Dragon Quest Creator Yuji Horii Reminisces On Making The First Dragon Quest


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Dragon Quest’s director Yuji Horii recently sat down to talk about his memories of making the game, such as why they chose to make it a single-member party system, and how Akira Toriyama was brought on to help out with the game. [Thanks, USGamer!]


Here are the highlights:

On working within the NES and Famicom restrictions, and how it lead to the one-man party system:

Yuji Horii, director: “We only had 64 KB of memory. We had to implement the system, the monster, data, graphics, story, and music—all of it into that cartridge. We were quite impressed that we were able to achieve that.”

“Oftentimes people had mentioned that it would be impossible to bring RPGs to the system, but by creating and focusing on one character rather than a party, and then kind of simplifying various mechanics but still ensuring that people would still get the sense of fun and interesting aspects of an RPG game, we were able to successfully achieve it.”


On Akira Toriyama’s involvement:

Horii: “Given the fact that it was on the NES, we wouldn’t really be able to achieve a truly realistic imagery or graphic style. At the time, I was a writer for Shonen Jump, and my editor was actually the same editor for Toriyama-san. The editor had mentioned something to the effect of Toriyama-san really wanting to work on a game, and that’s how we got into it and brought Toriyama-san on board to create the designs.”

“In retrospect, it turned out that Toriyama-san never really had an interest or anything. It seems like the editor was just trying to incentivize him!”


On how Horii’s previous game influenced the making of Dragon Quest:

Horii: “Originally, I wanted to actually become a manga artist. I really liked developing and creating stories. With computer games, I found this whole new level where you have interactivity and interaction and could progress your stories in that fashion. I developed an adventure game, The Portopia Serial Murder Case, and after that I discovered the RPG.”

“It was quite niche back then, and oftentimes, people didn’t quite know what to do in the games. We wanted to create a kind of linear rail that people can go on to experience the genre. Furthermore, in Portopia, I had implemented a command system where you were able to select your moves and whatnot, and that had naturally carried over to the Dragon Quest games as well.”


You can find the full retrospective here.


Dragon Quest is available for NES.

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Alistair Wong
Very avid gamer with writing tendencies. Fan of Rockman and Pokémon and lots more!