Dragon Quest VII Was Originally A "Riddle Solving Adventure"

By Sato . February 4, 2013 . 1:56am


Dragon Quest series producer Noriyoshi Fujimoto has personally always wanted to remake Dragon Quest VII for a portable system. Dragon Quest VII was originally made right before the digital era, so basically in the analog days. All the development documents were written on paper, ArtePiazza Shintaro Mashima explained in a Dengeki Interview.


Fujimoto added that the amount of documents used to develop Dragon Quest VII was insane. The company keeps all the old documents from the previous series, but Dragon Quest VII has so much that it has its own section for it. When a remake for the 3DS was in talks, they had to brace the fact that they’ll be going through each and every file. It was a now or never situation for them to remake Dragon Quest VII, due to it already being 10 years since the release of the original PlayStation version, and believed that waiting any longer would be too late.


When ArtePiazza and Square-Enix met up, they would haul about 40 books of documents, consisting of the scenario texts alone! It took them about a year to copy everything from paper to stored data on PC, and while they did that, they thought of new remake ideas while transferring each batch of documents.



When Dragon Quest VII was first released, it was the first three dimensional Dragon Quest game to date. A lot of planning was involved on how to give it a new presentation while keeping the same Dragon Quest feeling to it. Now that better technology is available, making it a three dimensional game wasn’t a problem, but their focus was on how to best utilize the 3DS graphics and its features.


Fujimoto actually sat down and played through the PlayStation version of Dragon Quest VII with Yuji Hori, the creator of the Dragon Quest series. He mentioned that even Hori realized how difficult the game was with all the problem solving and puzzles. When they made the original version, the idea was to make a "riddle solving adventure" game. During their recent play, even Hori pointed out the change of era. Fujimoto said, "Solving some of the puzzles felt very exhilarating at times. Whenever you got stuck in the game, the frustration would build up."


With that in mind, they’ve decided to add features such as the stone shard radars. They also worked on making the overall tempo better for a smoother game play. From the starting point of Estard Island to the number of puzzles and overall difficulty, they’ve revised many things for the upcoming 3DS version.



Another big change is how early players will be able to experience their first battle in the Nintendo 3DS version. In the original Dragon Quest VII, it took a good hour or longer until the first fight. This time around, they’ll be introducing the fight earlier so players can enjoy their adventure while participating in heated battles from start to end.


Due to the story volume of Dragon Quest VII, some found that the leveling pace felt really slow compared to other Dragon Quest titles. For the 3DS edition, they’ll be increasing the leveling pace so it can be up to par with the other DQ titles in that regard. The addition of the visual encounters was meant for that purpose, allowing players to have the choice to fight whenever they want.


The idea is to make the game easier to play, not making it easier overall. By allowing players to have more decision making, rather than forcing them to fight or solve puzzles, it makes for a better tempo. The tough enemies will still be just as tough. They’ve made useful spells, such as Evac (used to escape from dungeons,) to be available at earlier levels in the game.


They’ve added class exclusive costumes that visually correspond to each class. Prior to that, the characters always looked the same regardless of any class changing.


Dragon Quest has been known for having an in game menu window, rather than screen. For Dragon Quest VII on 3DS, they’ve made it an even better experience to provide smoother game play. They put a lot of thought into the camera works, while allowing players to have two different angles to play from, which can be adjusted at any time:


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  • Ereek

    The traditional fan in me is knee-jerk cringing at the thought of the battle and experience changes, but the logical fan in me is saying to wait and see, they’re probably for the better. The length of time it takes to get to the first battle may throw new players off, admittedly, though I didn’t really feel there was any problem with level/experience progression.

    That said, it’s absolutely incredible about doing it on paper for a game this size. I can’t even imagine. While I know it would never happen, I’d love to see scans of a few pages.

    • Like that little word play there. But yeah, I agree, I really enjoyed DQ 7 on playstation and hearing the changes being made makes me feel that they may be screwing up an awesome formula. With the changes to exp, the very first thing that pops to mind is all the grinding I used to do powering up different classes, and not gaining levels while doing it. If they don’t change the number of required fights to lv up the classes, then it will be too easy to out strip the games difficulty while grinding out class levels.

