Dragon Quest X Officially Unveiled – Prepare For A Huge Surprise

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.

This is the only official screenshot Square-Enix has released thus far.

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 ;)

Update 1:

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.

Update 2:

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?


8 thoughts on “Dragon Quest X Officially Unveiled – Prepare For A Huge Surprise”

  1. Well, you already know that I am not a fan of MMO’s. The only exception to this is the Phantasy Star Online series, which I played quite a bit. Other than that though, I like to get involved in the lengthy, single player quests. However, this game reminds me more of Dragon Quest IX. So I’ll break down my thoughts bit by bit.

    Yuji Hori, Koichi Sugiyama and Akira Toriyama all being on board is a huge plus.

    I am happy that the game is arriving on the Wii AND the Wii U. It’ll be great to have an HD version of the game and it’s nice that the Wii U will be getting some more support. Having the series return to a Nintendo home console is just nostlagic. Connectivity with the 3DS sounds promising too, and if there is a handheld version, I’ll probably end up getting it for 3DS and Wii U.

    However, the fact that the Wii U uses the same online framework is worrisome….and I have to admit I’m a disappointed we don’t just a classic, core Dragon Quest game. I love the Dragon Quest games, and VIII is one of my favorite games from the the entire PS2 library. Why not just make a classic RPG like that? Some times it’s good to have a constant thing in the industry. I get that turn-based RPGs aren’t as popular as they used to be, but I hate that turn-based has become synonymous with “bad.” I am glad you can play the game offline, but I hope that the developers make the offline mode feel like any other classic DQ game and not just a gimped extra.

  2. Let’s start off by hoping this isn’t an MMO, because Square-Enix has a terrible track record for MMOs in general and that would completely kill all my interest in the game. As you said, having Yuji, Koichi and Akira all attached to the game is great news, but I’m still concerned where this is going.

    Having the game launch on the Wii in 2012 means there’s no chance of it hitting North America. The Wii will be a distant memory by that time. We also have no clue when DQX will be out for the Wii U, but we know it will be after the Wii version. Does that mean 2013? Whatever happens, let’s just hope Nintendo of America actually releases it here, or perhaps Square-Enix themselves can release it worldwide.

    The 3DS integration seems interesting from what I can tell. You might be able to bring your character over to the 3DS and then have it swapped with other players you meet. Square-Enix confirmed more spin-off DQ games will be arriving on the 3DS, such as Rocket Slime 3. That’s cool, but obviously not the same as a full fledged DQ game.

    Now as for the online network itself. Square-Enix typically creates their own service which means we can expect something ultra simple here. I don’t expect the Wii U to use the same non-existant network the Wii has, only that the Wii U version of this game will continue to make use of the Square-Enix service, whatever that might be. Don’t expect microphones or anything like that. Communication will be done strictly by keyboard, which is extremely old-school by today’s standards.

    What worries me most of this game is that it sounds like a simple evolution of DQ IX. Now don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed DQ IX, but it paled in comparison to DQ VIII. The reason why is simple, your party members were all lifeless generic characters. What made all the other Dragon Quest games so interesting is that each new party member had their own deep storyline. Now with DQ X, it’ll be exactly like IX whereby all your party members will be completely generic. Even if you head online, that won’t suddenly give you a wonderful story filled with interesting characters that join you on your quest to save the world, etc. That’s my number one concern right now. I’m praying it doesn’t work out like that, but honestly, what other way could they go?

    1. From what I understood from the news, DQX isn’t strictly online. It sort of works like White Knight Chronicles. An MMO/offline RPG. If you’re offline, what should be your online companions will be replaced by NPCs and guest characters from the game itself…which basically preludes to a style similar to DQIX; not-so-deep party members.

