a more traditional DQ experience. That said, this is hands-down the biggest change the series has ever seen.
As with all online RPGs there will likely be a usage fee, although Square-Enix has yet to confirm this, but let’s be honest, this is Square-Enix we’re talking about. Prepare to pay a monthly fee to access DQX.
Here’s an early look at in-game footage. Square-Enix will likely pull this video shortly so enjoy it while it’s still online.
What do you think of all this? I for one have never been a huge fan of MMOs, but since this isn’t really a traditional MMO, there’s hope. I am disappointed this is on the Wii if online because the Wii’s online service is so archaic compared to what Microsoft and Sony have to offer. One can only hope the Wii U has something more robust, but even so it won’t likely make a difference considering the Wii U version of the game will use the exact same service the Wii version uses. I’m going to keep my mouth shut for the next little while until I see some more in-game footage and get my hands on a playable version. This could be the best thing to happen to the series, or the worst. Let’s keep those fingers crossed. At the very least you can play it alone offline should you want, but I just want to make sure it’s just as enjoyable in the offline mode ;)
Square-Enix has confirmed that players must have an Internet connection in order to play DQX. You can play the first few hours offline, but after that you must head online in order to access everything the game has to offer. That doesn’t mean you have to play with other online players though. The company reiterated that players can play the entire game by themselves with NPCs as party members.
It appears there’s some confusion over the first update. Square-Enix will allow players to enjoy a few hours of Dragon Quest X offline, but afterward a message will appear forcing players to sign-in in order to continue playing. That means you will have to pay the subscription price even if you want to play by yourself. Nice, isn’t it?