  • Göran Isacson

    Interesting, in the sense that both versions will be different examples of different attitudes in game development from different eras. Almost enough to make me want to play both when I have the time, just to see how they will differ, if the differences will be major or if they won’t even be noticable.

  • GH

    A bit of trivia: DQ 7 was supposed to come out on the Nintendo 64DD ill-fated add-on before development switched to the PlayStation. However Enix continued to support Nintendo’s Game Boy Color against the Wonderswan in Japan, with DQ games being released on the same week as Square games on the WS, effectively killing the device itself.

  • D. Changstein

    I haven’t played Dragon Quest VII in years, and I can’t imagine myself playing it again on a home console. I guess I’ll keep an open mind to these changes because I can’t spend two hours just mastering a job.

  • Ayaka

    [They’ve added class costumes that visually correspond to each class.]

    You got me. Dragon Quest VII, let’s be friend.

  • Ethan_Twain

    Jesus – they had to speed Dragon Quest VII UP to be on par with other entries in the series? That’s… remarkable. I’ve played a lot of JRPGs over the years, but Dragon Quest VIII remains the most glacially paced I’ve ever found. To hear that this one went even slower is pretty shocking.

    • Ereek

      The game is two or three times longer than DQVIII, not counting job maxing or optional content. It takes 1-2 hours to fight the first battle (in the original, which they’re apparently fixing), and 9-10 just to get to Dharma temple, where you can change jobs.

      The Shard Radar should speed things up as well.

    • Glacial pace, but a lot of that was grinding and backtracking, which wasn’t a bad thing since the world was constantly changing. You backtracked a lot but there was always new places to find as the world is brought back.

      The game is well worth the glacial pacing. It is like a ton of short stories all mixed in and set up in a way to be highly entertaining in both comedy and drama. DQ 8’s story was a lot of fun, but it was a single story. There is a lot more to DQ 7.

  • Kandou Erik

    Now all you have to do IS BRING IT OVER TO THE US! Pllllleaze!

  • “In the original Dragon Quest VII, it took a good hour or longer until the first fight.” More like three.

  • LunarKnite

    Wow, forty books of development. I would love to see all of that. As for their reasoning for the changes, I’m perfectly okay with it. The beginning was extremely slow paced, so I’m glad they realize that and want to pick up the tempo.

  • Rogerrmark

    I’m curious to see if the Dharma Temple will be available since(or almost since) the beginning. It really took some time to appear,and with this wasted time,you could almost have maximized a class already,or at least advanced some levels.

    About the shards,there was a woman that gave you hints of where they were,it was nice.For most of them,it worked,for the minority, you needed to backtrack cities to break vases again,or talk to some people.

    • EmoryM

      Yeah, the fortune tellers really helped in VII.

  • XiaomuArisu

    Thats seems to be a good way to remake a game.

  • I welcome all this changes. The original one was unplayable for me. The DS remakes and IX I love though. I really can’t wait for this.

  • Barrylocke89

    It sounds like this games pacing is going very different from the original version, or at least that’s the intention. From what I played of the original DQIV and V, the pacing had some changes, but not this many. It’d be interesting for me to try out the original game of DQVII and play it through to see what they mean. (Though the notorious length of the game kinda scares me off from doing so)

    I predict that if I were to do so, I’d find the 3DS changes to be for the best overall, but there’d be a few things that I prefer with the PSX version.

    QUESTION for people who have played the original. Was that notorious length caused by the game being really grindy and long, or was it just the sheer amount of content in the game that gave it its length?

    • Rogerrmark

      The main game has around 70-90 hours,for the average ”grinder”.There are a lot of villages,dungeons,places to explore,more than previous DQs,VIII and even IX,and the amount of dialogues of the ”Talk” command is just insane.

      .There were 2 extra bosses,and some grinding was necessary to beat them,and like IV DS and VIII,after beating one of them continually,you were rewarded with some itens. You could probably add more 20,30 hours to beat them.

      I heard about people reaching 300,400,500 hours on it,to unlock and maximize all the jobs/classes,expand your village to the maximun,capture monsters,though.

