While the Final Fantasy series has been getting a lot of attention recently, Dragon Quest IX is due to come out later this year in Japan. It’s being made by Level 5 who made Dragon Quest VIII and it is the first numeric Dragon Quest title to debut on a handheld. Recently Level 5 updated their Dragon Quest IX page with more details on the title and a few extra screenshots. Unlike other Dragon Quest games battles are not random. Slimes freely wander on the main map and it’s up to the player to decide if they want to engage a battle by running into a monster or not. If you want to avoid a fight you can, but slimes will chase you.
Dragon Quest IX lets players customize their main character. You can choose a gender for your hero, pick a face and equip him/her with items to change his/her look.
One of the interesting features is Dragon Quest IX has online multiplayer where you can take your customized hero into an adventure with up to four other players. If your party encounters an enemy you switch over to the standard turn based fighting mode and each player chooses their action from a menu. It’s just like single player combat, except you have to wait for everyone to input their moves.