Dragon Quest Creator Shares Ideas He Has In Store For Smartphones

By Sato . January 12, 2014 . 5:00pm

While we won’t be seeing a Dragon Quest XI on smartphones anytime soon, Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii shares some of his thoughts on mobile devices with Famitsu, along with a few ideas he has in store, including a possible revival of what’s considered the pioneer of visual novel games.


Some of you may not be too familiar with the name Kazuo Koike, but to bring you up to speed, he’s a prolific manga writer, who studied under Golgo 13 creator Takao Saito. Following that, he created the Gekika Sonjuku, a college course dedicated to teaching people how to be a manga artist, which Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii took and graduated.


Square Enix mobile developer and Famitsu blogger Takehiro Andou brings up an earlier conversation with Koike, where they spoke of a possible mobile sequel for a game that is widely considered the very first visual novel game, in The Portopia Serial Murder Case. He asks Horii if he’s warming up to any ideas.


“On the subject of smartphones, smartphones are something you operate by touching,” says Horii. “I believe that there’s a connection between touching and examining. So, I think that making a visual novel game might be pretty fun.”


“Instead of checking places you’d like to examine with a cursor, you could simply press it and discover something or move somewhere. While thinking about the interface, I believe that we could make a visual novel game that has plenty of depth.”


According to Andou, Horii had previously mentioned that there are plenty of “light” gamers in Japan. Square Enix are currently working on a mobile version of Dragon Quest Monsters, called Dragon Quest Monsters: Super Light. He asks if the unique name was made to appeal more towards the casual audience.


“Compared to the console versions of Dragon Quest Monsters, which feature plenty of monsters to raise, this game is a little more stripped down in terms of features, so we simply decided to go with ‘Super Light’,” shares Horii with a laugh.


Next, Horii gives us a little insight on the challenges behind Dragon Quest X, the MMORPG, where the goal is to attract new people to the game. In this regard, Square have made their most recent push by introducing smartphone and tablets versions of the game, playable through cloud services.


“I like to think that MMORPGs have a bit of a contrast to those who play games on smartphones,” says Horii. “On the other hand, I’d like to bring a feeling of surprise to such people, and have them think ‘Huh? Smartphones can play these kind of games, too?’”


Dragon Quest X is full of challenges,” Horii says. “Kind of like the challenge that was ‘how would Dragon Quest VIII be with a new UI on smartphone?’ How would Dragon Quest X as a cloud game? Challenges like that. They’re both Dragon Quest games on smartphones, but the characteristic implications between the two are quite different.”

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  • LunarKnite

    Please no.

  • Warboss Aohd

    how about no

  • Earthjolly

    God dammit developers are already starting to abandon the handheld market for the Casual mobile market.

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

      the good ones too :{

    • Ric Vazquez

      Faith in humanity has gone down to 5%

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    ………….What? No God no.

  • Slickyslacker

    Alright, instead of whining this time, I suppose I’ll give them a bit of credit. It all comes down to that minimalist games are perfect for smartphones (iOS/Android). This “DQM: Super Light” might end up being an enjoyable title, for what it’s worth. It just shouldn’t consume too many resources, or too much time/interest to develop. By no means should developers continue focusing on mobile game development: this is only something that should be done once in a while.

    • icecoffemix

      If it’s successful, their mindset would be :
      Why bother developing high risk millions dollar content full console game when they can get as much money from low risk half-heartedly developed game with content as minimal as possible, each having price tag designed to squeeze the player’s dry?

      The only problem with it is that the demography they’re aiming are very very fickle bunch, there’s no guarantee that when the game got past its time the same bunch will stick around like hardcore gamers do. Heck even making the game popular in the first place is harder to predict than normal game.

      • Slickyslacker

        Well, I wouldn’t reduce game developers to such ruthless and avaricious characters. Surely, they must constantly consider projected profits and potential risks whenever embarking on creation of new products, but they still care about the games that they make. Even shareholders are usually attached sentimentally to franchises and games.

        Still, your point stands true. Churning out a bunch of turgid smartphone titles to quickly boost revenue, while only developing a select number of big-name console titles at a time, is a business-efficient and ostensibly fair strategy.

        Personally, I’m both opposed ideologically and on the basis that I probably wouldn’t enjoy the games themselves, so you won’t see me purchasing or playing any mobile games. For example, I’ve been a Final Fantasy fan for years, I’ve played every mainline title and virtually all of the spin-offs, but I’m not interested in All the Bravest. DQ VIII is one of the best RPGs ever made, but I wouldn’t purchase its mobile port.

        • icecoffemix

          The one who make that decision is not the game developers but the one on top of the chain, they’re not necessarily developers or even gamers.

          Still at least SE has enough integrity not to toss their mainline series into the turd game territory like a certain game company is doing (port doesn’t count since it was properly designed for non-mobile). I dunno for how long though, at least DQXI won’t be I guess.

      • KnifeAndFork

        Hardcore is a more loyal market. They’re chasing after Angry Birds/Puzzle & Dragons/Candy Crush crowd just like how last gen everyone was chasing the Call of Duty crowd in the West.

        Problem is casuals will play THOSE games and those games only that’s how it works

  • Marcus J. Hopkins

    How about he get on top of Square-Enix about releasing some of these titles to the West?

    • Shane Guidaboni

      They’re making me feel this series is dead in the West. That scares me.

      • Ric Vazquez

        I know that feel, not a pleasant one.