      • Barrylocke89

        Wait, if the main game took about 70-90 hours…well that’s still on the high end of things, but that’s not as long as I was expecting. Persona 3 is generally advertised as being 70+ hours, for instance. I DO tend to take longer to playthrough games compared to other players, but that’s true for all games, so it’d still probably come up to the same number.

        • I have 2 saved games in the final dungeon and both games are between 100 and 110 hours. I didn’t grind out all the classes, but I did grind out a lot of them as learning certain combo’s opens up more advanced classes. There was only around 2 spots I had to grind to get a lv or two or to power up my classes a bit more, rest of the game just took smart playing.

          So yeah, its long. If you aren’t a power grinder and don’t go nuts on classes, you can beat it in under a 100 hours. I will never finish it in under 100 because I like to actually do most of the stuff available in the game.

  • Jimmy Dean

    All this great information goes for naught if they don’t bring the game to NA :(

  • ChknMoonDust

    I’m glad they’re remaking it, but I wish that they were remaking it for the Vita since the original was on the PS1. I think at this point I’d be more happy if they just released the original as a PS1 classic so I could play it on the Vita. But I guess the japanese eat DQ like its crack so that why it’s going to the 3Ds.

    • LightZero

      That and the 3DS is the most popular system in Japan. That’s the only reason DQ7 appeared on the PS1 in the first place. The PS1 was popular and had the highest user base just like the PS2, DS, and Wii. DQ always goes to the best selling system. The Vita is by far the worst selling system in Japan. Not to mention they would sooner put it on the PSP than they would the Vita.

  • N M

    Would be nice if they changed class growth to make it so you wouldn’t have to grind so many enemies to advance a rank in class (1 enemy=1 point).

  • I kinda rather don’t like the ds versions as much as the originals. I finished DQ 9 recently, and I felt it was the worst DQ game I had played, though it was still a good game. After playing DQ8 and seeing all the character development, DQ 9 was a huge let down in that department. Almost couldn’t finish the game because I just couldn’t bring myself to care about my character.

    I played DQ 4 on the ds before that game, and dq 6 prior to that. Haven’t gotten part 5. I own DQ 4 for the original nintendo, and I can say I liked the pacing and challenge of the nintendo version a lot more than I liked the DS remakes. I felt like I was just breezing through dungeons that used to actually spook me in the nintendo version. The main dungeon that bugged me was the last dungeon in Maya and Mara’s scenario. In the nintendo version, I had to make multiple trips as the monsters would wear my team down and would often almost kill me, and a few times actually killed me. I am an explorer, so I explored every nook and cranny looking for loot. I played that cave on the DS version of the game, and did the entire thing in one shot, with 0 issues, and no threat of death. I felt no fear and it was just too easy.

    Due to all of this, I am kind of worried about DQ 7 3ds remake. I feel the way they speed up the pacing is going to ruin the impact of a lot of the short story segments. For those who have played it, think about the town where everybody is stone. Imagine that part done in the fast forward of the remake on handhelds.

  • fancycakes

    I recently started to re-play DQVIII, and recalled playing VII when I was about 11 back when it came out. Both games mystified me in ways I can’t describe, to this day they’re about the only games I can re-play over and over without ever getting bored– it’s funny, too, because I remember so much about both of titles. Like what certain NPCs say, what treasure chest contents will be, etc.

    That being said, I have a close eye on this title. What with SE not announcing a localization for Type-0, Bravely Default, DQX (still hoping the Wii-U version will come) and Terry’s Wonderland, I’m worried that this is going to be another of those titles that remains in the Land of the Rising Sun. :/ I will remain hopeful for this title, but because there was so much text for them to transfer over to the 3DS re-make, think of how much translating that would be for the 3DS version as well? I can’t foresee them bringing this title over, I don’t think they feel the sales would warrant the effort. Aside from IX, haven’t the sales of each DQ been somewhat lackluster?

    Anyway, like I said, DQ games are definitely worth the effort and I’ll remain optimistic for a Western release.

    • I hope so , it would be too sad that we don’t get terry’s Wonderland

  • It should be releasing people. Se would be playing russian roullette with thier feet if they did not release it here or in other places.

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