      Anyway, you’ll be surprised when I say this…but I really don’t mind at all. I have no idea what happened, but Dragon Quest IX has become one of my favorite JRPGs this generation, and possibly my longest game playthrough ever. Over 100 hours into the game until I finished it…and I still didn’t touch any of the post-game content. Compare that to my 40 hour session of DQVIII which I have not finished. Not that I hate VIII, but I just adored the heck out of IX because it’s charming, addictive, and much better from a gameplay standpoint. And if you want to get technical, the post-game content grants you storyline-based companions to unlock. So personally, VIII paled in comparison to IX. Yes, I know VIII had the excellent production values and plot, but IX is just as good from a plot standpoint and superior gameplay-wise.

      Anyway, thoughts of the news itself; gutsy and surprising. I’m loving every bit of it. It’s basically what Square-Enix wanted to do with Dragon Quest IX. Real-time movement in the field is honestly the only way to go if you’re aiming for a fully functional online RPG. Honestly, who even played DQIX with people here? Nobody…except if you live in Japan. Having it completely turn-based restricts the fun from being online or local multiplayer. Eventually though, I think Square-Enix will fold and allow for a “classic style” option for those offline players.

      What really surprised me is their decision to develop it in-house. Didn’t they announce that level-5 was working on it a year ago or so? What happened there? I’m guessing that they’re losing too much money right now so they’re forced to cut costs. It is kind of scary that the team is from the Square side of things, not Enix. As long as Hori’s around though, I think it’ll be fine. And the team behind it isn’t too bad. From what I hear, their previous game, Neir, is an underrated classic.

      The other big problem is subscriptions. The official game description lists subscription fees, but the prices are still TBA. That’s definitely a big concern if it’s too expensive. Japan may eat it up regardless, but that won’t fly in other territories. They better just cancel monthly fees for US and UK owners just like what Monster Hunter Tri did. Personally, if online is free of hassles this may be my first MMO ever. If not, I’ll just mostly play offline.

  3. From what I read about this on various sites it’s reported that you can only experience offline for a few hours before having to opt into the online experience, which also requires a usage fee.

  4. This one I just might play :) Wouldn’t it be cool to form a party and own stuff up project coe style? I think it would.

  5. My only concern is Square-Enix’s track record with online RPGs. So long as they out a heavy emphasis on storyline is could turn out just fine. I had very little problems with IX other than I found the story to be less grandios compared to some of the earlier titles because of the generic party members. If they can figure a way around this giddy up. I also really dislike them forcing the subscription on players. That sucks. If I want to play offline I should be able to, not forced to pay to play online just to play solo.

    I’ll wait for more info before commenting too much because IX turned out far better than I thought it would, as you all remember from my lovely import review. Sucks I won’t likely be able to import this one though. Way too many obstacles involved with the subscription.

    1. I just saw the updates about the subscription fee, Stephane. Seriously, Square-Enix? Even if I want to play offline I’ll have to pay? That’s just ludicrous. To put it frankly, Jarrod; your concern is directly related to how Final Fantasy XIV sucked hard. Thankfully, that development team isn’t going to touch Dragon Quest X as most of them are fired. But I really feel for them and I can see where they’re coming from. They’re just that desperate to have a constant cash flow, so Dragon Quest is their best option right now as people have completely lost trust with the Final Fantasy series, online and offline. Sadly, FFXIV, while currently a significant improvement to its launch counterpart, is still free to play since then….so Square-Enix is losing a ton of cash because of that.

      You know what I just realized? After all these years since the Square-Enix merger, Dragon Quest X is there first two collaboration/crossover within the company itself. I don’t think that they’ve shared development resources on anything else. I don’t know whether to be excited or scared. I like how DQX sounds on paper, but the execution and subscription are really risky.

  6. Yeah Ahmed, I think the wisest thing for all of us is to take a “wait and see” approach. Right now Dragon Quest I through IX have all been excellent, some more so than others, but still. This is one RPG series that has yet to ever let me down. I’m hopeful the traditional will remain with X. If it doesn’t, well there’s always that new Level-5 PS3 RPG that looks downright incredible ;)

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