    • Ugh, I know. This is a series that sold so much, Japan’s economy was shifted and they don’t have any idea how to market it like they do with all their other crap.

  • “According to Andou, Horii had previously mentioned that there are plenty of “light” gamers in Japan.”

    Guess this explains why there’s such a big focus on mobile games in Japan– there’s a market for them, and they make lotsa cash.

    As much as we complain about this– they aren’t looking at us as the main audience when it comes to these titles.

  • AndyLC

    Best of luck to him, the mobile games market is still young, I’d love to see Horii make a game that feels as good as Dragon Quest that I can play on my phone.

  • Roberto

    oh come on

  • Wow that is just the ugliest UI, completely doesn’t match the aesthetic of the rest of the game

  • SpardaCastle

    I can see visual novel thriving on smartphone. As for a full blown DQ title? No thanks. Who are they trying to target? All the fans are probably on the consoles or handhelds anyway. The Smartphone having a larger install base doesn’t mean a larger DQ community.

    • Marcus

      Japanese people. Busy Japanese people. Busy Japanese people who spend a lot of time with their phones on the train. That’s who they’re targeting.

      It’s not just a stereotype. It’s reality.

      • SpardaCastle
        • Ric Vazquez

          Very sad reality

      • MaximDualBlade

        Wow it’s the real ENBP? And yea, I dislike smartphone gaming because they are casual, but the truth is that the market it’s here to stay and it will and is evolving.

        The day I can play a console quality game on a smartphone I will like it. It’s not the graphics, but the whole “not buttons” and that a vast array of cellphone/tablet gaming is exceptionally casual. Releasing “old” games like FF1-6 or Dragon Quest 8 is not enough for me to be content with the route a lot of developers are going for.

        And last but not least(and this is really personal), if Square Enix releases FFVersus(I will never call it FF15 sorry) and KH3, an nboth games deliver at least 150h of enjoyment to me, I don’t care much about what they do.

        After all a company’s goal is to stay relevant and make money(to be simplistic) so their business decisions are their problems

      • KnifeAndFork

        Why are they targeting just them when both Famicom systems, PS2 and Wii were some of most popular consoles of all time

  • (This is me reading the title) Dragon Quest creator shares ideas he has in store *heads drops and yells in frustration* FOR SMARTPHONES! ARGH!

  • Daniel Jeanbaptiste

    It so sad I don’t even want to support Square Enix anymore. Only getting Bravely Default because of Nintendo effort for bringing it and listen to us.

  • tubers

    Portrait seems practical for 1 hand use at least.

    Mobile’s the name and Micro-tran’s the game.

  • ManSizeSextet

    Just give me DQVII remake in English (3DS version) and then you can do what you want Horii!

  • the_rain

    No matter how great that idea if it is for smartphone, I’ll pass.

  • megaten666

    I’m on the verge of filming a youtube rant video.

    I’m that fed up with smartphones stealing games that shouldn’t be on them.
    Sure, it wouldn’t solve any of our problems, but I have so much anger in me right now, that I fear, I might transform into a Super Saiyan :/

    • Smartphones aren’t “stealing” anything. Aren’t most of these smartphone titles in Japan, where portable gaming of any kind is popular?

      I understand that gamers are upset that the series they love aren’t appearing on the platform they prefer, but this hate towards smartphone gaming is getting very tiresome.

      • megaten666

        Seeing games like DQVIII on an inferior device -which didn’t even designed for gaming- is just as tiresome, believe me :/

        • Control-wise, maybe so. But the game doesn’t look that bad.

          • megaten666

            I’m just saying that certain devices should stay for what they are. Smartphones being phones that are actually “smart”, and like in the case of XBox One… MS should give us a break with this TV madness and just concentrate on XBO being a console and not more (but that’s kinda off-topic now, so…). I have nothing against Angry Birds and the likes, but DQVIII is just not the kind of title an inferior “gaming” device like a smartphone could do justice, you see? It’s not about graphics, it’s about the overall feel of the game. If SE want DQVIII be portable, than do a PSVita exclusive HD remaster… or as a bare minimum, a PS2 Classic PSN title. But porting it to iOS (and probably Android, I don’t know) is just disgustingly ridiculous.

            I mean…
            If I want to do “smartphony” things, then I use my smartphone. If I want to play some big budget JRPG, then I sit on my comfy chair and switch on my console of choice. Good controls, better graphics and a better display monitor. Oh, and also better sound. And I don’t have to recharge the battery every 3 hour or so.

            Look, maybe it’s just me. I can see why financially more profitable this kind of perversion, but there’s just only so much greedines and laziness a simple gamer like me can overlook :/ And as a simple gamer, all I can do is NOT supporting the various heretic ideas some developer/publisher has.

            Console game ports on smartphones should never happened. Never! At least not the way they treat their ports.
            (GTA horrible controls; FF “remakes”, yeah, more like remastered sprites to have the game look more lifeless; DQVIII being in portrait mode, a very beautiful game gotten completely humiliated)

      • KnifeAndFork

        You act like smartphone gaming isn’t popular trend in the west. You have any idea how much Angry Birds and Candy Crush make a month?

        • Well, this article is directed at Japan, so I didn’t see the point talking about the west and/or the popularity of smartphone gaming here. If megaten666 had mention western smartphone gaming, I would’ve replied accordingly.

          No-one has to tell me how popular they are here. I see ads for Angry Birds board game, Star Wars crossover, etc; all the various Candy Crush clones as well. Heck, I even seen F2P browser titles being advertised on TV.

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