Tag Archives: Japan

Level Up: Dragon Quest X Learns PC Ability! Let’s Discuss the Future of its Release Stateside!

Last year, hardcore DQ veteran Jarrod Nichol and I had a long discussion on Dragon Quest X’s Japanese Wii launch in the replies of my article, which resulted in me talking about an imminent port. Can’t say I told you so, but it’s finally here! Another successful prediction by yours truly! Scroll down the comments of previously-linked article for proof. I can’t believe it’s launching so soon though; September 26th.

Let’s backtrack and analyze the history bit by bit as this series of events make a lot of sense. Console-exclusive MMOs are relatively unheard of, so last year’s Japanese launch of DQX on the Wii was a wild card. For a DQ title, it sales were lacking. As an MMO, however, it has done exceptionally well, looking at the fact that it was released for a single console that dried up in popularity by 2012. In that year alone, DQX sold 660000 copies and has gained over 400000 subscribers. That’s what I a call a money-maker in the long term.

There are a couple of downsides to the whole story, however. It’s late Wii release and complex requirements for it to run on the console (mandatory USB and two discs) spelled immediate doom for an international release. Western Wii owners will most likely not jump through these hoops in order to play a single game. The Wii U port was the only hope for a bigger draw due to hassle-free gaming and a potential international audience. Sadly, however, that port was released in Japan on March with very little fanfare; just over 33000 units sold on launch week. Not even the power of the Dragon Quest could help spike Wii U hardware sales in its native country, and that says a lot. Again, these sales definitely makes a console release internationally out of the question. It would be a hassle for Nintendo of America & Europe to publish the game, localize its text, and maintain its servers…especially if the return isn’t going to be satisfying enough.

Here we are in late 2013…and for the first time in the franchise’s history, a PC port is heading our way fast as the result of aging Wii hardware and a poor Wii U showing. Some would say that hell has frozen over, but looking over the past paragraphs makes this evolution completely logical. First and foremost, MMOs will never hit strides with console exclusivity, as our good old friend Tim always says. Square-Enix is already bleeding money as it is, and desperate times require logical business moves. The structure of this genre fits PC like a glove as it requires the following: constant updates/patches, solid hardware, flexible OS software, and a constant internet connection with special account management and frequent logins. Consoles are relatively close platforms at the end of the day so managing MMOs and accounts through them will always prove difficult, but that looks to change with next-gen. Nonetheless, I think that the PC provides a significant advantage to Dragon Quest X and its rabid fanbase as it is arguably the biggest platform this franchise has ever been in. Additionally, the potential for localization and an international release is huge. Mark my words; it is bound to be released in English — but we’ll have to wait awhile for that to happen because Square-Enix already has an MMO planned for the end of the year: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. It’s unfair for the international audience to have both competing franchises under the same company launch simultaneously, especially since Final Fantasy has always been a bigger name in the west.

As for the game’s future on console, it looks bleak to be blunt. I don’t think Square-Enix are stupid enough to suddenly pull the plug on Wii and Wii U owners because the current fanbase is already set and solid, especially on the Wii. Japanese gamers are safe for now, but international fans shouldn’t expect too much. It all depends on Wii U hardware sales. If Nintendo successfully jump-starts the system by 2013 and early 2014, we may see a simultaneous launch of DQX on the Wii U and PC in 2014. If not, then it will remain PC-only. A PS4 release is also possible, though I guess Square-Enix will monitor Final Fantasy XIV’s sales in that platform and act from there.

A penny for your thoughts? Sound off in the comments below.

Dragon Quest X for August 2nd in Japan! Online and Memory Fees Spell Trouble.

The time has come. As usual, a Dragon Quest release in Japan is a celebration. However, this is going to be one tough cookie to swallow, because for the first time in the series, it’s going to jump the MMO ship…which means that there are additional fees you need to be aware of. First off are the subscription fees, which range from 12$ a month to 36$ for 90 days. Standard stuff for today’s MMOs only a bit cheaper (than WoW).

The 2nd requirement is an impressive feat from the developer; for the first time in the Wii’s history, someone stepped up and used the USB ports for storage. The modding scene has been doing it for years, but no Wii game had officially took advantage of the Wii’s most underrated and hidden feature until Square-Enix, which is sad when you think of the wasted sea of opportunities during its lifecycle. Anyway, Dragon Quest X requires 16GB of USB memory to run, which should be cheap to buy. It baffles me, however, that the bundled version of the game with the USB costs 100$. Why 40$ for 16GB? Either way, you still need that storage. I’m sure most gamers have it, but if you live under a rock that’s additional cost right there.

Not only that, but DQX ships on two discs…and obviously the Wii doesn’t have any disc writing in sight so we’re expected to flip between the two at certain points in an online MMO, which may spell all sorts of trouble. Unless the 2nd disc is additional data that can be installed in the USB memory.

So yeah, Nintendo’s giving Square Enix all that leeway to have DQX function on the Wii, from having 2 discs to USB storage…two things never done on Wii games. The ultimate question is will it sell as much as its predecessors? The Wii’s user-base is incredibly high so the audience is there, but all these additional fees…will Dragon Quest fans overlook those in favor of the experience? Can they swallow the fact that it’s an MMO with real-time elements to its battle system? Remember when DQ9 had that idea but scrapped it due to threats from hardcore gamers? From the looks of things, in terms of World Design and scope, DQX will wipe the floor with previous installments so whoever plays it will be amazed…but the MMO aspects won’t go away. I, for one, love the risks they’re taking because online play and changes to the battle systems were truly missing from DQIX, a game I devoted 100 hours into. I would love to play it across the world with people like Jarrod. So this experiment is awesome.

Let’s state the obvious; unless the Wii U has a 2013 release date, this version of Dragon Quest X with its current form of play will never make it outside of Japan. Because for all intents and purposes, we should consider DQX for Wii a beta-test for the worldwide Wii U release. Nintendo and Square Enix need to keep an eye out for the subscription model outside of Japan. The series is already niche in the UK and US, so attaching that same typical subscription model will turn people off. I’m not saying that they should completely eliminate it like Monster Hunter Tri, but they should offer an extended time of free play (like two months) and slash the current prices down to half to get people interested.

Would You Like Some Coffee With Your Monster Hunter?

While a North American release date for the game has yet to be announced, Monster Hunter 3G shipped for the 3DS in December of last year here in Japan, moving over 1 million units within just two weeks. It goes without being said that the latest re-release of 2009’s Wii hit Monster Hunter Tri is a big deal to Japanese gamers. There’s also been what can only be described as an all-out attack of a marketing campaign. The latest bit of merchandising? Monster Hunter coffee. In a carton.

I picked some up at 711 the other day before heading to a soubetsukai (farewell party) for one of the places I work at. They keep this stuff in the cooler, separate from a big rack of Monster Hunter swag near the cash registers. But more importantly, how does it taste? It’s delicious. Thank you, Capcom, for spamming my eyes and now my taste buds with such a vast array of Monster Hunter merch. Maybe I will even buy MH3G one day. Maybe.